Sunday afternoon’s heat wasn’t enough to keep folks away from Thunderbird Show Park, as they showed their support for a great cause.
Happening at the same time as the $129,500 Nations Week Finale Grand Prix show jumping competition, the Langley School District Foundation – in partnership with Thunderbird – hosted the 11th annual Grand Prix Gala.
More than $70,000 was raised through sponsors, ticket sales, a silent auction, and contests, with net proceeds going towards Food For Thought Campaign which every school day provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks to 300 Langley students.
“We are trying to take care of students who come to school hungry every day,” Langley School District Foundation executive director Susan Cairns said.
Specific areas for funding include breakfast programs, nutritious snack programs, and the development of garden-to-table programs for Langley’s 45 public schools.
Cairns said the gala attendees had a great time, despite the soaring afternoon temperature.
“They loved it,” she said. “There was a nice breeze coming through so it was okay.”
The attraction to this fundraiser is its uniqueness, Cairns said. “I think it’s a little different than the other fundraisers. Because of our partnership with Thunderbird, they [guests] can see the horses and riders jump right in front of them as they compete in a national championship.”
The cause of helping students, she added, “resonates throughout the Langley community.”
Nasser wins Grand Prix
In the Grand Prix ring, Egypt’s Nayel Nasser and Jordan took top spot on what was the last day of the 2016 BC Open at Thunderbird.
The Grand Prix presented by Domino High Voltage and Amperage Energy featured 31 riders.
Canadians were well represented with Brian Morton, Lisa Carlsen, Amy Millar, Vanessa Mannix, Eric Lamaze, Yann Candele, and Tiffany Foster.
It was a tough course of 13 jumps with only one clear from Morton after the first 10 rounds.
Amy Millar put together a beautiful, tidy round to become our second clear.
Eric Lamaze and Coco Bongo had a refusal coming out of the line for a total of seven faults.
The first round continued with Rich Fellers and Jonathan McCrea both retiring after having a couple of rails down early in the course. Tiffany Foster was last in and had a lovely, smooth round but unfortunately caught a rail on the the last jump when Victor kicked out behind.
The class finished with five coming back for the jump off, Morton and Millar, plus Conor Swail, Nassar, and Alberto Michan.
Morton put together a fantastic jump off but had one rail coming out of the one stride.
Millar caught a vertical coming into the line after coming in at a bit of an angle.
Nassar was clear to take the lead in the jump off, followed by Conor Swail who got a rail at jump two after a tight turn.
It was left to Alberta Michan who went clear with a time of 36.91 seconds, but couldn’t catch Nayel’s fast time of 35.6 seconds.
Thunderbird course designer Peter Holmes said it was a great competition.
“The course was big and needed precision riding,” Holmes said. “The opening line was solved in both eight and nine strides and the triple combination was big coming in. A number of riders were so close to a clear and I was cheering for them, the closest being smooth rider Carl Cook with a fraction of a second over the time. It was exciting to see Canadians Brian and Amy ride beautiful rounds with their fabulous horses and achieve a clear. I thought it was a very tough competition set for the super high calibre of entries we had at Thunderbird.”