It really was a great two weeks in Thunderbird. I apologize for the late post, but since I returned to Calgary my schedule got pretty hectic.
My coach Norman Dello Joio flew into Calgary a few days before Thunderbird to help me train for the World Cup qualifier, and I have to say it was one of the most informative and influential sessions with him I’ve ever had. We had all the horses jumping beautifully and we really focused hard on my flat work. Together we created a very concrete system and training regime for the horses and I.
That weekend, I took Cascall to a CSI2* to knock the rust off before Thunderbird. He was super finishing 3rd in the $35k Grand Prix. It was the biggest I had jumped that horse. We put forward our best efforts and ended up in a very fast jump off with Lisa Carlson where I pulled a rail.
The first week in Thunderbird started out with very solid rounds on all my horses. My new 7 year old “Deen” won our very first competition together in the 1.30m. Jenna Thompson who has been working alongside me for the past year has been riding the horse since Attaché Stables purchased him in April, 2015. She has done a fantastic job of producing the horse. This sport is really made of a team, and Jenna has been a huge part of it.
Cascall had a first place and second place in the $10,000 1.40m division. Carmen placed a respectable 3rd in the talent squad qualifier and Plume rounded out the week with a solid 3rd place in the $125,000 World Cup qualifier, presented by Longines. It was a very tough track built by Irish course designer Alan Wade with only 3 clear rounds in the first round: Rich Fellers, Will Simpson and me. It was a blazing fast jump off and I was last to go. Plume and I were on the pace to win but pulled an unlucky rail to end third. It was very humbling to have Rich and Will talk so highly of myself and my training regime with Norman. It was very nice to see that the hard work my entire team has been putting into developing my new string of horses is starting to really pay off.
The second week continued with success like the first week. I had some more top finishes in the week’s competitions with all my horses once again. I was also very happy with the way my teammate Jenna Thompson rode. She is a very talented jockey, but even more importantly she is an extremely hard worker which is so nice to see and I admire her for that.
The rest of my team including barn manager, Jodie Stutt, made sure that everything was organized to a tee and my professional caretakers; Felipe, Vicky, Debbie and Joel were unbelievable both weeks. Early mornings and late nights didn’t stop them from making sure my horses were taken care of to the highest standard. I can’t thank my team enough.
The week finished with a very solid round again in the Grand Prix aboard Plume. We had a very cheap rail in the first round at the second to last fence. She barely grazed it, but it unfortunately came down.
The two weeks at Thunderbird really prepared me for the biggest tournament of the year, the ‘Masters’ at Spruce Meadows. Although I am still missing Makavoy, who has won on two different occasions at the ‘Masters’, I am feeling very confident that my horses are all going to be contenders. Plume and Remi will be my FEI partners during the ‘Masters’ with the hopes of qualifying for the CP ‘International’ with the goal of making it into the second round.
I wish all my Canadian teammates the best of luck on trying to defend our title in the BMO Nations’ Cup. Although I am disappointed I won’t be able to help them achieve this goal, I will be their number one fan from the sidelines.
On to the next… ‘Masters’ here we come!
Photo Credit: Sara Jorgensen