Day two of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament presented by ROLEX did not disappoint in its level of excitement. The ATB Financial Cup competition had a robust entry of top horse rider combinations ready to tackle the 1.55m course set by 2016 Olympic Games course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil.
The first round of competition saw fantastic sport with both horse and riders showing great athleticism and ability over the fences though clear rounds were hard to come by – as intended – with high stakes on the line including top prize money, world ranking points and a guaranteed ticket to Saturdays Grand Prix.
FEI world number one ranked rider Kent Farrington took his place atop the podium in tonight’s competition defeating 6 other athletes in a thrilling jump off that was not only exciting for the level of talent but for the rapid turn in weather that took place at the commencement of the jump off. A severe wind storm blew through the International ring, to stall the competition for a short microburst of intense wind accompanied by lightening and rain. “Going early was absolutely to my advantage today, these are sensitive animals which is part of what makes them so great at their job – they are very alert and that makes them careful. So when you add wind and having things move its very different or distracting for the horse, which makes it much more difficult for sure.”
Finishing second in tonight’s competition was Ashlee Bond (USA) who was thrilled to be back in the winners’ circle at Spruce Meadows with her chestnut mare Chela LS. “I really liked the course tonight, there was a lot of open field where I could just let her go and flow to the fences and to my advantage in the jump off – she is sensitive but incredibly brave – so the weather didn’t really affect her too much in the ring.”
Coming off a great Nations’ Cup finish for Team Canada, Keean White took home third tonight with For Freedom Z who looks to be in great form in the early goings of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ tournament. “My plan is to use him in the Grand Prix this week. We rested him after the Nations’ Cup last week in Langley, BC and my plan was to come with a fresh horse to really target this week at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’.”