Press Release "The Warm-Up Ring" 03/2007: Chris Pratt Joins Forces with the Best of the West
A die-hard Canadian “and proud of it”, Chris’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 his 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 was making his first
ever appearance. Dubbed the ‘master of faster’, Richard 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, Richard was on a ‘shopping
expedition’ for a rider to compliment 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 Richard. “And Chris fit the bill. He’s a great rider, wonderful developer of young horses and has fantastic rider versatility. He has the competitive edge it takes to win.”
Checking out Chris’s credentials amongst the who’s who of the Canadian horse industry yielded the closing argument
for Richard’s decision. “Never in my professional career have I found someone that literally no one can say a negative thing about,” explains Richard.
But it was a tough decision for Chris 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 Chris to the top
of his Canadian game with two Nations’ Cup appearances (including double clean rounds to secure the Canadian win at the 2006 Nations’ Cup in Wellington, Florida), plus major victories at the richest grand prix events across the Canadian World Cup landscape.
Chris Pratt Joins Forces with the Best of the West © Cealy TetleyJump Canada Levy Funds Distributed to Provincial Associations 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 and mentor, Terrance ‘Torchy’ Millar couldn’t be happier for Chris in spite of the fact that one of his top show jumping riders has moved to a U.S. base.
“Chris is a great rider who has demonstrated he has the talent to win in the big leagues,” says Torchy. “He’s competitive, versatile and this will be a great opportunity for him. Richard is one of my favourite U.S. 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 Chris will again ride with a maple leaf on his saddle pad in the
near future. In practice, the game plan is already coming together. In only six short weeks, Chris has begun to carve his own place on the HITS Thermal (formerly Indio) Desert Circuit under Richard’s very capable stewardship. At the beginning of March, Chris finished second in the $30,000 Ariat Grand Prix riding Live Fire, a horse 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” in September, a trip to Europe for some major grand prix events, and a return to Chris’ hometown of Toronto for the Royal Horse Show in November.
At this point in Chris Pratt’s career, west is truly best!