Calgary, Alberta – Claire Doty, 13, of Okotoks, AB, and Armani emerged victorious in the CET Prairie Regional Final held during the Rocky Mountain Fall Classic show jumping tournament held September 16 to 19 at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB.
Over three days of competition, 17 riders completed a flat phase, gymnastics phase, and jumping phase before the top six engaged in a ‘ride-off.’ The flat phase is the same test for all riders competing in CET Medal classes across the country, while Rocky Mountain Fall Classic course designer Peter Holmes set a demanding track consisting of 18 obstacles for the gymnastics phase, as well as a technical course for the jumping phase.
The top six based on cumulative scores were then invited back for a final ride-off, jumping three of the other competitor’s horses, determined from a random draw, over a jumping course. Riders were separated from their coaches, and had to walk the course on their own. They then had only two minutes to warm-up on their own, over two jumps, before guiding their mounts over the judged jumping course.
Doty was in third position coming into the jumping phase, but the slate was wiped clean for the final ride-off. With three different horses, Doty was awarded scores of 90, 85 and 89 for a final score of 264 to claim victory. Paige Russell of Cochrane, AB, was the runner-up with a score of 243. Calgary’s Ainsley Walsh placed third with 238 and Jaclyn Jarrell, also of Calgary, was fourth with 219. Laura Kathleen King of Calgary, AB, was fifth and Scott Campbell of Edmonton, AB, was sixth to round out the final placings. Links to videos of the final six can be found at:
Open to riders aged 21 and under, Doty is only 13 years old, and this is her first year competing in the CET Medal.
“My mom brings in horses from Belgium, so I am used to riding different horses and know how to feel them out quickly,” said Doty, who is trained by her mother, Caryl Doty. “It was a great experience to have different horses to ride, and only have two minutes to warm up. I did get a little nervous when I looked into the stands and saw everyone – the whole place was full! But it was fun, and it was a great experience.”
Doty was also quick to give kudos to her mount, Armani, an 11-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding by Dobels Cento that she received as a Christmas present in 2008.
“I couldn’t be where I am without him; he is my everything,” said Doty. “He was a stallion when we bought him. He has babies on the ground, but his temperament does not reflect that, he is so respectful. He is just awesome, he is so trustworthy!”
With her victory in the CET Prairie Regional Final, one of four regional finals held across Canada, Doty is now qualified for the CET Medal Final in November. Held at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, the top four riders from each region go head-to-head for national honours. Despite her young age, Doty plans to contest the CET Medal Final.
“It is really great to have the equitation behind you as a foundation,” noted Doty. “Having that base when you move up is fantastic. You can ride and have that knowledge that you did the equitation, and that your eye is good. Having $10,000 behind you also gives you an incentive!”
Doty was referring to the $10,000 scholarship offered by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping to any Alberta rider that wins the 2010 CET Medal Final at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show in November. To be eligible for the $10,000 scholarship, as well as a $2,000 cash bonus to the rider’s trainer, the winning rider must have competed in at least four of the six qualifiers hosted by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.
“As soon as Claire saw that, she had to attend four shows,” laughed her mother, Caryl, who opened her training business, Foxtrail Farms in Okotoks, AB, in 2003. “She ended up winning three of them, and coming second in the other. The other great thing that the Rocky Mountain team does is that they offer a mock medal final two weeks earlier which simulates the entire competition, with the exception of swapping horses at the end. Claire won that, and then was able to bring her score up by 20 points from the mock final to the CET Prairie Regional Final.”
John Anderson, President of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, announced the $10,000 scholarship this spring as a means to bring attention to the equitation divisions, and to encourage greater participation from Alberta in the CET Medal program.
“The CET Medal is a passion for us, and it goes back to our focus of developing young riders for Canada,” said Anderson whose mother, Barbara Anderson, created the CET Medal program in 1988. “We have hosted the Prairie Regional Final more than half of the time since the program’s inception, sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors. Last year, we had beautiful weather so we held it outside and there was not an empty seat in the house. This year, Mother Nature was not as cooperative so we held it indoors, which is great preparation, too, as the CET Medal Final at the Royal is indoors.”
In an additional effort to encourage participation in the six CET Medal qualifiers offered throughout the season by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, Anderson refunded 100% of the entry fees to any rider that competed in all six qualifying events.
“The CET Medal program works at the grassroots level to develop strong riders for the future,” said Anderson, who represented Canada in the $350,000 BMO Nations’ Cup at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in 2009 and 2010 riding Terrific. “When you watch people like Olympic Gold Medalists McLain Ward and Beezie Madden, both of whom developed through equitation programs in the United States, and see how effortless and fluid their riding style is, it quickly becomes apparent how important it is to have a solid foundation as a rider. To build that solid foundation, you have to start at the grassroots level, which is why we are implementing this program.”
Since the CET Medal’s inception in 1988, the winner at the Royal has hailed from the province of British Columbia an impressive 13 times. Ontario has won four times while Alberta has won on only three occasions with Gary Brewster (1989), Jaclyn Duff (2003) and Michelle Wheeler (2007) taking the coveted championship title back to their home province.
The CET Prairie Regional Medal Final was held at the Rocky Mountain Fall Classic as part of the Alberta Hunter Horse Society and the Canadian Equestrian Development League Medal Finals. Held September 16-19, the Rocky Mountain Fall Classic focused on equitation and hunter competition and was the 18th of 20 show jumping tournaments offered by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping in 2010.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping holds 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 www.rmshowjumping.com.
Photo: John Anderson congratulates Claire Doty and Armani on their win in the CET Prairie Regional Medal Final held September 18 at the Rocky Mountain Fall Classic at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB.