A Record Breaking Weekend

It was a big weekend for smashing records...

On the English side of things:

This weekend was the Spruce Meadows CP International, a tournament that pits teams competing against various other countries at the BMO Nations Cup, and then, the following day, the third and final stop on the Rolex Grand Slam series, The Masters. Spruce Meadows is celebrating it's 40th year as an international destination for the best, of the best, of show jumping, and so it was fitting that on Sunday September 13, we witnessed history being made.

Scott Brash aboard "Hello Sanctos" during the Masters
Photo credits to: @HorseTalkNZ

The Rolex "Grand Slam" was created in 2013, with three stops - Geneva, Aachen & Spruce Meadows. If one rider could win all three events, they would walk away with an additional $1 million dollar bonus for their efforts. Many said it was nearly impossible, with Canadian rider Eric Lamaze stating that the ride would have to be "impeccable" in every aspect. Well, Scott Brash, riding for England, and his mount, Hello Sanctos are just that - impeccable. 

In 2012, Brash and Hello Sanctos were Olympic Team Gold medallists, in 2013 European Individual Bronze medallists, and Team Gold Medallists, and in 2014 Brash captured the Longines Tour Champion. Just this year alone, Brash has won Aachen, Geneva, as well as three of the Longines Grand Prix's. 

So, we he entered the ring on Sunday, everyone was waiting to see what would happen. Spruce Meadows has a reputation for exceptionally hard, and high, courses, with one combination this year even dubbed the "Tunnel of Death." Brash, and Hello Sanctos, breezed through the round clear - and won it all. The first ever Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Champion!

Unfortunately I can't find a clip of the full course just yet, but here is a highlight reel which talks about the Grand Slams, as well as shows footage from the Masters.

... and on the Western side of things:

This one is near and dear to my heart. Not only because it revolves around my most favourite equestrian sport, cutting, but because it is about a horse that I had the sheer luck and riding, and preparing for shows, when I was working in Texas. That horse is Special Nu Baby, and she is something very, very special. After being with a different trainer, "Baby" is back with the man that started it all for her, Matt Gaines. "Special Nu Baby", owned by Barker Ranch LLC was bred by Eddy Longley's Crystal Creek Ranch, she is by Dual Rey, out of Nu I Wood. Nu I Wood, won six major championships, including the NCHA Derby and Super Stakes Classic, under Matt Gaines earning $405,000. Baby, herself, has won $403,000, and is not showing any signs of stopping.

This year, Gaines has been campaigning Baby for the NCHA World Open Championships, and has been picking up wins everywhere he shows her. Attending all the NCHA Mercuria World Series of Cutting stops, Gaines and "Baby" won Las Vegas, then Idaho, then headed to El Rancho Futurity this past weekend. It was at El Rancho that the duo completed their hat trick and picked up their third win in a row. This has not been done since Phil Rapp, and the great mare "Don't Look Twice", accomplished the same feat in 2012. However, that isn't the only thing that "Don't Look Twice", otherwise known as "Lipstick" and "Special Nu Baby" now have in common... At El Rancho, Baby and Matt Gaines laid down a perfect run, resulting in a score of 234... tie-ing Phil Rapp and Lipstick for the highest score ever recorded in the Mercuria World Series.

... Now watch the world record breaking run

Tell me that's not one of the most electrifying things you've ever watched... absolutely incredible. Every time I watch Matt Gaines walk into the herd, I know it's going to be spectacular. His cuts are effortless, and perfectly timed. Then, Baby get's to work, and you just know you are watching history unfold. Gaines and Baby have a huge lead on the rest of the herd when it comes to the NCHA World finals held in December, and things are also looking good for Baby to be the NCHA Horse of the Year.

Huge congrats to the Gaines family, The Barkers, and Special Nu Baby... we are watching history unfold in front of us!


  1. I heard about Hello Sanctos (which autocorrects to sandwich in my phone... Hah) but didn't hear about the exciting news in the western world - thanks for sharing!! :D

  2. Good cutting horses are so insane to watch! That video was AMAZING and I don't even know what I'm supposed to be looking for!

  3. I think we need a post about how cutting is judged. I see the general concept, but I'm curious about how the score is determined.

    1. ooh good idea! I'll try to get a post up within the week. Quite honestly, Cutting is one of the most confusing, and intricate judging/scoring systems i've ever witnessed... haha, I don't even fully understand it some days!

  4. I watched that cutting video a bunch of times on Facebook- and it still gives me chills! What an incredible horse, and how cool is that that you have ridden her.
    Also watched Hello Sanctos on tv- another fabulous performance.


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