Jul 07, 2024

Fergusson Captures a First in Maryland International CCI4*S

Canada's Lisa Marie Fergusson rode Honor Me to the win the CCI4*-S at the Maryland International. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photos

Adamstown, Md.—July 6—Canadian rider Lisa Marie Fergusson has collected six FEI wins throughout her career, but it’s been 17 years since she last won at what is now the CCI4*-S level. Victories in any level of competition are hard-earned in the sport of eventing, and Fergusson now adds a seventh win to her belt, this one with her once-in-a-lifetime partner, Honor Me (Brynarian Brenin AP Maldwyn x Dream Contessa).

Honor Me may be 18 this year, but you wouldn’t want to remind him of that fact. With over 30 four-star completions and eight seasons of five-star competition under his belt, “Tali” is an example of longevity and heart.

“He was really bred to do nothing,” Fergusson said with a laugh. Tali is an unusual combination of Welsh Cob and Thoroughbred, bred by a Pony Club friend of Fergusson’s but not intended to become a top level sport horse. “He is just an example of what heart and adrenaline can do for you.”

At this point in Tali's career, Fergusson is placing zero expectations on what events she takes the horse to or how competitive they are. “I am just letting him tell me what he wants to do,” she said, noting that one of the biggest lessons she has learned from her time with the gelding is to really listen to your horse and your horse’s body at all times. “Not all horses read the textbooks. And he didn’t read the textbook on anything; training, vet work, anything. You really just have to be in the moment and pay attention as best you can to feel what’s going on and try every day to make it a little better.”

Courtney Cooper and R River Star jumped to second in the CCI4*-S.

Honor Me has historically turned his nose up at the dressage phase, but this weekend especially his jumping prowess proved its mettle. He and Fergusson steadily climbed the board after starting the weekend in ninth place, and despite a healthy amount of time penalties given the intense heat and the fact that Fergusson chose to let her horse choose his comfortable pace were able to secure the victory on a score of 75.1.

“This weekend when I entered I had no expectations other than to enjoy myself, but he did show that every once in a while the cross-country will make or break you,” Fergusson said. “And it was nice to have a horse that’s never been that solid in the dressage but was a strong cross-country horse, to see that pay off. Not everyone can afford to buy those big fancy movers, and there’s still a place for them in this sport. He teaches you to not take yourself too seriously. Go out and remember that you do this for fun, go out and enjoy the moment and have a sense of humor because it’s not always going to go perfectly. Focus on getting a little bit better and keep chipping away.”

Canada's Jessica Phoenix and Aeronautics jumped to third in the CCI4*-S.

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