You’ve heard the saying, “Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen”?
Olympic show jumper Tiffany Foster (CAN) subscribes to the kinder, gentler, Canadian-er approach of “Call ’em king, get ’em to win.”
And it appears to be working.
Foster and her long-time mount Brighton, a horse she describes as “very self-confident,” won the $70,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL on Sunday—BY NEARLY FIVE SECONDS.
According to the Canadian team veteran, she accomplished that astounding feat by stoking his equine ego.
“I think the more that I can let him think he’s the king, the better it is,” said Foster. “He’s won more classes for me than I think any horse I’ve ever had. He’s probably one of the most consistent horses that I’ve ever ridden. He’s just been an incredible horse.”
Of the 41 entries in the speed class, eight went clear. However, none could catch the 12-year-old KWPN gelding’s time of 63.36 seconds. (Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Tienna came closest, stopping the clock in 63.93, but collected eight faults in the process.)
“All of those long lines were heading toward the left, and he has a really big stride to the left and a big left drift,” said Foster of her “super competitive” horse.
“If I let him head left, and I let him go fast, I can usually cover the distance pretty well. Sometimes you have those days where everything just sort of shows up really well, and you end up not having to pull on the reins. If you have one of those rounds with Brighton, you usually win.”
Now if only there was another species of mammals that might work on…
Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Pembroke took second place in a time of 68.24 seconds. Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and Chacna finished third in 68.35 seconds.
*A previous version of this post used the term “positive reinforcement” incorrectly.