Langley, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – May 27, 2023 – In a jump-off field of ten, it’s almost a given there will be an Irish rider somewhere in the mix. Saturday afternoon was no exception at tbird’s Major League Show Jumping Canadian Premier CSI 5* & CSI 2*.
FEI Nations Cup™ Final individual silver and team gold medalist Paul O’Shea (IRL) was almost casually efficient in his approach to riding at speed with Squirt Gun, jumping to the top of the leaderboard in the $39,000 Winning Round CSI 5* class on a time of 39.25 seconds.
America’s Charlotte Jacobs (USA) and Rincoola Milsean had the quicker time, clocking in just over 37 seconds, but dropped a rail, which meant they would have to settle for a spot much further down the list.
“I saw Jacqueline [Steffens] go. She was very quick and her horse is a very fast horse. And Darragh [Kenny] was behind me, so I thought I had to give it a really good go, because Darragh’s one of the fastest riders in the world. So we just went to go as quick as we could in a comfortable way for Squirt, and he really jumped fantastic today.”
The Irishman and the 2011 bay Oldenburg gelding (Diarado x Quick Star) boasts a 63% clean round average over 43 rounds at the 1.50m height (Jumpr App). For O’Shea, the goal with his sometimes high spirited mount is to keep calm and carry on.
“I just try to ride him nice and relaxed. Sometimes if I feel he’s holding a lot of tension, we gallop for a few strides, just a little faster, and then he kind of lets a squeal out and relaxes again,” shared O’Shea. “[I] just keep it all nice and easy and calm and no big deal, no pressure. He really wants to do the right thing. He’s a very honest horse.”
Finishing second, also for Eye Candy Jumpers, was Canada’s Jacqueline Steffens (CAN) with Hellcat, posting a clear round in a time of 40.71 seconds. Fellow Canadian Nicole Walker (CAN) rounded out the top three Excellent B, on a clean round in 40.74 seconds.
Final Results – $39,000 Winning Round CSI 5*
1) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Squirt Gun – 0 / 0 – 39.25
2) Jacqueline Steffens (CAN) & Hellcat – 0 / 0 – 40.71
3) Nicole Walker (CAN) & Excellent B – 0 / 0 – 40.74
Source: Press Release from Thunderbird Show Park
Photo: © Tbird / Quinn Saunders / Mackenzie Clarke