June 22, 2009 -- Small things packed a big punch at the 2009 CCI Bromont Three-Day Event in Bromont, Quebec, Canada.
Diminutive Hawley Bennett of Langley, British Columbia, and her equally petite partner Gin N Juice posted flawless cross-country and stadium phases to take first place in the CCI three-star division June 14.
Though 32-year-old Bennett is a veteran competitor who represented Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympics and at the 2005 FEI World Cup with her mount Livingston, the Bromont event marked the first outing at the three-star level for Gin N Juice, a nine-year-old, 15.2 hand Thoroughbred mare.
"My little horse is amazing," said Bennett. "I got goosebumps on cross country...she blew me away."
The horse is owned by Bennett and the mare's breeder, Linda Paine. Since 2004, Bennett has been based at KingsWay Farm in Temecula, Calif., owned by Paine and her husband, Terry. Bennett and Gin N Juice were sitting in third place after Friday's dressage phase and less than half a point separated them from leaders Corinne Ashton and Dobbin after cross country on Saturday.
"She could have easily gone for another two minutes," said Bennett as Gin N Juice easily handled the endurance and braveness demands of the cross-country course.
The spunky mare was just as adept in Sunday's final stadium phase, going fault-free to finish with a three-day total of 51.90 penalty points while Ashton, of Princeton, Mass., and Dobbin knocked one rail to fall to second place with 55.60 points.
In third place was Phillip Dutton of West Grove, Pa., with Kheops de Quesnay. Dutton, a 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medalist for Australia, now rides for the U.S.
Winner of the two-star division was Karl Slezak of Tottenham, Ontario, on Charley Farley with 52.80 penalty points; second was American Nicholas Cwick with Simply Priceless and in third was Dutton with Dario.
Although the Bromont event's history dates back to 1973, last year was the first time it included a CCI three-star competition. This year, the three-star division attracted 17 competitors, making it one of the largest in North America. In all, 149 horse-and-rider combinations competed in all divisions at the Bromont event.
For complete results, visit www.bromont3dayevent.com.