Ahhh, yes, show season is officially here! Okay, maybe it has been here for a bit now, but I was just finally able to make it out to a class and try out my new toys! With my new lens and camera body in hand, I was off to the lovely Rocky Mountain Show Jumping for the grand prix on the Saturday of the Bow Valley Classic II tournament (I would have loved to have made it to the first week as well, but pesky work kept me away).
I was a little worried about trying to work with my new gear, but I think it worked out pretty well, it is certainly an improvement over my old stuff!
As always, RMSJ was very impressive. Immaculate rings, picture perfect fences, gleaming hunters, fierce jumpers; a true paradise for any horse junkie. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- the best part about the tournaments at RMSJ is that they are for everyone. Cross rail hunters and pony jumpers, all the way up to the grand prix classes, it caters to riders of all levels and gives them a chance to compete at a top class facility.
Another awesome thing about RMSJ? Classes like the Star Trek themed “Into Darkness” Grand Prix! Dressed in red Starfleet uniforms, the riders gave the Vulcan Salute (or at least tried to – I know I can’t make my fingers do it!) to the Commander-in-chief before starting their round.
Set at 1.40m, the course saw the riders using up every inch of the big grand prix field, and included a tricky triple combination, and a final big oxer that really liked to jump out of its cups. A lot of clear rounds were ruined by that final fence- it was extremely unforgiving, earning lots of moans from the announcer and the crowd. Surprisingly, the triple did not wreck as much havoc as one would expect, elements of it came down, but not at an overly high frequency. When the first round was said and done, six pairs had a ticket to the jump-off.
The jump-off is where things really got interesting! With two horses qualified, Tamie Phillips’ chances of the win were looking good. After snagging the lead with Cat Balou with the time of 38.47 seconds, she bested herself with her second horse, Cristar, with a time of 37.58 seconds. She galloped to the fences, cut through the turns, and took off at impossible angles… I really thought that she had it. A one-two placing in a Grand Prix? That would be fabulous!! But, it just wasn’t meant to be…
On home turf, John Anderson and Terrific were not about to hand over the win to Tamie without putting on a good show. As an observer, their round looked slower. Terrific never looks like he is going super fast, but his stride is deceptively long. Combined with his ability to just barely skim over the fences while still leaving them up, they stopped the clock at…. 37.57 seconds, just 1/100th of a second faster than Tamie’s time with Cristar! It couldn’t have been any closer! I also want to mention 4th place finisher, Nicole Gergely and Vianda. A little lacking in experience in comparison to Tamie and John, Nicole put it all on the line and really went for it. She and Vianda had a wonderful round that looked incredible- they are a fantastic pair!
Here are the top 12 finishers:
After the class was over, I was lucky enough to catch-up with both Tamie and John, who were kind enough to take a couple of minutes to talk to us about their rounds. I love the contrast between their horses – Tamie’s young and inexperienced, and John’s seasoned and dependable… but I won’t repeat everything, here is the interview:
Of course, with my new camera stuff I took a lot of pictures, so be sure to keep your eyes on our FaceBook page. While you are on FaceBook, be sure to also check out and like RMSJ, they always have lots of cool stuff! Looking ahead at my season, my next stop will be Spruce Meadows in June, and then it really just keeps going from there between Spruce and RMSJ. By the time the snow flies again, you will probably be sick of me! 😉
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PS – Live long and Prosper!!