Quote of the Week
“It has been the journey of a lifetime with so many dreams realized, so much due to the fantastic horses I was blessed to ride, to whom I am eternally grateful.”
—Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, who announced his retirement from international competition this week. Millar is hoping to refocus his efforts on coaching, developing young horses, and singlehandedly making straw hats cool again (check). Congratulations on a well-earned retirement, Captain Canada, show jumping will miss you!
Piggy French Flies to the Top of the Pack at Badminton
In her 25th attempt, Great Britain’s Piggy French has finally earned her first, CCI4* win at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials aboard Vanir Kamira.
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Fresh off his win with Cooley Master Class in the Land Rover Kentucky CCI4* one week ago, Piggy’s countryman, Oliver Townend, seemed unbeatable on not one but two horses, Ballaghmor Class and Cillnabradden Evo, after Day 2 at Badminton. Walking into the show jumping arena with a rail in hand between himself and French, Townend seemed unbeatable—that is, until he wasn’t.
Clear and inside the time after her own stellar round, French could only watch and wait while Townend & Ballaghmor Class jumped for glory. Midway through their course, they knocked a rail, losing their lead, but completing the rest of the track without issue. Alas, Townend did occur four time faults—a healthy 0.3 penalty— which proved enough to knock him into second place and give French her first major victory. “You kind of get used to saying ‘well done’ to everyone else, and going home and thinking, Oh, I had a rail; I could have been here, I could have been there. You go home and you work away, and you dream again, but you get way more knock-backs. It’s so hard, and it’s just having those people here when it all comes together means so much,” said an emotional French after her finish.
Despite her long-awaited victory, French isn’t new to the record books. According to EquiRatings, she earned more wins in the month of March, alone, than any other rider in the history of British eventing. With this latest achievement, she also becomes the first British rider to win Badminton since William Fox-Pitt & Chili Morning back in 2015. And that’s not all.
French’s win is just the latest in a string of big gains for female eventers, including New Zealand’s Jonelle Price, who took home both the Luhmühlen CCI4* and Badminton CCI4*—also her first CCI4* win at the time—last year. What’s more, 2018 WEG Individual Champion, Rosalind Canter of Great Britain, just took over the #1 position on the World Rankings list. In fact, 5 of the top-10 eventers in the world are currently female. High five ladies! How’s that for equality in sport?
PonyApp Partners: At the In-Gate
(c) The Longines Masters of New York
New York Masters, We Had a Blast
From boundary-pushing debut classes (oh heyyy IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational!) to Grand Prix winner Nayel Nassar's heel-clicking happy dance (more of this, please) and even McLain Ward's sad face (you'll ride Lily's pony next year, McLain!) we're counting down our top-five, favorite New York Masters Insta moments here.
If You Can Only Watch One Round...
Watch Danielle Goldstein & Lizziemary Sizzle in the LGCT Grand Prix of Shanghai
Danielle Goldstein may receive plenty of attention for her trademark hair feathers, but this weekend, the Israeli rider proved once again that talent speaks for itself. Second to last to go on the shortened course of the LGCT Grand Prix of Shanghai, Goldstein maximized top mare Lizziemary’s mammoth stride to best the boys in the nine-horse jump-off field. “Sometimes you have a horse on whom you’re happy to be in the top three, but sometimes, it’s a privilege and an honor to have one you can have a shot to win with,” Goldstein said. (You can also read Danielle’s tips for keeping her ponies in top form here).
PonyApp Partners: Good Reads
A Very Special Senior Horse and Her Long Journey Home
At first glance, Zip may be your typical senior horse—albeit one fortunate enough to have found a new gig late in life with a family halfway across the country. But that’s just where her story begins. Word to the wise, you’ll want to stock up on Kleenex for this heartwarming story about the horse-human connection, courtesy of Brook Ledge.
"Zip" and family. (c) Diane Boothe
Pony SocialGotta Fall? Here’s How to Salvage Those Whites on Classic Day
If you’re one of the many riders who have been unfortunate enough to get into trouble—i.e., get a little dirt on your 'skirt' on your jumper classic day (**slowly raises hand**)—you’re not alone. We all know how hard it is to get footing and manure out of your white breeches, but fortunately, if you have to fall, ammie rider Kianna Noel has developed a surefire technique for keeping your pants spotless in the process. Ladies and gentleman, this is how it’s done.