Laura Jane Tidball was sitting in the stands between classes at last November’s The Royal Winter Fair and musing about horses. Along with her mother, Jane Tidball, and fellow rider Tiffany Foster, she was thinking out loud about the “if only” horses. You know the ones: “if only we had the chance to buy this one.” And, “if only we had that extra bit to go for a big grand prix horse.”
But the Canadian rider wasn’t rueing her current string at all, aboard her talented horse Prim’ De Lairaud, she’d jumped to a strong 2nd place finish in the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Calgary at The Royal West. Tidball’s career was going places, and yet, that top 1.60m horse was missing from her string.
A month passed and suddenly, a series of events fell into place for Tidball. A family property that had been on the market for a long period of time suddenly sold, causing unexpected funds to become available. And through Foster and Eric Lamaze, Tidball learned that the talented bay gelding Concetto Son that Olympic champion Steve Guerdat of Switzerland had lauded as his ideal second horse, was available for Tidball to try if she was interested.
“It was a little bit like my grandparents were looking down on us, going you should get on that airplane and go to Switzerland and try this horse,” Tidball said. “Which is what we did, and I got on him and it was pretty amazing and we clicked.”
Guerdat has brought the 12-year-old Oldenberg gelding (Concetto Famous x Drosselking II) along since the horse was an 8-year-old. The pair competed all over the world together in speed classes, and recently notched up a string of top finishes and a win at the 2016 Longines Masters of Los Angeles. In their final show together this past November at CSI3* Liege, Guerdat and Concetto Son added another win to their record in a CSI3* Table A speed.
“I think I am probably the luckiest person right now, I have a horse that really didn’t start showing till he was 8, I’ve had one of the best riders in the world ride it, it knows nothing wrong and I am so grateful to Steve and to Eric and to Tiffany, for helping me find him,” Tidball added. “I mean, it’s a dream come true.”
For Tidball, 2017 suddenly holds more opportunity than ever, and she’s already begun an exciting winter season. She made her first-ever trip to the Winter Equestrian Festival this week, and stepped right into the International Arena with Concetto Son. Together, they jumped clear with one time fault in the competition $35,000 WEF Challenge Cup 2.
“To have a horse that has never really has made a mistake, how amazing is that.”
Tidball, whose family owns and operates the Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, also runs a training business and will be heading back to the West Coast to meet up with clients at the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit. She hopes to step up to a developing rider’s tour for Canada this year, and a trip to compete in Europe isn’t out of the question.
But for this week, she’s riding high on the momentum of an exciting, and so far successful, new partnership.
“I walk into the barn everyday and look at him like ‘you’re actually mine’.” she says. “To have a horse that has never really has made a mistake, how amazing is that. We try to do that with our own horses, but to buy something older and think that it’s not jaded in some way, it’s rare. I’ve got a horse that has only been ridden well that I could only have of dreamt of riding.”