Saturday, November 6, 2010

Eventng: Brannigan Takes Control at Galway Downs International Three-Day Event

Temecula, Calif., Nov. 6, 2010 —

Jennie Brannigan has called
the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event “a
homecoming.” The Southern California native has been living
in Pennsylvania while working for Olympian Phillip Dutton,
but she made the trip west with Nina Gardner’s Cambalda to
compete their first CCI3* in front of her friends and family. On
cross-country day the pair put in a clean and confident round to
take the lead in the CCI3*.

“I thought it was a smooth ride, although there were a few
things I would have liked to have been better,” said Brannigan.
“The time turned out to be pretty easy to make, much easier
than we thought it would be. I took my foot of the gas about
half way around, and he jumped better.”

Overnight leaders Alison Springer and Arthur had a run-
out at fence 14, The Orca, to drop to eighth, moving Brannigan
into the lead with 46.0 penalties.

Tamra Smith, on Kristi Nunnik’s Corner Street, jumped to
a double-clear round to move up to second place (46.6). The bay
Irish Sport horse is a catch ride for Smith, who is riding him
because Nunnik is still recuperating from ankle surgery. Smith
has only been riding him about 10 days. Nunnik did ride her
other advanced horse, R-Star, and is currently in sixth place, but
she didn’t feel fit enough to ride both horses.

“Since I’d never run him cross-country before, I expected
everything to be hard,” joked Smith. “But I was very pleased
with him. I’m very grateful the Kristi picked me to ride him.”
Standing third with 49.2 is Alexandra Slusher on her own
Last Call, who added just 0.8 time penalties to her score.

Slusher is leading in the CCI2* aboard Matt Slusher’s Juicy
Couture. The chestnut mare blazed faultlessly around the cross-
country course, keeping their dressage score of 49.2 intact.
“It was easier than I expected [to ride both mares],” said
Slusher, who survived a spooky moment with Last Call at fence

“It was the best round I’ve ever had on [Juicy Couture],”
she continued. “I always ride better here than anywhere else,
and this is the boldest she’s ever been.”

Shannon Thompson and KS Priceless, who placed second
in the CCI2* dressage, parted company at fence 18, moving
Amber Levine and Nantucket Red in to second (54.2) and Jolie
Wentworth and GoodKnight in to third (58.1).

“The fences looked a bit bigger today than yesterday,”
admitted Levine, a former grand prix show jumping
competitor. “But, I couldn’t have asked him to be any better.”
Wentworth has only been paired with her mount since
July, and she was held about halfway through the course
because of Thompson’s fall. “He’s very different than my other
advanced horse,” said Wentworth. “He’s very strong, and when
I was held today, I was glad to have a breather.”

Three faultless cross-country rounds kept the CCI1*
dressage standings unchanged, with Lindsay Connors and
Ballingowan Pizazz maintaining their lead (45.6), with Maxance
McManamy and Project Runway in second (47.5) and Smith in
third with C.S.I. (49.1).

Connors and McManamy share more than the top of the
leaderboard. Both are doing their first FEI-sanctioned
competitions since suffering falls. Connors’ accident was in
2009 at Rebecca Farms (Mont.), and McManamy’s was in 2010
at the same event. Connors was not badly injured, but her work
as an equine veterinary technician, and the application process
to veterinary school, have taken up her time, causing her to
need the CCI1* to qualify her for a CCI2*.

“Today he was wild in the warm-up,” said Connors. “And
he just ate up the course. He came across the finish and felt like
he could keep going.”

Earlier this year, the Irish Sport Horse spun in the
galloping lane here at Galway Downs and dropped Connors, so
she was especially pleased with his focus and straightness on
course. “Staying on was goal No. 1 today,” she joked.
McManamy fractured three vertebrae in her spine in her
fall from advanced horse Beacon Hill, but she and Project
Runway, 6, looked confident as they cruised to a double-clear
round. “Usually I’m just kicking him around, but today he
came out a felt like a true event horse. At the finish he felt like
could go another three minutes,” she said.
Slusher kept McManamy’s horses fit while she recovered
from her injuries.

Competition concludes tomorrow (Sunday) with the show
jumping phase, beginning with the training three-day event at
9:00 a.m. The modern-format and classic-format CCI1* divisions
are scheduled to run from 11:00 to 1:00, followed by the CCI2*
and then the CC3*, finishing at approximately 3:00 p.m.
The Galway Downs CCI3* offers $21,000 in prize money,
substantially more than the prize money offered at any of the
other three CCI3* events in North America. All told, the Galway
Downs International Three-Day Event will offer $33,000 in prize
money and more than $50,000 in total prizes.

The generous presenting sponsorship of Professional’s
Choice equine products, Point Two Air Jackets USA, and the
Professional Riders Organization help make these prizes

Additional sponsors provide prize money, prizes and other support
to the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event. Those sponsors
include: Auburn Laboratories Inc., Big Horse Feed, CWD Saddlery, Doug
Hannum Equine Therapy, Equine Insurance of California, Revere
Saddlery, Riding’s Publications Inc., SmartPak Equine, and Sonoma
Saddle Shop.

General admission for the Galway Downs International Three-Day
Event is $8 per day in advance, $10 at the gate. VIP tickets—which include
seating in the ringside tent, lunch and a full selection of beverages—are
also available for $55 per day in advance. For advance reservations, go to

For more information on the Galway Downs International Three-
Day Event, visit or call 951-303-0405.

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