Former British five-star event rider switches nationality to ride for US

  • James Alliston has switched nationality and is competing for the US at five-star this week for the first time, having previously represented Great Britain.

    James, 37, an Oxford graduate who is originally from Gloucestershire, has lived in the US full time since 2007, and spent time in the country before that too.

    “I did a gap year working for Bruce Davidson and really liked it so I came back every holidays during university to him, then worked for him when I finished university,” said James.

    He changed his nationality a month or so ago.

    “I have some friends, Alison and Andrew Hulme, who are English and live in America and they’re much wiser than I am and seem to make a lot of good decisions in life, so I followed their lead. Also my green card [which allows non-US citizens to live and work in the US] is up next year and it’s quite expensive to get another one,” said James.

    “I’ve lived in America a very long time and it’s a great country and it’s been very good to me.”

    James Alliston was on the fringes of British team selection around the time of the London Olympics in 2012 when he had some good results with a horse called Parker. The pair finished in the top 15 at Kentucky three times.

    James’s start at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event this week marks his first return to five-star since 2017. His ride, Paper Jam, is a 13-year-old who won the CCI4*-L at Rebecca Farm in July last year.

    James and Paper Jam scored 39.2 yesterday to sit 15th overnight in the CCI5*.

    “The test was a little bit tense, but there were no major mistakes,” said James.

    Paper Jam is owned by James’ American wife Helen, who currently holds third in the CCI4*-S at Kentucky riding Ebay.

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