Patience is a virtue, even in show jumping when the main objective is to beat the clock.

For 27-year-old Olympic rider Bertram Allen (IRL), the real exercise in patience is outside of the ring, because winning partnerships don’t form overnight. When Allen acquired the ride on 11-year-old mare Emmylou, it was actually one year after she first caught his eye when the mare was under the saddle of Norwegian rider Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen.

When Emmylou finally made it into his stable, Allen set the Kask CSI3* Grand Prix during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Week VI as their first longterm goal together. On Sunday at Wellington International Allen and Emmylou accomplished exactly that. A field 44 horse and rider combinations jumped Ana Catalina Cruz Harris (MEX) designed track, giving way to a competitive 10 horse jump-off.

In the end, Allen and Emmylou proved unbeatable on the balmy Wellington afternoon, finishing their second round in a brisk 36.86 seconds. It was over a second and a half faster than Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and 13-year-old stallion Arome Mirabelle (38.21 seconds). Amy Millar (CAN) clocked in at 39.45 seconds to finish third with her 14-year-old gelding tried and Truman.

“The jump-off went to plan. My horse is naturally very fast so I just tried to keep it as smooth as I could. Obviously, the jump-off was still big and there were quite a few faults in it, so I tried to get the right medium between going fast enough and keeping all the jumps up,” said Allen.

Allen’s ability to ride the fine line between fast and careful makes him a good match for the try-hard Emmylou, who’s nature becomes all the more spirited when she steps into the ring. To date, they’ve only jumped seven 1.55m classes (including the Kask CSI3* Grand Prix), but have a 43% clear round rate and 62% top ten finish rate according to Jumpr App.

“She’s a special little horse; she tries so hard, so I get great satisfaction about having the result I did today…She’s a lovely horse in the barn. She’s very relaxed and easy going, but when you really start jumping she lights up. I think she likes her job,” said Allen.

With her first longterm goal marked off the checklist, Emmylou’s next strides are still to be determined.

“This was her main goal and now we will evaluate where we go from here,” said Allen.