A striking pair; Katelyn Cooper and Casino Royale. -Photo by Keara

A striking pair; Katelyn Cooper and Casino Royale. -Photo by Keara

With a full list of long-weekend chores and the threat of impending rain, I almost did not go to Rocky Mountain Show Jumping for Saturday’s TD Equine 1.40m Grand Prix, but I’m truly glad that I did. Within the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the show grounds, the class itself provided stark contrast as a display of fiery competitive spirit and impressive horsepower. Although the tournament itself seems slightly smaller than usual, whether it is from the cancellation of the first week or is simply just a figment of my imagination, this certainly did not change what went on in the Grand Prix ring. Furthermore, even though the radar was beginning to make it look like we were doomed, and the skies were quite dark, we stayed amazingly dry- horse show win!

Anyway, eighteen pairs took to the tricky course, with just five making it through without incurring faults. Although the trouble spots were quite spread out, the skinny vertical with simple white rails fell quite often, as did the oxer with a liverpool, and the middle element of the triple combination. The first jumping clear of the day came from Tracey Epp and Santee, but they would unfortunately be just over the time allowed. Next in the ring though, Nicole Gergely and Vianda managed to also leave all of the jumps up with both style and speed. Having been a spectator at RMSJ for the last few years, I have come to be a big fan of this pair. They do an excellent job at this level, and I am always impressed with their rounds. Not only do they consistently go clear, but you can tell that they have a great partnership and are absolutely having a blast every time that they are in the ring.

Nicole and Vianda. -Photo by Keara

Nicole and Vianda over the troublesome skinny. -Photo by Keara

A couple more down the order, John Anderson, president of RMSJ, was up with his veteran partner, Terrific. Now, if you haven’t seen Terrific jump, it can be a little hard to explain. Basically, and this will sound harsh, he is not an impressive horse to watch… let me explain. He is not a horse that explodes up over the fences and leaves feet to spare. He doesn’t punch of the ground, and his overall presence in the ring is somewhat lacklustre. If you were to only watch him through a single line, you would likely walk away quite uninterested.

That doesn’t sound all that promising, does it? Well, first impressions sometimes lie. Although he absolutely fits the picture I just painted, he is excellent at knowing exactly where his body is, and skimming precisely over every jump. When a horse is this careful and aware of himself, all of that extra effort is not required. In fact, Terrific is one of the most efficient horses that I know of. Therefore, although I think he may have rubbed just about every fence on the course, he and John easily logged the second clear of the class.

John and Terrific. -Photo by Keara

John and Terrific. -Photo by Keara

While I’m talking about John, I might as well add that he also produced a clear with his second horse, Granit S, even after having to rush to tack on a lost shoe. A polar opposite from Terrific in style and also in experience at just 9 years of age, Granit gave all of the jumps lots of room to spare, displaying some great scope and exciting promise for future greatness. Although there was definitely a little spook in him upon entering the ring, he quickly settled down to business and seemed to be hardly challenged by the 1.40m course. Of course though, not all of the credit can go to the horses, John isn’t too bad either 😉

To complete the five heading to the jump-off, Jenn Serek put in a great round with Okapi de Terlong, and Rodney Tulloch looked great with Pippa.

Jenn and Okapi de Terlong. -Photo by Keara

Jenn and Okapi de Terlong. -Photo by Keara

When the jump-off rolled around, Nicole Gergley had the unlucky started position, but this did not seem to phase her. Rocketing around the ring, she and Vianda looked excellent, but a small mistake ruined their clear, leaving them in third. Next in, John and Terrific, still looking rather relaxed, set off at a nice pace. Remember how I said that Terrific likes to skim jumps? This is a definite asset in a JO as there is no wasted time in the air! Paired with his uncanny ability to log clears, they crossed the finish timers with an excellent round that really put the pressure on the remaining pairs.

With John’s round in their minds, both Jenn and Rodney went for it. Mounted on lovely horses, I really thought that they might be able to catch him, but a faster clear just wasn’t in the cards.

Last to go, John entered the ring with Granit S. Already sitting in first with Terrific, John had the ability to put his horses first and second, something that would be very impressive, especially considering how different they are from each other. Again being a little spooky before starting, Granit eventually settled and put his huge stride to work. Easily eating up the ground, Granit looked great, but compared to his “brother”, spent a lot of time in the air. Therefore, I immediately doubted that he would be able to beat Terrific’s time, but I have certainly been wrong many, many, many times before. With that said, due to the other pairs faulting in the JO, they only needed a slow clear to grab second spot.

Could they do it??

Of course! Again, the 1.40m fences were nothing for Granit, and even with a few looks here and there, his sheer ability had them sailing home with a clear, sliding into second spot. John took first with Terrific, and second with Granit- nice!

John and Granit S. -Photo by Keara

John and Granit S. -Photo by Keara

That’s if from RMSJ…. for now! I hope to bring you lots more action from this awesome facility this summer, so stay tuned.

Keara