Devon, Pa.—Sept. 28
As the Grand Prix freestyle picked back up following the mid-class break for a ring drag and vaulting exhibition, the crowd at Dressage at Devon was pumped. Kimberly Herslow kicked things off for the evening, and as she rode one-handed down her final centerline, she gestured to the crowd to cheer along with her.
Coupled with some bouncy music from other competitors, the energy from the crowd was intense. But as Lindsay Kellock rode Sebastien underneath the arch reading “Where Champions Meet,” the gelding puffed up just a little bit more, and she knew he was in for a good ride.
“That atmosphere is great for him, and it wakes him up a little bit more and he has more energy,” she said. “I felt him come out a little tired after the Grand Prix, after he gave it his all. He tried his heart out.”
Using a freestyle that she borrowed from teammate Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu’s old mare Countess, which included music from Madonna, Kellock has upped the difficulty since she first debuted the gelding at Grand Prix back in February during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Florida) to include more canter work, a one-handed passage and a passage half-pass.
“He’s still green; I wasn’t sure how he’d handle this degree of difficulty, but he executed it very well,” she said. “If I had to say one thing, I made an error in my changes, but that was on me completely. I think the highlights were our one-time changes, the half-passes; the passage throughout the test was really good.”
The judges agreed, giving her a 75.87 percent to take the win ahead of Fraser-Beaulieu and All In (74.94%).
“We’re a good team,” Kellock said of her relationship with Fraser-Beaulieu. “Brittany’s my best friend; competing with her is pretty special. To be one and two in the Grand Prix was amazing, especially after a big break for her [because she had a baby this year].”
Kellock, 29, has been riding Enterprise Farm’s 13-year-old Rheinlander gelding (Sandro Hit—Feine Dame Good Hope’s, Fidermark) for the past three years. She got the job riding for the farm around the time she decided to start her own business, after working for her godmother Ashley Holzer for seven years.
“I had a couple of students of my own at the time, and Ashley was also helping me get students and training more people out of her barn,” she said. “I didn’t have the time to be able to manage Ashley’s barn, and also try to make training business. But she develops us all into our own professionals. She has factory of people coming up, and it’s just incredible. She’s a mentor throughout. It’s not that we leave and that’s the end.”
Holzer remains Kellock’s coach today and also helps Jacquie Brooks, who won the Grand Prix Special earlier in the evening aboard her new mount Westwood 5. Kellock worked with Brooks before moving to Holzer when she was 18. She groomed at a World Cup and two Olympic Games with her mentors, and after having her own international success at this year’s Pan American Games (Peru), where Canada took home team gold, Kellock is eager for what comes next.
“I came out of Pan Ams lucky enough to have a horse like Sebastien that’s showing potential for the Olympics,” she said. “That was a really big drive for me, just getting a taste of what it’s like to compete at international level for team Canada. The memories were amazing, and I’m so motivated.”
Devon proved a good first step, so Kellock will do her homework leading up to the start of the winter circuit, as Canada’s qualifying period for consideration for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year starts in January.
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See results from Dressage At Devon here.