The Canadian Show Jumping Team rode to a fourth place finish in the €350,000 Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup, held July 17 at the world-renowned CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Germany.
Yann Candele and Chris Sorensen of Caledon, ON, and Tiffany Foster and Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON represented Canada, marking the first time since 1996 that the Canadian Show Jumping Team has competed in this prestigious invitational Nations’ Cup.
Candele and the Watermark Group’s 14-year-old Selle Francais mare, Showgirl, were the stars of the day for Canada, completing both rounds, which featured a demanding course of 15 jumping efforts set by FEI4* course designer, Frank Rothenberger of Germany, without incurring a single fault.
“It was so exciting to have a chance to compete at Aachen with the Canadian Team,” said Yann Candele. “It has been impossible to get to Aachen in the past and we have to thank Rolex and Eric (Lamaze) who put it together for us to have a chance to compete at the most prestigious horse show. This exposure gives all of the Canadians great confidence and we should be showing in more major events like this one.”
Sorensen and Bobby, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding he co-owns with Britland Hughes-who also helped Canada win the CSIO4* $80,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup in Mexico this past spring-put in two solid performances. During round one, they dropped just one rail and incurred a single time fault for a total of five faults. They returned to put in a clear jumping performance, but broke the timers just slightly over the time allowed for one fault.
Riding her seasoned international mount, Verdi III, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Artisan Farms, Foster had identical scores to Sorensen, with four jumping and one time fault incurred during round one and a single time fault added during the second round.
Lamaze and Artisan Farms’ 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Powerplay, encountered a few challenges, finishing up with a total of eight faults in round one, followed by 13 faults in round two.
Following traditional nations’ cup rules, each team was able to drop one team member’s score from each round, leaving Canada with a two-round total of 12 faults. This resulted in Canada tying for fourth place with Germany. Top honours went to Belgium, who finished on a score of six faults. The United States followed in second with eight faults, while the Netherlands earned third on 10 faults.
“The Nations cup in Aachen is a major sporting event in Europe with over 50,000 knowledgeable spectators packed into the jumping stadium. What an exciting night for our riders to have had the opportunity to compete at this level. Our team proved to be resilient and gritty under the pressure and finished tied with the number one home German team…in Aachen!” commented Chef d’Equipe, Mark Laskin. “Yann Candele continued his streak of stellar performances by delivering one of only three double clear rounds, and with Chris Sorensen and Tiffany Foster we actually jumped four out of six rounds without incurring any jumping faults. This certainly confirms that we’re right on track to compete with the best in the world at WEG.”
The Canadian riders will continue to compete individually for the remainder of the CHIO Aachen, which wraps up with the coveted €1,000,000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen on July 20. This class is the first leg of the three-part Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, with the additional two stops taking place at Canada’s own Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB in September, followed by the CHI Geneva in Switzerland in December. This high-stakes challenge offers a €1,000,000 bonus to any rider who wins all three classes, €500,000 for winning two in a row, and €250,000 for winning two out of three, non-consecutively.
The Canadian Show Jumping Team was able to compete at the CHIO Aachen with help from funding provided by Canada’s Own the Podium initiative. In addition to Laskin, the team was led by Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette.
Future nations’ cup competition for Team Canada will include the €2,000,000 Furusiyya Nations’ Cup Final, to be held October 9-12, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. Canada earned a berth to the Final after finishing first in the North American, Central American, and Caribbean League by winning qualifiers in Wellington, Florida and Coapexpan, Mexico earlier this year.
For full information and results from the CHIO Aachen, visit www.chioaachen.de/en.