Local Ladies Ruled at the Caledon Equestrian Park
Palgrave, ON – Twenty-four horse and rider combinations took on the course designed by Bernardo Cabral of Lisbon, Portugal, in the $30,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix on Sunday, May 14th at the Caledon Equestrian Park. A total of seven riders produced clear efforts in the first round of competition. The top three riders have one thing in common. Their training facilities are all within forty-five kilometres of the venue in Caledon.
Erynn Ballard won both of the Classic @ Palgrave’s featured events aboard Thalys Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by the Thalys Group. “It was my plan to gear Thalys up for the Open Welcome and Grand Prix when I chose my horses for the week. I knew that she was my best shot at winning the big classes at this show. It is nice to set goals, and be able to accomplish them.” said Ballard, who lives in the village of Palgrave and operates Looking Back Farm in Tottenham with her parents David and Sandi Ballard. In addition to her success in the Grand Prix ring, Ballard trained over thirty horses throughout the week’s competition.
Beth Underhill of Schomberg, was a mere 0.04 seconds behind Ballards’s jump-off time of 41.89 with Sandy Lupton’s Count Me In, a ten-year-old Hannovarian gelding. When asked her favourite thing about showing at the Palgrave venue, Beth replied “It feels like home. I have been competing there since 1982 and the Caledon Equestrian Park team is like family. It has been wonderful to evolve with the event as it has gone from ring ropes and a grass field to the fabulous Pan Am tournament site it is now. And it’s fifteen minutes from my house!”.
Nicole Walker rounded out the top three, placing third with Falco van Spieveld, a twelve-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, less than a second behind Underhill. Nicole is an amateur rider based out of Adena Springs Farm in Aurora, where her family operates a successful thoroughbred racing and breeding facility.
“We were pleased to see riders who have grown up and shown here [at the Caledon Equestrian Park] for decades, have such great results in our first Grand Prix of the season.” said Craig Collins of Equestrian Management Group, Inc.
The Caledon Equestrian Park expects to host close to eight hundred horses for next week’s Caledon National CSI2* May 16-21. The event features a $35,000 FEI Open Welcome, $15,000 Modified Grand Prix and $50,000 FEI Jumper Classic.
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