|Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster of Vancouver, BC, rode a hot streak to the top of the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic on Sunday, Feb. 9, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
On Thursday, Foster guided Victor to the win in the $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round V – Section B while on Saturday night, it was Verdi III that Foster piloted to a double clear round and a sixth place finish in the $370,000 World Cup Grand Prix, presented by Rolex.
On Sunday, Foster was back in the spotlight, topping a 95-horse starting field to win the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic. A total of 10 horse-rider combinations advanced to the jump-off over the track set by 2012 London Olympic course designer Bob Ellis of Great Britain, and it was Foster and her 2012 London Olympic mount, Victor, who held the key to victory. The pair sliced more than two full seconds off the leading time posted by world number one and reigning Olympic team gold medalist, Scott Brash of Great Britain. Foster’s time was 44.25 compared to Brash’s 46.75 seconds with Hello Annie.
“He was awesome!” said Foster in appreciation of Victor, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms. “It feels really good to have a week like this. I am so happy with my horses. All of them jumped unbelievably this week. You really can’t ask for better than that.”
Of Victor, her partner of four seasons, Foster noted, “This is a horse that has jumped some big tracks and has a lot of experience. I got Verdi III last spring and he has been able to do the really big classes, so I have been able to use Victor in a few of these classes now and he is extremely comfortable and extremely confident. It is actually pretty easy on him.”
Foster made it look easy as well. Of her jump-off strategy, she explained, “It looked to me like Scott was actually pretty conservative. I think that is a horse that is pretty new to him, because we all know he can go super-fast. He looked like he wanted to just give the horse a really nice round. I kind of did the same track as him, just a little faster, just a little more ground speed everywhere, because my horse has a little bit more experience. It seemed to work out in the end!”
How does it feel to beat the number one ranked rider in the world?
“That is the coolest part of the whole thing; I made him stand there and take a picture with me just to have proof that this actually happened!” laughed Foster, referring to the awards presentation.
As a result of her success, Foster, 29, was also presented as the Martha W. Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider for week five of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
“Carlene and Andy Ziegler have been incredibly generous in supporting my career, and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done,” said Foster, who rides for the Ziegler family’s Artisan Farms, based in Wellington, Florida, and Vrasene, Belgium.
Foster will continue to compete throughout the 12-week FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival before returning to Belgium in the spring.