Clean rounds were hard to come by in tonight’s $50,000 Weston Canadian Open at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show in Toronto, Canada, but American legend Beezie Madden, (Cazenovia, NY), who can always be counted on in a footrace, came out on top yet again. She stopped the clock with Coral Reef Via Volo in a blistering time of 58.42 seconds.
Of the twenty to start this evening, just five were able to produce fault-free performances. Madden, who took individual bronze at this summer’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, had the unenviable slot of riding second in the order of go. Still, she was able to post a near ten-second lead over Canada’s Chris Sorenson, first in the ring tonight.
“I had a plan, and I think it all went according to plan, which doesn’t always happen,” said Madden. “I tried to attack a little in the ends and to the jumps off the corners, that’s where I think I was a little faster than some of the others.”
“I think if you tried to do all the difficult turns to catch up with my time, there were some blind turns, particularly to those jumps off the ends that I was fast to. Then at the end of the course it took some control; there were some short lines, I think in a lot of places the jumps came up quick.”
Francois Mathy, whose bay mare Ornellaia jumped what was quite possibly her first 1.50m class this evening, was not able to catch Madden on the time, but gave her rider an effort to match his support, finishing with a time of 62.03 seconds.
“My mare is really unbelievable,” extolled Mathy. “There were some pretty big oxers out there and she just jumped super. I knew I had to take a bit of time to the bigger fences, and you still needed a bit of luck to have everything work out. It was a delicate course and there were not many clears, so I am really happy.”
Less happy perhaps is the defending champion, America’s Katie Dinan, who unfortunately executed an unplanned dismount in the ring mid-course. Amaretto D’Arco was unfazed however, continuing to jump the course on his own until corralled by his groom.
Laura Kraut of Wellington, Florida, celebrated her birthday by finishing in third tonight with a time of 62.59 seconds.
Rounding out the top five were Erynn Ballard (Tottenham, ON) and Appy Cara with a time of 66.06 and the current Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion, Ian Millar of Perth, ON, with Baranus, in a time of 67.93 seconds.
Tomorrow evening the International Division of the Royal Horse Show draws to an end with a spectacular evening performance featuring Guy McLean, the Hackney Horse World Championship, the $25,000 Royal Championship Six Horse Hitch sponsored by Ames Construction, a dressage demonstration and finally the $75,000 GroupBy Big Ben Challenge. The coveted Leading Canadian Rider, Leading International Rider and Leading Canadian Horse awards will also be presented tomorrow evening.
Sunday’s horse show is FREE with general admission to the Fair and features Children’s Hunters, Junior Jumpers, the Royal Pony Jumper Championship as well as Guy McLean to close the Royal Horse Show for another year.