The International Ring at Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Canada, did not start until 5:00 p.m. but once it did the challenge began, first with Kent Farrington and Uceko winning the $210,000 Tourmaline Oil Cup on one time fault. That was followed later in the evening by the captivating six bar competition with the victory going to Switzerland’s Edwin Smits on Rouge Pierreville. As if that was not enough, the grand finale of the evening was a sky filled with fireworks.
The tough, technical Troumaline class did not see one rider go clear and perhaps that was the result of a course designer error the day before. When Leopoldo Palacios was asked why 21 riders went clear in a field of 46 in Thursday’s ATCO Cup he quickly responded, “I messed up the time.” In fact, by mistake he added 10 seconds to the time allowed, which meant each competitor could take their time negotiating the course.
However, on Friday when Kent Farrington earned a check for $70,000 he did it despite his one time fault. Maybe, just maybe, Leopoldo was making sure the first round of 30 riders had to be aware of the tight time if they wanted to make it to a jump-off. It was also a tight turn to an “in and out” combination followed by a final triple combination at the end of the course that took its toll on many of the riders.
Even Beezie Madden fell victim to that combination and garnered 12 faults on her Olympic mount Cortes C. In addition to this competition, earlier in the evening Beezie was part of another event. Just before the class, Beezie attended a reception where the high performance equine nutrition company, Cavalor, announced that they would be adding her to their roster of sponsored riders.
Later in the evening, the electricity continued with the famous ATCO Electric Circuit Six Bar. You may think the excitement for the six bar was seeing who would make it over the 1.95 meter very last fence in the final round. With only two riders making the attempt, when Robert Whitaker and Valentin R dropped a rail at one of the earlier fences it was up to Smits to give it his final try. And he didn’t just try, he succeeded.
Yet, that is when the real excitement began as Smit’s smile spoke volumes. His hug around the horse’s neck said “I owe it to you,” and the $25,000 check he earned was the icing on the cake. I stood next to that final fence just before they tore it down and for sure it was over 2 feet above my 5’5”.
So, with the sky alight with fireworks and the stands filled with excited spectators, Friday night ended with a bang at the Spruce Meadows Masters with just two very important days to go. Saturday showcases the BMO Nations’ Cup and Sunday the CP International 1.5 million dollar grand prix.
For more about this year’s event visit the website at www.sprucemeadows.com.