Erynn Ballard finishes in top 20 at World Cup Final in Omaha

Ballard appeared in her fourth championship at the FEI World Cup Final and she finished in the top 20, placing 17th in an exciting competition in an opening field of 40 athlete and horse combinations from April 6-8.

Weekend Highlights April 7-9, 2023: Canadians in World Cup and Eventing action south of the border

Ballard and Hero
Photo Credit: Shannon Brinkman

In a course designed by Portuguese course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral and team, Ballard guided Hero (Otangelo x Oklund), an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Esperanza Imports LLC and Ilan Ferder, in the speed round to a 19th placing with a time of 63.34.

A day later in Round II, Ballard rode Gakhir (Spartacus TN x Labor’s VDL Indorado), a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Esperanza Imports LLC & Ferder. The duo narrowly missed the jump-off round, finishing with a time of 73.02 and four faults. 

Weekend Highlights April 7-9, 2023: Canadians in World Cup and Eventing action south of the border

Ballard and Gakhir
Photo Credit: Shannon Brinkman

The 42-year-old Canadian and Gakhir entered the final day as one of thirty to compete in the Final III jumping competition. Ballard finished 17th overall, an exciting top 20 placing in the annual premier individual series that showcases the best equestrian athletes in the world.

“It was my fourth championship experience and my first as an individual. I am always so proud to represent Canada,” she commented, “I thought the jumping was big and technical, being in such a small space really made you realize what an exceptional animal is needed to compete at that level. The top horses in the world like King Edward and Monaco can really compete anywhere. I really felt like Gakhir rose to the occasion and impressed the world with his effort.”

The event, that saw 25 countries represented is promoted as an educational event for Omaha residents, specifically for school groups and children to attend. During one of Ballard’s training sessions, she was captured dismounting and greeting a group of youth and introducing them to Hero.

“I thought Omaha had very cool vibes. I love any opportunity to introduce my horses to the world and to give kids an experience like petting and meeting my horses. It brings a different level of joy to my day!” 

Averill Saunders makes first Canadian vaulting appearance at the FEI World Cup

Making Canada’s premier debut in the FEI World Cup Vaulting Final, 18-year-old Saunders, who represented Canada at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning, DEN, was one of eight athlete and horse combinations to compete.

Weekend Highlights April 7-9, 2023: Canadians in World Cup and Eventing action south of the border

Saunders and Max
Photo Credit: Shannon Brinkman

On the first day in the technical test, Saunders and Max, a 12-year-old Mecklenburger gelding owned Voltigierverein Köln-Dünnwald e.V., continued to show her maturity on the world stage. Lunged by Germany’s Sarah Krauss, Saunders presented an intriguing routine and a score of 6.597 for a seventh-place finish.

Saunders and Max entered the Freestyle Test and finished with an outstanding 7.327 and seventh place overall. “It was an exciting experience to compete in the 2023 World Cup Finals. Despite it not going as well as I had hoped, I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be the first Canadian to compete at such an exclusive event. The venue and organization in Omaha were outstanding.”

“Being on a new horse in a high-pressure environment presented a challenge that I believe I handled well. My freestyle, I felt, was substantially better than my technical test, allowing me to finish on an improved note.”

Weekend Highlights April 7-9, 2023: Canadians in World Cup and Eventing action south of the border

Saunders and Max
Photo Credit: Shannon Brinkman

Saunders will switch her focus to the CVI in Grote Brogel, BEL, “I’ll be competing there with my championship team from last year, Nina Vorberg and Rockemotion. I am very excited to present what we have been working on and to compete with this combo again.” She added, “after that, we will compete in the senior division in Ermelo, NED, Lier, BEL, Wiesbaden, and Aachen, GER. We will be traveling to Flyinge, Sweden, in June for the very first Youth World Vaulting Championships where we hope to win Canada’s first medal in the sport.”

Waylon Roberts takes third in the CCI 3*-S at Stable View

Canadian rider Waylon Roberts of Scarborough, ON, finished in third place in the CCI 3*-S at Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina from April 7-9, 2023.

Weekend Highlights April 7-9, 2023: Canadians in World Cup and Eventing action south of the border

Roberts and OKE Ruby R
Photo Credit: Shelby Allen

In a field of 23 athlete and horse combinations, Roberts aboard OKE Ruby R, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Namelus R x B. Termie R 6) he co-owns with John Koppin and Michelle Koppin, started the weekend with a score of 42.0 in the dressage phase for 23rd.

The Canadian pair then jumped clear to move up to sixteenth before an outstanding cross country course with a time of 5:56 and a final score of 46.0. Roberts and Doug Payne (2nd place) of the USA were the only two athletes to finish inside the time.

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