Top American rider Karl Cook on his 12-year-old mare Tembla rode two clears to take top spot in Sunday’s Longines World Cup Qualifier at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Park.
“I had to ride as fast as I could with my horse and just hope that it was fast enough,” Cook said.
Cook called the World Cup event at Thunderbird “my favourite West Coast show.
“It’s just so nice to be at. You always feel welcome. It’s a great show.”
With a field of 26 riders and horses from seven nations, it was a competitive class that featured both legends of the sport and young up-and-comers.
The jump-off included Langley rider Brian Morton and Atlantis T.
The pair set the stage with a beautiful clear round to earn the first spot in the jump-off.
Atlantis T had not competed at all that week leading up to the class as the horse was being transported back from Europe.
The jump off started off with another clear round from Morton, in 45.77 seconds.
“I’m fortunate that I know that horse really well,” Morton said during a post-competition press conference. “So I didn’t feel like I really needed to watch a lot of people go, to have a good plan.”
Regarding Atlantis T, Morton said, “He responded beautifully and stepped up to the challenge today.”
Morton said he didn’t feel at a disadvantage going first because he knows the horse so well and he just stuck to his plan.
“Now this feels like my home show and I feel a tiny bit of a home field advantage,” he added. “I know the field really well, I’m really well supported by the crowd, here, and I appreciate that very much.”
The next clear round of the jump-off came from Nikolaj Hein Ruus and Big Red.
The pair came in and rode fast with a sharp angle on a big oxer across the middle to take the lead, at 44.40 seconds.
Cook followed and said in the press conference that he saw Hein Ruus’s angle at the oxer and saw he could push that angle even more.
He did and kept the rail up for the winning clear round at 42.95 seconds.