Chantilly, France - August 6, 2011 -- A very busy week for Catherine Pasmore at the CSI 2* show in beautiful Chantilly, France, home of the 2011 Global Champions Tour event, was capped by a hard fought victory over a huge starting field of 60 in the highly competitive Grand Prix Savelys of Chantilly.
Pasmore, and her talented partner My Boy, were one of eighteen horse and rider combinations to go clear from that large group that started in Sunday's main event.
Pasmore, who finished sixth in the qualifier (Prix ZEP Sport International) which reduced the number of entries from over 90 down to the 60 that eventually went to the post on Sunday, stuck to her game plan to nail down the top-notch international victory. She also used a taunt by her younger brother Will as further incentive and motivation for the win. "I went to the side of the ring to watch the first few in the jump off before getting on," Pasmore detailed. "My little brother told me to stop stressing, because I wasn't going to win anyway. After that I just wanted to go in and prove him wrong," she laughed.
The undulating grand prix field offered up a number of challenges, which Pasmore and My Boy handled brilliantly. "The course didn't seem too big when I walked it, but it certainly was technical enough," she said. "The course designer did a brilliant job playing the hills in the ring. The way the lines rode really depended on how your horse jumped off the slope at each given jump. You really couldn't compare it from horse to horse."
Sticking to the plan, mapped out by Pasmore and veteran trainer Katie Prudent, was a key to the win. "I went into the jump off with my best-number-possible plan and My Boy was on such good form we were able to stick exactly to the plan,"
Pasmore related. "I left out a stride in the first line, but was still able to make a tight turn after. I sliced an oxer across the middle and he jumped it great, and I came in a little faster than I wanted to the double in the last line, but he backed himself right off like he does so well. When we cleared the last jump and saw that we had taken over the lead, I knew that I was going to be hard to beat," she admitted.
"When I came out of the ring, the first person I saw was my brother Will, who said 'I told you so' and then with a cheeky grin, told me he was just jinxing me before," smiled Pasmore.
Before she could breathe easily though, Pasmore had to survive the onslaught from World Equestrian Games medalist, Abdullah Al Sharbatly of Saudi Arabia. "When he was about to go to the ring, I said to him, 'Since you already have a medal from the WEG, can't you let the kid win?" she laughed. "I don't think he thought I was funny."
As it turned out, My Boy and Pasmore won by over two full seconds, and the only rider to have a faster time was fellow American Caitlin Ziegler, but two rails down prevented her from joining the ribbon line-up. "When the last rider had a rail early on, Jeroen Hartjes brought the cooler out to me," Pasmore reported. "I haven't smiled so big in a long time. This win couldn't have come at a better time. It was one of those shows where I just really needed to prove to myself that I could do it no matter what. I have all of Team Pasmore and especially My Boy to thank for helping me make that happen," she added with a smile.
Earlier in the week, Pasmore and Z Canta competed in the Young Horse Grand Prix, following a blue ribbon ride on the first day of competition and a fifth in the two-phase Power and Speed. "In the Grand Prix, we were the second of twenty to go clean. Not bad considering how many were in the class, but a lot more clean than I had anticipated," Pasmore stated. "Coming back second, with so many behind me, I had to go for it. Z Canta was phenomenal, but I paid for my speed in the last line when I had the last two jumps down. Unfortunately the fastest eight-faulter doesn't mean anything in that kind of company," she laughed.
Pasmore also competed with Vandavid and Pacific Beach HC at Chantilly.
Pacific Beach HC was fifth in the Prix Ecurie Cairefontaine, a two-phase class on the first day, and later placed third, winning a lovely dark brown saddle pad. She also did the Prix Fursan Equestrian Center faults converted class and had the fastest time, but one rail down meant four seconds added, placing fifth. "Ironically, Fursan Equestrian Center was the farm we laid over at before the show, so I already knew the sponsors before shaking their hand," Pasmore smiled.
"After coming so close to winning, I was really hungry to win my last speed class Sunday morning, the Prix STH Hipavia," she said. "All I could think about was getting a Global Champions cooler. Finally, I got it. It doesn't say Global Champions, but it's good enough," she laughed.
"I forget which placing where I won a pair of MacWet riding gloves, but they turned out to be very lucky," Pasmore added. "I didn't wear them until Sunday and I won two out of three classes. I then went on to show in Dinard, France, the following week and won the first two classes there with my new gloves. I highly recommend them," she concluded.
PHOTO CREDITS: © 2011 by Chris Pasmore. Catherine Pasmore competing at Chantilly, France with My Boy, and brother Will Pasmore