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Canadians Successful Across the Border
Victor, NY, USA
Photo: Anthony Trollope/
Gwen Lehari and Daniel at Stuart Horse Trials
Canadian eventing riders recently headed across the border, earning great results at two major U.S. events.

Hawley Bennett of Langley, BC had immense success in the CIC-W*** World Cup Qualifier at Rebecca Farm,  held July 21 - 23 in Kalispell, MT. Bennett claimed third in the CIC-W*** World Cup Qualifier division riding Livingstone, who she co-owns with her mother, Gerry. The 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, fondly called 'Hank', has been Bennett's long-time partner from the North American Young Riders' Championships to Pan American Games, Olympics and most recently, the 2005 World Cup Final.

After completing dressage with a score of 56.7, the pair held fifth place. However, they moved up into second place with cross-country performance of no jumping and just 3.2 time faults. The duo settled into their third place finish after two rails came down in show jumping, adding eight jumping faults to bring their total score to 68.3.

"I was so happy with Hank's performance. He was a bit excited during dressage, because the novice cross-country was running at the same time, but we had a decent test," explained Bennett. "He was amazing cross-country. He jumped clean and we had the fastest time of the division. He's still at the top of his game, and he proved himself again this weekend."

Fellow Canadian, Sandra Donnelly of Calgary, AB  finished just behind, in fourth place with her nine-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding, Buenos Aires. A score of 64.2 put the pair in eighth place after dressage, but they leaped up the standings to fourth place after receiving no jumping, just 9.6 time faults cross-country. Finishing their show jumping performance with no time, but four jumping faults brought their total score to 77.8, and secured their fourth place finish. Ashley Harris of Aldergrove, BC finished in 12th  place with Baylee.

Bennett also received fifth place in the CIC2* division, this time with her up and coming mount, the six-year-old Thoroughbred mare, Gin N Juice, owned by Terry and Linda Paine. Despite a slow start, placing 12th after dressage, the duo had a clear cross-country, bringing them up to fifth place. Eight jumping, but no time kept them in fifth place, with a total score of 75.3. Fellow Canadians Ali Holmes-Smith of  Chase, BC and Paddington placed 12th , while Stephanie Montalban of Vancouver , BC and First Impression finished 14th.

In the CIC* division  Therese Washtock of  Summerland, BC and Haida's Fancy Package placed second finishing on their dressage score of 54.3. Jamie Kidston of Maple Ridge, BC and The Rock finished eighth with a score of 68.8, and Amanda Craddock Henry of Kelowna, BC placed 19th  with Sauvingon.

Americans topped the leader board in all of the international divisions-  Gina Miles and McKinlaigh won the CIC-W 3* division with a score of 54.0, Matthew Brown and Jasmine  took the CIC 2* with a total score of 53.9, and American Tara Davis  claimed the CIC 1* division with a score of 47.1 riding Rockstar.

At the CIC2*  Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials, held July 20 - 23 in Victor, NY, Gwen Lehari of Uxbridge, ON finished 11th against stiff competition. Paired up with her 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Daniel, Lehari was tied for 24th after scoring 61.6 in dressage. In a rare swapping of event order, due to heavy rain, next up was show jumping where the pair made a huge comeback with a clear round, shooting them up the standings to 11th place.  

After adding just 9.6 time faults in Sunday's cross-country, on a course which Lehari described had been 'perfect for mud wrestling' on Saturday, they finished in 12th place with a total score of 71.2.  

"Daniel put in a fairly good dressage test, and we had a really solid show jumping round," explained Lehari. "He was awesome cross-country. He jumped everything so well and never hesitated. He was like a little Ferrari on course and we both had a lot of fun, which is important."

Fellow Canadian Samantha Taylor of Richmond, BC rode Lucinda to a 20th place finish. Vanessa Fenwick of Pefferlaw, ON and Balista placed 24th, while Brandon McMechan of Shannonville, ON  and Montenegro finished in 25th place.

The CIC2* was won by American Olympian Darren Chiacchia, who had a total score of 46.2 aboard Windfall II.

Lehari also had the honour of being awarded the Stuart Horse Trials Vintage Cup. Presented to the top placed competitor in each division who is over the age of 45, the lucky candidate receives prizes including champagne and a silver cup.

"It's the only time being old has its benefits," joked Lehari, continuing that she always enjoys the Stuart Horse Trials. "It is a really worthwhile event, for anyone who has never been, they should definitely put it on their calendar for next year."

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