Show jumper Ben Asselin, of Calgary, Alberta, is enjoying his winter in the sun competing at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. The 20-year-old rider trains and competes alongside his father, two-time Olympic veteran Jonathan Asselin, out of their family’s Attaché Stables. With a home base in Calgary, the young rider enjoys the opportunity to compete his top horses as well as develop some up-and-coming mounts while wintering at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
As the 12-week WEF circuit continues in its eighth week of competition, Asselin recapped a great start to the season. The rising show jumping star had his top horse Makavoy, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Hors la Loi II x Ahorn) owned by Attaché Stables, out and in top form to start the season. The pair was clear and fast to finish seventh in the very competitive WEF Challenge Cup during week six, but the gelding unfortunately experienced a setback in week seven.
“My horses have started the year off in form. They all feel very fit, and we are just getting back into the regime of competition,” Asselin stated. “They had a nice break in the fall and are all quite fresh. My best horse, Makavoy, very unfortunately sustained an injury this past week competing in the Grand Prix qualifier and will not be able to compete for the remainder of the WEF season. This is a big loss to our team, but we are all optimistic that we will make a full recovery and be back to competition after some rest and rehab.
In the meantime, Asselin has several other talented young horses that are coming up the ranks and competing well this winter. Amour 44 is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Numero Uno x Notaris) owned by Attaché Stables that began the circuit well. Asselin and Amour placed fifth in the 1.35m jump-off in week three and were eighth in the same class in week four.
Asselin also has a great mount in Doremi, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Quidam de Revel x Cento. In week two, Asselin and Doremi placed fifth in the $6,000 1.40m speed competition out of 112 entries. Doremi is owned by Spruce Meadows President Linda Southern Heathcott.
“I have a couple new horses from Europe that I am getting to know here in Florida. Carmen is a nine-year-old mare with a promising future, and Amour is a ten-year-old mare that seems to be very competitive,” Asselin noted. “We also have many young horses that we are developing here at WEF to be prepared for the summer circuit at Spruce Meadows.”
Canadian rider Jenna Thompson is also riding for Attaché Stables this year and has had great results showing the stable’s six-year-old young jumpers, Clockwise and Lookout. Clockwise is an Oldenburg gelding by Contendro. Lookout is a Hanoverian gelding by Le Primeur.
Thompson and Clockwise began the circuit with a second place finish in the Six-Year-Old Young Jumpers in week two and also earned a fifth place in the division’s classic in week seven.
Lookout has had consistent results, placing seventh and eighth in the division in week two and eighth in two of the classes in week seven.
“Jenna is doing a great job helping to bring along our young horses,” Asselin expressed. “She is a very talented rider and a hard worker. She has also had some great rounds in the FEI division on Anaconda, an eight-year-old mare.”
As the winter circuit and the 2015 season carry on, Asselin and Attaché Stables have high hopes for continued success. Asselin hopes to move Doremi up to some grand prix classes by the end of the circuit. He also a looks forward to seeing the development of the young horses throughout the year.
“The goals for the remainder of the season are to continue to develop our young horses and get them some experience,” Asselin said. “We have a great group of horses, and we are all excited about what the future holds for us!”
Asselin and Attaché Stables will continue to compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival through March 29.