Derek di Grazia has done a substantial redesign of his cross-country course for the Woodside International Horse Trials, which will take place on Oct. 5-7, presented by Professional’s Choice and Equine Insurance of California. Di Grazia says he’s changed five combinations on the course for the featured CIC3* division, and he’s also made numerous alterations for the CIC2* and CIC1* divisions.
“Because we did quite a bit last year, when Woodside became an international event for the first time, the tracks for each course will be familiar but different. But almost all of the combinations have been changed in one way or another, with either new jumps or different placement of the jumps,”said di Grazia, of Monterey, Calif..
With the course flow and direction remaining intact, di Grazia noted that "the course should maintain the same flow that it’s had in the past, and, while the questions will be somewhat different, they still should ride with same amount of difficulty.”“
The Woodside cross-country course features something rarely found on California cross-country courses—rolling terrain. The hills allow spectators can see almost every cross-country jump by sitting under the majestic, ancient oak tree that stands atop the hill next to the finish line. But those hills present both opportunities and challenges to di Grzia as he sites the jumps.
“At Woodside, the terrain can sometimes work against you. Sometimes you simply have to take the terrain out of the course, in order to get away from either going continually uphill or continually downhill. But when you are able to get it right, it makes the jumps a lot more interesting,”said di Grazia.
An elite group of about 60 riders will be competing in the three international divisions, including James Alliston, of Castro Valley, Calif., who in 2011 won the Woodside CIC3* and a month later won the CCI3* at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event. In addition, more than 300 riders will contest Woodside’s national divisions, from advanced to beginner novice, giving Silicon Valley spectators plenty of opportunities to experience the excitement of eventing.
Thanks to the generous support of more than a dozen sponsors, the total prize money for this year’s Woodside International Horse Trials is $20,000, with Devoucoux and Equine Comfort Products contributing as Gold Medal Sponsors of the Woodside International Horse Trials. Saddlery Solutions, Voltaire Design and CWD are the event Silver Medal Sponsors and will contribute a plethora of exciting prizes.
Auburn Laboratories Inc., California Horse Trader, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Geranium Street Floral, Point Two Air Jackets, Professional Riders Organization, Ride On Video, SmartPak Equine and Sunsprite Warmbloods are the Bronze Medal Sponsors. They are just some of the equine-product manufacturers and service providers that, in addition to supporting the event with prizes, will be on site for riders and spectators to meet in the event trade fair.
The international horses will start their competition on Thursday afternoon, with the first inspection for soundness in front of the ground jury and head veterinarian. A welcome reception for all competitors follows at 5:30. Dressage will start at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, with the show jumping for the three international divisions starting at 2:00 on Friday afternoon, followed by a cocktail reception beginning at 5:30 overlooking the competition arena.
On Saturday, spectators will get to enjoy the heart of the sport of eventing—the cross-country phase—as the previous day’s pairs will tackle the cross-country course in reverse order of their two-phase standing. The CIC3* horses will vie for a chance at the Fric Frac Berence Heart Award trophy and $1,000 prize money presented to the horse and rider with the best cross-country performance as determined by a panel of judges.
All winners will be recognized Saturday eventing at a special dinner celebration and awards ceremony, open to the public.
Patron's passes are available for the parties on Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Reserved tables of 10 for all three evening functions are available for $600, or $300 per night for single evenings. Individual seats for all three evenings sell for $75, or $35 for one evening.
Go to www.woodsideeventing.com for ticket and full competition information.