Hanna Bundy has been an eventer all her life. The 23-year-old from Toronto, Ontario was long listed for the Canadian Eventing Team in 2015 and won team bronze at the 2014 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships CCI**.
Instead of spending the winter in Ocala with her trainer of six years, Jessica Phoenix, we found Hanna in the jumper ring in Wellington aboard Allie Youngdale’s Borneo van de Boslandhoeve. “It’s incredible. It’s fast-paced and there are incredible riders,” said Hanna of her experience at the Winter Equestrian Festival. “The caliber of the horses at WEF is something that I had never seen before. I’ve learned so much from this experience so far.”
The biggest thing eventers have trouble with is differentiating the cross-country riding to the jumping riding and they are really two separate things.
After selling her two-star horse, Hanna found herself without a mount. Jacqueline Brooks suggested she approach Borneo’s owner, Allison Youngdale (Allie). While the 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding has competed up to 1.40m with a previous rider, Allie rode him in the 1.25m. When a back injury made jumping too risky, Allie switched to dressage, leaving Borneo without a rider. A match was made.
Hanna has been showing the horse in the 1.30m jumpers at WEF. “I’ve been loving it and this is the best horse I could possibly learn on. If I do it right, he’ll go clear every single day. If I mess something up, it’s on me,” said Hanna. “He hasn’t done the bigger classes in a few years but he’s very capable. And he’s the sweetest horse on the planet.”
The biggest difference with eventing jumping? The time allowed. “Most of my penalties this season have been from time faults because the time allowed in show jumping is so much shorter and the pace is so much quicker,” said Hanna. “And the technicality. There’s definitely a lot more related distances. Every jump, excluding two or three, are related distances. You have to walk your lines and know where you are all the time. Whereas in eventing, most of them are single fences except for one or two combinations. I think the biggest thing eventers have trouble with is differentiating the cross-country riding to the jumping riding and they are really two separate things. Even though you are going over fences, it’s a completely different ride and being able to switch your riding style between the two phases is something that a lot of people are lacking and would really benefit from.”
I definitely feel like a fish out of water here.
The main difference between eventing and WEF? “It’s hard to compare the two. It gives me a totally different feeling,” said Hanna. “I’ve been in eventing for so long and I know so many people, that it feels more of a ‘homey” community. Not that this doesn’t but I definitely feel like a fish out of water here.”