Calgary, Alberta –Calgary’s own John Anderson and Lindsay Wendt of High River, AB, rode away the winners following the first event of the season at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping in Calgary, AB. Anderson scored victory in the $31,000 CSI2* Rocky Mountain Grand Prix on Thursday, May 14, while Wendt won the $31,000 CSI2* Cymric Brae Grand Prix on Saturday, May 14, during the Bow Valley Classic I show jumping tournament.
Despite having snow on the ground one week earlier, 35 entries turned up at Anderson Ranch for the $31,000 CSI2* Rocky Mountain Grand Prix to open the first show jumping tournament of the year hosted by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. Course designer Manuel Esperanza of Mexico designed a track that produced 17 clear rounds, making for an exciting jump-off.
When Anderson jumped ninth in the jump-off order, he was chasing a target time of 34.78 seconds set by Manitoba’s Eric Martin riding Kumano. With his veteran partner Terrific, Anderson was able to use the turns to his advantage to take a full two seconds off the leading time, stopping the clock in 32.77 seconds. Eight more riders attempted to better Anderson’s time, with 17-year-old Ben Asselin coming closest, crossing the timers in 34.27 seconds with Magic Man.
“I had already done the jump-off with Ashtin’s Sevita and had one jump down, but I knew there were a couple of good turns where I could make up time,” said Anderson of his jump-off strategy with Terrific, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “I figured I would be slick and smooth and make up time through the turns, and then I didn’t have to run so hard. I knew there were a couple of fast ones coming behind me, like Ben Asselin, who ended up second.”
Anderson was especially pleased with his horse’s performance, noting, “Terrific felt great. I haven’t done anything with him since this winter in Thermal, California. He came home and had a rest, and now he is getting back in the ring. I just went right into this class without doing any other warm-up classes, so I was very happy with him.”
As the organizer of the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping tournaments, which will host the Western Canadian Final of the Jump Canada Talent Squad Series in August, Anderson had another reason to be happy.
“If you look at the top 12 placed riders in the Grand Prix, every single rider except for me has signed up for this year’s Talent Squad Series,” said the Canadian Olympian, who focuses on developing the next generation of grand prix riders and horses through his tournaments.
Proving his point, it was 2008 Western Canadian Talent Squad Champion Lindsay Wendt who won the $31,000 CSI2* Cymric Brae Grand Prix. Of the six horses that jumped clear from a starting field of 32, two belonged to Wendt. The 29-year-old was the first challenger over the shortened jump-off track with Chanel, and knew she had her work cut out for her. Her mare responded beautifully, and the pair left all the rails in place before crossing the timers in 40.65 seconds.
“Knowing that John is behind you, it is all or nothing – you are going to give it to him if you don’t try,” said Wendt. “I knew John was going to have a tough time beating me. I made John chase me, and it worked.”
Anderson and Terrific incurred a rail in their attempt to catch Wendt, eventually finishing third. By the time Wendt returned for the jump-off with her second mount, Georgia 181, she already held the lead with Chanel.
“Georgia was the last horse in the jump-off, so I had already won when I walked into the ring,” explained Wendt, 29. “It was a really weird position to be in! It was a nice place to be, but it was hard to keep focused. She pulled a couple of rails, but it was really no big deal because I had already won!”
The victory marked the first career win for Wendt in a CSI Grand Prix sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), as well as her first Grand Prix victory at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. Her partner, Chanel, is a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Lead Partners that Wendt and her coach, Dayton Gorsline, found in Holland three years ago.
“We were looking for a horse and when we found her, Dayton and I knew right away that she was the one,” said Wendt, who operates her horse training business, Grandview Performance Horses, in High River, AB. “She is pretty special. The process has been long and hard, but now I feel like we are there – it is going to happen now and it is going to happen fast! She is just that cool. Our hard work is going to pay off.”
The only other rider to jump double clear in the $31,000 CSI2* Cymric Brae Grand Prix was 17-year-old Dominique Shone. Riding Ka Ching, Shone stopped the clock in a time of 43.30 seconds for second place honours. On Thursday, the pair finished fourth in the $31,000 CSI2* Rocky Mountain Grand Prix. Shone of Langley, BC, was Canada’s lone equestrian sport representative at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore, where over 3,000 athletes competed in 26 sports. The talented young rider also represented Canada at the 2007 FEI Children's Final in Jalapa, Mexico.
Despite the delays in preparing for this year’s opening tournament, Anderson was pleased with the outcome of the Bow Valley Classic I.
“We had to pull this tournament together in one week due to the inclement weather whereas we would normally take three to four weeks,” said Anderson, noting that the property was covered in snow one week earlier. “The wind still played havoc with us all week, but at least we didn’t get rain or snow, and the wind did help dry things up. All of our competitors have shown us an incredible amount of support and, at the end of the day, we are happy that they are happy.”
With the conclusion of the first outdoor tournament of the year, Anderson is now looking forward to the CSI2* Bow Valley Classic II, running May 18 to 22. Watch for another great RMSJ TV episode, ‘Spring Time in Alberta,’ featuring footage from the Bow Valley Classic I and II tournaments on Rocky Mountain’s innovative new web-based television channel, available at www.facebook.com/RMSJ.Television. Episodes will also be available at www.youtube.com/rockymtnshow following the original airing.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping is quickly developing a reputation as one of Canada’s premiere show jumping destinations. Its tournaments are held at Anderson Ranch in Calgary’s south end, a world-class facility featuring permanent stabling for 300 horses and a grass grand prix field complete with natural obstacles. For more information on Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, please visit www.rmshowjumping.com.
$31,000 CSI2* Rocky Mountain Grand Prix – Thursday, May 12, 2011
1. John Anderson Terrific 0:0 32.77
2. Ben Asselin Magic Man 0:0 34.27
3. Eric Martin Kumano 0:0 34.78
4. Dominique Shone Ka Ching 0:0 34.88
5. Tamie Phillips Lerche 0:0 36.25
6. Tamie Phillips Dressman 0:0 36.62
7. Michelle Vandal VDL Viper H 0:0 36.86
8. Lindsay Wendt Chanel 0:0 37.89
9. Tracey Epp Santee 0:0 39.95
10. Michelle Vandal Divine Diva 0:4 35.76
11. John Anderson Ashtin’s Sevita 0:4 36.35
12. J.J. Atkinson Callino 2 0:4 36.91
$31,000 CSI2* Cymric Brae Grand Prix – Saturday, May 14, 2011
1. Lindsay Wendt Chanel 0:0 40.65
2. Dominique Shone Ka Ching 0:0 43.30
3. John Anderson Terrific 0:4 41.04
4. Beda Wachter WH Carthago Sun III 0:4 46.68
5. Lindsay Wendt Georgia 181 0:8 42.63
6. Lindsay Ceminchuk Kalia 0:8 43.77
7. Emily George Quidam’s Ramiro 4
8. Eric Martin Kumano 4
9. Michelle Vandal Divine Diva 4
10. John Anderson Ashtin’s Sevita 4
11. Jenn Serek Brown Thomas 4
12. Ben Asselin Copilot 4
Photos: John Anderson and Terrific won the $31,000 CSI2* Rocky Mountain Grand Prix at the Bow Valley Classic I held Thursday, May 12, in Calgary, Alberta.
Lindsay Wendt and Chanel won the $31,000 CSI2* Cymric Brae Grand Prix at the Bow Valley Classic I held Saturday, May 14, in Calgary, Alberta. Photo credits – Cansport