The first annual Caledon CDI3* Salute to Dressage at Caledon Equestrian Park was chalked full of great competition and some very special moments.
The three-day event featured multiple levels of competition across five show rings from FEI competitors on down, but perhaps the most special moment of the weekend came Saturday (July 21), when the Dressage world said goodbye to one of Canada's most successful Dressage pairings in Jacqueline Brooks and “Goose”.
D-Niro, a 19-year-old Swedish warm blood gelding, better known to his followers as Goose, and Brooks put on a show for their fans and supporters in the Main competition ring during a special celebration and barbecue in honour of the duo and their career together.
Brooks, 50, credited Caledon Equestrian Park (CEP) as a big part of her and Goose's success over their storied eight-year career together, which featured an Olympic appearance in London in 2012, as well as a Dressage World Cup finals entry in 2013.
"I've been showing in Palgrave for probably as long (Caledon Equestrian Park) has had dressage shows, and I've watched it grow from a fairly small venue to the venue we have access to today," Brooks told the gathered crowd.
"This same ring that the six-year-olds were in today is the Pan American (Games) ring, it doesn't get any bigger than this. So, we can develop our horses at that level right from scratch now, which we were never able to do."
"When I bought Goose... he had cursory knowledge of the Grand Prix, and we had less than 18 months to teach him the Grand Prix before the Olympic Games. Palgrave was a big part of that. I was at every show showing the Grand Prix probably three times a weekend," Brooks said. "Without this venue I probably would not have been able to get to London."
Equestrian Management Group (EMG) General Manager, Craig Collins, paid tribute to Brooks and Goose during a presentation ahead of the barbecue, thanking the pair for their many contributions to the sport.
Craig Collins of Equestrian Management Group (EMG) Congratulates Jacquie Brooks and D-Niro on a successful career. Photo Credit: Karie Elizebeth Photography.
"Thank you to you both for all of the joy you have brought us through the years! Team work makes the dream work and this team makes dreams come true! Thank you, Jacquie and Goose," wrote CEP on its Facebook page following the pair's heart-felt farewell performance.
The week's competition featured multiple divisions in addition to several FEI competitors. Prizes were awarded in divisions at the Gold, Silver and Bronze levels, as well as in the Western-style Dressage division, a first at Caledon Equestrian Park.
Long-time sponsor and friend of Caledon Equestrian Park, Greenhawk Equestrian Sport, generously sponsored the Silver Divisions, while new sponsor Dutch Masters Design and Construction Services sponsored the FEI Intermediate Freestyle class.
Dutch Masters representative Gary van Bolderen a long with USA 4* Judge Mike Osinski present the winning award to Tom Dvorak aboard Cyrus for their win of the FEI Intermediate Freestyle.
Photo Credit: Karie Elizebeth Photography.
Dutch Masters is Ontario's only construction services company specializing exclusively in horse farm properties.
Caledon Equestrian Park would also like to thank Deer Ridge Equestrian for their generous contribution to the Caledon Salute to Dressage CDI3*.
Deer Ridge, a dedicated dressage-training facility, is situated in the heart of Hockley Valley just minutes from Caledon Equestrian Park. The property and facilities offer a tranquil setting for training with beautiful pastures, bridle trails and a professional staff committed to providing the highest quality horse care.
Tattoo 15, owned and ridden by Canadian dressage Olympian Belinda Trussell, was also honoured last week after being selected one of this year's Omega Alpha Healthy Horse Award recipients. The award is presented annually by Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals in both Canada and the U.S. to horses selected for their health and fitness while competing at the highest levels of equine sport.
Show-jumping action returns to Caledon Equestrian Park this week with the Equestrian Festival, running through Sunday, July 29.
Also coming up is the third installment of Date Night at the Park on July 31. For a $2 admission fee, visitors can take in a movie on the big screen in the Grand Prix Ring.
Refreshments are also available at the main pavilion.
The next film on the bill is "Harry and Snowman, a riveting 2015 documentary about Harry DeLeyer and his famed mount he saved from slaughter only to capture show jumping's triple crown in the late 1950s.
Visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com for a full schedule of events and complete results from past shows.