Bahamian equestrian rider Anna Camille “Millie” Vlasov and her Belgian Warmblood gelding Gulliver du Saint-Chene had a great ending to their season as they put on a show, winning the 1.40m Grand Prix competition on the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Olivia, Spain, on Sunday.
Vlasov was happy to get the victory in her final event for the year.
“It was such a huge and emotional victory for me, it meant so much for me and it really made me realize that hard work, mental and physical dedication pays off,” Vlasov said.
Vlasov and Gulliver were one of two pairs to ride double clear rounds over the challenging course that was designed by French designer Eddy Castillon. The other riders had at least four penalties. The Bahamian and her horse finished the first round in 74.23 seconds to put them atop the leaderboard after the first round. A fast and careful effort in the jump-off kept them there, as Vlasov went clear in 39.40 seconds to hold off the only other double clear combination – Great Britain’s Joanne Whitaker aboard Meriarta – beating them by 0.98 seconds. Carlos Borho Gifon and Esprit de L’Esprit Z of Spain were third.
The 23-year-old said she was a bit low a few months ago due to personal issues and this win gives her the motivation that she needs to become more prepared for the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games next year. She spoke about the partnership that she has with Gulliver – a partnership that stems back to May 2020.
“Gulliver and I have learned and grown so much together,” Vlasov said. “It’s takes time to build a proper relationship with a horse, lots of hours spent getting to know them and for them to trust you and you them. Unfortunately, it also takes a lot of mistakes to grow as a ‘couple’, but that’s how you improve. This horse is a once-in-a-lifetime horse. He is so special and talented. I am truly honored to be able to ride such an incredibly talented animal. He inspires me every day, even though sometimes he makes me crazy but I love his character and his need to work.”
Looking at 2023, with the CAC Games on her mind, she is aiming to compete at higher levels of competition in Europe.
“For next year, I am really concentrating on doing higher levels in certain competitions which I feel most comfortable in and where my horses jump the best to really push myself and Gulliver mentally and physically to get even better results,” Vlasov said.
During the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour on Sunday, Vlasov competed against 24 competitors from countries such as France, Italy, Sweden, Qatar, Spain, Great Britain, the United States and Chile.