Jill Henselwood Saves the Best For Last With World Cup Win

Langley, BC - June 5, 2011 - The $55,000 CSI2*-W Mibroc Group World Cup at Thunderbird Show Park delivered a thrill a minute, but saved the best for last as Jill Henselwood and Special Ed rode to victory. With twenty-eight entries from across North America, the Canadian Olympic Silver Medalist executed two perfect rounds to lead the pack and shave just over two seconds off the only other double clear ride, delivered by Langley, BC’s, Brian Morton.

Morton was the first to finish round one fault free midway through the order, with Calgary’s John Anderson, Canada’s Chris Pratt and Henselwood on George having already tipped rails.

“My student and I both knocked down the first jump and I had said that first jump could be a little tricky,” explained Henselwood regarding her round on George. “Special Ed has a ton of experience so he doesn’t get caught the way the younger ones do because he has hours of practice at this level.”

Samantha Buirs, winner of Thursday’s $31,500 qualifier was the next to go clear, putting in the fastest ride of the class at 74.57. Riding just ahead of California’s Kyle King and Capone 1, Henselwood was steady through the course, making the sticky triple combination look effortless and winding home past the crowd to big cheers.

In the jump off, Morton rode clear, showing the crowd just how special Spitfire is as he came into the third fence and did a little extra kick out the back to stay above the rails.

“It was one of those wonderful moments, especially in the first round, when you make as detailed a plan as you and can and then one tiny detail at a time, it all just falls into place,” explained Morton. “He’s a very, very careful horse and when you come into the jump off he’s going to give you everything he can not to touch the fences!”

With a clear round from Morton and Henselwood waiting at the gate, Buirs had to put everything she had into her second round, but a hard ride to the combination resulted in an unfortunate rail and then a second one near the end of the course.

For Henselwood and Special Ed, it was flawless. After a decade together and many fantastic finishes, the pair still have lots of competition to look forward to, most immediately, four weeks at Spruce Meadows. But fans who gathered in Langley hope to see them return and that’s something she’s already thinking about.

“If he doesn’t like a venue, I’m not going to compete there,” notes Henselwood. “Once he runs and jumps like this in a venue, this one is stamped in the passport, he’d come back here.”

The Mibroc Group, sponsors of the World Cup qualifier and specialists in custom home building and equestrian properties, took in the class from the newest structure on the grounds, one that they made possible.

“Through this partnership, The Mibroc Group was able to do what we do best and build Thunderbird Show Park’s Timberframe Gallery,” notes President and CEO, Darryl Caunt. “The building is elevated and you get an incredible view of the jumps in the Grand Prix field.”

For the team, it was an opportunity to get together and open the building in grand style.

“It was thrilling and exciting,” said Caunt. “One thing that sets us apart, whether we’re building a custom home or equestrian property with arenas and stables, is taking the time to celebrate with everybody involved, it’s part of our culture.”

1. Jill Henselwood Special Ed Juniper Farms 41.53
2. Brian Morton Spitfire Brian Morton 43.73
3. Samantha Buirs Total Touch Samantha Buirs 41.21 (8)
4. Lisa Carlsen Cuba Libre Clayborne Farms 79.66 (1)
5. Tani Zeidler Ranville Zeidler Farm Canada 80.69 (1)
6. Karl Cook Uno De Laubry Signy Ostby 75.49 (4)
7. John Anderson Terrific John Anderson 76.48 (4)
8. Tammy Chipko Zico 13 Tammy Chipko 78.48 (4) + (1)

Competitors will finish up the BC Open tournament today and return to Thunderbird in just three weeks for the West Coast Classic from June 29 to July 3rd . Visit www.thunderbirdshowpark.com for a full schedule, results and details on upcoming tournaments in July and August.