The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Championships – Pratoni 2022 concluded with the Canadian Eventing contingent finishing in 12th place in a field of 16 with our one individual rider in 67th.

A minor upset in the overall team standings for Great Britain not making the podium, the international event ended with Germany on top with the gold medal, followed by the United States with silver and New Zealand with the bronze. Individually, Yasmin Ingham of Great Britain with partner Banzai du Loir took the gold, Julia Krajewski of Germany riding Amande de B’Neville with the silver and Tim Price of New Zealand on Falco taking the bronze.

Taking the seven qualifying quotas from the Championships were the top ranked teams from Germany, United States, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland who have all qualified to compete in the Eventing discipline at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, FRA.

With 68 athletes entering the show jumping ring on the last day of competition, Canada had four combinations competing with Dana Cooke as an individual and the three remaining team athletes of Hawley Awad, Holly Jacks and Mike Winter after Saturday’s cross-country.

Mike Winter and El Mundo finished the competition in 60th place. (Cealy Tetley photo)

The course for today’s jumping test, designed by Italian Uliano Vezzani had 13 obstacles set with 16 jumps to be completed in a 90 second time allowed and was referred to as one of the toughest tracks the eventers at this Worlds had ever seen. The Competition began early in the day with the last placed rider after cross-country contesting in the stadium.

Canada’s Winter took to the ring on Sunday with his 13-year-old gelding El Mundo (H.G K M. Derks, Merselo x Calvaro F.C.) and had a very strong ride, nearly clear taking just one rail down at jump 11a. When the results were tallied for show jumping his scores from the previous days saw him move up in the standings five places with a total score to add to the team of 95.1.

“He felt amazing, but he’s a horse that loves all three phases,” said Winter about how his performance went. “And so, it was just making sure I made good pilot decisions to help him be as good as he could be and stay out of his way to be brilliant for me.”

When asked about the team experience at the Championships, he talked as many had throughout the week about the camaraderie. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “I’d say it’s one of my favourite team experiences that I’ve ever had. Everyone’s been very positive and supportive, and I feel like everybody involved just wants the best for us and our horses and the riders for each other.”

With her first Team Canada experience now complete, Jacks ended with an agreeable round, but one she admitted wasn’t where she had hoped it would be. In the end she was in second position in points for the team with a total of 93 added to the overall team score.

“I always want to do better,” said Jacks. “But as my first team experience, and my young horse’s first team experience, we’re coming out with a completed score that I want to improve on for next time. I think we come out with a more confident horse and I’m definitely a more confident rider.”

The day was not to be for BC native Awad, who with her long-time partner 18-year-old mare Jollybo (Jumbo x Danzig Connection), was the top ranked Canadian pair going into the show jumping phase. When they were done, they finished the competition with a score of 88.8 for 56th place.

“Obviously I’m extremely disappointed. That was not the plan. I’ve been working really hard and Jolly’s been jumping great,” said Awad. “I think that course [yesterday] took a little bit of a toll with the terrain and the hills. She didn’t feel tired, she just wasn’t as sharp as she normally is. She tries her heart out and I’ll give her a 10 for that.”

When reflecting on the team environment and for what’s next, Awad is motivated to work through. “The high-performance committee has made some extremely big changes and we’re very, very grateful for that. Personally, Jolly and I have been working our butts off and we’ll go back to the drawing board because I don’t think she’s done. I’d love to do either Kentucky or Badminton in the spring.”

Cooke, Canada’s individual rider struggled throughout the test with her 12-year-old mare Mississippi (Cassini II x Legaat). “We finished, so that’s good,” Dana said when asked about their result. “When I went to the Pan Ams, I didn’t get to show jump. It’s nice to finish a Championship. She did try her guts out.”

To sum up the event, Chef D’Equipe Rebecca Howard said, “We’ve seen some amazing up and down changes from the leaderboard and some surprising shocks with Great Britain not on the podium. It certainly was a championship track out there today that shook this up, which led to an exciting competition for sure.”

When reflecting on Pratoni for the Canadian contingent, she reiterated the learning and the build that has come from it. “It was a similar trend in all phases for us, we have glimmers of really great things,” said Howard. “And then there are aspects of the rides that riders will be disappointed with as well. So, for us, that’s where we are at. We just have to keep focusing on the things that they did well so we can continue to build on that and use that as a platform to further strengthen our program and the rider’s performances.”

Equestrian Canada (EC)’s Director, High Performance James Hood was also the Chef de Mission for the Canadian team in Pratoni. He offered his thoughts on the event and where Eventing high performance is at.

“It has been a long road this season with the revamping of the EC High Performance Advisory Group (HPAG) and the Selectors panel,” said Hood. “The sport and members of the HPAG have worked hard to both improve communications and raise funds. A great deal of credit needs to be given to the HPAG. But equally we need to thank the owners and supporters who have stepped up from across the country and around the world in funding and moral support.”

“A huge thank you must also be given to Shane and Kelly Maine for their support for the team,” continued Hood. “This week has proven that whether you are an athlete, owner, supporter, donor, family or friend; we are all part of Team Canada.”

“There is still lots of work to do, but we are moving in the right direction,” said Hood. “Congratulations to each of our athlete pairings. They can all be proud of the job they have done in representing Canada.”

Results here.

PDFs here (Team) and here (Ind.).