For the second straight week, Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster put on a show at Thunderbird Show Park, dominating the $40,000 VOLVO CANADA Cup 1.45m at the Fort Festival with Artisan Farms’ Brighton.
Foster and “Brighty” were more than two seconds faster over local course designer Joey Rycroft’s shortened track, crossing the finish timers in 41.99 seconds to take first on Sunday, Aug. 23.
It was a standard that simply could not be matched; despite jumping first in the order, none of the following eight jump-off competitors could catch the pair. In fact, Foster could not even catch herself, ultimately securing third honours aboard her third jump-off ride, the up-and-coming Northern Light.
Separating Foster’s entries on the podium was Kyle King from the U.S. who, after winning Friday’s $5,000 Kubota Welcome 1.45m aboard Dustin 254, finished second with Enzo.
“Whenever Brighty goes first, it’s usually dangerous for other people, because I don’t have any kind of plan other than to just go really fast!” Foster exclaimed.
The formula has served Foster and Brighton well on numerous occasions, and the pair were easily the most accomplished in the competition’s 25-strong field — something to be said, considering the lineup also featured a myriad of Nations Cup and five-star veterans. But Brighton’s resume speaks for itself: among his many accolades, the 14-year-old KWPN gelding won two five-star competitions in the span of a month earlier this year in Wellington, FL (USA).
“I was talking to his owner, Andy Zeigler (of Artisan Farms), on the phone, and I said, ‘You know, the thing with Brighty is, if you go in and you don’t feel like you [messed up] and you didn’t pull somewhere and you just went as fast as you can go, it’s really hard to catch that horse,’” Foster said. “He’s so fast across the ground, and he’s so fast in the air, that it’s really, really hard to beat him unless I make a mistake.”
Foster, who grew up competing at tbird, has had a joyous homecoming to Langley since relocating to the venue following the postponement of the global competition calendar in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also topped both the $5,000 Maui Jim Welcome and the $40,000 ATCO Cup at last week’s Fort Classic.
She’s used the time in her home town to not only keep her top mounts in form, but to also develop younger prospects. In addition to fellow Artisan Farms entry Northern Light, another young entry, The Hamilton Group’s Hamilton, also advanced to the jump-off, finishing seventh.
“This is fantastic experience for all these horses,” Foster said. “These grand prixs really feel important. It’s exciting. There are good sponsors, and they have the sponsors here watching. [The class] is on CBC and across Canada, so that’s exciting for us. This year, every little thing counts.
“It really feels like a [major] grand prix, so I think it’s great experience for these younger horses to feel a little bit of that pressure or the nerves of the rider—whatever it is—and just a little bit of atmosphere. I’m developing those horses to continue along in the sport and hopefully do some big things.”
Competition at tbird has resumed under restrictions that include temperature checks any time anyone enters the grounds, spacing in the stables and between competitors, and wash stations throughout.
There are no spectators allowed in the stands, but fans can follow via streaming video at tbird.ca/tv.
VOLVO CANADA Cup 1.45m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Brighton / Tiffany Foster / CAN / Artisan Farms, LLC / 0/0 41.99
2. Enzo / Kyle King / USA / Seabright Investment Consultants Ltd / 0/0 43.60
3. Northern Light / Tiffany Foster / CAN / Artisan Farms, LLC / 0/0 44.37
4. Veyron / Ben Asselin / CAN / Attache Stables / 0/0 44.94
5. The Freshman / Ben Asselin / CAN / Spruce Meadows Ltd / 0/0 46.76
6. Cunningham 4 / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 0/0 47.06
7. Hamilton / Tiffany Foster / The Hamilton Group / 0/0 47.23
8. Baton Rouge / Samantha Buirs-Darvill / CAN / Samantha Buirs-Darvill / 0/0 47.88
9. Castros / Meredith Ellis / CAN / Meredith Ellis / 0/4 51.07
10. Millioninmind / Emily Ward / GBR / Emily Ward / 1 90.91