While McLain Ward and Kent Farrington were claiming awards and checks on September 9, the first day of the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary Canada, one little girl held a medal of her own.
It happened after Ward won the Telus Cup on HH Carlos Z after a starting field of 54 horses and a jump-off round with 18. His victory emphasized why Ward is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. It also showed why he has a heart of gold.
In addition to the check, a ribbon and a trophy, Ward was also given a round medal. However, rather than keep that medal to add to an already overflowing trophy chest, the new father rode over to where the spectators were watching and motioned to one little girl to come closer to the railing. Surprised at first she wasn’t sure he meant her but then as she moved closer Ward tossed his medal near enough to her so she could pick it up.
While too young to realize the honor that had just been bestowed upon her, one day she will look back at this day as one of those special moments in her life.
After picking up the medal she ran to her mom who explained about the gift she had been given. For a few moments she sat in her mom’s arms clutching the medal seemingly knowing what it meant. But a few moments later when a dog walked by that little girl did what any little girl would do; she reached out and petted her new friend, never letting go of the medal.
In the next class fellow countryman and many time teammate Kent Farrington duplicated Ward’s success winning the Akita Drilling Cup on Uceko. That same evening the two met up again at a special evening barbecue where the founders of Spruce Meadows, Ron and Marg Southern, had a year-long secret unveiled by their daughter Linda at the newly created Founders Plaza. The new addition that now looks over the plaza is a sculpture of Ron and Marg when they were just starting to create Spruce Meadows 40 years ago.
During that evening event McLain’s earlier choice of choosing someone so young was made even clearer as he was seen proudly walking around introducing his new addition to the family. His seven month old daughter Lilly was dressed in pink and seemed very content in his daddy’s arms.
Fatherhood seems to suit him and perhaps the toss of that medal brought him back to a younger time when he stood on the sidelines waiting for the day he’d be in that ring claiming his own medal. Now having achieved that goal, what better thing to do then to share it with the younger generation.
Spruce Meadows continues through Sunday when the series ends with the 1.5 Million Dollar CP International Grand Prix. For more about the Spruce Meadows Masters visit their website at www.sprucemeadows.com.