Katie Laurie (AUS) had the odds in her favour in the $37,000 Artisan Farms Welcome CSI2* at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC — but she created her own luck. Advancing to Peter Holmes’ (CAN) jump-off aboard each of her three mounts, she saved her best for last, topping the first FEI class of 2020 at Thunderbird Show Park aboard her own Casebrooke Lomond, her final mount of the day at the 2020 Harvest Welcome.
The Harvest Welcome is the first FEI competition in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic brought global competition to a temporary halt this spring. The event features more than $180,000 in prize money, including a $20,000 U25 division, and is highlighted by Saturday night’s $37,000 Volvo Canada CSI2* and the $73,000 ATCO Cup CSI2* Sunday afternoon.
With 15 of the 32 combinations qualifying to return for the shortened track, an exceptionally fast jump-off was all but guaranteed. The lead changed hands almost by the round, until Laurie set a standard that couldn’t be beat; her winning time was 42.71 seconds. Shauna Cook (CAN) rode to runner-up honors aboard Gallup (42.97 seconds), while Brian Morton (CAN) was third with Cadillac (42.99).
“It was a very, very fast [jump-off],” Laurie said. “My fastest horse was the first horse I rode [Cera Caruso]. He’s really speedy. I knew Casebrooke Lomond could go fast enough. It was just a matter of making the right decisions and seeing!”
Holmes’ jump-off track was characterized by twists and turns, with stride playing a key factor. Cook dared the field to catch her when she opened the class up by galloping to the final fence in seven strides. Morton nearly caught her until his mount fit in an additional stride at the last moment. Laurie then answered the call with aplomb, impressing aboard her 12-year-old grey stallion, who met every fence skillfully and boldly out of stride, and improving upon the rides on her previous two mounts.
‘[Casebrooke Lomond] is pretty fast, but he does waste a little bit of time in the air,” she explained. “I really wanted to take the stride out from the third vertical to the fourth, because that’s where I thought I was a little bit slower on my horse before [McCaw MVNZ], and he was just awesome.”
Laurie and Casebrooke Lomond are a well traveled pair. Laurie has ridden the 12-year-old stallion for the entirety of his life; the two began their partnership in New Zealand, where Casebrooke Lomond was purchased as a 3-year-old by Sheena Ross, who still owns part of the horse with Laurie. The stallion did a bit of breeding in Australia, and his first foals have just hit the ground in the southern hemisphere.
“He’s an awesome horse,” Laurie said. “He feels like he’s got all the scope. He’s jumped big classes in Australia. This is his first bigger outing here since he’s come over from Australia. He just 100 percent knows his job and wants to do it. You just have to get him looking at the fence, and he goes.”
Laurie spent four years in Australia before settling in Alberta, Calgary in January with her husband Jackson. The Harvest Welcome marks her debut at the international level in her new resident country.
“My husband and I always traveled here a little bit. We love Alberta and Calgary, and we have been here on-and-off over the years,” she explained. “For the show jumping part, and he’s into the rodeo side, it just works out perfect for us to be here.”
$37,000 Artisan Farms Welcome 1.45m
1. Katie Laurie / Casebrooke Lomond / AUS / Katie Laurie / 0/0 42.71
2. Shauna Cook / Gallup / CAN / Gallup Syndicate / 0/0 42.97
3. Cadillac / Brian Morton / CAN / Spruce Meadows Ltd / 0/0 42.99
4. Millioninmind / Emily Ward / GBR / Emily Ward / 0/0 44.11
5. Livestream 2 / Lisa Carlsen / CAN / Lisa Carlsen / 0/0 44.17
6. McCaw MVNZ / Katie Laurie / AUS / Carissa McCaall / 0/0 44.38
7. Crusador Z / Brian Morton / CAN / Spruce Meadows, Ltd. / 0/0 44.77
8. Hamilton / Tiffany Foster / CAN / The Hamilton Group / 0/0 46.89
9. Cunningham 4 / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 0/0 48.37
10. Atena de L’ermitage / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / 0/0 50.99
Emily Ward Gallops to Victory in $5,000 Canoe Financial U25 1.35m
Emily Ward (GBR) has proven to be a dominant force at Thunderbird Show Park since basing at the venue with her employer, Tiffany Foster (CAN) this summer. Ward continued that dominance against her peers in the $5,000 Canoe Financial U25 1.35m, galloping to victory aboard Kent Farrington’s Evita.
The pair bested a large 14-horse jump-off after more than 75 percent of the field advanced to Joey Rycroft’s (CAN) shortened course, crossing the finish timers in 34.89 seconds. Makayla Barta (CAN) and Cohinoor 4, who held the lead through the previous five rides, were narrowly beaten into second (35.63 seconds), while Carly Stevens (CAN) and VIP des Majuros earned third honors (36.45 seconds).
“I was very lucky, as I had a good draw in the jump-off. I went quite late,” Ward said. “I watched my teammate Makayla [who trains with Foster], and she went really fast. She was actually leading when I went in the ring, so I knew what I had to do to beat her.”
Stride set the top performers apart. Barta’s time appeared difficult to catch, but despite a small blip early in the jump-off, Ward and Evita were able to make up time late in the course with multiple leave-outs.
“[Evita] actually slipped a little bit coming around to the second fence, so we had to add a stride [to the following fence in that] line. She was super fast everywhere else, and I really used her stride to my advantage,” Ward explained. “I think I probably did one less [stride] around to the second-to-last fence and to the last, and I think that’s how we made up the time.”
Ward and Evita have been paired for a short time, but they have used their extended time training at tbird to strengthen their partnership. The ease with which the mare, just 8 years old, has transitioned to higher level sport has impressed all parties involved with her development. Ward, in particular, identified her mount’s fighting spirit and competitive nature as standout strengths.
“She’s a really cool mare,” she said. “She’s definitely a little mare-ish, but she really fights for you. When you’re in the ring, she’s really trying to help you out, and she’s always trying her hardest. As long as you’re game, she’s right with you.
“She’s only 8 years old, so she’s kind of been stepping up to the next level and really taking it in stride,” Ward added. “We’re all really happy with how she’s going at the moment. She hasn’t had many chances to go fast like that. She really stepped up and did everything I asked of her.”
$5,000 Canoe Financial U25 1.35m
1. Evita / Emily Ward / GBR / Kent Farrington / 0/0 34.89
2. Cohinoor 4 / Mackayla Barta / CAN / Makayla Barta / 0/0 35.63
3. VIP des Majuros / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / 0/0 36.45
4. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0/0 36.60
5. Evita P / Jenna Lee Gottschlich / CAN / Jenna Lee Gottschlich / 0/0 37.85
6. Bearlock Holmes / Stella Chernoff / CAN / 0/0 38.95
7. Beneficial / Alicia Gadban-Lewis / CAN / Alicia Gadban-Lewis / 0/0 38.98
8. Dento / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / 0/0 39.44
9. Carola Z / Kyara Semrau / CAN / Kyara Semrau / 0/0 39.58
10. Candar Mail / Sara Tindale / CAN / Tindale Farms / 0/0 40.47
Show jumping continues at Thunderbird Show Park through Sunday at the Harvest Welcome. Tune in daily for wall-to-wall livestream coverage on tbird TV, highlighted by the $73,000 ATCO Cup CSI2* on October 18, 2020 at 2:00pm PT.