tbird Grand Prix is a Family Affair for Sorine and Taylor Winther

Taylor Winther grew up watching her mother jump at the Grand Prix level. And while she was always full of admiration for the way Sorine Winther tackled the largest tracks at the horse show, she didn’t have much of an interest in joining her—at least, not at first.

“I watched her jump at Spruce Meadows when I was [about] five years old, and I remember thinking, ‘Those jumps are huge. I’m never doing that!'” Taylor recalls. “Now, I guess I am jumping jumps that big.”

Both Taylor (21) and Sorine Winther (55) will come forward in Saturday’s tbird Grand Prix 1.40m at Thunderbird Show Park’s Spring Festival, marking just the second time the mother-daughter duo have gotten to compete against one another at the top level. The family ties couldn’t be much stronger, as their horses are also related. Homebreds Cella and Chaco are both out of the same mare, Ganadora Negra (Graf Top I)—a former mount of Sorine’s.

“We call it the ‘mother-daughter-brother-sister team,'” Taylor says.

And there’s another sister involved, too, as Colby Winther (16) has had success in her own right, joining her sister Taylor as a winner of the prestigious CET Medal National Finals last year. Both riders punched their tickets to those Finals by way of tbird’s CET Regionals, and all three Winthers are former winners of tbird’s Good Hands and Seat Medal.

“One thing I will say, is that I think tbird sets up kids for success in the equitation division—more so than any other province. The results speak to that,” Sorine says. “Having both girls go through the equitation and do that was a huge family bond. To have them both win was incredible.”

Home Grown

The Winthers are based out of Prince George, BC at their RidgeCountry Farm, where Sorine coaches a small group of clients and runs a Kids Club for children between the ages of 3 and 12 that want to immerse themselves in “all parts of daily horse life.”

They also have a small breeding operation that has boasted exceptional results for its size. In addition to Sorine and Taylor’s Grand Prix mounts, Colby’s equitation horse Big Ticket is also a homebred.

“I started with a mare Ninemo that I bought out of a Canadian sale years and years ago,” Sorine recalls. “It took me a few tries to figure out what she crossed best with. Colby’s equitation horse is a grandson of hers.

“It’s been really amazing, and honestly we’ve been lucky. We only ever have one or two foals on the ground in a year, and some years we have none. This year, we didn’t have any,” Sorine adds. “Most of the foals have ended up on this circuit, and all of us have had at least one really special horse that we’ve developed.”

For Sorine, breeding has offered a way to keep her daughters well mounted in a more affordable manner, while also developing their horsemanship. It’s become a group effort to select the best stallions for their mares. The Winthers mostly breed to Canadian stallions, largely due to their location and a preference for fresh over frozen semen.

“We talk about what we think the mares need a little bit more of, and we try to balance that with stallions that we have access to,” Sorine explains.

A Cella-Bration

If you ask one of the Winthers about their horses, expect a big story. Having been part of truly every stage of their horses’ careers, it’s not entirely surprising. But Cella and Chaco have made especially big impacts.

Cella, for instance, made a grand entrance at Sorine’s wedding.

“She came into this world in the middle of my mom and stepdad’s wedding ceremony,” Taylor shares. “It was kind of chaotic. Her name is short for celebration.”

Sorine developed the mare, by Carbardino N, until her 6-year-old year, when Taylor took the reins. They’ve since recorded wins in the U25 division, tackling their biggest tracks and all of their “firsts” together.

“When we did the 6-year-old classes that year, it was the biggest tracks either had jumped in our lives,” Taylor recalls. “As we move up, I’m green, and she’s green. It’s a slow process, taking our time and making sure we’re doing it the right way. My mom has been on the ground helping us along the way, and she keeps Cella going while I’m at school.”

Chaco, meanwhile, is out of the Carthago stallion, Carthago Sun III. During the bay’s 6-year-old year, he suffered a mysterious injury while out in the paddock. Exploratory surgery was done to repair the issue, but the lameness returned. It was eventually discovered that Chaco had a cyst in his coffin bone.

Sorine’s vet originally told her it would be career-ending, but Joanna Virgin at Paton & Martin Veterinary Services refused to give up. Her research uncovered a new and promising surgical option, for which a surgeon from Colorado State University was flown in to perform. Taylor, an aspiring vet, even got to scrub in for the surgery, which was a success. After a lengthy rehabilitation timeline, Chaco returned to the show ring as a 9-year-old. He’s now jumping his biggest tracks yet, even taking on international competition at tbird in 2022 and 2023.

“It was unreal. He’s a miracle horse,” Sorine says.

The Three Musketeers 

Sorine’s first trip to Thunderbird was more than 40 years ago, before the venue had reached it’s 10th anniversary (tbird celebrated its 50th birthday last year). The Winthers have now come tbird as a family for nearly 15 seasons. You’ll find them doing much of their own care, and when one of the self-proclaimed “three Musketeers” can’t make it, it’s friends that are filling in on the ground. This week, Colby is at a basketball tournament. Last week, Taylor was presenting her undergraduate thesis at the University of Northern British Columbia, where she is studying biology.

“Not a lot of families get to bond like this. We’re all super close, and it doesn’t come without its challenges for sure, but at the end of the day, we always have common ground to come back to,” Taylor shares. “When one of us isn’t here, it definitely feels like a piece of the puzzle missing. We’ve figured out how to work so well together, and everyone is part of each other’s success.”

“I think the reason I still really want to do [the sport at a high level] is because of our family experience,” Sorine says. “It’s such a nice thing to share with the girls; it’s our common ground. I get to have a really different relationship with them than most parents, because we do this together.”

Foster and Electrique Charge to Victory in CSI3* Steel-Craft Doors 1.50m

Langley, BC — Tiffany Foster (CAN) recorded her second international win of the week Friday at Thunderbird Show Park, besting a four-horse jump-off aboard 5 Roosters’ Electrique in the CSI3* Steel-Craft Doors 1.50m.

Foster is seeing success at both ends of the spectrum when it comes to her string. After winning the CSI3* tbird Speed Thursday with 17-year-old Brighton, her second victory came with 9-year-old Electrique. Foster has been riding Brighton for a decade; she got the ride on Electrique during the winter season in Wellington.

I think that as a rider, you you feel so much confidence on the horses you know. So I’ve had Brighton for 10 years—can’t know a horse any better than that,” Foster said. “I also have Hamilton, Northern Light and Figor, whom I’ve had all since they were seven or eight…You feel better on those [horses] that you don’t know as well when you have such a strong top string that I have right now.”

Foster and Electrique won the first international class of their partnership at Spruce Meadows last month. They quickly added to that tally at tbird.  The pair crossed the timers of Anderson Lima’s (MEX) course in 39.95 seconds. Jaclyn Duff (CAN) and Eblesse finished second (42.46) seconds, while Kara Chad (CAN) and Igor GPH were third (4/40.24).

The class may have been won at the final jump. Foster and Electrique came with plenty of gallop to the last oxer. It appeared as if the distance might be a bit far away, but Electrique cleared the spread with ease.

“We’re definitely giving the last jump to Electrique,” Foster said.

“Fortuitous” is how Foster describes her pairing with the 9-year-old liver chestnut mare, who originally was the mount of Kent Farrington (USA). Farrington, who is also a part of the ownership group of Foster’s five-star mount Hamilton, regularly helps Foster scout horses.

Kent bought her as a 7-year old, and he rode her into the beginning of her 9-year-old year. She won a bunch of classes with him as well. She’s a super fast, super competitive horse,” Foster said. “He was having sort of an injury actually with his groinand he just kept sort of re-injuring it every time he tried to ride her.

“It kind of all just came together really at the right time, because Kent obviously helps me find horses, and he was like, ‘I don’t know where to find a better one than this. I have it in my barn,'” she added.

While Foster and Electrique proved to be a good match, fine-tuning their partnership has been a process. Despite being a mare with a bigger-build, Electrique has proven to be quite “sensitive.” Foster experimented with adjustments to her bit and bridle, as well as to her warm-up routine. This summer, things have come together. According to Jumpr App, Electrique is finishing in the top 10 at a 50% clip at 1.50m.

“It took me a little bit of time to kind of figure out all the buttons,” Foster said. “This is the name of this game, right? You’ve got to be patient, [and] you’ve got to just see what works. She doesn’t look like it, but she’s a very, very sensitive horse. And so all these little things affected her, it turns out, and now I feel like, ‘Okay, I’ve got the formula. I’ve got the formula pretty good.’”

CSI3* Steel-Craft Doors 1.50m
Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

1. Electrique / Tiffany Foster / CAN / 5 Roosters / 0/0 39.95
2. Eblesse / Jaclyn Duff / CAN / Windermere Stables Ltd / 0/0 42.46
3. Igor GPH / Kara Chad / CAN / A.J. Postma / 0/4 40.24
4. Un Diamant des Forets / Jim Ifko / CAN / Eventyre Farms Ltd / 4/42.31
5. Luikan Q / Brian Morton / CAN / Spruce Meadows Ltd / Attache Stables / 1 81.67
6. Chardonnay / Robert Blanchette / IRL / RTS LLC / 4 75.47
7. Flinton M / Kendall Bourgeois / USA / Cameron Brown / 4 77.12
8. Battlecry / Tiffany Foster / CAN / Artisan Farms LLC / 4 77.47
9. Cactus de Cosniere / Eric Krawitt / CAN / Eric Krawitt / 4 77.82
10. Quidamo F / Kara Chad / CAN / Stone Ridge Farms LLC / 4 78.64

Year of Progress Leads Munro to MarBill Hill U25 League 1.35m Victory

Last summer at Thunderbird Show Park, Dylan Munro (CAN) and Face to Face were jumping 1.20m. This year, they won the MarBill Hill U25 League 1.35m to kick off the U25 division at the Summer Fort Classic.

Last to go in a six-horse jump-off, the pair came away with a comfortable victory. Their winning time was 41.4 seconds. Leadoff pair Olivia Stephenson (CAN) and Deister Z finished second as the only other combination to jump double-clear (42.49 seconds). Sahana Ganesan (USA) and Fast Lucca finished third (4/42.49).

“I love him to death,” Munro said of Face to Face, better known as “Frank.” “He’s been an amazing horse for me. He got me from showing in the 1.20m here last summer to jumping the U25 [classes] now at 1.40m. I’m just thrilled for that horse.”

Dylan Munro (CAN) and Face to Face. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

Anderson Lima’s (BRA) track proved to be challenging, but Munro did not pay attention to his competitors’ struggles, producing one of two clear rounds—the other being his stablemate, Jessie Prpich (USA)—in the final five riders. In the jump-off, he took a similar approach.

“Honestly, I didn’t even watch the horses that jumped off beforehand,” Munro said. “I was talking to Coach Kelly [Koss-Brix, who stepped in to help when trainer Ben Asselin had to leave the show early]. She was really helping me out, and I’m very appreciative of everything she’s done for me. I knew there weren’t many clear, but I just went in there and gave it a good shot.”

Munro and Frank began the short course with purpose, making up time early between the first two fences before more carefully measuring the fences in the latter half of the jump-off.

“I really thought I was quick going from [Jumps] One to Two there. I just had a nice pick-up, right off the bat there, and then I had to check a bit into the double. It worked out.”

Dylan Munro (CAN) and Face to Face stand for the winner’s presentation. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

 $5,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.35m

  1. Face to Face / Dylan Munro / CAN / Jonathan Asselin / 0/0 41.4
  2. Deister Z / Olivia Stephenson / CAN / Gareth Graves / 0/4 42.49
  3. Fast Lucca / Sahana Ganesan / USA / Sahana Ganesan / 0/4 42.49
  4. Fay / Stella Chernoff / CAN / Stump Lake Ranch & Cattle Co. Ltd / 0/4 42.9
  5. Pasquinelle / Emily Fitzgerald / CAN / Emily Fitzgerald / 0/12 55.87
  6. Kazou van de Kwakkelhoek / Jessie Prpich / USA / Telsec Farm Calgary Ltd / 0/EL
  7. Capitale 6 / Charlie Jones / GBR / Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC / 4 71.81
  8. Ittolo / Jarne Francken / UA / Kerri Volek / 4 72.12
  9. Cella / Taylor Winther Blair / CAN / Taylor Winther Blair / 4 74.15
  10. Concelo / Ava Wong / CAN / Ava Wong / 4 75.53

Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2022

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup returns to Langley for 2022 during the Odlum Brown BC Open tournament in June. After having to cancel the event for the past two years due to Public Health Orders surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to hosting this esteemed event once again at tbird!

WHICH NATION WILL TAKE HOME THE CUP?

Get Your Tickets to Watch the Nations Cup at tbird!

Major League Show Jumping kicks off the 2022 circuit atThunderbird Show Park

WHAT IS MLSJ?

Major League Show Jumping or “the League” in short was created as a unique opportunity to elevate 5* Show Jumping in North America. In partnership with some of the top hosting venues in Canada, the USA and Mexico, equestrian athletes compete on 8 teams composed of 6riders from May through December.

Not only does Major League Show Jumping bring an established series of world-class competition to North America, it also allows riders the equal opportunity to earn World Ranking points as those competing inEurope.

“I am so excited to have the addition of the MLSJ to the NorthAmerican Circuit! It will be great to have more 5* events and afew new venues to compete at.”

-JENNIFER GATES

Don’t Miss Out!

CSI5* Major LeagueShow Jumping is coming to tbird for the CanadianPremier from May 24-29. Here’s how you can join in on all the action:

Saturday May 28
$200,000 CSI5* Team Competition & $75,000 CSI5*Canadian Individual 1.45-1.50m

Sunday May 29 – 2 pm
$218,000 CSI5* Grand Prix 1.55m

GET TICKETS HERE

ShowPlus Protection

Protect Your Passion

All competitors, horse and rider, are now protected at tbird through ShowPlus protection in case of injury.

ShowPlus is the first protection program of its kind, helping show organizers shield their competitors from the uncertainties that come with equestrian sport.Since its inception in 2020, ShowPlus has administered their automatic protection program benefits to over 80,000 horses and riders.

Registered horses and riders at participating shows are eligible to receive veterinary and/or medical reimbursement in case of injury during competition.With increased focus and awareness by premier equestrian sport organizers on the importance of equine and rider welfare and access to care, ShowPlus has been rapidly adopted throughout North America.

To learn about your specific benefits at tbird, visit ShowPlus.com/tbird

Entries Opening for 2022 Show Season

We’re excited to welcome you back to tbird for the 2022 show season. Mark your calendars for our entry open dates to be sure you don’t miss entries. All entries can be submitted at showgroundslive.com via your account. Looking forward to seeing you!

FEB 15
April Season Opener,Canadian Premier & BC Open

MAR 22
Summer Fort Welcome, Classic & Festival

MAR 29
West Coast Classic, WesternFamily, Harvest Celebration & BCHJA Fall Finale

Accepting Entries on showgroundslive.com

X