Sunday, July 25, 2010

Talent Squad Series at the International Bromont: Ontario’s Sarah Johnstone Takes the Lead

Bromont, July 23, 2010 – In jumping, 17 rider-horse teams took to the course for the 4th qualifying test of the Talent Squad Series held on Québec territory, a competition which took place today during the International Bromont, at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park. This 1.45 m test goes towards the Talent Squad Series overall standings, with the Eastern Final to take place next September in Ontario. Québec natives Isabelle Lapierre, François Lamontagne, Nicolas-Xavier Bélanger and Vanessa Robert were among the competitors. Victory ultimately befell Sarah Johnstone (who also finished 4th with her other mount Starlet), followed by Irishman Jonathon McCrea in second place, and Alberta’s Kelly Koss in third.

The course designed by Canadian Grant Field was comprised of 11 obstacles, 14 jumping efforts, and 3 double combinations. The allowed time of 76 seconds, as well as many technical difficulties, really put the riders to the test. Following an exemplary performance from the very first competitor on the course, Irishman Jonathon McCrea, we would have to wait for Alberta’s Kelly Koss, 13th rider to the test, to declare a jump-off. Ontario resident Sarah Johnstone then joined the pack. Vanessa Robert and Nicolas-Xavier Bélanger could do no better than 12 penalty points, while François Lamontagne and Isabelle Lapierre suffered a refusal at obstacle number 5, a narrow vertical located immediately following a big oxer. They were both also penalised for exceeding the time limit. But considering the other riders’ performances, all hopes were still alive to finish in the top ten.

Consisting of a 7-obstacle run (including a double combination followed by the infamous oxer preceding the vertical), the jump-off promised to be challenging for all three riders. Jonathon McCrea clocks out with a 39.58 seconds time, but lowers a rail. Kelly Koss performs the best time, yet garners two jumping faults. The road is then clear for Sarah Johnstone and her horse Leonidas. Taking her time, she performs a flawless run in 44.11 seconds.

Currently holding 3rd and 7th place in the Eastern Division’s preliminary standings, the young Sarah Johnstone added precious points in today’s outing. In the Western Division, Kelly Koss is also doing well with her third place ranking. Holding the 7th and 8th spot, Québec natives François Lamontagne and Isabelle Lapierre are still in the Talent Squad Series running. With five qualifying rounds remaining (3 in Ontario, 2 in Québec), all those riders have coveted points still to gather towards the National Championship.

The day’s program ends with the 1.50 m CSI**, where 25 rider-horse teams are expected to take to the course.

35th Edition of the International Bromont, from July 21st to August 1st, 2010. Information : Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park, 450 chemin
de Gaspé, 450 534-0787,,

Jump into the action and witness a page of equestrian history!

1st Sarah Johnstone / Leonidas 0-0, 44’11
2nd Jonathon McCrea / Colorado 0-4, 39’08
3rd Kelly Koss / Carlos Don Benito 0-8, 38’04
4th Sarah Johnstone / Scarlet 4, 69’80
5th James Gillam / Channel 5, 78’63
6th Ljubov Kochetova / Casper 212 6, 80’55
7th François Lamontagne / Unik Circa 6, 81’22
8th Isabelle Lapierre / Vicki Vale 7, 87

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