Roberta (Bert) Sheffield (CAN) had a terrific forward and fluid Gr. III Freestyle test, placing second aboard Double Agent (Darcy) with 72.417% in the final segment of the CPEDI3* at the CHI Al Shaqab in Doha, QAT. Sanne Voets of The Netherlands made it three-for-three victories, scoring 76.417% aboard Zoya Sollenburg, while Ann Cathrin Lübbe was third aboard Cypres with 68.667%.
Bert and Darcy performed to a rather macho and powerful soundtrack from the movies Spiderman and Kick-Ass; she says she plans to utilize some more suitably delicate ‘mare-ish’ music for Darcy next year.
Her delight with the her horse’s performance was apparent from the second she completed her final halt. “It felt fabulous. I’ve had her, in a competition at home, feel that good once, where she dragged me through the test and I thought ‘wow, I’m being taken.’ It was just power.
“She’s a horse that you almost want to have anticipate; you want her to be going, ‘I know where I’m going and I’m going to take you.’ Then she gives you all her power,” she continued. “If you’re trying to drive her around the test, she backs off. It’s wonderful to have her entering into the spirit of it and going, ‘I’m there, let’s rock!’ rather than ‘I’d rather go to bed.'”
Her marks were a bit puzzling, however, as there was a huge discrepancy (as much as 8.5 marks in some cases) between the judge at C and the other two judges ‒ a rift that did not occur in any of the other Grade III competitors’ scores:
When asked what she will take away from the Doha experience, Bert replied, “It has shown me how well this mare will handle a huge atmosphere. She will, I’m quite sure, have really grown up from the experience. It enabled us to see how the horse was with flying, and for me to learn about that whole process.
“Possibly the most valuable thing we got from this, though, is that it has been a fabulous team-building experience; because of the distances involved with the Canadian team, it’s enabled me to have more one-on-one time with our team coach [Mary Longden] and develop a stronger rapport. I think this has been a huge step forward for our progress.”