Canada's Erynn Ballard Victorious After Jump Off Against Herself

Canada's Erynn Ballard Victorious  After Jump Off Against Herself

Erynn Ballard’s trajectory towards Olympic glory accelerated today as the world’s second-ranked female equestrian placed BOTH first and second in the 1.55m Grand Prix qualifier at The ‘Continental’, presented by Rolex.

Ballard, who has yet to make an Olympic appearance despite countless other accolades, topped the leaderboard during the opening round of The Mustangs 410m course with horses Libido Van’t Hofken (breeder: Jozef Vennen) and Gakhir (breeder: Mts. Van den Donk-Kooi) finishing half a second apart at 84.03s and 84.53s. After testing both in the the jump off, Erynn took the top spot with Libido.

The impressive first-second ranking — extremely rare in a division of that level — left Ballard on a high note, as she and the rest of the Team Canada equestrians wait to hear if they will be selected as the final foursome heading to Paris in July.

“To start out so strong with these two horses, I would say the odds are in my favour,” said a beaming Ballard, who won her first 5* Grand Prix at Langley, BC’s Thunderbird Show Park last month. “My first 5* win was the greatest day of my career so far. But everybody that rides a pony, whether you're a little girl, a little boy, or a teenager, you do this to go to the Olympics. So certainly it's in the front of my mind and I've got the horses to do it, but I still have a lot of work to do.”

While fellow Canadian Olympic team hopeful Amy Millar was reluctant to speculate on the possibility of Canada’s first-ever all-female Olympic team when we spoke with her yesterday, Ballard was a little more forthcoming.

“It’s a cool thought,” said Ballard, who would also likely be joined by Tiffany Foster and Beth Underhill. “We are a small group, but we are very strong and we are very united and we are always cheering for each other.

“I'm always hashtagging ‘girl power’. And I think that it would be a great thing for the younger generation of the sport. But at the end of the day, no matter what, we're all teammates.”

Eventually Great-Britain's Matthew Sampson settled as third aboard his 16-year-old Heartbreaker-son, Daniel (Heartbreaker, breeder: Gebr. Bosch)!