Vanessa Mannix Gets off to the Perfect Start at the Royal Horse Show

Toronto, Ontario – November 03, 2023 – Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, Alberta, (CAN) opened the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, by winning phase one of the $150,000 Henry Equestrian Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Friday, November 3, in Toronto, ON.

British course designer Kelvin Bywater was the technician behind the speed track for the $25,000 Henry Equestrian Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Round One, where jumping faults were converted to three-second time penalties. Second in the start order, Mannix, 34, delivered a clear performance aboard Carmela Z, her 12-year-old Zangersheide mare (Candillo 3 x Nissan Caretano Z), in a speedy time of 58.01 seconds. That left the rest of the field chasing her time, but in the end, she could not be caught.

Sean Jobin (CAN) of Toronto, ON, came the closest, crossing the timers fault-free in 60.39 seconds for a second-place finish with Coquelicot vh Heuvelland Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Catoki x Cassini II) owned by Foxridge Farms. 

Nicole Walker (CAN) of Aurora, ON, had the fastest time of the night in 57.59 seconds, but a costly rail at the vertical-oxer double toward the end of the course saw her finish in third riding Atout des Trambles, her 13-year-old Selle Français gelding (Nectar des Forets*HN x Apache d’Adriers).

“I didn’t have the advantage of watching too much, but in the bending line from jump eight to jump nine I did five strides, but it walked six,” described Mannix of her ride through the course. “I tried to use Carmela’s natural advantages. She goes a little right, and she has a huge step, so I really made sure I got up the six-stride line to the double on the side of the arena, which ended up being seven strides for a lot of riders.”

Vanessa Mannix (CAN) & Carmela Z being presented as the winners of the $25,000 Henry Equestrian Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Round One on opening day of Toronto’s Royal Horse Show.

While Mannix and Carmela Z looked completely in sync, it was a partnership that took time to develop. After purchasing the mare as an eight-year-old, Mannix sent Carmela Z to Ireland, where she spent a year and a half under the guidance of Barry O’Connor with rider Jenny Rankin in the irons. In that program, Carmela Z gained the experience she needed to become a top grand prix contender.

“We’ve only really just cemented our partnership over the last 18 months, and I have to say she’s the sweetest and kindest partner a rider could ask for,” expressed Mannix, who trains with top Irish rider Conor Swail and fellow Irishman James Chawke. “Her attitude is the absolute best. She would go through fire for you. Anything that you ask her to do, she’s going to try her very best to do. She has a huge stride and lots of scope, and she wants to be careful. She has a lot of great attributes of a show jumping horse, but number one is attitude.”

“The Royal is such a special show, and it’s always an honour to compete here,” said Mannix. “We are really lucky to have an educated crowd here. They love the show jumping, they know what the show is all about, and they really get behind our home riders. As a Canadian being at The Royal, there are few things more special than to feel the crowd truly behind you.”

Final Results – $25,000 Henry Equestrian Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Round One

1) Vanessa Mannix (CAN) & Carmela Z – 0 – 58.01

2) Sean Jobin (CAN) & Coquelicot vh Heuvelland Z – 0 –

3) Nicole Walker (CAN) & Atout des Trambles – 0 –

Source: Press Release from Jump Media for The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Photos: © Ben Radvanyi Photography