By Catie Staszak for Thunderbird Show Park
Shauna Cook is grateful that she listened to her mother.
After all, when she first tried the Hanoverian mare Caya in Germany, she wasn’t convinced the mare was the right match. But her mom, Sheilagh Kelly was, and she was right.
Cook and Caya topped the CSI3* Winning Round 1.45m Saturday at Thunderbird Show Park, just the second 1.45m competition of the horse’s young career.
James Chawke (IRL) and Howard du Seigneur finished second (47.57 seconds), with Nicole Haunert (USA) and Camalita third (48.51).
“This is my mother’s horse, and she’s the one that picked the horse,” Cook said. “I tried the horse and said, ‘Don’t buy it,’ and my mom called and was like, ‘We’ve booked a vetting and the flight [home] and the horse is coming.’ So, we decided the take the horse.”
What convinced Kelly?
“[Shauna] said [Caya] was a diamond in the rough, and she’s grey,” she said.
Five years later, Caya is beginning to sparkle. Cook and the 9-year-old mare jumped one of just three clear first rounds over Peter Holmes’ sizeable and technical 1.45m track. However, in a winning round format, the top 10 combinations return for a shortened course, all with a blank slate. Chawke took full advantage of that opportunity, galloping into the lead with the promising 9-year-old stallion, Howard du Seigneur, after having a rail in the first round.
That gave Cook a target, and she and Caya managed to move ahead, thanks in part to their efforts up the first line, in which they did one less stride than the runners-up.
“I didn’t count [there]. I just went,” Cook said. “She’s really fast, and I just went for it at the beginning so I could give her a little time at the double and at the end [of the course].”
Cook no longer has any reservations about her horse. In fact, she wants more like her. She’s bred Caya via embryo transfer to her stallion, Gallup.
“Thank goodness our mothers know best,” she said.
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Whitethorne LLC always carries a number of high-quality Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation horses for sale or lease in Southern California. All of these horses are personally chosen by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman and her partner in Germany, and represent some of the best competition horses available in Europe for every level of competition in Hunters, Equitation, and Jumpers. Georgy travels to Europe several times per year and together with her partner in Germany, selects the best of the horses available in Germany and Holland and several other countries in Europe, and imports them to Whitethorne Ranch where they are available for sale or lease.