Kelowna siblings Halle and Bria Gainey each played a role in putting their hometown on the national equestrian map in 2017.
Halle, 15, had a year to remember winning every major event she entered this season.
Riding her own horse, Steal Magnolias, Halle captured the regional qualifier and B.C. title for the prestigious CET —Canadian Equitation Team 21-and-under—at the Fall Final at Thunderbird Show Park. With a stellar ride off against the top four competitors, she took home top honours.
Halle then went on to the Royal West in Calgary in October, taking top spot in the Alberta Hunter Jumper Medal Final. Halle and Steel Magnolias also took home champion of the 1.15 Division at the Royal West Horse Show.
Her sister Bria, 17, who also came off an outstanding season in the Equitations, won the Rocky Mountain Showing Jumping Hunter Jumper Championship on Vespucci SM.
After two weeks of competing in the Western Championships in Calgary, Halle and her horse travelled on to the national finals in Toronto at the 95th running of The Royal Winter Fair.
After two days, Halle and Steel Magnolias sat fourth in the CET Final entering the final of three phases. In the ride off, Halle laid down a stellar performance.
After all four riders had completed the course, Halle and her horse Steel Magnolias were awarded Reserve Champion of the prestigious CET National Final, making history as the first team from Kelowna or the Interior of BC win the title.
Halle said the all hours of work and the rapport she shares with Steel Magnolias paid off this season.
“Chloe (Steel Magnolias) and I worked really hard this season to prepare for the finals,” Halley Gainey said. “We were coming out on top pretty much all year in B.C. and Alberta, but I still wanted to make sure we were going to be competitive against all of the really talented riders from the east to finish the season off with a reserve champion finish at nationals in Toronto was truly a dream come true.
“Chloe is such a talented horse and we have a really strong partnership that I believe helped us excel this year.”
With her own horse being injured for nationals, Bria had to lease a horse she didn’t know. Still, Bria would ride a beautiful round on GI Joe and ended up in the top 10 in the Jump Canada Final.
To cap off the season, both Halle and Bria were honoured recently at the BCHJA year-end awards gala in Langley.
The two were chosen by Equine Canada to receive National Jump Canada Bursaries given to up and coming junior riders (14 to 21) to help further their education and continue competing at a high level in equine sports.