In a career that boasts 186 podium finishes since 2013 (Jumpr App), Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster is no stranger to the the annals of equestrian history.
With 80 victories under her belt with such proven 1.60m horses such as Figor, Hamilton, Northern Light, Brighton, Victor, and Triplle X III, not to mention a firm foothold in the world top 25, Foster’s journey has been one marked by excellence since the Ziegler family first staring purchasing horses for her in 2009.
However, one accolade had remained elusive—a Grand Prix win at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
That is, until now.
Foster, a two-time Olympian and media delight, secured her maiden victory in Saturday’s CSI4* NetJets Grand Prix at Wellington International astride her 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Battlecry.
“It feels great because I have competed a lot here. This isn’t like, oh, I’ve only done it a couple of times. I’ve done this a lot,” laughed Foster. “So no, I’m really, really proud of my horse. I’m really happy to finally check this one off.”
At just 10, Battlecry wasn’t an obvious choice to accomplish the feat for Foster.
Purchased as a seven-year-old through a collaboration with owners Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms and Kent Farrington, the Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vido D Arsouilles Stx x Latano) had only jumped two 1.55m classes prior, both at Spruce Meadows last summer. They logged 10 faults in the first and triumphed with a win in the second.
“I spent last year really putting some mileage on him, helping him to hone the skills that he needs to be able to go out and do things like this,” Foster continued. “And he’s a real competitor. He loves coming back for a second round. He loves a little atmosphere.”
Ironically, it was the Battlecry’s natural weakness that played to their strategic strength in Peter Grant’s short course on Saturday night. Foster, 39, explained, “So my horse has a little bit of a right drift. So I thought that that actually was really going to suit him.
“I knew I would be able to get the seven pretty easily up to the wall, and if you were able to take a run across the middle to that oxer and do the six into the double it required extreme athleticism on the horses part. I have a lot of faith in my horse and I knew that that right drift would help me get there in that number. I also know that this horse seems to really love to run to the last jump. By the time I cleared that plank was clear, I knew I could take a rip at that last one and he was going to fly it.”
Foster stopped the clock at 39.63 seconds to take her first WEF Grand Prix title—and first ever Grand Prix win for Battlecry. Brazil’s Luciana Lossio slotted into second on Lady Louise Jmen in 40.07. France’s Nina Mallevaey and Cartier Sr, third in 40.12.
“He’s an incredible horse. He’s a little bit special. He’s very sensitive and he’s a little bit of a tense horse, so I spent a lot of time just trying to calm him down,” Foster shared about Battlecry.
“[When we bought him] I think he was probably not an overly obvious to a lot of people because he had a little bit of his own style and kind of went his own way. But I had a lot of faith in him. Since the day I saw him, I have loved that horse and, I am really excited to see what he is able to do.”