JULY 2019 THE RIDER /27 Karl Slezak Bounces Back From Injury For Top-Five

Finish At The Bromont Three-Day Event CCI 4*-L The first half of 2019 has

provided its fair share of chal- lenges for Karl Slezak, but the Tottenham, ON, native perse- vered for a top-five finish with Fernhill Wishes (Chacoa x Gildawn Diamond) in the MARS Equestrian Bromont Three-Day Event CCI 4*-L, held June 5-9, 2019, in Bromont, QC. “I’ve had very few signifi-

cant injuries riding, but this year I’ve had two,” explained Karl, who is a member of the 2019 Eventing National Team Program Development Squad. “I hurt my knee in January, so I was out for five or six weeks. I ran Chocy in the Red Hills CCI 3*-S [in

March] and he was great there, but then I broke my wrist. It def- initely affected my plan; the orig- inal plan was going to [the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event]. It was a heartbreaker not to get there and it’s unfortunate things didn’t work out this year in terms of my preparation, but I had a good support crew that kept him going and in the end it all worked out.” By the time of the Bromont

Three-Day, Karl showed no visi- ble signs of his injuries or the ef- fects of the unexpected changes to his training and competition plans. He and Chocy started out strong in the dressage phase on

June 7, placing eighth on a score of 33.10 penalties. The next day, the pair jumped a clear round over a challenging cross-country course that caused nearly a third of the CCI 4*-L entries to retire or be eliminated. Karl and Chocy sailed over 40 massive jumping efforts and crossed the finish line just 39 seconds over the optimum time of 10 minutes to bump up a spot in the standings. “He was phenomenal cross-

county,” said Karl of Chocy.

and it was a bit scrappy, but he never gave up. He hung a leg off the first water jump and I lost a rein, but he never came off that line; he was totally locked on and ready for that next element. And that’s just the way he goes, he’s completely game and loves cross-country.” A beautifully executed dou-

ble-clear show jumping round on June 9 pushed Karl and Chocy into their final placing of fifth with a final score of 48.70

Karl and Chocy finished on a final score of 48.70 penalty points for fifth place. Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

the 4* at Bromont, so I was pretty excited to get here and it turned out well.” Chocy’s impressive per-

A tough cross-country course with 40 jumping efforts spread out over the hilly terrain of Bromont was no match for Karl and Chocy. Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Karl Slezak of Tottenham, ON, and Fernhill Wishes (“Chocy”) earned a top-five finish at the MARS Equestrian Bromont Three-Day Event, held June 5-9, 2019, in Bromont, QC. Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

“The whole course seemed to walk a bit smoother than it rode – the beginning felt a little rough

penalty pointes. Karl com- mented, “I’m pretty happy, and he’s a great horse. I’ve never run

formance at the Bromont Three- Day proved the bay has the chops to potentially make the Canadian Eventing Team for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, PER. Speaking to Chocy’s chances of team selection, Karl said, “He’s just an all-around good horse. His dressage just keeps getting better and better, I don’t think he’s put in his best test yet. He’s a steady cross-country horse and has been consistently jumping around clean at that level, and I think he can make the time for sure. And show jumping is definitely his strong point, so I think he’d be a good contender.” Finishing just behind Karl

in the CCI 4*-L division was Canadian Olympian Colleen

Loach of Dunham, QC, with Qorry Blue D’Argouges (Mr. Blue x Count Ivor), a 15-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Peter Barry. The veteran combi- nation finished on a final score of 50.40 penalty points for sixth place. Colleen achieved a second top-10 finish in the CCI 3*-L di- vision, where she and FE Golden Eye (Goldfever x Contendro I), the seven-year-old Hanoverian that she co-owns with Amanda Bernhard, placed seventh on a score of 34.70 penalties. In the CCI 3*-S division, it

was Jessica Phoenix of Canning- ton, ON, who cracked the top five with her 17-year-old West- phalian gelding and 2012 London Olympics partner, Pavarotti (Pavarotti van de Helle x Foxi- land XX). The pair placed fifth

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