Canada’s Jacqueline (“Jacquie”) Brooks is known for her positive attitude at dressage shows across the globe. She is a top competitor with laser focus in the arena, but regardless of the outcome, Brooks can always be seen with a smile on her face – rain or shine. In recognition of her unwavering sportsmanship, Ann-Louise Cook rewarded Brooks with the People’s Choice Award in the first week of competition at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
A successful dressage rider and realtor at Illustrated Properties (a company specializing in equestrian and luxury real estate sales), Ann-Louise Cook established the People’s Choice Award as a way to give back to her equestrian community. The award honors riders who are well-known for exhibiting good sportsmanship, horsemanship, and performance in the Wellington dressage show circuit. When presenting the People’s Choice Award to Brooks, Cook said, “As a spectator and adult amateur, we all look up to you because you have the horse first in mind, you have consistent performance in the arena, and also you are always so friendly and positive.”
Brooks had strong performances in the competition arena with her two mounts during the opening week of the popular show circuit in Wellington, Florida. Her long-time partner D Niro strutted his stuff in the CDI-W Grand Prix, earning a 68.500%, resulting in twelfth place out of a thirty-eight combination start list. The pair danced to the beat of a new Grand Prix Freestyle to earn a 69.925%, finishing in sixth place. Brooks was delighted with her 17-year-old Swedish Warmblood (D Day x Napoleon 625) partner, and said “Believe it or not, even at 17, [he is] excited to go in the ring, like he can’t wait for his turn.” She continued, “Anything over 68% is always such an accomplishment for him and I am so thrilled with him.”
On her new mount Emmett TOP, a seven-year-old KWPN gelding (Negro x Kelvin), Brooks won Thursday’s Third level Test 1 with a 71.061% and claimed victory in Saturday’s Third level Test 3 on a score of 69.744%. Brooks is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for Emmett. She explained the horse shares the same sire as the remarkable World Champion horse Valegro. “You’re always hoping for the breeding and that maybe there is a little tiny bit of that in there somewhere,” laughed Brooks. “I mostly like him because he is just a solid citizen; he comes in, does his job, enjoys working; enjoys being at the horse show.”
Brooks, ever the considerate horsewoman, also explained her dedication to making sure her Grand Prix partner was enjoying his career. They have many accomplishments in their four years together, including competing in World Cup finals and the Olympic Games in London. However, if Brooks ever thinks D Niro isn’t enthusiastic about entering the competition arena, she won’t ask him to continue. That clearly wasn’t the case this week. She remarked, “He is charging into the ring and I can barely get everything back organized to go in. At least I am comforted that he really still wants to be in there.”
For 2016, Brooks has her sights set on competing at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup in Göteborg, Sweden. She explained the difficulty of earning a spot at the World Cup finals. There are only two places reserved for all riders in North American. “I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m not going to be disappointed if he comes in third behind Verdades and Legolas. I’ll be quite thrilled,” Brooks noted.
Leading up to the Finals, Brooks and De Niro will be competing at the CDI-Ws in Wellington, Florida. Brooks likes to keep spectators entertained and will not compete with the same Freestyle at every competition. “Usually, I like to bring a new one out in January and then go back to a favorite… [I] try to change it up for everyone,” Brooks commented.