Langley’s Tiffany Foster won the CSI5* Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Grand Prix at Thunderbird Show Park on Saturday, May 27, the first time the top-ranked rider has taken the title.
Foster was one of the few to get clean rounds over the maximum-built 1.60m course from Germany’s Olaf Petersen which saw horse after horse rack up faults on the leaderboard as the class wore on.
“It still hasn’t quite hit me, but I’m so happy and I’m so happy that this happened here at Thunderbird,” an emotional Foster said afterwards.
Northern Light (‘Nora’) is not the horse that she generally uses for these larger classes.
“I’ve called on her a couple of times to step up and jump some of these big 1.60m classes,” Foster explained. “But in general, I sort of keep her in the 1.50m/1.55m slot. That’s partly because I am so lucky with my owners and I have other horses that can jump that height so easily in Figor and Hamilton.
“She’s the kind of horse who doesn’t like to jump that big every single week, because I think she has to make such a great effort. So I have played with jumping really small rounds and just keeping her happy, comfortable and relaxed. I think that I’m figuring out the formula with her. She also likes a smaller sand arena.
“So if I continue with my strategy and place her in the right spots, I think that I should never say that she’s my ‘third’ horse again!”
Course designer Olaf Petersen didn’t anticipate a big jump off, but admitted to a moment of nerves.
“I knew we had a very good group of horses,” said Petersen.
“Also it was an Olympic qualifier and so today was really five star to the maximum build. I knew that we wouldn’t get more clear rounds. But the riders walked the course and they thought it was a little bit on the easy side. Then I got a little bit nervous, until I watched the first horses jumping.”
Show president and operations director Chris Pack summed up how the tbird family feels about bringing the Major League Jumping tour to the Park: “I think I speak for them when we say we’ve become fans. We’ve had three riders in the top ten in the world here this week. That’s never happened. This was our biggest purse for a Grand Prix, and for Tiff to win it at home is pretty cool. We had a great afternoon.”
Foster will be competing for Canada at the Sunday, June 4, Longines Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) Jumping Nations Cup at tbird.
She will be riding Hamilton, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by the Hamilton Group, who was developed by Foster at tbird during the pandemic.
The Nations Cup is happening on Sunday, June 4, with activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at tbird.
On Friday, June 2, competitions run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Saturday schedule runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
And Sunday’s big $400,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup is from 2 to 4 p.m. with gates opening at 1 p.m.
General admission for the Nations Cup is $10 per person, while children five and younger are admitted free.
Spectator tickets for the Nations Cup can be bought online at tbird.ca.
The public is asked to enter the gates at 6975 248th St.
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