Straight A’s at Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Classic I

Calgary, Alberta – Anderson and Asselin were the two names that dominated the leader board during the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic I Show Jumping Tournament held August 18 to 22 at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB.

The CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic I was the first International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned show jumping tournament ever held at Anderson Ranch, and the organizing committee passed with flying colours. In Saturday’s $50,000 Friends of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Grand Prix, which was rated a CSI2* by the FEI and counted for valuable points in the Rolex World Rider Rankings, a total of 28 horses took the test set by course designer Werner Deeg of Germany. Of those, 14 jumped clear on the expansive grass field at Anderson Ranch to advance to the jump-off.

Riding in seventh position in the jump-off order, Calgary’s John Anderson posted a clear round in a time of 48.99 seconds to take over top spot on the leader board. Although three others beat his time, none managed to also leave the rails in place, giving Anderson a popular home victory as well as $15,000 in prize money.

“You know you are going to have to be slick when you are in a big jump-off like that,” said Anderson, who had only just returned to the saddle after dislocating his right shoulder in a fall. “I have a difficult time turning right because of my shoulder, so I tried to make up the time on the left-hand turns because I knew I would not be fast enough in the two turns to the right. There were three riders ahead of me that had the time but had one down. I got lucky.”

For the second year in a row, Anderson and Terrific, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Foxdale Farm Inc., will represent the Canadian Show Jumping Team in the $350,000 BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday, September 11, at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB. They have also been short-listed to the Canadian Team for the upcoming 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.

“I started the week out rusty because I had not been riding at all because of my shoulder,” said Anderson, who had been on a three-week break. “I had to make some tack adjustments on Thursday to get back on track. On Saturday, the horse jumped fantastic. I was the weak link because Terrific pulls a little and I had a hard time setting up for the jump. But the horse feels great, and he is jumping well.”

Thursday’s $32,500 Laramide Oil and Gas Grand Prix proved to be match-up between a veteran and a new student to the game. The only two clear rounds produced from the 31-horse started field belonged to Lisa Carlsen, a member of the gold medal team at the 1987 Pan American Games and Anderson’s teammate at the 1988 Seoul Olympics riding Kahlua, and 16-year-old Ben Asselin, hot of his double gold medal win at the North American Junior Championship earlier in the month riding Lolita.

Carlsen of Edmonton, AB, was first to challenge the shortened jump-off course with Cuba Libre, a 12-year-old grey Hannoverian mare owned by Clayborn Farms, but the final fence came down. Knowing exactly what he had to do for the win, Asselin opted for a slow and steady round with Magic Man.  “It was a pretty tough course,” said Asselin. “When I walked it, I didn’t think it would be as tough as it rode. Lisa went first and had the last jump down, so I went in and put a slow, clear round in to win.”

Asselin has a special bond with Magic Man, a 13-year-old chestnut Hannoverian gelding formerly ridden by his father, Sydney Olympian Jonathan Asselin, and owned by the family’s Attaché Stables.  “He was my first horse ever,” said Asselin of Magic Man, a horse that broke its knee in a lunging accident as a seven-year-old, only to make a miraculous recovery from the surgery to compete at the top levels of show jumping. “I got him when I was 12 years old. We started in the 1.10m and he brought me all the way up to the 1.45m. He’s a really sweet horse. We know each other like the back of our hands.”

As the son of a Canadian Olympian and Nancy Southern, whose family operates the famed Spruce Meadows facility, Asselin appreciates having top show jumping venues close to home.  “John’s done a great job, he’s put a lot of work into the facility through the years,” noted Asselin, who will be entered grade 11 at Calgary’s Bishop Carroll High School in September. “The shows are a really good opportunity for local riders to get some FEI points without having to travel so far, and to get some Grand Prix experience. It is a great ring with great footing, and John’s always got plans on the go to make the place even better.”

Asselin’s statement on the development of Anderson Ranch speaks directly to Anderson’s mission of hosting competitions that encourage the next generation to develop into top level riders.

“For me, both Grand Prix events proved that we are on the right track with the things we are doing here,” said the Olympic and World Championship veteran. “My focus is on developing the young riders. Ben Asselin, who is only 16, won the first Grand Prix, and three of them, Hayley Alfonso, Jaclyn Duff and Ben, were on my heels in Saturday’s Grand Prix, and had a cheap rail in the jump-off. We have a huge powerhouse of riders coming up in western Canada.”

The Rocky Mountain Classic I was the first of three weeks of show jumping offered in the series. Competition continues with the Rocky Mountain Classic II, also rated a CSI2* by the FEI, held August 25 to 29. The $32,500 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix will be held on Thursday, August 26, while the $50,000 Oilpatch Grand Prix takes place Saturday, August 28, in conjunction with a fundraising event for the Children’s Wish Foundation. Other featured events include the Western Canadian qualifying event for the 2010 FEI Children’s Final as well as the Western Canadian Championship of the Canadian Equestrian Development League.

The Rocky Mountain Classic III, held September 1 to 5, will feature the $20,000 Western Regional Final of the Jump Canada Young Horse Series.

Rocky Mountain Show Jumping hosts its tournaments 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

$50,000 Friends of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Grand Prix CSI2* - Saturday, August 21

1. John Anderson Calgary, AB Terrific 0:0 48.99
2. Alexander Grayton Priddis, AB Henry 255 0:0 50.57
3. Lisa Carlsen Edmonton, AB La Boom 0:0 51.22
4. Marshall Whyte Cochrane, AB Quinlan 0:0 51.90
5. Jaclyn Duff Edmonton, AB Airtime 0:0 52.80
6. Jorge Verswyvel Venezuela Artifice LS 0:0 56.30
7. Hayley Alfonso St. Andrews, MB Lennox 157 0:4 47.33
8. Jaclyn Duff Edmonton, AB Pan Tau 55 0:4 47.63
9. Ben Asselin Calgary, AB Magic Man 0:4 47.93
10. Liz Ashton Victoria, BC Vibrance 0:4 52.46

$32,500 Laramide Oil and Gas Grand Prix CSI2* - Thursday, August 19

1. Ben Asselin Calgary, AB Magic Man 0:0 54.40
2. Lisa Carlsen Edmonton, AB Cuba Libre 0:4 46.32
3. Emily George Calgary, AB Quidam’s Ramiro 2
4. Marshall Whyte Cochrane, AB Quinlan 2
5. Alexander Grayton Priddis, AB Henry 255 4
6. Kristy Yopyk Calgary, AB Ravel 4
7. Tamie Phillips Strathmore, AB Lerche 37 4
8. Jaclyn Duff Edmonton, AB Pan Tau 55 4
9. Lindsay Wendt High River, AB Georgia 181 4
10. Suzanne Morin Edmonton, AB Cavallo 4

Photos:  John Anderson and Terrific won the $50,000 Friends of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Grand Prix held Saturday, August 21, at the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic I at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB.
Ben Asselin receives the trophy for winning the $32,500 Laramide Oil and Gas Grand Prix on Thursday, August 19, from the Viccars and Yopyk families of Laramide Oil and Gas.  Photo credits – Cansport