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Carly Campbell Cooper did well in horse competition in Peru

by David Meyer

GUELPH-ERAMOSA - It has been a busy season in the horse world with a lot of competitions – but Carly Cooper has had an even busier month.

She is a competitor on the horse jumping circuit and she also teaches and deals in horses – and that has put her into contact with people from all over the world. It was a contact from her early days in the sport that led her to Peru and a second place finished in an international horse jumping competition.

She used to work for Mill Creek Stables in Cambridge as a teen, and she met a man working there who is from Brazil. He moved to Peru to take up teaching riding. The place he was working decided it wanted to get known on the international stage and invited a number of international riders to a competition. That included Campbell Cooper, who was delighted with the opportunity.

It was an all expenses paid trip and the hosts provided the horses for all competitors, so everyone was working with a new partner.

“I was lucky enough to get an energetic mare, which I prefer,” she said, smiling at the memory of Elelaganza La Silla, who proved to be a very good horse.

She finished second out of 40 riders in the five day event.

Besides a trophy, Campbell Cooper also won a silver tray, a bottle of spiced champagne, and a bottle of Pisco Peruvian liqueur.

She not only went for the riding, the competition, and the experience, but also to do some sightseeing before taking part in the five day competition.

“I went down three days early and spent some time in the jungle,” she said of her experience travelling the Amazon River. “I felt I might not ever be there again,” she said of her reason for taking that adventure.

“There was no electricity, lots of snakes and spiders, monkeys and parrots,” she said, adding that it all added up to a bit of “culture shock going back to Lima” for the riding competition. She particularly noted that city is filled with “haves and have nots.”

Peru is not the only way Campbell Cooper is involved in the international horse world. She also sells horses for a group that has partnerships in Europe and Mexico.

“They send horses to me, which I sell - and we split the profit,” she said, adding she likes to have two or three available at her barns, Triple C Stables, just south of Fergus. She is planning a trip back to Europe sometime in the near future, but there are other things that are keeping her busy.

She is also acutely aware of other horses on the international scene, including the recent deaths of Eric Lamaze’s Hickstead right after a European competition, and, more recently the death of Monopoly, owned and ridden by Beth Underhill, at age 30.

“I rode with Beth for 10 or 11 years when she had Monopoly,” Campbell Cooper remembers, adding, “In Canada, we don’t have the budget to buy great horses. When you lose one, you feel it.”

She explained a lot of the world’s best horses are purchased by the very wealthy in the United Arab Emirates, and that means they leave North America. While it is good for sellers, it is tough for riders to find great horses, with so many being bought and moved.

“A lot of our talent goes overseas,” she said.

Keeping busy

Campbell Cooper was riding for other people all summer, and one horse she rode, Chikita, owned by Peter and Janet Steffens, of Mount Forest, was the 4-year-old champion of Ontario.

She also teaches riding and spent a good deal of time at the Royal Winter Fair recently with three of her riding students: Alexus Arbuckle, of Guelph; Neve Walker-Moore of Hastings, and Jennifer Mattell, of Milton.

She was their coach at the Royal and said they all did well. Mattell won the Small Pony Reserve Champion with her aptly named ride, Shrunk in the Wash.

Campbell Cooper uses her riding lessons and the money from her stable to pay for her competitive riding. The new stable has been operating for three years now, and she thanked Herman Post, of Post Farm Stabling, for all his help and support.

“Teaching and riding helps me pay to compete,” she said, adding that she has learned since the stable opened how to keep costs down. She currently has 15 horses at Triple C Stables.

Campbell Cooper will be heading to Florida early in the new year for the two month competition there that is one of the toughest and most lucrative on the professional riding circuit.

Campbell Cooper clearly loves what she is doing, but she admitted that it is tough to balance a personal life when she is always on the go.

Fortunately, she said, “My closes friends are very supportive and understanding.”


November 25, 2011


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