Chantilly, France – Caitlin Ziegler won her first competition in Chantilly, France, by claiming victory in the €2,500 Prix Sports Equestres held Friday, July 22.
The 16-year-old from Mequon, Wisconsin, won the first class she competed in at the international show jumping event in France, guiding Butragenia to victory over 70 other entries. The €2,500 Prix Sports Equestres is part of the CSI** division, and featured jumps set at a height of 1.35m. Ziegler set a blistering fast pace, racing around the course in a time of 51.51 seconds to stay well ahead of Nicolas Delmotte of France, who crossed the timers in 54.93 seconds riding Uno.
“I had seen the riders go that were around the leading time, and they all kind of had the same plan, so I decided to leave out strides,” explained Ziegler of her strategy in the speed competition. “I was really fast! The lines had all kinds of options, so I just left out everywhere and ended up being a lot faster than the next person.”
Ziegler’s partner, Butragenia, is a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. Ziegler’s family’s Artisan Farms LLC purchased Butragenia as well as her other top mount, Valencia, at the same time from Belgium’s Marc van Dijck.
“Her performance today was great,” said Ziegler of the mare she began riding in April. “I started out going aggressively in the first line, and she was looking for the jumps and was ‘on it’ with everything I asked her to do.”
The pair enjoyed their first victory together in May, winning the CSI2* Prix Casino Lucien Barriere in La Baule, France. One week earlier, they had been second in the CSI2* Trofeo Valencia in Spain.
Ziegler arrived in Chantilly, where she is competing for the first time, hot off her win riding Valencia in the $31,000 1.50m AON Cup on Thursday, July 7, at the Spruce Meadows “North American” tournament in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The 16-year-old, who attends Laurel Springs School, made history by becoming the youngest rider to ever win an International Equestrian Federation (FEI) event in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows.
Another Artisan Farms rider arriving in Chantilly hot off a victory in Spruce Meadows was Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, Ontario. Foster had enjoyed the first major victory of her career on July 9, winning the $80,000 TD Cup riding Victor for Artisan Farms LLC at the Spruce Meadows “North American” Tournament in Calgary, Canada.
No sooner had Ziegler celebrated her victory in Chantilly than Foster stood in the winner’s circle with yet another horse owned by Artisan Farms LLC. Foster and Quilea de St. Druon topped a starting field of 56 horses to win the €2,000 1.40m Prix Equidia for Seven-Year-Old Young Horses.
With a time of 32.99 seconds, Foster defeated two riders representing Venezuela for the win. Gustavo Arroyo riding Quitador Rochelais placed second with a time of 34.57 while Olympian Pablo Barrios took third with G&C Quivola in 35.44 seconds.
“She wants to go even faster than I let her!” exclaimed Foster. “She really wants to win. She always tries hard, she is super fast off the ground, she has a big stride, you can turn, there is no option you can’t do . . . you can do everything! I can do things on her that you shouldn’t be able to do on a normal seven-year-old horse.”
The seven-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare was purchased almost one year ago, and will eventually be a mount for Ziegler’s father, Andy, who has recently joined his daughter in the competitive show jumping arena.
For Foster, the €2,000 1.40m Prix Equidia for Seven-Year-Old Young Horses competition in Chantilly marked her very first European competition, not to mention her first European victory.
“This is my first class ever in Europe,” said Foster. “I have watched a lot of competitions in Europe, but it is really fun to actually be riding. Chantilly feels very European. It’s beautiful, and the facility is really beautiful. The ground is quite wet because of the weather they have been having, but it has a great atmosphere.”
Foster also credits her competitive edge to the five weeks spent showing in the Spruce Meadows summer tournaments, saying, “It was nice that I got to come on this leg of the European tour. After Calgary, you feel super prepared, so you come here feeling really good. It definitely helps to feel like you are on a roll. And Artisan has such great horses that when you start feeling confident, they can really show you what they can do.”
Both Foster and Ziegler will be competing in Sunday’s CSI2* Grand Prix. Foster especially is hoping for a victory, as it would be the perfect present to mark her 27th birthday, also on Sunday.
Following Chantilly, the Artisan team, all coached by Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, will compete at CSI5* San Patrigano, Italy, from July 29 to 31 followed by CSI2* Bonheiden, Belgium, from August 5 to 7. From there, it is on to CSI5* Valkenswaard in The Netherlands from August 12 to 14.
Photos: Caitlin Ziegler, 16, won the €2,500 1.35m Prix Sports Equestres riding Butragenia for Artisan Farms LLC on Friday, July 22, in Chantilly, France.
Canada’s Tiffany Foster guided Quilea de St. Druon to victory in the €2,000 1.40m Prix Equidia for Seven-Year-Old Young Horses for owner Artisan Farms LLC on July 22 in Chantilly, France.
Photo Credits – Sportfot