We are about to begin the 2018 summer series at the Caledon Horse Park with the $35,000 Caledon National CSI2* Grand Prix. We are all proud of the work done by the crew and management of EMG in restoring the grounds to perfect shape after the massive wind storm that destroyed the stable area and resulted in the cancellation of the original opening week. It was a major piece of work and was a job well done. The weather has been very good with yesterday being the exception with some cold temperatures and some rain but it will be perfect for the grand prix today.
Our course designer for the week has been Anderson Lima (BRA) and he comes to us having a great debut in the grand prix ring at WEF this winter and was the co-winner of the gold medal for best course design given by this blog at the WEF series.
In the class today we will see 21 entries and all will compete. The course will feature 13 numbered obstacles and 16 efforts. The course will also feature open water. For the information of the readers, there was water schooling in both jumper rings on Tuesday and is a regular feature every year with one supervised schooling before the first show in the spring and one in August before the final weeks. This schooling is sponsored by the OHJA. This schooling is available to any exhibitor wishing to school the water jump. Supervision is provided. This class will be run under the FEI rules for a 2* event and the height will be 1.45m. The speed will be set at 375m/m.
On the course we will see one triple and one double combination. We will have the CN wall (a really good wall), a triple bar and a plank vertical (weather permitting) or a short pole vertical (should there be too much wind for the plank). One of my favourite uses of the liverpool is when it is used in the open position (out in front of the vertical) and we will also see this use on the course today. I think that we are ready to begin the first walk of the 2018 season.
#1 vertical 1.40m or 4.6ft. This opening fence was never faulted on the day.
#2 oxer 1.42/1.50m or 4.7/5ft comes on a full turn on the right rein and caused no pain on the day.
#3 open liverpool (liverpool in the front of the vertical) comes from #2 on a soft bend right with a distance of 32m or 105ft and with a different look caused one refusal but no rails.
#4 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes from #3 on the left turn and here we saw two rails fall from the sky.
#5a triple bar 1.45/1.80m or 4.9/5.9ft and comes from #4 on the continuing left rein and on one ocassion we saw the width reduced.
#5b vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes with a distance of 8.10m or 26.6ft from #5a and was faulted today.
#6 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft and with a distance of 27.10m or 89ft and on the continuing left rein the riders were fault free at this obstacle.
#7 vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes from #6 on a full turn on the right rein and did not play in the sand today.
#8 the open water. The distance from #7 to the water was 30.50m or 100ft and there were no toes in the tub on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Used properly the open water is no different than any other jump on any given day.
#9 the CN wall or bridge (one of the best jumps at the Pan Am Games) 1.46m or 4.9ft comes from the water with a distance of 28.40m or 93ft and was never derailed.
#10 oxer 1.45/1..60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes on full left turn and did not receive any injury on the day.
#11 plank vertical 1.46m or 4.9ft comes from #10 in a straight line with a distance of 20.60m or 67ft and although on a long four strides and only one ride of five strides the plank never found mother earth.
#12a vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes on the right turn away from the in-gate and at this point on the course we had one refusal (more of a drive by) and two poles fell to the ground.
#12b oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.9/5.1ft with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft from #12a and was not faulted today.
#12c vertical 1.45 or 4.9ft comes with a distance of 11.20m or 36.7ft from #12b and did not count in the fault department today.
#13 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft. The last fence on the course today comes from #12c on the right bending rein and with a distance of 29.80m or 97.6ft and like the first fence was never faulted on the day.
Before the class began there was a late scratch and therefore we saw 20 start the class. Another impotant change was the TA. The original TA was set at 79 seconds and after three rounds the TA was changed to 81 seconds.
The final results of the first round were as follows. There were nine clean and there were two rounds with one time fault and one round with two time faults. There were four rounds of four faults and one with nine faults. There were also two VW’s and one elimination due to refusals.
This was a 2* FEI rated class and they are the most difficult to design for this group of horses and riders. Of the original 21 entries there were 14 riders that have competed for Canada in team competition. All but one rider of the 14 competed on one of the two major winter circuits. Most ot the horses were not the first string but a couple were but all were very serious #2 mounts.
The most important issue for me was the change in the TA from 79 to 81 seconds after the first three rides. This decision was made after the first three rides failed to be under the 79 seconds. The jury and the course designer discussed the change and there was discussion and the change was made. After the change was made all but two of the nine clear rounds were under the original TA. If no change had occurred there would have been seven clear rounds. As a reader, spectator, or course designer do you think the TA should have been changed? I will point out that the first three rides did not appear to be at the given 375m/m in the specifications for the class.
My opinion is that this was an entertaining class with an exciting jump off. The CD did not cheat with the heights and the cups were the legal 18mm yellow cups. My thanks go out to EMG for the purchase and use of these legal cups. I will be looking at the other venues to see if they also will use legal 18mm cups and stop the use of the shaved cups and I will report to you if the cheating continues. The water schooling at EMG is great for the sport and there is positive results to be seen at the shows at Palgrave.
This was our season beginning and so on to next week and another FEI week and our course designer will be Michel Vaillancourt (CAN).
Until then I am Dave Ballard.