Thermal, California – John Anderson of Calgary, AB, claimed the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix riding Terrific on Thursday, February 4, in Thermal, CA. Anderson had the distinct advantage of being the final rider from the 42-horse starting field to enter the indoor arena. Using a format that saw the fastest clear first round win, Anderson knew exactly what he had to do to win – be faster than fellow Canadian Olympian John Pearce, who sat atop the leader board following a clear round in a time of 54.74 seconds riding Chianto. Anderson set off over the track built by two-time Olympic course designer, Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, and, after leaving all the jumps in place, crossed the timers in 53.65 seconds to capture the win.
“John (Pearce) had only been the second rider in the ring, and he really put the hammer down,” said Anderson, who represented Canada at the 1986 World Championships and the 1988 Seoul Olympics. “I was last to go and I knew if I only put in a nice, clear round, I would end up eighth or ninth. I had to put my foot on the gas, and Terrific responded. He was focused, and we did all the inside turns. I broke the 54-second barrier and, with no one coming behind us, it was enough to win.”
The win came after Anderson and Terrific had placed second in the first two featured events at the HITS Thermal circuit. On Friday, January 29, Anderson finished second to Jill Henselwood, also a Canadian Olympian, in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. In Sunday’s $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, Anderson was again forced to settle for second, this time to California native Keri Potter riding Rockford I. As a result of his consistent performances, Anderson is leading the standings for the Catena Leading Grand Prix Rider Award, which will be presented at the end of the six-week HITS Thermal show jumping circuit on Sunday, March 14.
The organizer of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping competitions in his hometown of Calgary, Anderson attributed his success in Thermal, where he was showing indoors for the first time, to having competed on the east coast last fall, showing Terrific at indoor events in Ottawa, Syracuse and Toronto.
“The ring was spooky, and Leopoldo is tough,” said Anderson, 43, who last competed at the Thermal venue in 2007, before they began using the indoor arena. “There is a big screen, and the tent coverings flap a little bit. I was really happy with Terrific; he kept his concentration and brought it home for me. He was really on his game.”
Terrific is a 10-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Marlon x Lux) that owners Craig and Jan Maxwell of Foxdale Farms purchased as a five-year-old for Anderson to ride. In 2009, Anderson and Terrific won the Canadian Championship title awarded at the CSI5* Spruce Meadows “National” Tournament in Calgary, AB. In September, at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament, Anderson and Terrific were members of Canada’s fourth-placed Nations’ Cup team.
Foxdale Farm is located on 240 acres just outside of Calgary in Cochrane, AB, and offers a select number of young show jumping prospects. For more information on Foxdale Farm, visit www.foxdalefarm-inc.com.
Photo Credit: John Anderson and Foxdale Farm’s Terrific won the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix on Thursday, February 4, at the HITS Thermal show jumping circuit in Thermal, CA. Photo Credit – © Flying Horse Photography