Dana Cooke, a Canadian who currently resides in Mooresville, NC, earned her first FEI level win at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, held May 8-12, 2019, in Allentown, NJ.
Cooke added this noteworthy accomplishment to her record riding FE Mississippi (Cassini II x Legaat), the nine-year-old Dutch Sport Horse mare owned by the FE Mississippi Syndicate LLC, with whom she is aiming for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, PER.
“We have been together since she was a four-year-old, so we know each other so well and have incredible trust in each other,” said Cooke of the beloved grey she calls “Missi”. “I think an FEI win just solidifies how strong our relationship is and that we can be a competitive combination.”
Cooke and Missi showed that competitiveness from day one of the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, starting off strong with a sixth-place finish in the dressage phase on May 9 with a score of 30.00 penalty points. The duo then pushed through an action-packed day on May 11 to earn a double-clear round in both the show jumping and cross-country phases. By completing the cross-country course five seconds under the optimum time of 6 minutes and 11 seconds, Cooke and Missi secured the win on their dressage score of 30.00 penalties – just a scant .70 penalty points ahead of second-place finisher, American Olympian Boyd Martin.
“I am super excited and happy with how we both performed,” said Cooke. “I still have a little fine-tuning to do in dressage to get a few extra marks, but the overall quality is getting so much better. Missi jumped super both show jumping and cross-country and tried her heart out. I knew that if I made time that I could potentially win, but I tried to push that out of my mind and focus on giving Missi a good ride. I always tell myself, ‘good jumps first, speed second’ – something that [coach, Clayton Fredericks (AUS)] has said to me a few times. I heard my minute markers going off and knew I was pretty close, but wasn’t paying too much attention to them until my sixth minute went off and I realized that I could really make it, so I pushed for home.”
Cooke’s first international win is made all the more impressive considering she was up against a crowded field of over 50 entries comprised of top riders and Olympians from around the world – including her own coach, Clayton. She commented, “It’s a bit surreal, you work so hard and put so much into the horses and the sport, so it’s a pretty amazing feeling when it pays off. This win isn’t just mine; they say it takes a village and I couldn’t have done it without my village. I have an amazing groom, owners, vet, farrier, sponsors, family, coaches, and support staff.”
Other Canadian Results at Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event
Cooke and Missi weren’t the only Canadians to leave their mark in the CCI 3*-S division: Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, placed fourth with Peter Barry’s seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Vermont (Van Helsing x Heraldik XX) with a final score of 32.80 penalties. Also in the top 10 was Shelby Brost of Red Deer, AB, and Crimson (Etta x Cojak), the 16-year-old Thoroughbred mare she co-owns with Wayne Brost, who came in ninth place on a final score of 37.60 penalties.
For full results from the Jersey International Three-Day Event, click here.