Lamaze Lights Up the Masters and Three Frenchmen Sweep the Nation
It was the Eric Lamaze Masters, much to the delight of the tens of thousands of fans at the Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament. Lamaze won three classes during the week plus was the only entry to go double clear to help Team Canada win the silver medal in the BMO Nations Cup. Lamaze and his superstar stallion Hickstead brought the crowd to their feet when they performed the double clear dance, once again the only couple to do so, to win the CN $1 Million Grand Prix.
The Saturday highlight was the BMO Nations Cup. The French three-man team, anchored by veteran Roger-Yves Bost and Ideal de la Loge, truly rode to the occasion with a win for their country. With the European Championships the following week, France sent three less experienced riders or riders with younger horses along with Bost to represent them at the Masters. When one horse couldn’t compete, they had to go with just three and therefore having no drop score. French Chef d’Equipe Thierry Pomel said, “Our hopes were not high, but the team is very strong with good horses. Since the beginning of the competition, we believed we could do something, and today you see the result.”
Lamaze helped Canada to the silver medal along with veterans Ian Millar and Jonathan Asselin. Nations Cup newbie Tiffany Foster made her first team appearance and couldn’t contain her excitement. “I was a little nervous. I just tried to pretend it was a normal course. My horse is so nice. I knew Ian and Eric were coming after me, so that was nice padding,” explained the exuberant Foster. “I was happy that I didn’t make a huge mistake!”
Third place went to the Swiss team, while a disappointing performance from the Americans left them in last place.
CN $1 Million
The best riders of the week had to qualify to compete in the CN $1 Million Grand Prix. Seemingly in top form, Lamaze and Hickstead looked poised to bring home the top prize. The Olympic gold medalists did not disappoint as they bounded through the difficult course with barely a rub in front of a record crowd of 89,632 fans.”[Hickstead] came into this tour in fantastic shape. From the first day he jumped very well,” Lamaze said.Two rookies jumped up to second and third places in the grand prix. Neils Bruynseels of Belgium rode Nasa to second place. “I gave everything, my horse gave everything. She was fantastic today,” he said.In his first CSIO 5* competition nineteen-year-old Martin Fuchs (son of show jumper Thomas Fuchs and nephew to Markus Fuchs) rode Principal S to third place after he was the first to go clear in the opening round.”Today with the first round clear, I was going crazy,” he remarked. “The crowd here is much better than in Europe, but don’t tell the Europeans. It’s a special day, one of the best in my life.”Course designer Leopoldo Palacios commented, “I’m proud to be here with this new generation.”This was the second win for Lamaze and Hickstead in one of the biggest classes in the world, the CN $1 Million. Along with the two victories, the pair has placed in the top five of this prestigious class for the past five years. Lamaze summed it up by commenting, “To win here and win this grand prix, it’s one we have all dreamed of winning. For me it’s just as exciting as the first time, if not more. When you have a great horse, you want to have this title attached to his name. The money is great, but it’s more than that. He’s the best horse in the world.”Almost certainly Olympic bound, look for these superstars in London next year.
News from Canada and Europe…
As comfortable as it is to compete in California, illustrated by the solid numbers at the Blenheim June Series, there are groups of west coasters who head for some northern exposure, overseas excitement and even some ‘hot’ competition on the east coast.
Summer in Spruce Spruce Meadows is a popular summer spot with a five week circuit chock-full of challenging classes for show jumpers. Even when the weather poses challenges, the amazing, immaculate facility, friendly, professional staff and fabulous prize money, always draws riders from around the world.
That of course includes some of the West Coast wonders. This year professionals Rich Fellers, Richard Spooner, Hap Hansen, Will & Nicole Simpson, Jennifer Crooks, Kirsten Coe and junior/amateur riders Karl Cook, Cayla Richards, Hannah Selleck, Sage Flynn, Mavis Spencer (now more east coast but with west coast roots) went north, just to name a few…
This group collected quite a few top prizes. No matter the division, bringing home ribbons from Spruce is an accomplishment. And if the collection includes red that color actually represent first in those parts. Congratulations to all, especially our clients Hap Hansen Stables, Santana Stables, Jennifer Crooks & Stella Farm. Here are a few winning highlights:
NATIONAL – JUNE 8-12
At the National Mavis Spencer won the AON 1.35M aboard her own Valencia. Rich Fellers was dynamite on Dynamo winning the AKITA Drilling 1.35M. Karl Cook took home the red in the Gienow 1.40M Jr/Amateur Class. Richard Spooner scooped up the prize money in the $60,000 TrancCanada Parcours de Chasse 1.50M aboard Billy Bianca and was 4th on Lady Like. The next day he was 3rd and 4th respectively on Apache and Cristallo in the $175,000 Nexen Cup Derby 1.60M.
CONTINENTAL JUNE 16-19
Will Simpson rode Black Cherry to the win in the Friends of the Meadow Barrage 1.40M. Richard and Cristallo earned 5th in the $125,000 CN Performance Grand Prix 1.60M.
SKYLINER – JUNE 23-27
During the Junior/Amateur week, Custis Ferguson coached the “Princess Plus 3” Team to the win in the Paramount Resources Prix des Nations III 1.30M. The winning team: Crown Princess – Alec Lawler, Abrakadabra – Alexa Anthony, Miss Magic – Taylor Marie Harris, Ulano 13 – Vani Khosla
Cayla Richards rode Faustino to the top spot in the Friends of the Meadows Junior/Amateur Grand-Prix 1.40M, Hannah Selleck was 2nd aboard Arturo Van De Helle and Sage Flynn rode Hot Pants to the 7th place. Sage was also 3rd in the Friends of the Meadows 1.40M Final Four. Cayla was second in the Birchcliff Energy Ltd. Jr/Am Barrage 1.40M.
CANADA ONE – JUNE 29-JUL 3
Again Richard Spooner was in the money. He rode Ilan Ferder’s Wandor Van De Mispelaere to the win in the AKITA Drilling 1.35M, Oscany, Inc’s Lets Dance won the TRIMAC Cup 1.40M and Molly Ohstrom’s Caretol took home red in the Ashcor Techonologies 1.35M. He took the fifth spot in the $60,000 Great-West Life Cup on Apache and both the 2nd and 4th place ribbons aboard Quirino 3 and Pariska 2 in the $31,000 Cargill Cup 1.45M. And Cristallo was 4th in the $50,000 RBC Financial Cup. Great week Richard! And speaking of Rich, Fellers and Flexible won the $65,000 ESSO Challenge World Cup Qualifier.
On Saturday afternoon, the young but active riders advocacy group, NARG (North American Riders Group), held an open meeting at Spruce Meadows. With an overview from Murray Kessler, a passionate and honest perspective from Leopoldo Palicios, touching on issues that interest all those who are heavily involved in the sport, and a lively Q&A with participation from the attending Board Members, McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Will Simpson, the meeting hosted information, education and interaction. The 50 in attendance were the first to hear about the new 2012 NARG Rider’s Grant Program – $15,000 to one recipient for competition in North America. See more about NARG here.
NORTH AMERICAN – JULY 6-10
The final week of the Spruce Simmering Summer Circuit was a big one for west coast riders. Cayla Richards and Faustino were in the winner’s circle again in the Gienow Jr/Am Welcome 1.40M. Brazilian Eduardo Menezes, who is now based in California, won the Horse Health Care Cup 1.45M on Audi’s Reflection. Nicole Simpson on Monarch International’s Candle Light Van de Warande was a close second to young Caitlin Ziegler and Valencia in the AON Cup 1.50M. Amateur Gwendolyn Meyer ended on a high note winning the Canadian Utilities Amateur Barrage. Meyer’s Coral Reef Ranch owns the talented mare Via Volo who won the $35,000 D-Line Cup with Beezie Madden on board.
Both Rich Fellers and Richard Spooner had double whammy days – earning the #1 position in two classes each on the same day. For Rich it was Wednesday when he won the $31,000 Suncast Cup 1.45M Speed on McGuiness and the $35,000 ‘Reach for the Sun’ Sun Life Financial 1.60M on Flexible. On a fabulous Friday Richard took the $31,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45M on Pariska 2 and the $50,000 Lafarge Cup 1.50M on Apache.
$35,000 D-Line Cup – Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo
Gordon Wilson, President of D-Line, presents the trophy to Beezie Madden. Photo Credit: Spruce Meadows Media Services
US Riders Invade Europe
Five aspiring young riders represented the United States on the Show Jumping European Young Rider Tour. The eager group went to Europe for five weeks. We read and heard that the experience was not only successful but also educational, which is essential for up and coming International riders. Below is a brief summary but listen to Reed’s radio interview and read Catherine’s blog for more heartfelt details and some great photos.
• Reed Kessler, 16, Armonk, NY, and Onisha
• Catherine Pasmore, 19, Crozet, VA, and My Boy
• Jessica Springsteen, 19, Colt’s Neck, NJ, and Vornado van den Hoerdrik
• Richard Neal, 19, Pasadena, CA, and Transmission
• Karen Polle, 18, New York, NY, and What Ever
These horse/rider combinations competed at the following shows: CSIOY Bonheiden (Belgium): May 19-22
Katie Prudent – Chef d’Equipe
Individually the riders fared well in Belgium. As a team they placed second in the Nations Cup. Not a bad start. In the Young Rider Grand Prix, USA placed in five of the top ten ribbons: Passmore 2nd, Springsteen 5th, Neal 8th and Kessler 9th.
CSIOY Reims (France): May 26-29
Katie Prudent – Chef d’Equipe
A tough Nations Cup course created rails and time faults for almost all who competed. Kessler had one of the few double clear rounds. In a nail biting finish, Springsteen anchored the team to a 2nd place finish. The YR Grand Prix also proved challenging with Passmore just missing a chance to return and Kessler returning with her 8 fault score (they bring back the top 25% pf the class for the jump off). Kessler rode aggressively and even with her 8 faults from Round One, she moved up from 8th to 4th place.
With a week off the Team had two days of dressage lessons from Hungarian Barnabas Mandi, met with a sports psychologist and then went to St. Gallens to watch the top guns battle it out at the Nations Cup.
CSIOY Lamprechtshausen (Austria): June 9-12
Michelle Grubb – Chef d’Equipe
As the picture illustrates, the Team won the Nations Cup in Austria and placed in four of the top ten spots in the YR Grand Prix. Kessler took the top spot, jumping the only clear round in the jump-off for the win. With the fastest jump-off by more than five seconds but with four faults, Springsteen settled for second.
CSIOY Hagen (Germany): June 16-19
Michelle Grubb – Chef d’Equipe
Touted as the toughest competition on the tour, Team USA had to battle it out with the best of the best in Europe, among them were the teams that had beaten them in previous weeks. They rode well and ended up tied for third, right behind those top teams from The Netherlands and Great Britain. The weather was wet on the YR Grand Prix day, but Californian Ricky Neal pulled through and WON the 48 entry class with the fastest double clear rounds of the day!
After the tour the riders went their separate ways as tougher competitors, with more education packed into five weeks of their life than they could’ve imagined as well as some great ribbons and memories. Look for these names on future teams and in major competitions in years to come.