The Final phase of the Royal West International Championship series concluded last evening with an exciting win for Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Securing the win in the $40,000 Kubota Canada & Tractorland Cup pushed Rodriguez to the top of the leaderboard and a silver medal podium finish in the series overall.
Local favorite Tamie Philips and Cat Balou were awarded the Gold Medal for their consistently strong performances over the three phases of the series. “It’s thrilling for me to win at the Inaugural Royal West. Winning the first phase on Thursday and then to win overall in my hometown is just such a great feeling. I am so impressed with my horse and her performance this week. This show is only going to get bigger, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.”
Course designer Werner Deeg pushed the riders harder in the series finale, with a lot of related distances and short turns that caught many riders throughout the class. The track didn’t catch Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez who jumped two clear rounds for the win, and the silver medal podium finish.
“I’m very happy! This horse is just amazing. He wins a lot of classes and he was a lot of fun in the jump off. It was the kind of jump off that you have to go all in for, or you’re ending up in sixth or seventh place. I experienced that in yesterday’s jump off and finished fourth, so today I pushed myself, I went all in and everything worked out perfectly.”
Rodriguez, as one of the International FEI riders at the Royal West, has enjoyed supporting the Inaugural year of the show. “I’ve been involved with Rocky Mountain Horse Shows for a while now. I really like them; they fit in my show for the year perfectly. I expect to come back regularly to the future Royal West shows. I really like the venue; its great for the horses, the footing is great and the prize money is big enough.”
Canadian Olympian, Jill Henselwood and Quidam Blue once again put in a fast performance with just a rail in the jump off capturing the Bronze Medal in the series. With their sights set on big international competitions coming up, particularly the 2015 Pan American games. Henselwood felt the Royal West was the perfect opportunity to develop and train her string of horses for international success.
“I thought Quidam Blue added another chapter in his experience. I thought the jump off, with the inside turn at the beginning, was for an experienced international horse, but I tried to do it anyway because I thought he should learn. I didn’t succeed, I had four faults there, but I’m not sad because if you try to teach them to be a winner after a few cracks at it, they are a winner.”
Henselwood is not only preparing her own horses but her two rising star students as well. “I have two westerners competing at the top level here, Elizabeth Gingras and Jaclyn Duff, and they’re really also here to learn to win indoors, to put that extra pressure on. These riders are really good! To have them here, back in their hometown riding so well is so exciting. I’m very proud of their performances so far.”
The next week of the show brings another opportunity for FEI riders to contest for prize money with the $100,000 Spirit of the West Cup concluding the show on Saturday November 1st. Congratulations to our International Championship series winners; Gold medalist Tamie Philips, Silver medalist Andres Rodriguez and Bronze medalist Jill Heneselwood. We look forward to another week of thrilling International competition at the Inaugural Royal West Tournament.