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Woodside Horse Trials Offers Chance For Rising Stars
Woodside, CA, USA

The Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Series comes to the Woodside Horse Trials on May 23-25, and it will be an excellent opportunity for rising riders and their horses to earn valuable points in the year-long series at the advanced and intermediate levels of eventing.

Modeled after NASCAR and other thriving sports series, the Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Series is based on a cumulative points system, with horse-and-rider pairs earning points, prize money and prizes at each of the 13 designated events in the three leagues across the country. The Gold Cup Series runs at the advanced and intermediate levels, with the national winners of the two Gold Cup divisions being the pairs who earn the most points during the year.

Woodside is the second of this season's four events in the Pacific League. Although this is the first time the Woodside May event has been a part of the Adequan/USEA Gold Cup Series, in 2007 Woodside was a qualifying event for the Pan Am Games. Gina Miles, of Creston, Calif., was one of the Pan Am event competitors, and she went on to win the team gold and individual bronze medals on McKinlaigh in Rio de Janeiro last summer.

Miles and McKinlaigh claimed this year's first Pacific League event, at Galway Downs in Temecula on March 28-30, but the pair won't be competing at Woodside because they'll have contested the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** four weeks earlier, seeking a spot on this summer's U.S. Olympic eventing team.

With the favorite out of the race, Woodside's advanced division will be a wide-open affair, a perfect spot for an upcoming pair to earn valuable points and prizes. The advanced riders will be aiming for $1,500 in prize money, and the intermediate riders will be aiming for $900 in prize money.

At the intermediate level, Alexandra Knowles, of Auburn, the winner at Galway Downs, and Julie Ann Boyer, of Agua Dolce, who finished second there, are expected to be in the Woodside starting field. They're standing second and third in the national rankings at the moment, and a blue ribbon at Woodside could vault either one to the top of the national leaderboard.

Riders and their horses will be facing 26 fences that course designer Derek di Grazia of Carmel has either newly created or dramatically redesigned. These course improvements are part of the continuing revitalization of the Woodside equestrian facility on Sand Hill Rd. undertaken by event organizer Robert Kellerhouse since re-establishing eventing at Woodside in 2005.

USEA-recognized horse trials hadn't been held at the 280-acre Horse Park at Woodside since 2001, and Kellerhouse replaced almost the entire cross-country course. "I took over the event because California desperately needed an eventing facility in Northern California, plus it was a chance to start from scratch at a truly unique place. I mean, where else could you organize an event with such a fabulous view of the San Francisco Bay to the east and the hills of Woodside to the west?" said Kellerhouse.

Kellerhouse runs three USEA-recognized competitions at Woodside each year—in May, August and October. Each one attracts scores of entries from Bay Area riders and attracts dozens of other riders from around the state, and from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada. Kellerhouse expects to start 350 horses in May.

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