li Ramsay & Hermelien VD Hooghoeve. ph: Ben Radvanyi Photography
On Sunday, September 24, 2017, Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC, won the $86,000 Grand Prix, claiming the coveted Caledon Cup at the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament in Caledon, Ontario, Canada.
The Caledon Equestrian Park, home of the 2015 Pan American Games, hosted its fourth and final week of FEI sanctioned competition for the 2017 season. Thirty competitors took to the course set by Oscar Soberon of Mexico, with 13 proceeding to the the jump-off.
Ian Miller, ten-time olympian for Canada, was the first rider to post a clear round in the jump-off, guiding the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Vittorio 8 (Valentino DDH x Ramiro’s Bube) to a conservative time of 45.76s.
Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, quickly improved on Millar’s time, stopping the clock in 45.31s to move into the lead with Royale du Rouet, a 12-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Nouveaute du Rouet x Kannan).
Her time would be eclipsed by the next rider in the ring, 38-year-old Isabelle Lapierre of Breakeyville, QC, who raced through the finish line in a time of 41.47s. Lapierre’s partner was the game ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Cescha M (Diamant de Semilly x Calando IV).
The lead changed hands yet again when Ramsay made a daring move on course, cutting inside to a liverpool with Hermelien VD Hooghoeve, her ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. The move paid off, as the scoreboard reflected the new leading time of 40.76s.
Five more riders would attempt to catch Ramsay’s time, although none dared to try her inside turn. Amy Millar of Perth, ON, was the only rider to break the 40-second barrier, but a rail down with her 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Heros, left the pair in 5th place with a time of 38.04s.
“I did not expect that many clear but, given the company we are in, it made sense,” said Ramsay. “It was intimidating being in a field like that with all of the Millar’s and the other experienced riders, but I had a good feeling about today. Normally, I peak early; whenever I win a class it’s been a Thursday or a Welcome class. When I was 4th on Friday night, I thought that maybe I was building it up right this time!”
Ramsay claimed the first grand prix victory of her career, followed by Lapierre, Ballard, and Ian and Amy Millar making up the top five. Surprisingly, the daring move that earned her the win was not part of her original jump-off strategy.
“Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it that well if I had planned it!” said Ramsay. “She drifts so far right and when we landed inside, I saw it, and she just went for it with me.”
Her double-clear 4th place finish in Friday night’s $35,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup – Phase Two, combined with her victory in the $86,000 CSI2* Grand Prix, which acted as Phase Three of the Caledon Cup, gave Ramsay a total of 33 points in the Caledon Cup standings over Ian Millar who earned 32 points paired with Dixson.
“That was a bit of a surprise!” said Ramsay of hoisting the Caledon Cup. “I didn’t really think about it because everyone else had been so consistent. When we were all lined up waiting for them to announce who the winner was, I started to think that maybe it was a possibility. When I heard my name, it was a nice surprise.”
Ramsay was quick to credit her trainer, 2008 Canadian Olympian team silver medalist Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, with her success. “Jill is amazing. She works just as hard as I do with my horses, maybe harder on somethings, and I owe a lot of it to her.”
In addition to claiming the victory, Ramsay also won the $1,000 Henry Equestrian Plan Rider Bonus, presented to the highest-placed competitor sporting the HEP saddle pad presented to all FEI competitors during the FEI horse inspection. In another special presentation held prior to the start of the $86,000 CSI2* Grand Prix, Alexanne Thibault of Boucherville, QC, was recognized as the recipient of the McKee-Pownall FEI Groom Appreciation Award. Selected during the FEI horse inspection, Thibault, who competed in all three phases of the Caledon Cup riding Chacco Prime, has the unique distinction of being her own groom.
The results go as followed:
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Ali Ramsay Victoria, BC Hermelien VD Hooghoeve 0:0 40.76
2. Isabelle Lapierre Breakeyville, QC Cescha M 0:0 41.47
3. Erynn Ballard Tottenham, ON Royale du Rouet 0:0 45.31
4. Ian Millar Perth, ON Vittorio 8 0:0 45.76
5. Amy Millar Perth, ON Heros 0:4 38.04
6. Francois Lamontagne St. Eustache, QC Chanel du Calvaire 0:4 42.78
7. Kelly Soleau-Millar United States Itty Bitty 0:4 43.35
8. Nicole Walker Aurora, ON Excellent B 0:4 45.39
9. Hyde Moffatt Brantford, ON Granturo 0:4 45.41
10. Beth Underhill Schomberg, ON Count Me In 0:8 41.35
11. Jordan Macpherson Toronto, ON Aanwinst 0:8 45.18
12. Hugh Graham Schomberg, ON Knock Out 3E 0:8 46.12
13. Shannon Clifford United States Riesling de Milvrault 0:eliminated