Langley, BC – Twenty-year-old Jarne Francken (BEL) was looking for a job in his hometown of Antwerp, Belgium, when his neighbor proposed an idea to him.
Would he might like to work in North America?
“It took me about two minutes to think about it,” Francken said.
That neighbor, Michael Koronpis, was close friends with U.S. show jumper Kyle King (USA), and he connected the two riders. Francken has now worked for King since January, and on Friday at tbird, he recorded the first FEI victory of his young career, topping the CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 1.40m with Brylee Dickie’s Gogolinus.
The pair bested a four-horse jump-off to take top honors, crossing the timers of Peter Holmes’ (CAN) track in 34.83 seconds. Kassidy Keith (CAN) and Fenelon WF—winner of Thursday’s CSIU25-A 1.35m class—finished second (35.34 seconds), with Reid Pankewicz (CAN) and Barack third (37.81). The top three were the only combinations to produce double-clear efforts.
“In the warm-up, I saw the other riders. They went pretty fast,” said Francken, who had the advantageous position of returning last in the jump-off. “The first rider had a rail down, and then there were two clean rounds. I decided I just wanted to ride a smooth, clean round.”
Franken gained the advantage with a smooth turn back to the liverpool oxer, which set him up for a forward distance into the combination, where his horse gave a big effort. From there, it was all about maintaining a smooth rhythm.
“He’s a really nice, careful, sweet horse,” said Francken, who has been partnered with Gogolinus for just a few months, “and he still feels really fresh.”
$15,000 CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 1.40m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
Gogolinus / Jarne Francken / BEL / Brylee Dickie / 0/0 34.83
Fenelon WF / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0/0 35.34
Barack / Reid Pankewicz / CAN / Reid Pankewicz / 0/0 37.81
Coco du Houlbec Z / Emily Fitzgerald / CAN / Emily Fitzgerald / 0/4 40.71
VIP des Majuros / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / 4 67.37
Cella / Taylor Winther Blair / CAN / Sorinne Winther / 4 70.83
Princessa / Shaelynn Enders / CAN / Joyce Enders / 4 71.83
Deister Z / Olivia Stephenson / CAN / Olivia Stephenson / 8 72.19
Pasquinelle / Emily Fitzgerald / CAN / Emily Fitzgerald / 8 72.61