Barrage of wins for Wendt

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

Far away from the pomp, pageantry and pressure of the International Ring at Spruce Meadows, a local show jumper is getting it done in the dusty back rings.

Lindsay Wendt, who hails from High River, won her second class in two days at the North American yesterday, capturing the 1.4-metre Talisman Junior/Amateur Barrage in the North American Ring against the best from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

But winning is nothing new for the 24-year-old, who beat 37 others with her horse, Campiola, a 12-year-old Holstein mare, to claim $1,500 in first-place money.

Last year at the Masters, Wendt set a Spruce Meadows record with three wins in one week and, who knows, maybe she can do it again.

"She (Campiola) set a pretty high standard for herself at the Masters, so I don't want to get my hopes up. We've got one more tomorrow," said Wendt.

Interestingly, Wendt and Campiola's history isn't all roses and ribbons.

Two years ago, she had a nasty fall off the mare which resulted in her breaking a leg in five places.

Needless to say, it was a daunting task to saddle up on Campiola again.

"I had a big recovery after that getting mentally confident to get back on her and get my body back, but it's been fantastic," said Wendt, who won a jumpoff yesterday, beating American Julianna Fischer by almost two seconds with a clear round.

"It was really tough to get back on."

And with all the recent success -- she's only been competing for four years -- Wendt has no plans on turning "professional" in the near future.

"Hopefully, never," said Wendt, who farms and breeds horses when she's not honing her skills in the ring.

"I don't really have a reason to right now. I'm happy doing what I'm doing and I'm happy with my three horses. I don't need to ride anybody else's right now and I'm pretty happy right here."

No doubt, and Wendt, who trains under former world champion Gail Greenough, noted there's no better place in the world for amateur jumpers than Spruce Meadows.

"It is the best opportunity in North America for amateur riders," said Wendt, adding many Calgary riders are doing great things because of the revered show jumping venue.

"You look at the ribbons and there's people from Calgary in the top 10 in just about every class and that's completely because of Spruce Meadows,without a doubt."

Certainly she's in good hands with Greenough and has absorbed a ton of knowledge in a short period of time.

"I have learned more from Gail in the last three months than I have learned from anybody else in my entire life," said Wendt.

"She is fantastic and being a woman rider, you learn more because women don't ride like men do. We're not strong enough."

Greenough, who watched Wendt's dazzling display of horsemanship yesterday, had nothing but praise for her pupil.

"She's unbelievable. No fear. She plans the ride and rides the plan, so she follows instructions, plus she has an incredible feel for the animal -- she has everything it takes to make it to the big time," said Greenough.

Sounds like it's just a matter of time.


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