Commemorating the legendary John Perry, longtime ringmaster of Dressage at Devon until his untimely passing in 2004, the organizers and friends of JP of the Devon show created the John Perry Sportsmanship Award to be presented to a person who demonstrates sportsmanship and is a true ambassador of equestrian sports. This year's recipient of the John Perry Award was Canadian rider Jacqueline Brooks.
"I was so thrilled to receive the inaugural John Perry Award for Sportsmanship this year at Devon," Brooks told Dressagedaily. "While it is always exciting to win classes and awards based on your results, it seems fitting that Devon would honor John Perry with an award that defines what it means to be an athlete. Anyone competing in any sport knows the rewards are few and far between and that the journey to success is filled with frustration and fueled by perseverance. As a competitor you share this journey with all other athletes, and to be recognized for supporting the sport on this level is more meaningful to me than any other successes I have enjoyed in the sport. To succeed one must first learn to lose, accept learning from each experience, and use these experiences to help both yourself and others. To be honored for trying to follow these ideals strengthens my belief that this is the most important part of competing."
Aboard Anne Welch's 7-year old Canadian bred Hanoverian Balmoral (by Belcanto), Brooks finished 11th in the Prix St Georges (66.417%), second in the Intermediaire I (69.583%) and she won the Intermediaire Freestyle (70.600%).
Brooks is a regular competitor at Dressage at Devon and has campaigned her rising FEI horse Balmoral at that show for years. She started him in the FEI 5-year old Young Horse tests at 2004 Dressage at Devon and won at small tour level this year. Her road, however, leads further and Jacqueline aims to bring her horse to Grand Prix level soon.
"This year I wanted to get him comfortable with the advanced tests and hopefully achieve one of his necessary qualifying scores to participate in the selection trials for the Pan American Games next summer," Brooks explained. "I was most excited about his attitude in the Dixon Oval. He presented himself in this big ring without any negative tension and was wonderful to ride. I was also very happy as I competed riding to the same kur with which Gran Gesto's won his first Inter 1 Freestyle. It is so exciting to have Balmoral follow right in Gran Gesto's hoofprints!
Balmoral, who is owned by Anne Welch, seems to have set his goals a little higher and with such splendid Devon results a berth on the Canadian Pan Am team is within reach.
Brooks will be competing Balmoral this upcoming Florida winter season in order to finish qualifying for the Pan Am Games Selection trials. "With a lot of luck hopefully we'll find our way to Brazil next summer," she said.