Let the countdown begin. In just 2 days, all eyes will be on one of Ocala Horse Properties’ 2022 Rebecca Farm Flight Grant winners – Brittany Crandall and her 9-year-old KWPN gelding Cooley Almighty – at The Event at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana, on July 20-24.
Brittany, who will also be celebrating her 35th birthday on the first day of the contest, will be competing at the CCI3*-L level in Montana thanks to the grant which provides round trip airfare for rider and horse combinations.
It was at the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention when Chris and Rob announced the two annual Ocala Horse Properties Rebecca Farm Flight Grants – one for a horse and rider combination at the CCI4*-L level, and one at the CCI3*-L level. The 2022 Ocala Horse Properties Rebecca Farm Flight Grant winners were chosen in a drawing at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian in April.
Flight costs are often cost-prohibitive for riders and their horses, forcing them to lose out on being able to compete at such highly visible, highly rated competitions. This new grant opens up a new world of competition to riders.
“This is such a great opportunity – I spent all my college years in Wyoming in the Rockies, so I consider it to be a second home. To be able to go back and compete is a gift,”
Brittany grew up around horses in central Virginia with her dad caring for the cows and mom riding around their farm. After years of pony club with a focus on eventing and dressage and qualifying for championships in Kentucky in the early 2000s, she left for college out west and started on a different path.
She fell in love with the “western world of riding” while at the University of Wyoming and set out to be a cowgirl for a while. Eventually her family wanted her to come back east, so she made her way home in 2012. Quickly after returning home to Virginia, she got back into eventing. A few years later, Brittany started riding with Kim Severson and later picked up Cooley Almighty (barn name Kavan) as a 4-year-old in Ireland in 2017.
“I never competed past training level prior to getting him. Since then, we’ve done it all together and I’ve pretty much done all the work with him myself,” she says.
From tackling beginner-novice to novice to young event horse championships, they have steadily moved up each year. They competed in their first two- and three-stars in the past two years finishing well in the Virginia horse trials last fall.
She says this is a “strong hobby” but you can hear the professionalism and drive as she describes her preparation, plans for the future and being on a world stage with professionals.
“I want to do well and I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform at a high level. I want everyone to know that I think of myself as a professional in the sport.”
She had planned to do the 3-long at Tryon, but when she heard about this grant she decided to shoot for the 3-short instead so that she could include the Rebecca Farm competition.
She and Kavan have been strategic the past several weeks, working on performing in the heat, working on their gallops and improving their marks in dressage. “Show jumping is our weaker phase – mine personally as a rider, but I’ve been working the past eight months with Tim Bourke getting some jump lessons in and our jumping has improved a lot.”
“I’m feeling pretty confident about it if I place well, as an amatuer rider I can get the year-end points, as well as have a qualifying show for a CCI4 long next year,” she says once again thinking like a professional rider and always about the next contest.
In the fall she plans to tackle Advanced levels and a four-short in hopes of doing a four-long next year.
“If all goes well, maybe one day I could go to Kentucky to do a 5-Star,” she says with a laugh before carefully refocusing herself. “I’m just trying to learn, to be the best that I can and be good to my horse, to push myself and see how much I can achieve.”
She says she has already far exceeded what she ever thought, and we have no doubt she will continue to win.
Join us in wishing Brittany – and Cooley Almighty – a big birthday win at Rebecca Farm next week!
The Team at Ocala Horse Properties is equally as grateful to be able to provide this grant, in coordination with the USEA, to deserving riders. We are looking forward to cheering for Brittany Crandall & Jules and all the other competitors when we are on location at the Event at Rebecca Farm!
To follow all the action from The Event at Rebecca Farm, July 20th – 24th, please visit her website here, or follow the event on Instagram and Facebook @rebeccafarm.
To learn more about Britney Crandall, follow her on Instagram @bccran12