The ATCO Challenge took place Thursday afternoon under the beautiful Alberta Sunshine and was a competition that certainly lived up to its name. A challenging course designed by Brazilian course designer Guilherme Jorge saw an entry of 45 riders in its first round. With a time allowed of 72 seconds and 12 jumping obstacles set at a 1.50m, athletes showed that they came to play putting forth great effort to achieve the time allowed.
The first clear round came at sequence 11 for Team Spruce Meadows rider Chris Surbey and Carnaval who showed the remaining riders to follow how to maneuver a faultless round over the 480m track. From there, 9 horse rider combinations would follow suite to qualify for the jump off.
Of those qualified riders, the jump off saw great talent including last night’s winner of the 1.50m competition McLain Ward (USA), Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Cameron Hanley (IRL) but punching in above her weight division was 17 year-old Lucy Deslauriers (USA) with her incredibly athletic mount Hester.
Lucy stepped up after finishing second last night in the to World Cup Champion McLain Ward and HH Callas to lay down an incredibly efficient jump off round. A round the would end up untouchable by the competition securing her and the 12 year-old Belgian Gelding Hester. “I think after a year of experience at the 1.50m level I feel quite comfortable with this horse so I really wanted to move that forward in the first Tournament of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series and I think we proved that today.” Exclaimed a beaming Deslauries “I will continue with the Winning Round competition tomorrow but after today I feel really confident that we will get to step up to the next level – I think after this week I wont feel the need to ensure I feel comfortable in the ring early in the week and I’ll be ready move up right from where we left off.”
Our ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX continues tomorrow afternoon beginning at 12:00pm on the International ring with the Encana Cup 1.45m.
Full results here.