The stars and stripes had a lot to celebrate at Spruce Meadows on the 4th of July during the first day of the 2012 Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ Tournament. The American’s started out on their roll with 17 year old Reed Kessler (USA) aboard Onisha, a 13 year old Warmblood mare. Kessler faced off against 76 horse/rider combinations over the 500 meter course and 14 jumping efforts, designed by Michel Villancourt (CAN). Kessler is celebrating not only her 3rd FEI win at Spruce Meadows this season, but also a nomination to the 2012 US Olympic Team headed to London in August. Later this month, she will celebrate her 18th Birthday.
The celebration of the red, white and blue continued in the 1.50 meter AON Cup, featuring 14 jumping efforts stretched over 475 meters of track. With 45 horse/rider combinations competing over the Michel Villancourt (CAN) designed course. Nineteen combinations returned to the jump off. In the end, nobody could catch Richard Spooner (USA) and his 13 year old Warmblood gelding, Apache. Spooner is back on track to defend his title in the 2012 ‘North American’ Championship, with 4 FEI Victories at Spruce Meadows this season alone.
With the sun setting on the International Ring on the fourth of July, Rich Fellers (USA) had more than just his country to celebrate. A tough track designed by Michel Villancourt (CAN) saw 4 out of 25 horse/rider combinations move into the jump off. In true form, the 16 year old Irish bred stallion was unbeatable over 14 jumping efforts and 480 meters of track. This win adds to the pair’s perfect score at Spruce Meadows this season, winning 3 of 3 competitions entered. Despite all the success recently, including taking home the FEI Rolex World Cup Championship in April, Fellers isn’t letting it get to his head. “People ask me, how many wins, how much prize money, but none of that really matters to me,” said Fellers after his win in the International ring today. “I just take it day by day, and focus on keeping moving forward.”
Olympic fever mounts tomorrow with the Canadian Olympic Committee officially announcing which Canadian riders will be representing the maple leaf in London this August. Spruce Meadows will be hosting the C.O.C. announcement, tomorrow at 11:00am in the Meadowcourt building. FEI International competition resumes tomorrow at Spruce Meadows, with the Progress Energy Cup at 4:00pm, and concluding with the PWC Cup at 7:30pm.
Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services.
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