believed he needed a few days without a bit. We had a show the following week and I didn’t want to give him time off so we decided to try the hackamore. I had a great first ride with it and decided to jump in it the following day and it worked better than our previous jump- ing bridle,” Uma explains. She had only had Clockwise for about six months at that point, she says, and while they were doing fairly well in the 1.30-1.35 division she wasn’t feeling completely confident. “When we switched to the hacka- more everything started to click and we moved right up and we started having a lot of success,” she says. Uma won the $145,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Vancouver last August at Thunderbird with Clock- wise, then age 11. Master- ing the 1.60m course was a major milestone for them and they were the only pair to go clear out of 30 starters. When Clockwise was

younger, she often strug- gled with a lack of consis- tency in his connection to the bit. “He would play with his tongue a lot and some- times become very light in the mouth. He takes a lot of leg but I didn’t always have enough to get him to take a solid connection, so the hackamore helped a lot,” Uma says. “I save the hackamore

only for the show ring,” she continues. “Often horses take advantage if you use the hackamore too much, like leaning on it, ignoring it or becoming a little numb to it.” For schooling, she uses a soft rubber Popon- cini bit (an Italian brand) for daily work as he is soft and light to ride in it. She is quick to point out

the hackamore wasn’t a ‘magic bullet’ for her chal- lenges with her horse. “For

18 March/April 2019

sure there were some things that improved right away in the hacka- more, but it also took some getting used to. The jump felt softer and it was an easier connection for me with him. I was not experienced with jump- ing bigger tracks in a hackamore and I needed to learn how he responded to it and how much pressure was neces- sary. I also had to get him listening to my leg better for steering.” When asked about the particular

hackamore she uses, she responds, “It was purchased in Europe and I don’t know the brand. I have been searching to try to find another!”

Chris Surbey Originally from the Cana- dian city of Calgary, Chris Surbey was able to move near Ottawa, Ontario when young and train with Jill Henselwood. “Jill really pushed my riding career to the next level,” he says. After completing a finance degree at the University of Ottawa, Chris turned profes- sional and has been fortu- nate enough to represent Canada on several Nation’s Cup teams as well as in the 2017 FEI World Cup Final. While working for the

Southern family, found- ers of Spruce Meadows, Chris was able to take over the ride of their grand prix Holsteiner mare Chalaco- rada (Chalan x Corrado I), known as Chocolate. The pair went on to compete in 22 CSI competitions in 2016 and 2017, including Las Vegas, Wellington, s-Herto- genbosch, Omaha and of course Calgary. Chocolate was previously

TOP: Close up of Uma O’Neill’s horse Clockwise of Greenhill Z in a hackamore that she found in Europe. MIDDLE: Last November, Uma and Clockwise competed at the $35,000 Desert Welcome Stake, National Sunshine Series II, in Thermal, California. BOTTOM: Chris Surbey and Chalacorada competing at the 2017 ATB Financial Cup (1.55m) at the 2017 Spruce Meadows ‘National’ presented by Rolex.

ridden by his friend and colleague, Kelly Koss-Brix, who found the mare while competing in Germany with a string of other horses and rode her to many successes internationally in 2013 and

Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk

Charlene Strickland

Jaimie Jia

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