Always a highlight on the Thunderbird Showpark calendar, The Maplebrook Farm Young Horse Showcase Finale shined the spotlight on show jumping’s future equine stars Saturday at Thunderbird Showpark in Langley, BC.

With 4-, 5-, 6- and 7-year-old divisions, the Maplebrook Farm Young Horse Series promotes the breeding and development of young horses in North America, and the vast amount of talent coming through the pipeline was put on display throughout the afternoon. Series sponsor Teri Erickson watched ringside as prospects took their turns jumping around the Fort Grand Prix Field, with each rider saluting her before they conducted their rounds.

The 4- and 5-year-olds jumped 1.0m and were scored, with 50% of their total coming from Judge Richard Keller, who evaluated the prospects on jumping style, way of going and future potential. The other half of the score was based on performance: Four points were deducted from that score for each jumping fault incurred, and one point was deducted for each time fault.

$3,500 Maplebrook 7-year-olds

Rubens La Silla won Thursday’s $75,000 CSI4*-W Maui Jim Welcome, and on Saturday his son Zinedine LS (Rubens La Silla x Carentino) won the $3,500 Maplebrook 7-year-old Finale with James Chawke. The duo bested a nine-horse jump-off with a clear round in 36.95 seconds over the Alan Wade (IRL)-designed 1.30m track.

“He’s a really easy-going guy. He doesn’t know he’s a stallion. He’s super easy to deal with,” Chawke said. “He’s had a really good year. He won quite a few 7-year-old classes in Florida. He’s been pretty consistent.”

Owned by Vanessa Mannix, the bay is no stranger to the Maplebrook Farm Young Horse Series. He also won last year’s 6-year-old Finale after being imported from Mexico.

“We got him last year just off a video. Actually, this was one of the first classes I did with him last year,” Chawke said. “He won the 6-year-old Finale, and now he came back a year later and won [again]!”

MJM Tosca (Beowulf x Glen Bar) and Kyle King finished second (37.31 seconds), and Jenna Thompson and Peregrine (Periguex x Matternuh) were third (39.07 seconds). King and Stuart Belkin’s Canberre 59, by Canstakko, were the overall 7-year-old series champions.

$2,500 Maplebrook 6-year-olds

Lipstick has been a true ambassador of the Maplebrook Young Horse Series. The overall series champion and the winner of the 5-year-old Finale last year, the Canadian Sport Horse mare stood atop the series standings again in 2018 as a 6-year-old, culminating with a win in the $2,5000 Maplebrook 6-year-olds Finale.

With Jenna Thompson aboard, the duo jumped Wade’s 1.20m jump-off track cleanly in 39.23 seconds. Alicia Gadban and Ryley Ingram’s Beneficial (Baneras x Timebreaker) finished second with a clear round in 40.90 seconds. Thompson was also third with Grey Noblesse (Grey Top x Singular Jolter), who crossed the timers in a sharp time of 37.92 seconds but had 8 faults.

“She’s always been pretty special,” Thompson said of Lipstick. “She’s a great jumper, and she has such presence in the ring. People always notice her. She’s such a sweetheart in the barn, so she’s really a favorite for everybody. She’s going to jump big jumps. It’s really cool to be part of her development.”

By Le Preeur out of a Stolzenberg mare, Lipstick is a homebred for Nancy Southern and Jonathan Asselin’s Attache Stables operation in Calgary, AB. Thompson has been riding the mare for the past two years.

“It’s really super to have this [series] at Thunderbird,” she said. “It’s really good to have a standard that is set and to make sure that we’re living up to the standard.”

$1,500 Maplebrook 5-year-olds

Spruce Meadows’ Infinity was best in the $1,500 Maplebrook 5-year-old Finale. The Westphalian mare is a daughter of Statinus, out of a mare by Azur de Paulstra. With Kylie Figueira in the irons, the gray jumped to a winning score of 88 over the 1.10m track.

“She has a very good mind and obviously a very good natural jump,” Figueira said. “Honestly, I haven’t had to work very hard on developing her, because she has that natural jump. I’ve just been working on her rideability, but her mind is so good, and she’s very easy to ride around.”

Infinity is a newer addition to Figueira’s string, with the partnership just coming together in May.

“It’s nice to showcase all [the young horses] and compare them to the other five-year olds and kind of see where they’re at,” she said. “We wanted to do this class with her.”

Georgia Hunt’s Infostar (Starpwoer x Wizzed WV) finished second and was the 5-year-old series’ overall champion. Audra Fleck-Snijders finished third with Robert Fleck’s Rainland Flurry (Flexible x Calvaro Z).

$1,500 Maplebrook 4-year-olds

Andrea Harris took the win in the $1,500 Maplebrook 4-year-old Finale aboard her own Jaguar, a Dutch Warmblood son of Negro. The gelding, out of a Voltaire mare received an impressive winning score of 92 after jumping the 1.00m track.

“I purchased him a year ago as an un-started three-year old from Europe,” Harris said. “I bought him off just a show jumping video, which I would never recommend people to do. It’s typically not how you go about purchasing horses, but I rolled the dice and loved him!”

Basing her Alpine Show Jumpers operation out of Millarville, AB, Harris focuses her business on developing young horses and is also involved in breeding.

“I’ve seen the young horses change so much. I really build my entire show season around coming here,” Harris said. “I come to get the horses out onto the grass and to get them to sort of see a big venue and open their eyes to what the future can bring. As much as they get better, it really lets you just get a year of training done in a week. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”

Carly Anthony and Gnocchi (Clearway x Messes) finished second, while Kyle King and Peaky Blinder (Capone I x Artico) finished third to clinch the overall 4-year-old series championship.

Shawn Casady & Cicomein VDL Top $15,000 MarBill Hill U25 League

On his first visit to Thunderbird Showpark, Shawn Casady (USA) came away with the win in the $15,000 MarBill Hill U25 League to kick off Saturday’s competition in Langley.

The 23-year-old bested a jump-off field of seven aboard HKC Collection’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Cicomein VDL. The duo came through the timers of Wade’s jump-off track in 38.48 seconds. Kassidy Keith (CAN) and Crackerjack finished second (39.70 seconds), and Jennifer Gates (USA) and Cadence rounded out the podium in third (40.41 seconds).

“I think I did about the same number [of strides] as some of the other horses, but she’s just very quick across the ground,” Casady said. “Where some horses might have a big, slower stride, she’s a little zippier and quick in the air. I think that’s what I had to my advantage.”

Casady began riding Cicomein VDL last year and has retained the mount while regular rider Tina Yates is on maternity leave following the birth of her daughter Penelope on July 4.

“She’s one of a few very nice horses that I get to ride,” Casady said. “She’s consistent, reliable and fast. She’s my girl! She has so much heart. You know she’s fighting for you.”

In addition to his victory with Cicomein VDL, Casady also finished third in both the $75,000 CSI4*-W Maui Jim Welcome on Thursday with Durango VDL and in Friday’s $75,000 CSI4*-W Steel-Craft Door Products Cup when riding Campitello.

“The show is beautiful,” he said. “The grass is great, and the course builder’s been doing a wonderful job. Everything about this show has gone so well.”

The class marked the finale of the three-leg MarBill Hill Under 25 League, and after Casady finished his victory lap, runner-up Keith took one of her own as the series’ overall leader. She and Cheryl Keith’s Crackerjack won at the Western Family in July and finished third in May at the Odlum Brown BC Open.

The 2018 Summer Fort Festival concludes Sunday with the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, the first leg of the 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League. Start time for the class is 2:00 PT.