Brannigan and “Super Cooper” Capture the Intermediate Division
Anyone who’s taken a gander at Jennie Brannigan and Cooper’s competition record this year wouldn’t have been surprised to see them take home the Intermediate Gold Cup trophy in the Series. After all, the pair has won six out of nine upper-level competitions just this year! Not bad for a 21-year-old Young Rider and her seven-year-old gelding!
“I was so excited to find out that I won the Gold Cup Series. I started this season not knowing much about it and then I did well at a couple Gold Cup events, so I made it a point to compete at more,” said Brannigan.
They kicked off their great Gold Cup season with a second place finish in the CIC2* at the first event of the Series this year at Red Hills Horse Trials in Florida. From there, they were the top placing competitors in the Intermediate divisions at The Fork Horse Trials in April.
Brannigan and the steady Dutch Warmblood gelding then traveled back to their home turf in California to gear up for the North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships, and took home first place at Woodside Horse Trials in the Open Intermediate division. This pair was just getting warmed up, for they took the NAJYRC by storm winning individual and team gold medals. A few weeks later they headed out to the Wellpride/USEA American Eventing Championships, which was also a Gold Cup event for the first time this year, and took home second in the Intermediate division.
Brannigan was thrilled to be sharing her moment in the spotlight with her friend Tory. “To be honest, the best part of it is that my good friend Tory Smith won the Advanced! She’s been a great friend of mine for years and has helped me make a lot of important decisions about my career and life. She’s been a good friend through thick and thin and it’s great to see her doing so well.”
Just when we thought Cooper couldn’t get any better, the pair wrapped up their season with a move-up to Advanced at the Morven Park Horse Trials in October, taking home a third place in the competitive division.
“I will definitely make a point to compete in the Advanced Gold Cup events next year if they fit into the schedule,” added Brannigan.
Brannigan recently relocated to West Grove, Pennsylvania to work with Phillip Dutton at his farm, along with Australian upper-level eventer Boyd Martin and his wife Silva, who is a Grand Prix dressage rider. “Silva is amazing on the flat and Boyd has helped me so much with many aspects in my riding. Everyone here is great.”
Check out Brannigan’s article in Issue 5 of Eventing USA to learn more about this talented young star!