Chesler gets jump third time around

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

Frankie Chesler had a couple of false starts yesterday at the Kubota Cup Big Ben Memorial Grand Prix show jumping event in Nepean.

But what a finish.

After retiring with her first two rides yesterday, Chesler came back to win the top prize of $18,000 in the $65,000 competition aboard Vdl Nuit De Pomme, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Sher-Al Farms. She also received a Kubota RTV 900 utility vehicle for the win.

They nipped John Pearce of Stouffville, showing Archie Bunker, by .11 of a second in the jump off, denying Pearce, the 2002 champ, another title.

"It was a rough day, let me tell you," said Chesler, a 24-year-old from Orangeville who was excused with Oscar Vdl and Picolien Zeldenrust, ending her first two go-rounds of the Danny Foster-designed course.

It was a demanding course with only four tandems making it to the jump-off.

"Knowing my horse, I knew we could go fast," said Chesler of her strategy in the jump-off, where she clocked a time of 46.69 seconds against Pearce's 46.82.

Chesler has clearly benefited from a year in Europe where she had the chance to ride a lot of different horses in The Netherlands and learned from watching other riders.

Chesler also picked up 180 points in the first of four events in the Eastern Kubota Cup Division.

Pearce said he made a small mistake, slowing down going into "the skinny" fence, misjudging the distance and feeling his horse was getting away from him.

"That cost me the class," he said, "but my horse is only seven and I was trying to protect him. We've had a lot of success so far and I wanted to try and get that little RV (tractor). I love my gadgets."

A surprise third-place finish was delivered by 19-year-old Ashley Fleischhacker.

When asked how much experience she had at the Grand Prix level, she replied: "Today."

"This is the biggest class I've ever done," said the Florida native, who moved to Canada and trains with Eric Lamaze. Just last winter, she was showing in low junior amateurs.

She guided Cycan, a nine-year-old stallion, to a pair of clean rides yesterday and picked up $8,000.

"Luck was on my side (yesterday). I was not expecting this at all. (Cycan) stepped up and played for me," said Fleischhacker.

Rivendell, shown by Chris Pratt of Belfountain, was the other horse to make it to the jump-off.


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