For Immediate Release

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Contact Press Officer Shelby Allen
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Preliminary Challenge Returns To The Woodside Horse Trials

Woodside, Calif., April 18, 2012 – The fourth annual Woodside Preliminary Challenge will be the highlight of the Woodside Horse Trials on May 25-27. The popular competition, which climaxes on Saturday evening, as the sun sets over the picturesque San Francisco Bay, will offer $15,000 in prize money and an additional $15,000 in prizes in each of the two divisions.

More than three dozen horses are expected to compete in the Woodside Preliminary Challenge—presented by Professional’s Choice, Devoucoux Saddles and Equine Insurance of California—at the Horse Park of Woodside, on Sand Hill Road, barely 30 minutes south of San Francisco, just off I-280.

The Woodside Preliminary Challenge will get underway on Friday morning with dressage, evaluated by a panel of two judges. The exciting cross-country phase will take place on Saturday morning.

And then the winners will be decided on Saturday evening over a special show jumping course set in the Horse Park’s Grand Prix Arena, which has just been improved by the addition of new footing. The top 10 horses in each of the two Preliminary Challenge divisions will begin show jumping at 6:20 p.m., with awards to follow immediately afterward.

Since Saturday afternoon will feature the advanced and intermediate divisions taking their turns over Derek di Grazia’s panoramic cross-country course, spectators can spend the entire day watching he cross-country action for $10 per person, which includes parking and a program.

And then fans, other Woodside competitors, friends and family can cheer for the final phase of the Woodside Preliminary Challenge from a heated ringside platform while enjoying a Gala Dinner catered by Cahoots. Or they can bring their own chairs to watch from the ringside viewing berm. Reserved seating and dinner is available for $55 per person or $450 for a table of 10.

Go to to order tickets for dinner or for general admission to the Woodside Horse Trials.

In 2011, more than 300 people enjoyed the show jumping and the dinner, and another 300-plus cheered from their own seats on the berm.

“I think the format we’ve created for the Woodside Preliminary Challenge—the evening how jumping competition with the awards right afterward and the catered dinner—have become something truly special over the last three years,” said event organizer Robert Kellerhouse. “The Preliminary Challenge has become a competition that the riders aim for every year, and it’s become an event that people in the Woodside area and people riding in the other divisions at Woodside look forward to watching every year.”

Kellerhouse, who’s been running three events each year at the 280-acre Horse Park of Woodside since 2005, is similarly excited over the large and small improvements the park’s management has made in the last four years. Adding new footing to the Grand Prix Arena is the latest step in a comprehensive capital-improvements plan.

“Every year it’s better than the year before , and it’s the best facility in Northern California,” said Kellerhouse. “They’ve done a great job of making it be what it should be. The property now is exceeding people’s expectations every time w they arrive for an event.”

The Woodside Preliminary Challenge offers two divisions: the Horse division is open to riders of any level of experience on horses that have not competed at the intermediate level or above from 2008 to 2012; the Rider division is open to all horses with riders who have not competed at the intermediate level or above from 2008 to 2012. Horses and riders must achieve two qualifying results at the preliminary level as a pair in order to compete.

In addition to the Presenting Sponsors of the Woodside Preliminary Challenge (Professional’s Choice, Devoucoux Saddles and Equine Insurance of California), the additional generous sponsors of the Woodside Horse Trials include: Auburn Laboratories Inc., Equine Comfort Products, JRD Saddles, Ride On Video, Smartpak Equine, Sunsprite Warmbloods, Voltaire Design and Western Saddlery.

Proceeds from the Preliminary Challenge Gala Dinner benefit construction of the cross-country course at the Horse Park of Woodside.

To learn more about the Horse Park at Woodside or the Woodside Horse Trials, go to To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association’s website ( For Press Credentials, please contact the press officers.