Canadian eventing athletes competed in the heat of the Florida sun at The Event at TerraNova CCI4*S at the TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City from March 31 – April 2, 2023.
Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, led the charge finishing in fourth place in the CCI4*-S in a field of 53 athlete-horse combinations. Aboard Vermont (Van Helsing x Heraldik XX), an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Peter Barry. Starting off the weekend in the dressage phase, the pair finished in 10th position with a score of 28.8. During the show jumping phase, Loach and Vermont jumped clear over the track, designed by Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt, with zero time penalties moving into sixth place. From there, the duo entered the cross-country course designed by Capt. Mark Phillips and built by master craftsman Eric Bull, picking up 10.8 time penalties, finishing with a final score of 39.6 and fourth place overall.
The two-time Olympian Loach finished in seventh place with FE Golden Eye (Goldfever 3 x Contendro I), an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding she co-owns with Amanda Bernhard and Barry. The pair began the weekend with a score of 30.3 in the dressage phase. FE Golden Eye and Loach would jump clear in show jumping to move up to eighth place and after cross-country and time penalties of 11.6, the pair would finish with a final score of 41.9.
“I was very happy with both Monty and Goldie’s performances this past weekend. They were both quite good in the dressage although I left a few points on the table with each and will hopefully improve on their scores next time out. They both jumped superbly in the show jumping and had smooth, confidence building cross country rounds.”
“We are headed to the Kentucky 4* short next and they are both feeling ready for the challenge. TerraNova is a lovely venue with top notch facilities and my first experience there was definitely an enjoyable one. Massive thank you to the whole team behind Goldie and Monty, it takes a village and I’m so grateful to the owners and sponsors who support me.”
Rounding out the top finishes by Canadians in the CCI4*-S were Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, in 11th place riding Audacious, a 10-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding she co-owns with Gwen and Rein Lehari, and Jessica Phoenix and Freedom GS, an 11-year-old Trakehner/Oldenburg mare owned by Charlotte Schickedanz, placing 15th.
In the CCI 3*-S, Melissa Boutin of Ascot Corner, QC, finished in third place in a field of 71 athlete-horse combinations. While riding her own Obeah Dancer GS (Humble GS x Buddenbrock), an 11-year-old Trakehner mare, the pair had a strong start in dressage with a score of 30.0 for a third-place tie. The duo moved up to first position after jumping clear in show jumping. Boutin and Obeah Dancer GS would pick up 7.2 penalties in the cross-country for a final score of 37.2.
“She was very focused for dressage, and I know there is still so much more in there so that we can get even better marks, but I was very pleased to see we were in a competitive position after dressage, in 3rd place,” said Boutin. “Our show jumping was great; she wants to be so careful that she makes my job easy!” She added. “On cross country, we had so much fun, I knew the time was going to be hard to make, but we gave it a good go and it was good enough to keep our original 3rd place! Which was very exciting to have that result in such a big division! But I was mostly so proud of her for trying so hard all weekend and having three strong phases.”
Karl Slezak of Tottenham, ON, finished in fifth place while riding Chevalier, an 11-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding owned by Carol Wiley. In the dressage phase, the pair finished tied for 18th with a score of 32.8. On the second day in show jumping, the duo then moved up to tenth after jumping clear. With a strong cross-country phase, the pair incurred only 5.2 time penalties and finished on a final score of 38.0.
Lehari finished in eighth place while riding her own Mitchell (Giant Gizmo x Skip Away), an eight-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. In the dressage phase, Lehari and Mitchell finished with a score of 36.4. From there, the duo moved up the standings from 50th to 23rd while jumping clear in the second phase of the competition. In the final cross-country phase, they finished with 6.4 time penalties and a final score of 42.8.
Other Notable Canadians in the CCI 3*-S finishing in the top 15 include:
Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON, and Watson GS (Humble GS x Voltaire Pref), a 12-year-old Canadian Trakehner gelding she co-owns with Charlotte Schickendanz, who finished in ninth place with a score of 44.0.
Siobhain O’Connor of Toronto, ON, and her own Summer Solstice, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred Cross mare finished in 11th place with a score of 45.5.
Phoenix and Alekhine (Checkmate x Tango Selune), an eight-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Usha Knabe finished in 14th place with a score of 46.5.
To round out the top 15, Holly Jacks of Hillsburgh, ON, and Josephine, a 10-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Donna Van Beek finished with a score of 47.7.