Paris, France – Canadian show jumping athlete Wesley Newlands of Toronto, ON, concluded a six-month European tour with a strong placing at the Gucci Masters, held December 3 to 6 in Paris, France.
Riding Evita van de Veldbalie, Newlands was one of seven riders from a 34-horse starting field to advance to the jump-off in Sunday’s €25,000 Land Rover Grand Prix. Jumping at a height of 1.50m, the pair posted the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off to place fourth overall.
The result came in Newlands’s final competitive appearance of the year, wrapping up a summer and fall tour that began in July. Following a successful showing at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in Calgary, AB, in June, Newlands headed overseas where she was based in The Netherlands with Johan Heins.
With a string of five horses owned by Weslands Farm, Newlands competed in six different European countries, standing on the podium following victories at such iconic tournaments as the Global Champions Tour in Vienna, Austria. Grand prix campaigners Evita van de Veldbalie and Wieminka B continued to be the top performers for Newlands, while a new partnership was formed with Geisha van Orshof.
Purchased in October from Belgium’s Stephex Stables where Newlands had previously purchased Evita, Geisha van Orshof is a nine-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood mare (Cabrio van de Heffinck x Parco). The pair is already off to a successful start, scoring three top finishes at Madrid Horse Week, held November 25 through 29 in Spain. 2014 World Cup Champion Daniel Deusser of Germany, who rides for Stephex Stables and formerly campaigned Evita, helped Newlands on her European tour, including in Madrid and Paris.
“My experience in Europe has been amazing,” said Newlands, 27. “Not only has my riding improved, but I have also become a more confident rider. There are so many shows to attend in Europe, giving me the opportunity to get in the ring, compete, and continue to gain experience.”
Newlands now returns to North America, and will open her 2016 season by competing at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, in both the Amateur-Owner and Open Jumper divisions.