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Ontario Championships at Belvoir
Delaware, ON, Canada
by Amber Heintzberger
Edie Tarves and Arwen
The SSG Riding Gloves Ontario Provincial Eventing Championships took place September 1-2, 2007 at the Belvoir Horse Trials in Delaware, ON. It was a beautiful weekend for riders to compete in nine divisions of Entry level to Preliminary, as well as two local, non-championship divisions for armloads of prizes as well as bragging rights.

Top honours in the Open Preliminary Championship went to Edie Tarves riding Robin Campbell's lovely mare Arwen, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred/Swedish Warmblood cross by Holberg. Competing in her second year at preliminary level Arwen also won at Checkmate and Grandviiew earlier this year and was second at Woodwinds and fourth at Will O'Wind.

They finished Belvoir with a final score of 36.10 penalties, adding only a couple of cross-country faults to their dressage score.
Momo Laframboise and Irish Kate
"I was thrilled," said Tarves. "We broke into the 30's in dressage and I was very happy with that, and it was a tough stadium course and she was double clear. She was good and rideable and that's something I've had to learn, to ride her a little quieter. On cross-country she was a teensy bit slow, but she was dead on - there were lots of skinnies and corners on the course and she jumped them all well. I was here last year too and they upgraded the course well for this event."

Tarves plans to take Arwen to Wit's End to compete in the CCI* and move her up to intermediate level next year.

Second place in open preliminary went to Stephanie St. Pierre on Santo Domingo (45.4) followed by Nicole Parkin on Lexus (46.8) and Karl Slezak on Nicole Shinton's Shrunk in the Wash (47.1).

The Preliminary championship was hard to predict, right up until the end. Momo Laframboise had a good lead going into cross-country on her mother's homebred mare Irish Kate, but a slow and steady cross-country round dropped them several places. Kelly Poland and Digby went clear and Amirra finished third overall.
Kelly Poland and Digby
Poland, of Hillsburg, ON inherited Digby, a 17-year-old Pecheron/Thoroughbred cross who has competed to the advanced level, when his owner Lexy Cameron passed away last year. Poland has had the gelding since April.

"He's great," she said. "He's king. There's no other horse like him." Poland said that she likes to compete at Belvoir, explaining, "The course here is great - we love coming here and the Pocock family is very hospitable."

Momo Laframboise said that Irish Kate is only seven years and this was only the mare's second time competing at the preliminary level. "She's still green cross-country so it was a challenge for," she said. "The first half I really had to ride her but then she flowed better. It was a championship course, and it was tough for a green horse and had good questions for the older ones. It takes a real partnership."

Though victory was not theirs, Laframboise was pleased with Irish Kate. "It was the best dressage test she's had - it took me a season because she's tricky. She was a little too exuberant in stadium, over jumping the fences, but she jumped brilliantly and went double clear, and cross-country was green but there."
Karl Slezak and Bailiwick
She also competed Blown in the Wind in the preliminary championship, a nine-year-old owned by Jo Young and Bill McKeen. "He came to me a couple of months ago when he had some difficulties in the training process and has as much if not more talent that the mare - when I said 'go', he went! He was fantastic."

Laframboise also rode two Trakehners owned by Steve Chupa. She won her division of training level with Third Time's A Charm ("Roksalana") and had a good finish with the homebred Dexter in the pre-training.

"The event is fantastic," said Laframboise. "The venue is stunning and they did a great job organizing it. With the conditions this year the footing was great, and they have great prizes and sponsorship. They've done a fantastic job."

Karl Slezak, based out of Wolf Run Farm in Caledon East, ON won the open training championship with Bailiwick, a handsome five-year-old palomino Quarter Horse gelding that was bred for reining but became an eventer when he grew too tall. Slezak is training the young gelding for owner Karin Schmidt, Tottenham, ON who will take the ride after he has completed a few preliminary horse trials.

In addition Bailiwick and Shrunk in the Wash, who he will take to the one-star at Wit's End next, Slezak competed Don J. Good's five-year-old Pavarotti, a horse that he got in the winter and said is excited about working with.

"All three horses rocked around the cross-country," commented Slezak. "The course was a little small, but it was a good test with good questions in the middle."

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