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Lambre Can’t Be Caught in CSI2* JustWorld International Grand Prix

Approaching the halfway mark of the CSI2* JustWorld International Grand Prix Saturday at Thunderbird Show Park, Santiago Lambre (BRA) and The Diamant Rose Z stood alone, having produced the only clear round in the class up to that point.

It would prove to be a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Four other riders would join Lambre and the 12-year-old Zangersheide mare in the jump-off, but none would catch them. Elongating her stride with just the slightest loosening of the reins, The Diamant Rose Z crossed the timers of Peter Holmes’ (CAN) shortened 1.45m track in an unbeatable 36.61 seconds. Last to jump-off, James Chawke (IRL) and Howard du Seigneur gave great chase but had to settle for second (36.98 seconds), followed by Karl Cook (USA) and Coachella (39.59 seconds).

“She’s very quick, and when I finished the jump off I knew I’d be at least in the top two,” Lambre said. “She has been winning in Ocala (USA), [and] she’s very competitive at this level. I’m trying to keep her in the speed classes; that’s her specialty.”

Lambre’s strategy was simply to dare the others that followed him. He and his mount navigated the jump-off with such ease, Cook and Jaehee Jeon (KOR) did not even try to catch them, instead opting for more conservative clear rounds. Grant Seger (USA) gave chase, but the risks he took on course resulted in an 8-fault score.

“There were only five horses, so when we were first, I tried to go as fast as I can, and then it doesn’t leave so much room for the other riders,” he added.

Lambre has been the mare’s rider for two years, and in that time he has learned that the horse is happiest working within a program of simplicity. The Diamant Rose Z works on a longe line more often than she is ridden at home. At the show, warm-ups are kept short, with Lambre jumping just one fence ahead of the jump-off. The mare is also ridden with simple tack.

“She looks hot, but she’s easy to ride. I ride her in a really soft rubber bit,” Lambre said. “When I watch the videos, it looks harder than it is! It’s much easier to go fast.”

The Diamant Rose Z is a most versatile mare; she tied for the win in the Puissance at the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), clearing 1.95m, and has jumped up to the CSI4* Grand Prix level (1.60m). But Lambre believes she shines brightest at 1.45m. According to Jumpr App, The Diamant Rose Z has 4 fault or less 52% of the time at 1.45m.

“She’s comfortable at this level, so the plan is to keep her at this,” he said.

$38,500 CSI2* JustWorld International Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider  / Country / Owner / Faults / Time

1. The Diamant Rose Z / Santiago Lambre / BRA / Ashland Farms / 0/0 36.61
2. Howard du Seigneur / James Chawke / IRL / Ramsay Equestrian Inc / 0/0 36.98
3. Coachella / Karl Cook / USA / Signe Ostby / 0/0 39.59
4. Kadans van de Mispelaere / Jaehee Jeon / KOR / Brother Fortune Equestrian Ltd. / 0/0 42.99
5. Yoghi Flp / Grant Seger / USA / Fox Lair Performance / 0/8 47.27
6. Lovely Woman / Jesus Francisco Orantes Haua / MEX / Jesus Francisco Orantes Haua / 1 81.39
7. Just Nice van het Indihof / Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado / MEX / Enny Isabel Salgado Negrete / 4 74.35
8. Odysseus / Kyle King / USA / Patricia Vasey / 4 74.48
9. Ester de Maugre / Alison Robitaille / USA / Alison Firestone LLC / 4 74.56
10. Nono vd Withoeve / Santiago Lambre / BRA / Marnick Spits Spits BV / 4 76.49

tbird Pays Your Tab: Five Show For Free at BC Open

The tbird show office has become a most festive location on Friday afternoons. Thunderbird Show Park brought five entry fees to $0 to kick off the weekend at the Odlum Brown BC Open, as part of the “tbird Pays Your Tab” initiative.

During each of tbird’s 10 major show tournaments, five exhibitors are chosen at random to receive a free entry at the horse show. Throughout the course of the season, tbird will pay for a total of 50 entries. The milestone giveaways began at the April Season Opener and continue through the BCHJA Fall Finale in September.

This week’s lucky winners included Alicia Stein (Atlas RPH), Connor Dennis (Violette d’Amore), Lauren Esdale (Hilco), Joanne Lauzon (Columbia 27) and Sloan Betker (Canberre 59).

Every horse entered at tbird is automatically added to the draw each week. Check back in June and July to see who tbird picks up the tab for next!

Jordan Coyle and Ariso Find Mutual Respect the Key to Success in CSIO5* West Coast Cup

Like in any good relationship, there is always a certain amount of give and take. Ireland’s Jordan Coyle and Ariso have found their middle ground, taking the win in the CSIO5* West Coast Cup 1.45m Friday afternoon at tbird’s Odium Brown BC Open. 

Of 10 who qualified to jump the short course set by Peter Holmes, three—with their eyes set firmly on Sunday’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada—elected to withdraw; that left just seven to return. 

It quickly became apparent that some bold inside turns would be necessary for a winning outcome, but that also came with risks. The move ended up actually being costly for Brazil’s Santiago Lambre and Zeusz, who incurred two time penalties while getting “stuck” in the tight turning. Coyle and Ariso had the luxury of jumping late in the order, allowing Coyle to watch and adjust his plan. He ultimately elected to take a few inside turns and a few take outside turns, maintaining a strong, forward momentum to seal the victory.

“It’s funny: He’s very foot-fast, and this course didn’t really suit him,” explained Coyle of Elan Farm’s 12-year-old gelding. “If you had to go really fast, there would be places to leave out strides, but I didn’t feel we needed to go quite that fast today.

“My plan was actually to do the round that we did yesterday together [in the CSIO5* Nations Welcome 1.50m],” he continued. “We had a very good round; I did all the ‘leave-outs,’ and it was very fast, and he just pulled the last jump. So today I wanted to just give him a smooth round—still win, but not really run quite as hard.”

Clean and fast, they left all the jumps up and stopped the clock in 45.15 seconds—four-tenths of a second ahead of second placed Susan Horn (CAN) and Kirlo van den Bosrand. Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Carmela Z finished third (45.78 seconds).

Partnered together since 2020, Coyle and Ariso won the CSI5* MLSJ Grand Prix at tbird last year and have a 67% clear rate at the 1.45m height in 2023, according to Jumpr App. Naturally fast and full of scope, 12-year old Ariso has been learning to slow down and have a little more respect for the task at hand.

“Ariso used to be quite strong, but he’s got much more respect now that he’s jumping up at the higher levels,” Coyle said. “Everything was so easy for him. He just thought he could do what he wanted, and that was that. And although most of the time it was true, I’ve caught up with him and try to be just a little bit smarter!”

$38,500 CSIO5* West Coast Cup1.45m
Place / Horse / Rider  / Country / Owner / Faults / Time

1. Ariso / Jordan Coyle / IRL / Elan Farm / 0/0 45.15
2. Kirlo van den Bosrand / Susan Horn / CAN / Kingsfield Farm / 0/0 45.55
3. Carmela Z / Vanessa Mannix / CAN / Vanessa Mannix / 0/0 45.78
4. Cadeau Z / Mandy Porter / USA / Risen Eq Holdings LLC / 0/0 47.00
5. Zeus / Santiago Lambre / BRA / Lévai Csilla / 0/2 54.48
6. Atout des Trambles / Nicole Walker / CAN / Nicole Walker / 0/4 44.81
7. Oaks Casanova / Samuel Overton / AUS / Samuel Overton / 0/4 47.47
8. Gakhir / Erynn Ballard / CAN / Esperanza Imports, LLC & Ilan Ferder / 0/WD
8. Nadal Hero & DB / Conor Swail / IRL / Manon Farm / 0/WD
8. H-Lucky Retto / Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia / MEX / Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia, P Dolfsma / 0/WD

Robitaille Gets Rolling With Ester de Maugre in CSI2* Friends of tbird 1.45m

Alison Robitaille’s (USA) familiarization with new mount Ester de Maugre has been one of experimentation.

A tack adjustment and the identification of a preferred grass surface proved to be the winning formula Friday at Thunderbird Show Park’s Odlum Brown BC Open. Robitaille and the quick-footed 9-year-old mare recorded the first international victory of their young partnership in the CSI2* Friends of tbird 1.45m.

The pair bested an 11-horse jump-off over Peter Holmes’ (CAN) shortened track. The winning time was 40.23 seconds. James Chawke (IRL) and Howard du Seigneur finished second (40.51 seconds), with Grant Seger (USA) and Yoghi Flp third (41.80).

“My horse is a very quick horse naturally,” Robitaille said. “I was surprised I took the lead when I landed from the last jump. I thought that I had pulled in too many places.”

At the recommendation of her coach Kent Farrington (USA), Robitaille acquired Ester de Maugre in December from Mark Bluman (COL), also the former rider of her top mount, Oakingham Lira. The forward-thinking mare prefers to do things her way, and at first, that proved to be a give-and-take situation with her new rider.

“We slowly got to know each other over the jumps. We tried some different bridles, and I wasn’t sure what to use,” Robitaille explained. “I asked Kent to ride her a bit for me when I was in Virginia with my kids, and when I came back, he made the suggestion for me with this blue pelham, which she really likes.

“She really likes to feel like she’s pulling me and in control,” she added, “and I like to feel like I have some sort of say of when we leave the ground. It’s been a little bit of a work in progress, but this seems to be working great.”

Alison Robitaille (USA) and Ester de Maugre stand for the winner’s presentation with tbird CEO Jane Tidball. ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

Holmes’ jump-off course included a vertical-oxer combination, set downhill, that plagued many pairs in the first round. In the jump-off, it again played a role and proved not to be an area where risk should be taken. Robitaille took a check to set up the element and let the mare carry her pace the rest of the way. According to Jumpr App, Ester de Maugre finishes on the podium 38% of the time at 1.45m.

“My plan was to line up [the first two fences], but not angle too much with the water jump in the background, and then open her up,” Robitaille detailed. “I wanted to slow down a little bit to the double, and then she was great.”

For Robitaille, competing at the top levels of the sport has been a balancing act, as she has built up a new string and determined to be a present mother for her two daughters, Ava and Zoe. She’ll leave Thunderbird at week’s end to attend Zoe’s middle school graduation and will take time away from the saddle in July to accompany her daughters on a family trip, complete with homework assignments and presentations relating to European artwork.

“I have a small string of three horses, so [the schedule] actually seems to take shape on its own,” Robitaille said. “I keep the thing that’s most important to me—my kids—at the very top of the list, and the horses and the rest sort of just fall into place.”

$38,500 CSI2* Friends of Tbird 1.45m
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / Faults / Time

  1. Ester de Maugre / Alison Robitaille / USA / Alison Firestone LLC / 0/0 40.23
  2. Howard du Seigneur / James Chawke / IRE / Ramsay Equestrian Inc. /  0/0 40.51
  3. Yoghi Flip / Grant Seger / USA / Fox Lair Performance /  0/0 41.80
  4. Corner Pocket Z / Erynn Ballard / CAN / The Z Group / 0/0 42.44
  5. Jetouelle-S / Tiffany Foster / CAN / 5 Roosters / 0/0 42.50
  6. Florentine / Camilla Siekmann / USA / Seikmann Show Stables / 0/0 42.80
  7. Matonge of Colors / Nicole Walker / CAN / Nicole Walker / 0/0 43.93
  8. Caya / Shauna Cook / CAN / Sheilagh Kelly / 0/4 42.11
  9. McCaw Mynz / Katie Laurie / AUS / Carissa McCall / 0/4 42.19
  10. Caipirinha de Reve / Alicia Gadban-Lewis / CAN / Torrey Pines Stables / 0/8 47.38

Keith and Havana Turn Up the Heat in tbird Grand Prix

If Kassidy Keith (CAN) experienced a sense of deja vu Sunday at Thunderbird Show Park, it wouldn’t surprise many—certainly not those in attendance at the $10,000 tbird Grand Prix 1.40m at the Spring Festival.

For the second consecutive week, Keith and her longtime mount Havana led the victory lap following the feature class of the week’s competition. Besting a five-horse jump-off, the pair cruised around Chris Jones’ (CAN) shortened track in 42.17 seconds for a comfortable victory.

Kassidy Keith (CAN) and Havana. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

Sarah Lottis (CAN) and Rhapsody finished second (43.62 seconds), with Jaehee Jeon (KOR) and Kadans van de Mispelaere third (45.73).

“[Havana is] so game. When she’s on it, she really doesn’t want to let you down,” Keith said.

There was a turning point in Sunday’s jump-off. Keith was happy with how her horse jumped the first fence, but a sharp angle to the following oxer led to a lot of airtime. Upon landing, Keith knew she had to apply some extra leg.

From there, the pair turned the heat up, navigating the winding track swiftly and accurately. In fact, they almost turned too fast.

“We almost slipped inside after the oxer (the penultimate fence), because I caught it on such a hard angle!” Keith exclaimed.

But Keith didn’t need to take that much risk to secure another win. She and her mount took the longer route and expediently navigated the final vertical, crossing the timers more than a second fastest. Having now jumped their first 1.60m Grand Prix in the fall, the pair’s confidence at 1.40m is evident.

“I think the biggest change in [Havana], is that she’s so much better in the turns,” Keith said. “She used to jump so high in the air, and I was basically hanging on. Now, she so smooth, especially at this height. She jumps hard, for sure, [but] when she kicks out [on course], I know it’s going to be a good day!”

Kassidy Keith (CAN) and Havana stand for the winner’s presentation. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

$10,000 tbird Grand Prix 1.40m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

  1. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0/0 42.17
  2. Rhapsody / Sarah Lottis / CAN / Kevin Lottis / 0/0 43.62
  3. Kadans van de Mispelaere / Jaehee Jeon / KOR / 0/0 45.73
  4. Jericho / Laure Jane Tidball / CAN / Thunderbird Show Park Ltd / 0/0 47.11
  5. Cunningham 4 / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 0/0 48.80
  6. Heartvit ZH / Tracey Epp / CAN / Tracey Epp / 4 78.53
  7. Dustin 254 / Aren Ozker / CAN / Aren Ozker / 4 82.5
  8. Buddy Bounce / Darrin Dlin / CAN / Dorothy Dlin / 4 84.81
  9. Pesgo Adelheid Z / Lily van Elliot / CAN / Yvonne van Duin/ 7 89.82
  10. Iowa B / Travis Root / USA / Lindsay Wendt / 8 84.38

McLean, Wall and Arnoldt Shine in tbird Hunter Teams

For barn mates Hazel McLean, Ruby Wall and Ashley Arnoldt, cheering each other on at the show ring is nothing new.

But sharing scores was.

Friday at Thunderbird Show Park, McLean (Northwind After Eight), Wall (Momma Citta) and Arnoldt (Light My Fire)—all of whom train with Eliza Hunt at Delta, BC’s Obsidian Hunter Jumper—joined forces to top the tbird Hunter Teams. The uniquely formatted class combines scores earned by three riders, each at a different height, from 2’6″ to 3′ and 3’3″.

The group of Wall (Velocity), Chloe Mache (Ursa Major) and Sloane Betker (Crack) finished second. Mariah Costley (Roulette), Nyha Leclerc (Ivanhoe F) and Sophia Schliessler (Jembey van’t Eigenlo) were third.

“I’m new to this team and new to the barn, so it was really nice to win something with the whole team and with these people in particular, who are just amazing riders,” said McLean, who received a score of 80 for her 2’6″ round aboard Large Pony Hunter, Northwind After Eight.

Wall, who showed at the 3′ height, led the team with a high score of 87 aboard Momma Citta, her 13-year-old Westphalian mare.

“I’d never done a team event before, so it was really fun,” said Wall, who hopes to qualify for the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships this year. “We’ve always been such an amazing team—not working together—so it was nice to be able to do this with collective scores.”

Arnoldt anchored the team at the highest 3’3″ option with her veteran partner, Light My Fire.

“Doing something team-related is not something we’ve ever done, especially up here in Canada. It was definitely really fun and new and different,” Arnoldt said. “I think it definitely brought another level of difficulty and a bit of pressure in a way where you don’t want to let your teammates down.”

The winning team stands for presentation. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

tbird Picks Up the Tab for Five More Exhibitors at Spring Festival

Navigating its 50th anniversary show season, tbird is feeling grateful, nostalgic—and generous.

During each of tbird’s 10 major show tournaments, five exhibitors will be chosen at random to receive a free entry at the horse show. Throughout the course of the season, tbird will pay for 50 entries total.

After debuting at the April Season Opener, “tbird Picks Up the Tab” continued Friday with five additional lucky exhibitors learning that their show bill would be significantly lower.

Harriet Arney (Dark Reflection), Reese Washburn (Won for Love), Chloe Mache (Fanta), Lindsay Uyesugi-Lacey (Miles Dyson) and Mairead Gurney (Sporty Spice) were drawn as winners in the tbird show office.

Arney has already earned top results in the Junior Amateur Jumper 0.90m division; Washburn took the win in the Child Pony Equitation Flat; and Mache won the Thunderbird Good Hands and Seat Medal.

Uyesugi-Lacey will contest the Training I Jumper 1.10m Stake, and Gurney has entered the Open Jumper Classic 1.0m.

Every horse entered at tbird is automatically added to the draw each week. Check back in May to see who tbird picks up the tab for next!