Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) saw 28 entries test his first-round course design, with five pairs welcomed back for the jump-off contest. One of the early challengers for the jump-off, Gilbertson explained that she was able to gain an advantage over her competitors with Baloppi, who is "very quick naturally, and the faster you go with her, honestly, the easier she is to ride. She's naturally a winner. She's amazing."
"The course was careful, and I don't think it was overly big," she detailed. "The course designer definitely got their number [of clears] right." There were a few spots on course that rode a little differently than she originally planned, Gilbertson continued. "In the first round, [the line] from the Liverpool to the triple bar rode a little bit differently than I thought. I thought it was going to be a bit more steady. I think everything came up very quickly in that ring with those verticals off all the short turns, so that was a bit expected, other than that I think it was pretty much what it walked."
Gilbertson is preparing Baloppi for an upcoming trip to Europe, and has also been stepping her up to do 1.50m competitions. "She hasn't done that many classes this height," Gilbertson revealed. "She's very careful, so we wanted to take our time stepping her up, and in the past few months she's just gotten better and better. She feels like she's more comfortable, she's gotten a little scopier, and she's had some night class experience, too."
The pair had to call upon their experience to put in a competitive round early in the second round, putting the pressure on for those to follow, Gilbertson commented. "Going in the beginning of the jump-off, I had to take chances where I could and go fast, because I didn't know how everybody else behind me was going to do, but luckily it all paid off!"