Calgary, Alberta – Calgary’s Breanne McAllister topped a field of 87 starters, including her older brother Tye, who finished second, to win the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix held July 18 during the Mid Summer Classic III produced by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB.
Run in a unique format, the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix, conceptualized by Subway restaurants, sees competitors jumping the exact same course set at four different heights. All competitors, regardless of height, had the same time allowed of 74 seconds to complete the course designed by Eric Hasbrouck. First, all the entries in the popular 1.10m division jumped, producing five clear rounds out of 36 entries. Then the fence heights were raised to 1.15m, with four clears emerging out of 14 entries. At 1.20m, four of the 25 entries enjoyed clear rounds. Finally, 12 entries contested the course with the fence heights set at 1.30m with two riders producing clear rounds.
“Everyone enters on the honour system, entering at the respective heights that they have recently been competing at,” explained John Anderson, President of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. “I could put my grand prix horse Terrific in the 1.10m division, but that would not be entering on the honour system. I could not beat those young kids anyway!”
For the jump-off, the competition worked its way back down. The 1.30m jump-off contenders went first, followed by the 1.20m, the 1.15m and, finally, the 1.10m. In the end, it was 16-year-old Breanne McAllister who jumped the 1.15m jump-off course clear in a time of 31.33 seconds to beat her 19-year-old brother, Tye McAllister, who contested the 1.20m jump-off course, stopping the clock in 32.77 riding Mon Pleasure. Both Breanne and Tye McAllister train with 1986 World Champion Gail Greenough.
Anderson’s concept is one that sees the junior and amateurs competing on equal footing with the professionals. In fact, grand prix winner McAllister purchased her horse, Santos, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, from Tamie Phillips, who was also competing in the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix with her well-known grand prix mount, Lucas. Offering 1.10m horses and riders a chance to compete in a $25,000 grand prix also gives juniors and amateurs a rare shot at winning the first place prize money of $7,500.
“I really wanted to do something that concentrated on the next generation and encouraged the future of our sport,” said Anderson, who represented Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1986 World Championships. “How many 1.10m riders ever get a chance to compete for first place prize money of $7,500? They just don’t get that opportunity. It also teaches them what it feels like to compete under the pressures of jumping for big coin. The 1.15m and 1.10m competitors jump off last, which are usually the youngest kids; you should see them with the whole afternoon to stew and feel the pressure!”
McAllister, 16, had no problem handling the pressure to stake her claim to the $7,500 winner’s cheque. In the event’s three-year history, the winner emerged from the 1.20m division in 2008 and 2009, making McAllister the first 1.15m rider to win.
“The whole feel of this tournament is great sport, good fun, and youth development,” said Anderson. “All three are lacking in this sport, and we need to get back to that. This grand prix was a perfect example of combining good fun with great sport, and educating our youth at the same time.”
The $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix wrapped up three weeks of competition comprising the Mid Summer Classic show series. In August, Rocky Mountain Show Jumping will host two weeks of competition sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). The CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic I will be held August 18-22 while the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic II runs August 25-29 and features the Western Canadian qualifying event for the 2010 FEI Children’s Final.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping is quickly developing a reputation as one of Canada’s premiere show jumping destinations. Its tournaments are held at Anderson Ranch in Calgary’s south end, a world-class facility featuring permanent stabling for 300 horses and a grass grand prix field complete with natural obstacles. For more information on Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, please visit www.rmshowjumping.com.
$25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix – Mid Summer Classic III
1. Breanne McAllister Calgary, AB Santos 0:0 31.33
2. Tye McAllister Calgary, AB Mon Pleasure 0:0 32.77
3. Britteny Toner Edmonton, AB Champ 0:0 33.22
4. Jay Duke Okotoks, AB Quiz Z 0:0 33.80
5. Andrew More Calgary, AB Julio 0:0 34.77
6. Renee Walker Calgary, AB Unexpected 0:4 30.96
7. Megan Blyth Calgary, AB Storm 0:4 32.12
8. Maria McHenry Calgary, AB Understated 0:4 33.64
9. Jordan Wilson Okotoks, AB Catch Me 0:4 35.39
10. Laura Iversen Olds, AB MJ Gypsy 0:4 35.62
11. Eric Martin Oakbank, MB Kumano 0:4 40.06
12. Kristin Russell DeWinton, AB Upstart CSNZ 0:8 30.18
Photo: John Anderson and Glady Verswyvel present the trophy to Breanne McAllister riding Santos for her victory in the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix held during the Mid Summer Classic III in Calgary, AB. Photo credit – Briarwood Photography