Spruce Meadows Guest Post

Today’s Chestnut Hill blog post is again courtesy of rider Madison Bradshaw.  She and fellow-rider Kris Loewenthal traveled up to Canada with assistant trainer John Wohr to compete at the legendary facility, Spruce Meadows.  

The horses  left Sunday afternoon to travel to Spruce Meadows. Each traveled via box stall in Glenn’s trailer for the 30 hour trip.

Each of the four tack trunks was packed to the brim, complete with an itemized list required to cross the border.  They arrived safe and sound midnight Monday/Tuesday.  Despite the long trip, altitude and drastic weather change they held up really well.  Katina 12 literally jumped off of the trailer.  The next day, however, they spent plenty of time resting before their hacks.

Some of the Spruce Meadows residents turned out in one of the 18 rings.

Kat doesn't like Canadian food (I can't blame her). Behind are the tents where the horse are stabled.

The Spruce Meadows facility is truly unmatched in the Americas with its 7 sprawling grass fields.   The show is run on time down to the second and the caliber of horses and riders is incredible.  Just walking around the show grounds it is common to see Rich Fellers hacking Flexible or Beezie Madden on Coral Reef’s Via Volo.  The caliber of competition and the beauty of the facility is truly unfathomable unless you see it first hand.

Jeff Cook, John’s mentor, traveled up here to school us and made a seamless transition in the training program. The first day of showing went extremely well.  Despite only arriving 36 hours prior and never having seen the spooky rings and jumps each horse had just one unlucky rail.  Thursday, team competition day, went even better.  My horse Ithaca (Moofy) had 1 rail in the 1.20m and her team finished fifth.  My other horse, Katina 12’s team qualified to jump both rounds of team competition where she had 1 down in each round to finish sixth.  The highlights of the day however were Kris’s trips.  Her team “NorCal Teens and Queens” qualified to jump both rounds.  Kris put in 2 solid trips with 1 rail in the first round and a clean second round.  At the end of the both rounds there was a 3-way tie for first and they were forced to jump off for the final placings.  After the jump-off, NorCal Teens and Queens came out on top, winning the 1m Prix des Nations competition!

Kris and Solo taking a victory gallop after their big win.

The trip so far has been incredible but there is still a lot more to go with the “Grand Prix” rounds tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather holds out, but that is always a toss up at Spruce, where it is common knowledge that you will get all four seasons in 1 day! Fingers crossed…