USA’s Carly Anthony is about to face her greatest challenge to date.
At the venue that once made her “sweat.”
The daughter of Redmond, WA-based hunter/jumper trainer, Cara Anthony, the West coast native grew up competing at Thunderbird Showpark in Langley, BC.
“I remember walking the courses out here back in the day when Peter Holmes was designing the Grand Prix. They’d be like 1.40m–1.45m. I’d be sweating. Sweating,” laughed Anthony.
“I used to walk the course with my mom and I’d be crying after the walk.”
A few years and an extended period in Europe riding for Canadian Olympian Eric Lamaze later, a more seasoned Anthony has found herself once again on home soil and competing at the beatific venue. She’s now aboard horses owned by Neil Jones Equestrian.
“There were a few things in my life that changed personally for me at the end of last year that brought me back to the States. After a lot of self-reflection, I met up with Neil [Jones] at the beginning of the year and saw that this could be a great opportunity,” detailed Anthony.
“I decided, you know what, this is going to be the year of something great. This is the year of greatness. I’ve been trying to take full advantage of the opportunities I have and be grateful for that and be open. So far, it’s been a great year.”
Among those “great things” are a slew of national victories in California. Since May, Anthony has logged wins in the Blenheim June Classic II Grand Prix in San Juan Capistrano, the Grand Prix of California at Del Mar and the Rhys Vineyards Ryman Memorial Speed Class at Menlo Charity Horse Show in Atherton.
This week, the young professional will take the next step in her promising career at tbird and contest her first ever World Cup.
“I’d say this is any professional rider’s dream, if you have the horses to compete at this level to be able to come to venues like Thunderbird and all the World Cup qualifiers on the west coast. It’s a great opportunity, if you have the horses.”
If all goes to plan, it’ll be the first of many this year. Anthony has two mounts she’s aiming at the World Cup classes in Sacramento, Del Mar, Thermal and Las Vegas this season—the 12-year old Oldenburg gelding Chacco and the 10-year-old bay Belgian warmblood gelding Clouchard.
“Chacco has a bit more scope. You can go into a big Grand Prix and feel confident and know it doesn’t matter how big it is you’re going to get over it just fine,” said Anthony.
“Clochard is a bit more of a speed horse. You can go into any jump off feeling confident it doesn’t matter what happens, you’re going to be the fastest one and most of the time win, which I’ve had success doing this summer. He gives you that great feeling when you walk into the ring that you can just burn rubber!”
While “speedy horses” are Anthony’s preferred type, she plans to use the diversity in her string to her advantage on the World Cup circuit.
“It’s nice to have two great varieties in case you do have an outdoor venue like here [at tbird] and then when you go to Sacramento in the indoors you could possibly use Clochard as the Grand Prix horse if needed. He’s a bit more compact and ball like,” she explained.
It’s Chacco who will answer the call for the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Facet Advisors, at tbird.
When she rides under the Timberframe into the Fort Grand Prix Ring on Sunday afternoon, emotions will be running high for the 27-year-old rider.
“I would like them to be calm, knowing full well that that might not be the case. But proud. Proud that I’ve made it back to my roots at a level I’ve been trying to accomplish for as long as I can remember, that will be the overpowering feeling,” said Anthony, before adding with a smile:
“Hopefully, I’ll be crying because I won. Not because I’m scared out of my mind.”
Watch Carly Anthony and a field of 32 compete in the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Facet Advisors, live on FEI TV.