Riders from Canada, the United States and several other countries traveled to Allentown, NJ, from May 5-9, 2021, with the aim of impressing Olympic selectors this past weekend at the Jersey Fresh International Three Day Event CCI 4*-L.
The top-placing Canadian was Karl Slezak of Caledon East, ON, and the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Wishes (Chacoa x Gildawn Diamond), owned by the rider and Kirk Hoppner, who finished the CCI 4*-L division just out of the prize money in sixth place on a score of 42.0 penalty points.
The pair earned an impressive dressage score of 29.6 penalties and ran clear around cross-country with four time faults, then knocked two down in the show jumping phase. It was a good run for the combination, who were members of the Canadian bronze medal winning team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, PER.
Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, represented Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) with Peter Barry’s Qorry Blue d’ Argouges. At Jersey Fresh, Loach and Vermont (Van Helsing x Heraldik XX), a Hanoverian gelding who is owned by Peter Barry, made it into the top ten, finishing ninth overall (46.6 penalties). The pair placed fourth in the inaugural CCI4*-S at Kentucky two weeks ago and have had no cross-country jumping faults at any of their competitions in 2020 or 2021. She also finished in 13th place in the Jersey Fresh CCI4*-L on FE Golden Eye (Goldfever 3 x Contendro I), a Hanoverian gelding owned by Loach in partnership with Peter Barry and Amanda Bernhard, on a final score of 47.8 penalties. It was the first long format run for both of these horses.
“Qorry will probably retire after one more season so if he got to go to the Olympics this year, it would be icing on the cake. I was pretty happy with both horses this weekend, they’re both nine so they’re quite young,” commented Loach.
British Columbia native Hawley Bennett-Awad, now based in Temecula, CA, competed for Canada at the 2004 and 2012 Olympics and the 2014 and 2018 WEG and was on the silver medal winning 2011 Pan Ams team. She rode Jollybo (Jumbo x Danzig Connection), a 17-year-old British Sport Horse mare owned by the Jollybo Syndicate, to finish 14th at Jersey Fresh on a score of 48.1 penalties.
Kyle Carter, who is based in Ocala, FL, rode the 12-year-old Trakehner mare Reddy Or Not (Oskar II x Windfall), owned by Christy Edwards to finish 20th. It’s only the mare’s second season at the Advanced level and Carter said that even though they were in the top ten after dressage, he gave her a conservative round on cross-country because he wasn’t sure how she would handle the endurance factor.
“I was thrilled with her – she really tried for me,” he said. “She showed a lot of maturity. Over the past couple years, I’ve given her time to grow up and get stronger. I’ve mainly ridden Thoroughbreds at this level and was concerned that I didn’t have her fit enough but after the last combinations she absolutely sprinted away; I was a bit conservative and I know that next time, I can put the pedal to the metal a little bit more.”
For Canada, there are two individual places available for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. EC’s Manager, Eventing, Fleur Tipton, explained that under the nomination criteria, “The results from all FEI four- and five-star events in the selection period are considered. The selection decision will be made on or before June 21, which is also the date of nominated entries.”
She noted that like many nations, Canadian high performance riders are spread around the globe, with some based in the United States year-round, some in the United Kingdom and across Canada.
Tipton concluded, “I am very proud of the Canadian performances this spring. I am confident whomever is selected to represent Canada at the Olympics will put forward a personal best result.”
For more information and results from the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, visit www.jfi3d.com.