If you’ve been following the Thunderbird Harvest Welcome this week and didn’t know who Katie Laurie was before, you certainly do now.
On Thursday, the Australian rider captured the $37,000 Artisan Farms Welcome with 12-year-old stallion Casebrooke Lomond.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Laurie didn’t waste a single second in vying for another win. Literally. On Saturday she won the $37,000 1.45m Volvo Canada Night Class CSI2* by almost an entire second.
Considering it was only his second FEI event and night class debut, nine-year-old McCaw MVNZ took everything stride. (Or, one stride less. They came down the last line fully determined to do eight instead of nine.)
“He is pretty green at this level but he has so much try in him and he’s so careful. He can be a little bit spooky, but he just wants to do the best he can,” said Laurie.
“I think he’s just super competitive and every time he goes up a level he just tries harder. I think he has a really big future. He is super smart, easygoing, just a nice horse.”
Laurie also finished sixth with Casebrooke Lomond in Sunday’s $73,000 ATCO Cup 1.45m CSI2*, with a single rail in the jump off.
But where did she come from? And is any North American title safe?
Maybe it was McCaw’s second FEI event, but Laurie is no stranger to the rigors of international competition. She competed for New Zealand at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, along with the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Lexington, Horse Park KY and both the 2011 and 2015 FEI World Cup™ Finals.
She’s done quite a bit of her winning on the opposite side of the globe, originally riding under the New Zealand flag. But she’s been bouncing between North America and the land down under for some years now.
Laurie rode for Canadian household name Eric Lamaze in 2006, and then again in 2011. She returned to Canada in 2013 with her husband, a rodeo rider, where they became based at Attache Stables in Calgary. During the week she rode young horses for the Asselins, and on weekends they travelled the Alberta rodeo circuit. Couple goals, right?
In January 2020, they made the move permanent, settling in Okotoks, AB.
“My husband and I had always traveled here a little bit. We loved Alberta and Calgary, so we’ve been here on and off over the years. Just for the show jumping part and he’s into the rodeo side, so it’s just worked out perfect for us to be here,” said Laurie.
Jumps the moon, but is still down to Earth
*Record scratch* That’s me! Second from the right. I (briefly) met Laurie with my pack in 2015 after she won the Canadian Pacific Grand Prix at the FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas with Kiwi Iron Mark.
We saw her on the way out of the stadium, and the Mother Goose of our group asked her for a photo because none of us teens could work up the nerve. She seemed surprised, but happily obliged.
It was a fun class to watch, although I thought the announcer was confused when he called her “a kiwi” too. A quick google search in the stands revealed that’s a nickname for New Zealanders.
It’s in the genes
Laurie’s father represented Australia in showjumping at the Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988. Her mother also competed for the Australian equestrian team, so it was only natural she’d have the jumping gene.
Does Canada get to keep her?
While Laurie plans to stay in Calgary, she’ll continue to represent Australia.
“I just recently changed to ride for Australia from New Zealand so I probably should only change once!” Laurie said.
But after the phenomenal week she just had, we can expect she’ll want to return to Thunderbird very soon.