CALGARY, AB – The final evening of the inaugural Royal West came to a close with Elizabeth Gingras and Zilversprings winning the first annual $100,000 Spirit of the West CSI3* Cup presented by Big Interactive and C&V Portable Accommodations.
Fresh off of their Thursday evening win in the Miller Thompson FEI Classic, Zilversprings and Gingras put in a confident fast double clear ride over the technical and fast paced track set by course designer Werner Deeg.
The field of twenty-seven horses squared off with only six jumping clear and making it into a fast paced jump off. The daunting track caught many of the riders at the beginning of the class as fifteen horses jumped the first round before a clear round ridden by Tamie Philips and Cat Balou.
Gingras and Zilversprings kept the momentum going from the Miller Thomson FEI Classic on Thursday evening and entered the ring more confidently than most. “You could tell that there were jumps that took scope and technical riding, but I knew that based off of the list of riders here there would be clean rounds. The practice and experience last week I gained last week at the show, trying to go fast but ultimately having a rail, helped me realize what I needed to change to be successful this week. I went back to the warm up and changed a few things and I feel like that really paid off.”
Gingras trains with Canadian Olympian, Jill Henselwood alongside her other FEI student Jaclyn Duff. Henselwood came to the Royal West to prepare her team of horses, and riders to compete successfully indoors in International FEI competitions.
Henselwood was glowing with pride for the success and development she’s seen with Gingras and Duff at the Royal West Tournament, and feels the sky is the limit in their careers. “Elizabeth has the potential to be fast in any arena. She and Zilversprings are a new combination; it’s a new horse for her, but it’s a Maserati! the rest of us have mustangs and she has a Maserati! She has her sights set on the Olympic games. She needs to slam the door wide open, to take one of the boys places on the team. The west is going to push her in that direction and this win is just the beginning.”
The Henselwood team is a close one, with a lot of respect amongst the group. With none of the in-fighting typically seen in athletes in high pressure classes, Henselwood spoke fondly about her relationship with her two students. “I think we’re co-athletes. We’ve already been teammates. They’re both good with strategy. When we course walk, everybody has input and I’m pretty privileged to train with both Elizabeth and Jaclyn. I push them and they push me!”
Royal West President John Anderson finished second in the class by just a fraction of a second aboard Terrific. The Leading Canadian Rider award, was based off of the combined results over the two weeks. Based off of the points of the combined six FEI classes John Anderson and Terrific won the leading Canadian rider title and the prize; a Ford Escape.
With fantastic feedback from the riders, and a long two weeks of managing his own Tournament, as well as competing in it; John was blown away by the overall success of the event.
“I personally want to thank all of the exhibitors that had faith in us, that supported us and believed we could pull this off and most especially that trusted our footing to be right. Its my own custom blend designed by Rocky Mountain Equine and the feedback we got was so positive.”
John and Tournament manager Caroline Jones ran a tight ship that resulted in a fantastic two weeks of show jumping. I want everyone to know that this was just a dress Rehearsal! Now that we’ve been in the venue and understand the intricacies of running an event here, we can now tailor the event in coming years to be even better. In 2015 the Royal West Tournament will be back with more prize money, and more bums in seats. Building up our crowd of spectators, is what’s really going to make this whole event electric!”
With the addition of the Longines World Cup Qualifier, to the Royal West, in the next three years coming, the Tournament is going to become a destination for International FEI competition. The RMSJ team would like to thank our generous sponsors, our exhibitors and everyone who made the event possible.
For John Anderson there really is only one thing left to say “As they say in Tinseltown….That’s a wrap!”
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*Photo credit to Anna Skripets Photography. To use this photo please email firstname.lastname@example.org