Canadian Sport Horse filly Rosetta K earned a red rosette and Hanoverian gelding Small Talk generated big results as the winners of the Governor General’s and Lieutenant Governor’s Cups at the Covid-edition competition for three-year-old Canadian-bred horses.
The Cup classes, traditionally held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, did not proceed in 2020 after the fair’s cancellation due to the pandemic. It seemed the 2021 competition was also a no-go after the fair was paused again, until an alternative format was organized. The Cups were awarded at the end of the second qualifier October 10 at the Royal Canadian Riding Academy in Cedar Valley, Ontario, hosted by the Canadian Sport Horse Association, with winners based on combined scores from both qualifiers. Fifteen horses competed in both Cup classes at the second qualifier.
A Four-Year-Old Showcase was added for horses that didn’t get to show in the 2020 Cups. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Sauriol took top place with her Canadian Sport Horse mare Veruca CS. The class of nine horses followed the same format as the LG Cup, when after showing under saddle, the horses modelled on the line.
This marked the first time Michael Ward of Orangeville, owner of Governor General’s Cup winner Rosetta K (Redwine x Gorgeous Girl K), has entered a horse in Cup classes. Ward has been involved with horses as a hobby since childhood, evented and showed a bit at the Trillium level. He helps out friend Ulla Brooks, breeder-owner of three Cup winners, at her Wyndalways Farm and she encouraged Ward to get involved in the Canadian Sport Horse Association (he’s now president) and produce his own Cup prospect.
He tried twice to breed an older mare he owned, but she lost both foals late in her pregnancies. Ashland Farm’s Paul Morgan let him choose between two of Ashland’s pregnant mares to bring to Wyndalways so Ward could have the experience of raising his own foal from birth. He chose Gorgeous Girl K by Calvados Z as the broodmare, as she was related to one of Ulla’s horses from years before.
“I knew the bloodline and knew if it was anything like the horse Ulla had, it would be special,” says Ward. “I couldn’t have designed it any better, as I was so happy with the resulting foal. Rosetta is a big, solid warmblood.” Rosetta K is the fourth Cup horse bred by Ashland; their previous winners include Popeye K in 2000, Roman K in 2005, and 2018 winner Karamel K, also by Redwine.
Ward pegged Ray Butterfield to handle and train Rosetta for the Cup qualifiers. After winning the GG Cup line class, she placed second in the LG Cup under saddle.
“Ray and his wife Scarlett have been unbelievably great,” says Ward. “They did an excellent job. Our plan for Rosetta is to continue on the hunter path; next year take her in the OHJA young hunter classes. The long-term goal is to show her myself at A shows.”
Hunter-jumper coach and trainer Leslie Beaulac of Saint Lazare, Quebec, has shown multiple Cup horses over the years, including the 2013 double-Cup winner Secret Ambition, a filly by Sir Wanabi, for owner/breeder Sandra Laprise. This year, Beaulac handled and rode her own Small Talk, a Hanoverian gelding by Sir Wanabi out of Ask Me Anything by Abke, to win the LG Cup and finish second in the GG.
Beaulac worked for Sir Wanabi’s owner Laprise for six years, so knew his offspring well and started Small Talk’s dam under saddle. After the mare suffered an injury, she became a broodmare for small Quebec breeder Martin Heroux. Beaulac bought Small Talk at six months old.
“It was disappointing when the Royal was cancelled but it’s fantastic that the Cup classes were able to go ahead,” said Beaulac. “I plan to start Small Talk over fences over the winter and hopefully get him in the baby green and young horse development classes next year.”
The day proved to be a thrill of a lifetime for young Lauren Sauriol of Burlington, Ontario, when chestnut mare Veruca CS (Vision Van ‘T Hazelarenhoekje x Cateryna K) topped the four-year-old class showcase. Lauren had never modelled a horse before, so got some last-minute ringside tips from her coach, Shara Pavan.
“We were very, very happy,” said Lauren’s mother, Michelle. “I didn’t know what to expect as a 15-year-old was showing the mare. Lauren has put all the work into Veruca since we acquired her in April.” Shawna Rinzler-Johnston of Carmaz Stables in New Brunswick, the mare’s breeder, also bred the 2017 Lieutenant Governor’s Cup winner, Bellphina CS. Although the Sauriols weren’t looking to buy a four-year-old, they were captivated by Veruca’s presence, grace and rhythmic canter. Lauren will show her in the children’s hunters in 2022 with the goal to move into the junior ring.
Judges for the second qualifier were Robyn Baechler, an Equine Canada senior hunter, hack and equitation judge and United States Equestrian Federation senior hunter and equitation judge, and Gay-Ellen Dennis, an FEI Level 2 jumping judge. Bob Henselwood and Marion Ostermeyer had judged at the first qualifier.
The Cups, along with keeper plates and coolers, were presented in front of a backdrop from the Royal by RAWF president and chairman of the board, Shelley Peterson. Helping dole out ribbons was Dinnie Greenway, who celebrated her 101st birthday at the show and watched her daughter Kelly Hall-Holland show Raffles V, a horse that is a fifth generation of the family’s breeding program. She was joined by Olympians John Rumble, Jim Elder and Tom Gayford.