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  • Writer's pictureCatie Staszak

Knight’s Confidence Rises in YETI Welcome 1.40m

Georgia Knight and Ecolano vs Romano©tbird/Kady Risby

Langley, BC — Georgia Knight (CAN) has made winning a habit during the 2024 Thunderbird Show Park season.

But while the majority of her victories have come against her peers in the U25 division, she added a win in senior company to her resume Friday at tbird’s West Coast Classic. She and her longtime partner, Ecolano vs Romano, were best in the YETI Welcome 1.40m.

The duo prevailed in a 10-horse jump-off over Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) short track with a winning time of 40.49 seconds. Ayla Martinoff (CAN) and A Crown Royale finished second (41.92s), followed by Sloane Betker (CAN) and Kristalstar (43.07).

“My riding right now—I feel like I’m on a roll, and it just feels really good to keep that going,” said Knight, 20.

Knight brought two mounts forward to the jump-off, and she tested the waters of the shortened course aboard Ero del Pierire, with whom Knight jumped her first international classes at tbird’s Odlum Brown BC Open in May. Knight and the rangy grey jumped another quality clear round in the jump-off, but they left the door open on the clock, as Knight stored away the knowledge of what the winning strides needed be.

“My first horse has a huge stride. It doesn’t look like it, but his stride is huge, and I think I got a bit lost on him,” Knight shared. “I did the same numbers on my second horse, but I felt like I knew how to ride the numbers. I know [Ecolano vs Romano] so well that, even though his stride isn’t as big, I can make it happen.”

Martinoff returned early in the jump-off and set a standard that proved difficult to catch, holding the lead for much of the final moments of the class, thanks to a furious gallop to the final vertical. She and Knight would ultimately separate themselves from the rest of the field, but Knight trusted her horse’s natural gallop.

“I actually didn’t watch Ayla’s round, but her horse is small, and she must have booked it. She’s a very fast rider,” Knight said. “I just trusted my horse’s ground speed, because he’s naturally very fast.”

Knight is using the West Coast Classic in part to finalize her preparations for the North American Youth Championships, where she will represent Canada on the nation’s young rider team in Traverse City with Ero del Pierire next month. While Ecolano vs Romano—affectionately known as “Romeo”—won’t make that trip, the horse still plays a key role in that preparation, particularly when it comes to confidence.

“Right now, Romeo is probably my most competitive horse. I’ve had him the longest,” Knight said. “The horse I had last year, Onyx, was my main horse, and when I gave up my lease on him, Romeo kind of had to step up and be my confidence booster. That’s just what he is. He’s just always there [for me].”

YETI Welcome 1.40m

Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

1. Ecolano vs Romano / Georgia Knight / CAN / Georgia Knight / 0/0 40.49

2. A Crown Royale / Ayla Martinoff / CAN / Ayla Martinoff / 0/0 41.92

3. Kristalstar / Sloane Betker / CAN / Sloane Betker / 0/0 43.07

4. Ruby / Laura Jane Tidball / CAN / Thunderbird Show Stables / 0/0 43.42

5. Lestat OLD / Ashley Arnoldt / CAN / Jennifer Arnoldt / 0/0 45.92

6. Ero del Pierire / Georgia Knight / CAN / Georgia Knight / 0/0 46.20

7. Cyber Lady Z / Stephanie Valdes / CAN / Wendy Valdes / 0/0 48.66

8. Rhapsody / Sarah Lottis / CAN / Kevin Lottis / 0/4 42.42

9. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Kassidy Keith / 0/4/43.12

10. Nico 1427 / Kylie Martens / CAN / Kylie Martens / 0/4 44.85


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