Braecrest had an incredible Royal experience November 12,  2016!  Our amazing team prepared 9 young horses for the prestigious horse show in Toronto.  Preparations to move the horses down to the showgrounds began Thursday, with preparing tack, equipment, supplies, and packing the trailer.  Friday we began shipping the horses down in three trailer loads.  Unloading under the Gardiner Expressway left our young horses wide-eyed, though turning to us for comfort and safety.  These animals never fail to amaze me with the trust they have in us when they’re brought up with kindness and proper guidance.  Setting up our stalls and getting the horses moved in safely and settled were the next challenges.  I’m so pleased and thankful to our staff, volunteers, clients and owners for being such a great support.

Show day began at 4am Saturday. The two horses we had prepared and qualified for the Governor General Cup and the Lieutenant Governor Cup had their 5am warm up in the Ricoh Coliseum. Both West Star, owned by Andrea Galan-Nicolls and Calvados III, owned by Kat Bennett, were very impressive in how they handled the warm up.   Part of my job as a trainer is to give these horses the skills to make good and safe decisions, no matter what stress they are under. Seeing these two horses go out there and be willing, kind, solid partners, was very rewarding.

7:30AM… Show Time! It’s incredible how 3 years of support and involvement with West Star, from foaling her out, to this very moment at the Royal Winter Fair, all became so surreal.  There was a noticeable sense of calmness I think we both felt once we headed down the chute into the ring.  She knew I had her back, and I knew she had mine.  She jogged beautifully, and stood up so proud with such presence in the Governer General Cup.  Our ride in the Lieutenant Governor was flawless… she didn’t miss a step and didn’t loose focus for even a second. To all of those who work with and ride young horses, you know that is no easy feat!   She felt like she knew this was her moment to put that much more spring into her step.  To be just that much more consistent and patient than she had ever been.  Well, our efforts were most definitely noticed, and most well rewarded.  West Star was awarded first place in both the Governor General Cup, and the Lieutenant Governor Cup!  Clean sweep with my first Double Cup Win!  So proud to have done it with West Star, and my friend Andrea.

Calvados III, was ridden beautifully by Meagan Whiteside.  He had a fantastic trip, nailing his leads, staying focused, and making us all very proud.  How far this horse has come since he came to Braecrest in spring 2016, is the most rewarding measure of his accomplishments as a three year old.  No doubt this amazing young athlete has a very bright future ahead of him. Thank you to Kat and Karen Bennet for the opportunity to do his foundation training, and give him the right start to what will be an amazing career. Thank you to Meagan Whiteside for riding him so beautifully.

The double win with West Star sure set the tone of the day.  Our Canadian Sport Horses had a fabulous show.  Positive comments on their impeccable turn out and quality were so fulfilling. During the yearling filly class, in which I presented ‘Braecrest Beautiful’, the first foal by my stallion ‘Braecrest Beaumont’ and out of EM Wildflower WF,  I received feedback directly from one of the judges, the world-famous sport horse breeder Jan Greve on her exceptional quality.  I couldn’t begin to describe how elated and proud I felt.  This filly is a direct result of 3 generations of my own breeding program.   “I was very, very pleasantly surprised. There were some very nice classes,” said Greve, who had never judged horses in Canada before. “The yearling filly class was exceptional. They were European standard.”

I could go on forever about the highlights of the day.  The biggest highlight of it all though, was how everyone comes together at Braecrest. The support and trust between staff, volunteers, owners, friends, vets, and our farrier, is what makes us so successful. Thank you to everyone for another amazing year.

Claire xx


Show Placings:

AHF Statuesque – 5th in President’s Cup

Braecrest Covergirl – 7th in President’s Cup

Iron Clad’s Fairmont – 1st in Yearling Colt/Gelding Class, and Junior Champion Colt/Gelding

Endeavour – 3rd in Yearling Colt/Gelding Class

Braecrest Beautiful – 2nd in Yearling Filly Class and Reserve Junior Champion

AHF Belle – 4th in Broodmare/Yeld mare Class

West Star – 1st in Three Year Old Filly Class, Senior Champion, and Grand Champion CSHA

Braecrest Beaumont – Presented in CSHA Stallion Showcase