It was a case of the student beating the teacher as Jordan MacPherson of Toronto, ON, beat out Ian Millar to win the $35,000 CSI2* Ram Equestrian Grand Prix held August 3 during the CSI2* Summer Festival at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON. The Caledon Equestrian Park will host the equestrian events for the 2015 Pan American Games.
Five riders were able to pass the test set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, successfully negotiating the first round track to advance to the all-deciding jump-off. Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON, just missed the cut after incurring one time fault in the opening round with her entry, Viggo.
Millar, a 10-time Olympian hailing from Perth, ON, led off by guiding his 2012 London Olympic mount Star Power to a second clear round in a time of 36.70 seconds. His early lead would be short-lived, however, as MacPherson followed with Piccobello du Val de Geer, her partner of the past three years. A fast pace and tight turns soon saw MacPherson flying through the timers in 34.50 seconds, slicing more than two full seconds off Millar’s time.
“Ian went before me and set the track,” said MacPherson, 23. “I watched him go, and knew what I had to do – pick up the pace, and keep going!”
MacPherson was nervous as three riders were still to follow. Colombia’s Roberto Teran was on the pace until two rails fell near the end of the shortened track to leave him fifth in the overall standings with Tam Tam Hero, owned by ARK Partners. Jill Henselwood, Millar’s silver medal teammate at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was clear but a time of 38 seconds saw her finish in fourth with New Idol Z, a nine-year-old grey Zangersheide mare owned by Juniper Farms. Ainsley Vince of Burlington, ON, was the final challenger, but a time of 37.89 seconds with her grey mare, Darling, left her third in the final placings for The Darling Group.
“Today when I walked in the ring, I felt like we were going to be good and that we had a chance to win,” said MacPherson, a fourth year student at Western University. “There were a lot of quick turns, and she just followed my eye, looked and went.”
MacPherson credits competing at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB, earlier this summer for helping prepare her and Piccobello du Val de Geer for victory in the $35,000 CSI2* RAM Equestrian Grand Prix.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience with her this summer, we moved up and did the 1.45m and 1.50m classes at Spruce Meadows and she taught me a lot,” said MacPherson of her 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. Piccobello du Val de Geer was formerly ridden by Amy Millar who, alongside her father, Ian, and brother, Jonathon, train MacPherson at Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, ON.
Another talented student also made her coach proud by winning the $35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome on Thursday, August 1. Elizabeth Gingras of Edmonton, AB, took the win on George, the horse her trainer, Jill Henselwood, rode at last year’s London Olympic Games. In addition to taking the win with George, Gingras also placed second with Avensis 4 by producing the only other clear round in the five-horse jump-off. Both horses are owned by B. Gingras Equestrian Limited.
Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, had the time, but a rail down with Carolla Z placed him third overall. Vince of Burlington, ON, took fourth place with The KMA Group’s Frieda while Underhill was fifth with Viggo, her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
For more information on the CSI2* Summer Festival, including full results, please visit www.equiman.com
$35,000 CSI2* RAM Equestrian Grand Prix
1. Jordan MacPherson/Toronto, ON/Piccobello du Val de Geer/0:0/34.50
2. Ian Millar/Perth, ON/Star Power/0:0/36.70
3. Ainsley Vince/Burlington, ON/Darling/0:0/37.89
4. Jill Henselwood/Oxford Mills, ON/New Idol Z/0:0/38.00
5. Roberto Teran/Colombia/Tam Tam Hero/0:8/35.39
6. Beth Underhill/Schomberg, ON/Viggo/1
7. Jay Hayes/Orangeville, ON/Riva/4
8. Ainsley Vince/Burlington, ON/Frieda/4
9. Chris Sorensen/Caledon East, ON/Wriomf/4
10. Ian Millar/Perth, ON/Baranus/4
11. Yann Candele/Caledon, ON/Carolla Z/4
12. Chris Sorensen/Caledon East, ON/Bobby/8
$35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome
1. Elizabeth Gingras/Edmonton, AB/George/0:0/41.51
2. Elizabeth Gingras/Edmonton, AB/Avensis 4/0:0/51.01
3. Yann Candele/Caledon, ON/Carolla Z/0:4/38.65
4. Ainsley Vince/Burlington, ON/Frieda/0:8/42.57
5. Beth Underhill/Schomberg, ON/Viggo/0:8/44.24
6. Amy Millar/Perth, ON/Alazan/1
7. Ian Millar/Perth, ON/Star Power/4
8. Jill Henselwood/Oxford Mills, ON/New Idol Z/4
9. Susan Horn/Bolton, ON/Zahara S/4
10. Jaclyn Duff/Edmonton, AB/Pater Noster/4
11. Chris Sorensen/Caledon East, ON/Bobby/4
12. Ainsley Vince/Burlington, ON/Darling/4