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Erynn Ballard a 5* Runner-Up No More

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Erynn Ballard a 5* Runner-Up No More

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“I have been a part of Major League since the beginning, and I love that it takes us to all these places" says Ballard.

Erynn Ballard (CAN), a new member of the MLSJ Roadrunners, checked winning a five-star off her bucket list in the $340,000 Cabana Coast 5* Grand Prix during Leg 1 of the 2024 Major League Show Jumping season in Vancouver, BC.

Aboard her Olympic hopeful Nikka vd Bisschop, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Havanna vd Bisschop x Nabab de Reve), Ballard got a sneak peek at what to expect from the Paris games from course designer Gregory Bodo (FRA) and bested a seven-horse jump-off in 41.49 seconds.

After the first five-star win of her career, Ballard said, “At 1.60m, it’s hard to go fast on any horse and be accurate, careful and have your timing [right], but to do that on a horse you don’t know is a different level. She’s the kind of horse that is right there with you."

Nikka, owned by Tara Dow-Rein and the Rein Family, joined Ballard’s string just a couple months ago with expectations soaring.

Rounding out the podium, Grant Seger (USA) and Frieda finished second in 42.35 seconds, while Egypt’s Nayel Nassar piloted Igor van de Wittemoere to third. Nassar had Ballard’s time beat (41.12 seconds) but pulled a rail to drop to the bottom of the podium.

Not only did Ballard claim her first five-star, the win also granted her a Certificate of Competency for the Paris Olympic Games. That requires recording a score of 8 faults or less in a designated Olympic qualifying event at 1.60m.

“Heading toward the last two jumps [in the first round], I thought, ‘The good news is, even if I knock these down, I’ll still get my certificate,'” said Ballard. “Maybe that was the wrong thought to have cantering to the last jump, but it was also a sense of relief.

“I have been a part of Major League since the beginning, and I love that it takes us to all these places. There are so many things I’m going to take away from this,” Ballard continued. “I’m never going to forget this day.”

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