The 2022 Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) tour kicked off Friday, May 27, at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, the first of ten stops on the five-star jumping series that spans North America.
This year, there is $8.5 million in prizes and a championship title on the line.
Friday, athletes braved the rain to jump for significant prize money and coveted qualification for the weekend’s biggest classes.
The Fort Grand Prix Arena held three Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI classes), wrapping up with the $73,400 CabanaCoast 1.50m Jump-Off CSI5, which was topped by Nayel Nassar and Igor Van De Wittemoere.
Ireland’s Conor Swail won the $8,800 Maui Jim 1.45m Speed CSI5 aboard a newer mount, Nadal Hero & DB.
“I haven’t really actually ran him that fast before, and he was getting more careful and more quality, so it looks like he’s going to be able to win for me more than once, thankfully,” Swail remarked on the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion.
Fellow countryman Daniel Coyle won the $37,000 Grand Prix Qualifier CSI2.
On Saturday, an unexpected turn of events added drama to the $200,000 Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Team Competition CSI5.
It came down to Helios and Spy Coast Spies, with Jordan Coyle and Picador winning the gold for Helios, only to be eliminated post-competition after a small amount of blood was spotted on Picador’s side by the FEI ground jury.
”Unfortunately, when Jordan Coyle came out of the ring, his horse had a small nick. The FEI rules are in place to protect the welfare of the horse. The [ground jury’s] decision was made with a lot of thought, and they took their time on it,” said Major League Show Jumping co-founder Keean White. “The horses always come first and we all play on a level playing field. We all know that’s the rule and when it happens, it happens. It doesn’t happen often.”
Daniel Coyle made it a double in $37,000 Grand Prix CSI2 at the Fort Grand Prix Arena.
On Sunday, Conor Swail’s Nadal Hero & DB won his second five-star event of the week in the $73,400 CSI5Winning Round 1.50m.
“We’ve had a good week. He’s jumped in two classes and he’s won both,” Swail said. “He’s very fast, and when you go faster, he goes higher. I get a great feeling, I must say. I’m very excited about him.”
Then, in a jump-off of 10 of North America’s finest riders, Jordan Coyle won the $218,000 CSI5 Major League Show Jumping Grand Prix.
Coyle and Elan Farm’s Ariso ran away with the opening five-star grand prix of the 2022 Major League Show Jumping season, crossing the finish timers in 45.89 seconds, nearly a full second faster than their nearest competitor.
“I just felt like if if I could go as fast as [Ariso] can go, it would be pretty hard for everyone else to catch me, and lucky enough, it all worked out,” he said.
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Canada’s Anya Bereznicki, 18, and her 14-year-old Holsteiner mare Diazella won the two classes they contested at tbird’s Canadian Premier, capturing the $15,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.40m Sunday after winning Friday’s U25 speed contest.
More pictures can be viewed on the Langley Advance Times Facebook page.
For the first time in its history, tbird will host two consecutive weeks of five-star show jumping.
Competition will resume June 1–June 5 with the CSIO5/CSI2 Odlum Brown BC Open, featuring the $235,000 Longines CSIO5 Grand Prix on Friday, June 3 and the $400,000 CSIO5 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Canada on Sunday, June 5.
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