Schuyler Riley (USA) and Dobra de Porceyo were the winners of the inaugural class of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League at the Bromont International, when 16 horse-and-rider combinations took on the challenge.

Sunny, blue skies welcomed a large crowd of almost 5,500 that flocked to the international-level event at the newly revamped show grounds. A welcoming, first-round course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio, with 13 obstacles and 16 jumping attempts, allowed for half of the class to go double clear and into the jump-off.

Speed and accuracy were the deciding factor in the second round. The eight-obstacle course, which included a double combination, presented multiple options in terms of striding and inside or outside turns. Every rider in the jump-off chose to take the tight, inside turn to the combination’s wide oxer to varying degrees of success.

America’s Peter Leone was the first to go and had an unexpected stop with his home-bred mount, Wayfarer. Russia’s Ljubov Kochetova and Urus 2 showed an excellent inside line that allowed them to meet the oxer straight on for a clear in a time of 46.08 seconds, and that foot-perfect round was immediately replicated by America’s Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star, with an improved time of 44.43 for a temporary hold on the lead.

But it was the final pair that meant it was the American flag that rose at the event’s end. Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo produced the winning round in 41.31 seconds with aggressive inside turns and carefully managing strides, leaving them out and adding them in to keep the clock down but the rails up.

“We really know each other,” Riley said of her nine-year-old chestnut mare. “I could tell in the warm-up ring that she was ‘on’ today. The jump-off track was really fun to ride – a gallop, roll back, gallop, again – and the footing felt great. The event was a huge success, and I’m grateful for Longines to sponsor it and for Bromont to host it.”

Risk factor
Faster isn’t always better in the jump-off, as proven by the two rounds with faster times than Riley’s, but at the expense of rails down. Colombia’s Daniel Bluman rode Conconcreto Believe to a blisteringly fast time of 40.87 seconds, but the fast pace cost the pair in carefulness and resulted in eight faults.

America’s Quentin Judge and HH Copin van de Broy met a similar fate on their way to a fast time of 41.01 seconds, but with a rail and four faults.

“Sometimes, there’s a ‘too fast’ in show jumping,” said Geoff Morgan, the class’s sportscaster. “But you have to take the risk.”

“I knew going in, I had some really fast riders coming behind me, in Daniel, Schuyler, Quentin, so I wasn’t just going to go for a slow clear. I wanted to put a little pressure on without necessarily going brea- neck,” said runner-up Charlie Jacobs. “My goal was to go tidy fast but not crazy.”

Home turf
In a happy coincidence, or possibly by fate, Mario Deslauriers, Bromont’s hometown hero, drew first in the order of go. Deslauriers is the son of Roger Deslauriers, the show manager of the International Bromont, and the last name is synonymous with the show grounds, purpose made for the 1976 summer Olympic Games.

Lucy Deslauriers, Mario’s daughter, and her horse Hester were also showing, winning the Quebec Original FEI Welcome Qualifier on Thursday and placing second in Friday’s Assante FEI Welcome Qualifier. But she was absent from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League class as, at 16 years of age, she’s two years shy of the age requirement.

Her father Mario still holds the record as the youngest ever rider to win the FEI World Cup™ Final when he claimed the honours in 1984 at the age of 19. He was also the first Canadian to win the FEI World Cup™ Final.

“Lucy doing well here, this week – it’s the cherry on the cake,” Roger Deslauriers said of his granddaughter.

Strategic planning
All horse-and-rider pairs must compete in an FEI class earlier in the week at a show hosting the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League in order to enter into the FEI World Cup™ qualifier.

“I think it’s really important to always make a horse jump a class before the Grand Prix because it puts everyone on a level playing field,” Riley said. “You have to show up and execute a plan. That’s how the World Cup finals are – you can’t get away with a bad day.”

“I expected the horses to be jumping well,” D’Ambrosio said. “They had two competitions at 1.50 meter earlier in the week, and they were confident and went into the ring with positive feelings. I was very happy that we ended up with 16 riders. Some of the riders had younger horses that have never done a 1.60-meter Grand Prix before, and they felt that they could give a World Cup qualifier a shot. I’m very happy with that.”

1. Dobra de Porceyo (Schuyler Riley), USA, 0 faults/41.31 seconds;
2. Flaming Star (Charlie Jacobs), USA, 0 faults/44.43;
3. Urus 2 (Ljubov Kochetova), RUS, 0 faults/46.08;
4. HH Copin van de Broy (Quentin Judge), USA, 4 faults/41.01;
5. Just Stella L (Melissandre Lincourt), CAN, 4 faults/45.63;
6. Gasper van den Doorn (Mac Cone), CAN, 4 faults/48.77;
7. Conconcreto Believe (Daniel Bluman), COL, 8 faults/40.87;
8. Wayfarer (Peter Leone), USA, 15 faults/ 56.07.

See full results here.