Brittany Fraser & All In Canada’s New Stars at Small Tour Reaching for Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
DEVON, Pennsylvania, Sept. 26–With Brittany Fraser’s results on the eight-year-old All In placing the partnership in the top tier of the small tour in North America this year the Canadian stars are moving up to Grand Prix with the 2016 Olympics as the goal.
To help step up to the pinnacle of the sport on a horse that is acclaimed as international caliber, a seasoned Grand Prix mare, Countess, has been bought from Denmark for the 25-year-old rider to gain experience–“so I’m not green on green,” is the way Brittany put it.
Brittany and the Dutch Warmblood gelding All In (Tango x Damiro) are at the historic Dressage at Devon World Cup event this week to wrap up a triple header of late summer shows in the northeast United States that so far has notched four wins in four starts. She launched their CDI Prix St. Georges/Intermediare campaign on the Florida circuit last winter.
Their success has been against elite international riders such as the Germany-based Christilot Boylen, a fellow Canadian. Brittany’s score of 73.694 in the Intermediaire I at the NEDA Fall Festival World Cup event in New York a week ago was a scant 0.105 per cent that Christilot posted as the highest in 2013. Her 73.509 per cent as her best Prix St. Georges compared with 73.728 per cent logged by the United States’ Kimberly Herslow and Rosmarin.
Equally remarkable is the high regard in which she is held by those who have had contact with her–fellow riders, officials, trainers, media representatives.
She is what Ashley Holzer, the four-time Canadian Olympian and her coach, describes as “refreshing for how hard working she is… never looking for short cuts… a kind, lovely person… fabulous eyes on the ground that I trust when she tells me something…”
“Brittany is one of those people you would like to find a fault with because how can someone be so good,” Ashley said, “but there is nothing.”
The media is attracted to her because she is self-effacing with a winning smile, looks lovely on a horse that she rides as a partner and not as a means to achieve her goals and in a sport hungry for fresh personalities she is young–the future that is here.
Brittany grew up in New Glasgow in the Atlantic province of Novia Scotia. Her father, who owns a construction business, was into horses, as she puts it, and she started riding as a five-year-old. At the age of 13 she was going regularly to train with the legendary Ruth Koch in Ottawa from ponies to Young Riders for 10 years.
She competed at the North American Junior/Young Riders Championship in Lexington, Virginia in 2007 and her team placed fourth.
Brittany had already decided that horses were important in her life.
“I’ve always had a passion for horses since I was pretty much born,” she told dressage-news.com. “I love to compete. I’ve made so many friends in the horse industry. I get to see the world doing it.”
Before deciding on a horse career though, she went to Algonquin College to study business for one and a half years. She gave it up to devote her life to equestrian pursuits though admts she may have learned some business that could help her in the future.
Then came what she hoped would move her to the next level, buying a Prix St. Georges stallion that she gelded. The horse hurt himself and she ended up riding it for less than a year.
She had been going to Forida for the winter circuit for five years but with no horse she went with fellow Canadian Chrs von Martels to Holland’s Equine Elite auction and bought two horses.
One of the horses was All In.
“I knew when I bought him he was a good horse,” she said. “He was five. I’m surprised he turned out this quality. When I first sat on him I thought he had the potential.
“Now, he’s the horse of a life time.”
She sold the other horse, and trained with respected young rider coach Albrecht Heidemann through to the national fourth level.
A year ago Brittany started training with Ashley who works out of New York and Wellington, Florida.
“Ever since, this has been a great experience, amazing between rider and trainer,” Brittany said.
The first year at small tour in the 2013 Florida circuit was, she said, just getting him through the test, giving him exposure, experiencing the high energy that comes with intense competition, concentrating on getting through it.
Brittany is just 5 ft.6 ins. tall and weighs 125 lb. (1.67m, 56.7kg), not big enough to muscle around a 17.3-hand (180cm) horse.
After the Florida circuit last winter, Brittany worked with All In to make him a lot stronger and more confident, not showing the horse over the summer.
The results at the New York shows, she said, “really shows our training. All the hard work is paying off.”
As the next step in aiming for the top of the sport, Ashley with help from Canadian Olympic team mate Jacqueline Brooks found the 11-year-old mare, Countess, ridden by Canadian Eiren Crawford in Denmark for Brittany. The purpose was for Brittany to compete Countess to become proficient at Grand Prix in preparation for the CDI Grand Prix debut of All In.
Ashley’s tentative plan is for Brittany and All in to compete on the three-month Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in the wintwr of 2014 then go to Europe.
“If all goes well,” Brittany said, “I would love to go. I think he has the quality.”
With the next Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015 to have teams of mixed small and big tour horses as a qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 Brittany and All in could be major factor.
Meantime, she said, she is starting a career she hopes will extend though her life.
“I want to keep going to Florida. It’s a great set up. What more could you ask for?
“And Ashley… I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”