October 31, 2015 -- Samuel Parot is due on a plane Sunday morning, back to Wellington, Florida, his base for half the year. But after his great run on the West Coast, he may want to reconsider. Angling to make his first Longines FEI World Cup™ Final appearance, the charming Chilean and Atlantis won their second Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League victory on Halloween night during the Royal West Horse Show in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
As of Saturday night, Sam was the first rider to score two wins in the league, giving him 40 points at about the midway point in the season.
Canadians Yann Candele on Granit S and Jill Henselwood on Farfelu du Printemps joined Sam in a three-way jump-off at the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Calgary 2015, which had been narrowed from a first-round starting field of 22. But they couldn’t catch Sam and Atlantis’ renowned speed—39.23 seconds over Werner Deeg’s nine-effort jump-off, more than two seconds faster than the runners-up.
Not much more than a month ago, the pair took top honors in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Sacramento, going from unfamiliar rider to fan favorite in one fell swoop. With both Atlantis and other horses, Sam has been on an absolute tear on the West Coast circuit ever since.
Sam rides for his native Chile, and he could have declared himself in the South American league. That might have been an easier way to qualify for the Final, but his victory tonight puts him in great place for a berth in Gothenburg, Sweden. More importantly, he should be well prepared when he arrives.
Sam and Atlantis got off to a slow start when they first paired up last spring. Sam broke his collarbone, then broke it again in a jump-off at Spruce Meadows, and Atlantis was temporarily sidelined with a minor injury. But, when they jelled, they jelled.
The 12-year old Zangersheide gelding is naturally fast, quick and easy over the ground. And he’s “super careful and very sensitive,” Sam reports. Looking to get into a jump-off with two-time Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood, he and Atlantis tackled the first round smoothly. Atlantis got a little more excited in the jump-off yet stayed tuned in to his rider’s reining-in cues.
For more about Samuel’s remarkable partnership with Atlantis and upbringing on his family’s cattle-horse ranch in Chile, watch the video below. Show jumping isn’t big in Chile, he said, but the modest horseman may change that if his winning ways continue.
Jill Henselwood was thrilled with Farfelu du Printemps’ performance. He’s a new acquisition for her student, 19-year-old Julia Madigan, an engineering major in college. “She’s immersed in heavy studies, and I get to ride this horse,” Jill joked during the press conference. “That was pretty good planning!”
Jill had been scheduled to ride her stallion Quidam Blue in the World Cup class, but a last-minute change occurred and Farfelu seemed ready for the challenge. “I’ve been gradually inching up the bars on him, but my main responsibility is to develop him and protect him,” she explained. Their clean go in the jump-off clocked in at 44.17 seconds, for third place and some FEI points Jill was very pleased to earn.
Farfelu’s name is best translated from the French as “hectic spring.” Jill says she’s not sure where that came from, but he is a charismatic and talented horse. Watch the video to hear more about his stable routine and antics and Jill’s thoughts on the Royal West’s emergence.
Second-place finishers Yann Candele and Granit S represent an even newer partnership. The 10-year-old is owned by Royal West organizer John Anderson. He’d been asking Yann, a four-time Canadian show-jumping champion, to come out for the World Cup class for some time, and when Yann’s schedule freed up, John offered him the ride on the Polish Warmblood.
Yann made light of the fact that he had first sat on the horse last Monday. “The chemistry was clear right away, but the fact that we did so well is a sign of the horse’s fantastic quality,” he said.
Riding last in the jump-off, they gave the leaders a good run, but finished two-plus seconds slower at 41.58 for second place.
Local rider Lisa Carlsen and World’s Judgement were the fastest of seven four-faulters for the fourth-place finish. She and other riders described the course as appropriately challenging and technical and so did its designer Werner Deeg of Germany. “We should not always talk about how many clear rounds,” he said. “We should talk about seven with only one rail down and nobody eliminated, etc.”
Royal West organizer John Anderson and his longtime partner, Terrific, were among those four-faulters. The rail didn’t dim this master multitasker’s spirits for long. Finishing fifth, John was ecstatic about the night’s outcome.
Now in its second year, the Royal West Horse Show is the product of John and Rocky Mountain Show Jumping’s campaign to bring indoor show jumping to Calgary. The region, of course, is renowned for outdoor competitions, anchored by the Spruce Meadows series of summer and fall tournaments and Rocky Mountain’s own series of shows at the nearby Anderson Ranch.
The Royal West is off to a great start, landing a Longines FEI World Cup™ North American League qualifier this year and for the next two years, plus a place on the North American Riders Group’s top 25 best-show list. A longtime international competitor and 1988 Olympian, John has a keen sense of what riders want and what benefits horses and the sport and adds his own touches to the recipe for successful shows.
He was joined in the field by additional members of Calgary show-jumping royalty. Spruce Meadows’ descendant Ben Asselin earned another three North American league points to sit third in the West rankings. And Laura Jane Tidball represents the Thunderbird Show Park family of Langley, British Columbia, where the North American League’s second class took place in August. Laura and Liam had two rails to finish out of the prizes.
John is ambitious. In addition to building the Royal West for national and international show jumpers, he has his sights set on bringing a Longines FEI World Cup™ Final to Calgary. The Agrium Western Events Center is part of the sprawling Calgary Stampede show grounds. The indoor arena was completed two years ago, specifically to host equestrian competition, mostly Western. But, if John’s hopes for indoor show jumping play out as well they have for his outdoor jumping ambitions with Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, Calgary is in for many years of great jumping sport. Watch the video for more of John’s thoughts on the Royal West’s place in show jumping’s future.
“I think we nailed it!” John concluded.