Shauna Cook’s (CAN) mount Caya is like a box of chocolates: you never really know what you’re going to get. But for Cook, that’s what makes it so fun. Thursday at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) was extra fun for Cook and her team, earning the win with Caya in the CSI3* 1.40m Two Phase to open FEI competition for Desert Circuit VIII.
The duo topped an impressive field of 32 international stars as the Canadian anthem played at the close. “I like mares because they give a little something extra and they’re never the same every day,” Cook said following her win. “It’s sort of the drawback but also makes it exciting and interesting.”
Cook and Caya blazed around Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) track, topping fellow Canadian Ali Ramsay and Conrado 12, who took second. Third place went to Laura Hite (USA) and Aviator Z, owned by HF Farms LLC.
“She’s kind of a speed specialist; it’s her jam,” Cook continued of the 10-year-old Hanoverian mare (Christian x Quintender 2). “It felt great to be out on the grass today. She loves it; she knows it because we show at Spruce Meadows and Thunderbird.”
Cook’s mother, Sheilagh Kelly, was the one who firmly believed Caya needed to join the family when they found her as a green 5-year-old in Europe. “ She hasn’t disappointed us at all,” Cook said. “She loves this level and she loves to go fast. It’s been fun. My mom owns the horse so it’s a family affair.”
Caya was quite green, even for 5, when they first tried her, but that did not dissuade them. “My mom really likes beautiful greys,” Cook continued. “She thought there was something special about her, even though she was green and it would take some time. Mother knows best!”
The day didn’t start the day off in a winning manner, but Cook prevailed and pulled out the win regardless.
“It was an interesting day actually; everything was going wrong,” she shared. “We had a shoe issue and had to be moved down the order because our corks weren’t staying in. We started with adversity, but that seems to be our ‘MO’. A little adversity works for us. I was actually trying a new bit, so between the new bit, the corks, and the first day on the grass I thought we’d just go and do our thing and it goes how it goes. She’s just naturally fast and you get on a pace and keep going.”
Source: Press Release
Photo©: High Desert Sport Photo