Chris Pratt Joins Forces With the Best of the West
A diehard Canadian – “and proud of it”, Chris Pratt’s decision to join the very successful Spooner team, based in southwest California, was a carefully crafted decision that sport insiders feel can only enhance Pratt’s long term goals as an international show jumping rider.
It all began one frosty November day at the 2006 Royal Horse Show in Toronto where Richard Spooner was making his first ever appearance as a US show jumping rider. Dubbed the ‘master of faster’, Spooner clearly had a second agenda outside of his Royal competition schedule. His stable of grand prix horses had grown exponentially with twenty plus horses heading to the main competition ring for the 2007 season. Equally astute on the business side of show jumping, Spooner was on a ‘shopping expedition’ for a rider compliment to his growing team of investment, syndicate and patron-owned grand prix mounts.
“I was looking for the same qualities in a rider that I do with horses – OVER QUALIFIED”, says the unequivocal Spooner. “And Chris fit the bill – a great rider, wonderful developer of young horses and fantastic rider versatility. He has the competitive edge it takes to win”. Checking out Pratt’s credentials amongst the who’s who of the Canadian horse industry yielded the closing argument for Spooner’s approach to Pratt. “Never in my professional career have I found someone that literally no one can say a negative thing about”, explained Spooner.
But it was a tough decision for Pratt, who had recently purchased and was renovating a beautiful century home in the Caledon hills of rural Ontario. Four successful years riding for Sue Grange’s Lothlorien stable had taken Pratt to the top of his Canadian game, with two Nations Cup appearances (including double clean rounds to secure the Canadian win at the ’06 Nations Cup in Florida), plus major victories at the richest grand prix events across the Canadian World Cup landscape.
However, Chris also recognized the limitations of his current Canadian scenario and the advantages of the Richard Spooner approach in terms of business style and international level exposure on both the US and European scene.
Canadian show jumping chef d’equipe, friend & mentor Torchy Millar couldn’t be happier for Pratt, in spite of the fact that one of his top show jumping riders has moved to a US base.
“Chris is a great rider who has demonstrated he has the talent to win in the big leagues”, says Millar. “He’s competitive, versatile and this will be a great opportunity for him. Richard is one of my favourite US riders – He knows how to win and he’s a great tactician. Chris can only benefit from the experience and the international network that this association will give him”. And, Canada’s chef d’equipe remains optimistic that Pratt will again ride with a maple leaf on his saddlepad in the near future.
In practice, the game plan is already coming together. In only six short weeks Chris Pratt has begun to carve his own place on the Thermal (formerly Indio) Desert Circuit under the very capable stewardship of Richard Spooner. Early in March, Chris finished 2nd in the $30,000 Ariat Grand Prix riding Live Fire, owned by the C and S Partnership.
Plans for the Spooner-Pratt team this season include frequent visits to the Spruce Meadows tournaments in Calgary (including the Masters), a trip to Europe for some major grand prix and Nations Cup events, and a return to Chris’ hometown of Toronto for the Royal Horse Show in November.
For Chris Pratt, at this point in his career, WEST is BEST.
Photo caption: “Canadian Chris Pratt joins American Richard Spooner”
Photo credit – Cealy Tetley
Photo may be used one time, only in conjunction with this press release
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