Team Canada continues to dominate the North American, Central American and Caribbean League of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup, after picking up their second consecutive win of the series on May 9 at the CSIO4* Coapexpan in Mexico.
Team members Kara Chad (Calgary, AB), Ian Millar (Perth, ON), Jonathon Millar (Perth, ON), and Chris Sorensen (Caledon, ON) came out on top of the CSIO4* $80,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup after edging out Team USA in an impressive jump-off between legendary riders, Ian Millar and Beezie Madden of the USA.
Team Canada proved their strength right from the start in round one of the competition, which saw only four clear rounds, with two of them being laid down by Canadians. Sorensen was the trailblazer of the team, tackling the challenging course set by Frederic Cottier of France. Paired with Bobby, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding he co-owns with Britland Hughes, Sorensen had just one rail and one time fault for a total of five faults. Jonathon received an identical score aboard Millar Brooke Farm’s 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, Calvin Klein.
Chad, who is just 18-years-old and was competing in her first-ever senior Nations Cup, put in an impressive performance, achieving a clear round for Canada aboard Stone Ridge Farms’ 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Alberto II.
Ian added another clear round to Canada’s roster riding in the anchor position aboard his 2012 Olympic partner, Star Power, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Team Works.
The competition continued to heat up in the second round. Sorensen bettered his time from the first round, but took down an oxer early in the course for four faults. Jonathon, Chad, and Ian all had faultless performances, ensuring Canada was able to complete round two on a perfect score of zero, after the dropped score. However, Team USA finished with an identical score of five after two rounds to force the jump-off.
Team USA’s Madden was the first to enter. Despite a speedy effort in a time of 33.40 seconds, Madden had a rail at the double combination for four faults. This left the door open for Ian, who displayed his legendary ability to stay calm and cool under pressure, putting in a careful, clear performance in a time of 41.96 seconds to secure Canada’s win.
“Well I feel fantastic. This is a great team,” said Ian after his winning jump-off performance. “Chris is a very exciting up and coming rider for us. And it’s always been a pleasure to ride on a team with my son, Jonathon. (Kara Chad) is only 18 years old, and here she is jumping a double-clear round. How good is that?”
Although Chad has represented Canada as part of a Young Rider Team in 2012 at competitions in Belgium and Austria, she is green at the senior international level.
“It’s super exciting,” she said of her first experience on a senior team for Canada. “I honestly did not expect to jump double-clear. It was a dream, and I guess it came true. My horse is absolutely incredible, and I couldn’t be happier.”
“I feel like I have such experienced and welcoming teammates,” she continued. “Being 18, it’s a little bit intimidating coming on to a team like this with such amazing riders and amazing horses. But I’ve learned quite a bit on the trip so far. It takes a lot of dedication and team spirit. Thank you to all of my teammates for helping me go through this.”
Team Canada was led by Chef d’Equipe, Terrance Millar, Team Manager, Karen Hendry-Ouellette and Stable Manager, Darren Roberts.
“I would just like to mention and thank, on behalf of the riders and everybody who has come to this show, Furusiyya for their sponsorship of this amazing series-of which this show was one of them-and also the support that Longines shows to nations cup sport,” said Terrance. “This is as good a facility as anywhere in the world for show jumping. I haven’t seen better, so for us it was a treat to be here and we thank all those involved with putting this event on.”
This Mexican show jumping tour is made possible through Sport Canada’s ‘Own the Podium’ program, a national sport technical initiative designed to help Canada’s summer and winter athletes achieve podium success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Just one qualifier remains in the North American, Central American and Caribbean League of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup. In six weeks’ time, Canada’s own Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB will host the third and final qualifier during the CSIO 5* ‘Continental’ Tournament, to be held June 12-15. Team Canada will head into the final qualifier with a total of 200 points. Team USA follows with 180 points, while Mexico is in third place on 160 points.
The 2014 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final will take place October 9-12 in Barcelona, ESP.