Opening FEI competition Thursday morning was the $1,000 Two Phase 1.40m CSI2* with Maddy Riddle (CAN) and her mount Cato Minor J, a 15-year-old Westphalian, capturing the rider’s first ever FEI victory.
Fifty-eight horse-and-rider combinations tested the Peter Grant-designed track. Featuring 12 numbered obstacles in total, the course allowed riders to navigate the first seven obstacles with clear efforts in mind, then the final five obstacles were designed as the speed phase. Riders who opted to continue the course picked up the pace and galloped from fence to fence, covering the entire expanse of the arena in the second phase.
Navigating the first phase flawlessly, the Alberta native kicked into gear after fence seven and used her gelding’s natural footspeed and massive stride to cover the ground efficiently without taking any unnecessary risks. Crossing the timers in 31.64 seconds, the amateur rider finished only one one-hundredth of a second quicker than the second place finisher, Mexican team veteran Patricio Pasquel and Alicia, whose second-phase time was 31.65 seconds. Ireland’s Conor Swail finished third with Gamble in a time of 31.84 seconds.
“He’s a relatively new horse for me,” Riddle commented. “I got him last year and showed him in a handful of classes, then he actually had an injury and was off for the rest of the year. So I’ve really only jumped him in about seven or eight classes. A really good friend of mine sold him to me. She knew when she had the horse that he was a good match for me. From the moment I sat on him I knew that ‘Cato’ was going to be a good one for me.
“He likes to throw his head around and play,” continued Riddle. “For me, I just get along with that. I don’t mind it when they want to play a little bit. If they’re playing, I think they’re having a good time and then I’m having a good time; it’s supposed to be fun.”
CSI2* competition continues Friday with the $37,000 Grand Prix Qualifier CSI2*, where riders will try their hand at qualification for Saturday’s $37,000 Grand Prix CSI2*.
$1,000 Two Phase 1.40m CSI2*
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Cato Minor J / Maddy Riddle / CAN / Maddy Riddle / 0/0 31.64
2. Alicia / Patricio Pasquel / MEX / Patricio Pasquel / 0/0 31.65
3. Gamble / Conor Swail / IRL / Asta Torokvei / 0/0 31.84
4. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0/0 31.91
5. Caya / Shauna Cook / CAN / Sheilagh Kelly / 0/0 31.96
6. Dante 108 / Arash Rahmati / IRI / Solmaz Golamhosseini / 0/0 32.08
7. Golden Eye / Matthew Williams / AUS / First Joy Holdings, LLC / 0/0 32.25
8. Dandy / Matthew Williams / AUS / HD Horses LLC / 0/0 32.43
8. The Freshman / Ben Asselin / CAN / Attache Stables / 0/0 32.55
10. Joevaro N / James Arkins / USA / James Arkins / 0/0 33.14
Tickets for Saturday’s MLSJ Team Event and Sunday’s MLSJ Grand Prix start at $10 and are available at tbird.ca.