Molly Ashe (USA) rode to victory on Saturday, June 27th at Spruce Meadows, in the first competition in the Meadows on the Green aboard Louisburg Farm’s Balous Day Date. Ashe and the ten-year-old Oldenburg mare (Balou du Rouet x Domino) won an 11-horse jump-off out of 67 original starters to top the $34,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m. They completed the fastest of six double clear rounds in 46.12 seconds.
For the second day in a row, Eric Lamaze settled for second place in the 1.45m competition with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stables’ Rosana du Park, just off the mark in 46.98 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) finished third in 47.84 seconds aboard Bon Jovi. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Cyklon 1083 placed fourth in 48.53 seconds.
Ashe started riding Balous Day Date this winter in Florida and was quickly impressed with the mare’s incredible talent and natural style.
“She is feisty,” Ashe detailed. “She is a great horse. She is a trier and she is a fighter. She is very sure of who she is, and she is just one of those point and shoot, super fun horses to ride. She does not want to touch the jumps, and she naturally knows how to get out of the way, so you just have to not get in her way. Her technique is incredible. I have to thank Louisburg Farm and Beth Johnson for the opportunity to ride her.”
Heading into the jump-off, Ashe knew the group of very fast horses and riders that were still to come, and knew she needed to execute a flawless round to be victorious.
“I have not met a jump-off here yet where you have not had to be spot on,” the rider stated. “It is incredibly competitive here, so I knew there was no margin for error. I just tried to go as neat and tidy and smooth as I could with her and make all the inside turns. She was spot on every step of the way. I was lucky because the one oxer turned up perfectly off the turn; I just turned and it was right there. That was giving people some trouble, but everything just turned up for me today. That was nice; it does not always happen that way.”
Balous Day Date was a little over faced with a 1.55m competition during the first week of the Summer Series, so she moved down for a couple of weeks to get her confidence back. With the boost of a good win this weekend, she will now move back up to compete in the International Ring during next week’s ‘North American’ Tournament.
“We sort of made a mistake the first week and put her in the big 1.55m competition. Then we backed off a little bit to make sure she did not lose her confidence,” Ashe explained. “I think we got everything back to where it should be. She feels solid as a rock now, so back we go in the big ring next week.”
“I think the 1.45m is very comfortable for her now. She still does not have a lot of experience with the big guns, but she is getting there,” Ashe noted. “She is learning to go faster. Today she was right there and I think she got it because she was so smooth. She jumped great.”
The ‘Canada One’ Tournament concludes on Sunday highlighting the $34,000 West Canadian Cup and the $126,000 Imperial Challenge.
Source: Spruce Meadows