Ottawa, Ont. - Haley Stradling of Aldergrove, B.C., emerged the winner of the Running Fox CET Medal Final on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at the Royal West Tournament, in Calgary, AB.
For the first time since the inception of the Running Fox CET National Medal Finals, the prestigious class was held outside of the province of Ontario at the inaugural Royal West Tournament. Four riders from each of the four separate regions-Atlantic, Ontario, Prairie and British Columbia-qualified in their own circuits to compete in the National Medal Finals for a total of sixteen top equitation riders.
Riding Jenna Powell's 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Stanley SM, Stradling won the CET Medal Final which was held over two days and included three phases-Flat/Gymnastic, Jumping and a Final Four test.
In the Flat/Gymnastic phase held Wednesday, October 29, course designer, Peter Holmes, had the riders complete a demanding gymnastic course featuring two changes of lead to the first fence, bounces, trot fence and a jump-off style turn. Chelsea Walsh, 16, of Calgary, Alta., who won the first phase, scored 81 riding Parkmore B, Ainsley Walsh's 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse. In second was Jessie Jia, 14, of Victoria, B.C., with Quidam's Ramiro, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Uma Oneill, and Stradling finished in third, with a score of 73.
Stradling returned to the ring the following day where she earned the top score in the Jumping Phase with 88, which was enough to move into second place with a combined, two-round total of 161. Walsh has the lead with 168, while Jia was sitting in third with 159. Rounding out the top four was Sarah Barker, 19, of Hamilton, Ont., riding Coeur de Baloubet, Mark Hayes' eight-year-old Canadian Warmblood.
The top four riders returned for a final test, which included a shortened final course that incorporated a trot fence, four steps of walk, a halt and no stirrup work. Stradling and Stanley SM performed a flawless final test to move up from second place and secure the victory.
"In the flat/gymnastic phase everything rode quite forward for me. I had to change my plan on a couple of lines but they ended up working out," said Stradling, who is coached by Laura and Brent Balisky and Laura Jane Tidball "I was very happy with my jumper phase. My plan stayed the same the whole way through, and Stanley jumped his heart out for me."
"I had many flat and jumping lessons with my trainer getting Stanley really listening and it also gave me a bit more of a chance to get used to him, since I just had started riding him in the end of august," added Stradling. "We schooled complicated courses in preparation for Finals."
Designed to be a foundation for riders moving from the hunter divisions into jumper competition by CET Medal founder Barbara Anderson, the Running Fox CET Medal is an equitation competition where the riders are judged on their position and riding style, as well as their ability to control the horse over a jumper course. The top 16 riders, qualified from four Regional Finals, were invited to contest the Running Fox CET Medal Final at the Royal West Tournament.
As the winner, Stradling received a new Childeric saddle donated by long-time CET Medal Final sponsor, Running Fox. The top eight riders received coolers and all 16 entries were awarded lovely Walsh halters-all courtesy of Running Fox. Running Fox also sponsors the four regional finals across Canada as well.
"Running Fox is pleased to once again sponsor the CET Medal class," said Debra Smith, co-owner of Running Fox. "We receive so many words of encouragement from both the exhibitors and the trainers. They tell us how important the class is in developing and honing their riding skills. It is truly a pleasure to watch the riders progress through this program."
The remaining top four athletes were Walsh, as the Reserve Champion; Jia who finished in third; and Barker rounding out the top four.
About Running Fox
With a retail store in Ontario, a mobile unit and a large online store, Canadian owned Running Fox is a retailer of prestigious English riding apparel. Running Fox also attends 12 additional weeks of horse shows in Wellington, Florida every year. Carrying tack and equipment of the highest quality, Running Fox is the exclusive Canadian and US distributor for Luc Childeric saddles and Dy'on bridleworks. For more information on Running Fox and their products and services please visit www.runningfox.com or call 1-888-387-8225.
Running Fox CET Medal Final overall results
Placing / Rider / Hometown
1 / Haley Stradling / Aldergrove, B.C.
2 / Chelsea Walsh / Calgary, Alta.
3 / Jessie Jia / Victoria, B.C.
4 / Sarah Barker / Halmilton, Ont.
5 / Kassidy Keith / Duncan, B.C.
6 / Makayla Barta / Ottawa, Ont.
7 / Annabelle Bonneau / Stredempteur, Que.
8 / Hayley Boyd / Edmonton, Alta.