Jacqueline Brooks and Jaimey Irwin, both Canadians, will represent North America at the Reem Acra FEI Dressage World Cup Final, scheduled for April 25-28 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Brooks will ride D-Niro, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood (D-Day—Alitalia, Napoleon 625) owned by Brookhaven Dressage. D-Niro and Brooks earned the second-highest qualifying average in the North American League, a 72.60 percent. Canada’s David Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital, the top-ranked pair with a 73.97 percent, are opting not to make the trip this year.
Brooks and D-Niro, who competed at the 2012 London Olympic Games, earned their highest freestyle score, a 74.30 percent, at last September’s Dressage At Devon (Pa.). They’ve been honing their skills in Wellington, Fla., all throughout the winter season.
“I’ve sort of had it as my goal throughout the year,” said Brooks. “The kür we’re doing, we developed it with the hope that we’d be going to the World Cup this year.
“I sheltered him from the evening classes before the Olympics because I knew that class would be outside in the afternoon. It’s a whole different energy when you ride at night,” Brooks, 45, continued. “As soon as the Olympics were over, and he was so great in that stadium, I started introducing him to the more electric environments. I did Devon, and he was amazing there, and I did the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, which is indoors, and that gave me a lot of confidence.”
Irwin, of Stouffville, Ontario, qualified aboard Lindor’s Finest, a 16-year-old Canadian Warmblood (Eastern Ruler—Viola) owned by Sylvia Carlton and Ute Busse. Their qualifying percentage of 72.11 percent originally put them fourth on the list, but U.S. rider Shelly Francis declined the offer since her mount, Doktor, is only 10 this year.
Lindor’s Finest and Irwin also earned their highest score (73.50%) at Dressage At Devon last fall, and they did three CDI-Ws in the Wellington area this winter.
“I received an email on Monday [March 25] inviting me, and I said yes,” said Irwin. “I’m very excited about it. Even though it was a newish partnership, I sort of had it as my goal for the year. I felt better and better about it. I couldn’t stay in Florida the whole season, but I did what I could while I was down there.”
Brooks, Cedar Valley, Ontario, and Irwin are still finalizing their travel plans.
The riders’ qualifying numbers were composed of two separate freestyle scores. The two percentages were averaged. Two top U.S. pairs—Tina Konyot on Calecto V  and Adrienne Lyle on Wizard —were only able to collect one score each.