Wachter claims Grand Prix title


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Setting a scorching pace in Westoba Place Saturday evening, Beda Wachter and his horse WH Delilah took home the top prize from the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/03/2019 (1461 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Setting a scorching pace in Westoba Place Saturday evening, Beda Wachter and his horse WH Delilah took home the top prize from the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.

He had a feeling he clinched the Grand Prix title after the second jump in the event’s jump-off. The jump-off is a heat that takes place after the initial run that features horses tied for placement vying to win.

“I didn’t know what my time was, but I thought it could work so I gave it my best shot,” Wachter said.

The electricity in the arena was palpable as they entered the ring, Wachter said, and Delilah thrived on the feeling.

A newer face, Wachter has already made his mark at the Winter Fair, quickly becoming a competitor to watch, Winter Fair light horse chair Shirley Neudorf said.

Based out of Innisfail, Alta., Wachter has been coming to the fair for about five years

The Grand Prix proved to be an exciting affair, challenging riders with the most difficult course of the week. With $25,000 in winnings to be shared with the top 10 athletes, 13 competitors entered the arena.

All put their best hoof forward, creating a compelling and competitive class for audiences to watch.

“It was down to the last horse and it was so exciting,” Neudorf said.

Nipping at Wachter’s heels, Spruce Meadows Ltd.-based Nikolaj Hein Ruus took home second and third place at the event.

“Nikolaj, he’s always a hard one to beat,” Wachter said.

Wachter walked away with a purse of $7,500 for taking the Grand Prix title, Ruus took home $5,500 and $3,000 for his second- and third-place finishes.

Wachter is a force to watch in the arena, Neudorf said, bringing “big guns to the competition.”

Riding a relatively young horse, Delilah is eight, the team found success over the week.

“She can still be a little bit off and on,” Wachter said.

It comes down to the horse’s heart for competition, he said.

Working to push his horse to reach the apex of her abilities, Wachter said she has yet to reach the maximum level of her skills.

“I think she has a bright future, the feeling is unlimited,” Wachter said.

The quality of a horse matters in show jumping competitions, but the key to success is having a horse with the drive to compete.

That love of competition, combined with encouragement from their rider, can create a world-class athlete.

“It’s like any athlete — it doesn’t matter how much talent they have,” Wachter said. “If they don’t have the drive, power and willingness to do it there’s not much we can do.”

Closing out the evening class, Femke Courchaine and her horse Dereusa S took home the KT MacPherson Award.

Courchaine is a seasoned competitor at the event. She made her first appearance when she was nine years of age, and she has thrived in the arena over the past 20 years. From the Netherlands originally, she emigrated to Red Deer, Alta., when she was four.

The KT MacPherson Award honours a rider-horse pair based on points they have accumulated over the week through their placement in open jumping classes.

“I feel really happy about that one, it means a lot to me,” Courchaine said. “I’m very proud we got all those points together.”

She has won the award twice before.

She credits the consistency of her mare with her success in the arena. The duo has been riding together for about five years.

“She’s a dragon, she’s a lot like me,” Courchaine said.

» ckemp@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp

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