Being a Canadian girl, Jill Henselwood knows all about hat-tricks.
Well yesterday she racked up one of her own, winning her third straight North American championship at Spruce Meadows after finishing eighth in the Chrysler Classic derby with her mount, Special Ed, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding.
And, given the intense competition in the International Ring, Henselwood was thrilled with a three-peat.
"I really had my eye on the North American championship ... and I gave Special Ed all of last week off and he was very fresh the first day -- too fresh -- but if the tank isn't full, you're never going to make it past Sunday," said the Oxford Mills, Ont., rider.
She picked up $24,300 in winnings on Special Ed over the week after jumping him in four classes.
For being the North American champion, Henselwood won a one-year lease on a new Chrysler and $5,000 worth of gasoline coupons from Esso, a great prize considering the cost of gas these days.
With the all-important World Equestrian Games coming up at the end of next month in Aachen, Germany, Henselwood has her fingers crossed her performance last week will be taken into account by the Canadian team selectors, who have yet to name who will ride for Canada in the team competition.
"If you can prove your horse can jump in big competitions at 1.60 metres and he's been strong all week, and that's on the good side of the measuring tape," said Henselwood, who won the Direct Energy Cup.
"He feels really strong right now and when you start to compare the resumes of all my teammates, my horse has got all of that in his favour."
Also up for the Canadian team are Schomberg, Ont.'s Eric Lamaze, veteran Ian Millar of Perth, Ont., Mario Deslauriers of Bromont, Que., and Belfountain, Ont.'s Chris Pratt.
Henselwood won the title with 502 points, followed by American Lisa Silverman (Obelix R), who ended up with 444 points.