Farrington wins after storm delays jump-off at ATB Financial Cup
A storm delayed the final jumpoff for Thursday’s ATB Financial Cup at Spruce Meadows’ National Tournament.
Just before 8 p.m., severe winds knocked over jumps as dark clouds encircled the South Calgary facility.
Kent Farrington, the No. 1 FEI-ranked rider, eventually was dubbed the winner with his 38.40-second trip around the jump-off course with his horse Gazelle.
The elements, of course, can throw a wrench in a show jumper’s competition, but Farrington was able to battle through.
“These are sensitive animals, and that’s part of what makes them so great at their job. They’re very alert and that’s what makes them careful,” Farrington said. “When you add wind and things moving that don’t normally move, it’s very different for the horse, and that can be very upsetting or distracting to the horse. It makes it more difficult, for sure.”
Three riders of a seven-rider jump-off were able to complete their round successfully before the storm worsened and the winds picked up.
Eric Lamaze, the third rider to attempt the course, battled galeforce winds to record a slow time of 46.15-seconds aboard Chacco Kid.
Ashlee Bond had begun her round, but Spruce Meadows suspended the competition in the middle of her ride. She was given another chance after the brief delay and wound up finishing second aboard Chela LS with a time just behind Farrington’s.
Following a brief delay and rebuilding of the jump-off course, the remaining riders completed the jump-off before the lightning and rain began.
“I kind of just tried to do what I felt was best for my horse,” Bond said. “With the weather, she’s sensitive, but luckily, she’d very brave and it didn’t throw her too much.”