In her second advanced start, Brooke Massie found herself in an unenviable position after dressage with Serendipity at the Bromont CCI4*-S. But she wasn’t worried about her sandbox score in the event held Aug. 16-18 in Bromont, Quebec.
“I wasn’t going to win it,” she said. “I was absolutely dead last after dressage, so I didn’t think that would be the outcome.”
Massie, Saint-Lazare, Quebec, and “Scarlett,” a 10-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Vibank—Gails Gal, Naskra), added one rail to their 41.5 in dressage, but they were the only pair to make time cross-country, vaulting them up the leaderboard to win.
“I didn’t try to make the time, but I have to go fast on that horse because she’s only 15.1,” said Massie. “If she’s going to make the striding and cover the width of the jumps, she has to be moving. I didn’t look at my watch until the end, and I was like, ‘Oh, we’re kind of on track here!’ It was more to go out and give her a positive round and not scare her at all. Making time wasn’t a part of the plan, but it just kind of worked out.
“The horse is just a machine,” she added. “Her dressage is terrible, but it is what it is. She jumps anything.”
Massie has trained with Colleen Loach for the past two years since she moved up to intermediate. She ran her first advanced at Millbrook (New York) two weeks ago, even though her coach was in Peru that week.
“She’ll jump anything; she’s so brave,” she said. “Colleen was at the Pan Ams [for] my first advanced, so I had to do that one a little bit on my own.”
Massie grew up riding in Pony Club in Quebec and evented to novice before her neighbor found Scarlett at the Fort Erie track in Ontario. The mare had raced 13 times before she retired at age 3.
“I’ve been very lucky; she’s been very good. She’s not very mareish,” said Massie. “She does have a strong personality; she’s a bit pushy on the ground. I think she tries to make up for her little size with her attitude, but she’s not a bitchy mare. She’s super sweet with people—not a huge fan of other horses. She doesn’t move well at all, which is why she’s usually not very well-placed after dressage, but she’s super safe over fences. She’ll jump anything, and I never have to push her to make the time anywhere.”
The win was even more special because it’s Massie’s local event.
“It’s our one local show that we have,” she said. “A lot of the people that work there and volunteer there have seen me go through the levels. It’s been really cool, and I was happy I was able to do it here at home for my first one especially.”
Massie believes her long partnership with the Thoroughbred mare is an asset as they look ahead to the blue numbers.
“We’ve been doing it together since the beginning,” she said. “I don’t know if she would really do it if I were to sell her to someone else. She’s a really special horse, and I think our relationship is what’s gotten us this far. She trusts me, and I trust her with my life.”
Massie, inspired by her grandfather, graduated John Abbott College in Quebec to become a police officer two years ago, but since moving up the levels with Scarlett, she’s put that career choice on hold. She’s currently a full-time waitress at a bar in Montreal.
“I kind of liked the idea of doing something different every day and being outside,” she said. “I don’t think I could work behind a desk. I will maybe do that one day, but it’s going so well right now that I couldn’t do it!”
Massie, 23, is often low on sleep, but she makes time to ride Scarlett and couple of clients’ horses to keep her in riding shape.
“It’s definitely a lot of work, especially since I finish work around 3 or 4 in the morning five nights a week,” she said. “I do a limited amount of sleeping. But thankfully I have maybe a max of three horses to ride a day, so it’s not too bad. Scarlett’s the priority, and she’s on a tight program, so we make it work.”
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI4*-L (Maryland) might be in Massie and Scarlett’s future this fall, and perhaps a five-star after that.
“[Fair Hill] wasn’t a part of the plan, but since Bromont went so well it might become the plan!” she said. “I’m going to run Plantation [Field CCI4*-S (Pennsylvania)] and see how she goes there, and if that’s really solid I think we’re going to go for it.”