Calgary, AB, June 13, 2014 - The Canadian Show Jumping Team comprised of Yann Candele, Tiffany Foster, Eric Lamaze, and Ian Millar placed fourth in the $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations' Cup held Friday night, June 13, at the Spruce Meadows "Continental" tournament in Calgary, AB.
The Calgary event was the third and final qualifying event in the North American, Central American, and Caribbean League for the €2,000,000 Furusiyya Nations' Cup Final to be held from October 9 to 12 in Barcelona, Spain. Having won the first two qualifiers in Wellington, Florida, in February and Coapexpan, Mexico, in May, Canada was already guaranteed one of two starting spots allocated to the North American, Central American, and Caribbean League. Following the conclusion of all three qualifying events, Canada topped the league standings with a total of 290 points while the United States finished second with 280 points.
In Calgary, Foster, 29, of Vancouver, BC, led off for Team Canada One riding Verdi III, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Hors La Loi III x Cantus) owned by Artisan Farms LLC. The triple combination proved to be a challenge, with Foster and Verdi III bringing down a rail at the 'b' element.
Candele, 43, of Caledon, ON, also fell afoul of the triple, incurring a rail at the 'c' element riding Showgirl, a 14-year-old selle francais mare (Gold de Becourt x Elf III) owned by the Watermark Group.
Millar, 67, of Perth, ON, made it through the triple combination without incident, but not before incurring four faults after the open water and another four faults at fence eight, a wide oxer on a left-hand turn immediately following the triple. His mount was Dixson, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Olisco) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange.
After mounting up in the warm-up ring, anchor rider Lamaze, 45, of Schomberg, ON, felt that his horse, Artisan Farms' Zigali P S, was not sound and required further assessment, leaving Canada with a three-rider score of 17 faults following the opening round.
At the half-way point, Ireland led the charge with a score of two faults, followed closely by the U.S. 'Stars' Team with four faults. The U.S. 'Stripes' Team sat third with nine faults, Canada One was in fourth with 17 faults while Canada Two was in fifth position with 18. Mexico Aztecas were sixth with 23 faults while Mexico Mayas trailed in seventh with 28 faults and did not qualify for the second round.
After a second round of jumping, the placings did not change. Ireland went on to win for the second consecutive year with a final score of three faults, while the United States 'Stars' finished second on eight faults. United States 'Stripes' had a two-round tally of 17 faults for third place.
In the second round, Foster faulted at the Canadian planks and picked up one time fault, while Candele and Millar both executed clear rounds to strengthen Canadian hopes. Without the luxury of a drop score, however, a total of 22 faults would leave Canada One in fourth position in the final standings.
"I am disappointed, frankly," said Canadian show jumping team chef d'equipe Mark Laskin. "Every time we come out, I believe we can win. When we don't get the results, I am disappointed."
Laskin spoke to losing his anchor rider, noting, "Zigali took a few bad steps in the schooling area, and it's too good of a horse to risk. Our scores were not so competitive early on, and it just seemed like we were out of the game before we could even get started."
The silver lining for Team Canada is the opportunity for redemption in the €2,000,000 Furusiyya Nations' Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain.
"Ultimately, that's the whole purpose of this exercise," said Laskin. "It was a great feeling to come into this knowing that we were already guaranteed a spot in Barcelona. I'm looking forward to going back. Last year was a tremendous experience; it was a real championship atmosphere. I think all of us are excited to have the chance to improve on the sixth place performance that we achieved there last year."
Each North American nation was allowed to field two teams in the $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations' Cup, with one designated for qualifying points. The non-point earning Canada Two team comprised of Kara Chad, Jonathon Millar, Chris Sorensen and Keean White finished fifth under the guidance of chef d'equipe Gail Greenough, who remains the only woman and the only North American to ever win the World Show Jumping Championships.
Sorensen, 31, of Caledon, ON, was the lead-off rider for Canada Two with Bobby, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Concorde x Joost) owned by Sorensen and Britland Hughes. The pair produced scores of four and four to be Canada Two's strongest performers.
White, 31, of Rockwood, ON, riding Pironella, a nine-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare (Non Stop x Pilot) owned by Angelstone Partners, ran into trouble down the final line, coming home with a score of 13 faults. White did not return for the second round.
In her second Nations' Cup appearance, Chad, 18, of Calgary, AB, was consistent in incurring one rail and one time fault in each round. Her mount was Alberto II, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Acorado x Cassini I) owned by Stone Ridge Farms LLC.
After posting a score of nine faults in the first round, Jonathon Millar, 39, of Perth, ON, returned to the ring riding Calvin Klein, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cardento x Feliciano) owned by Millar Brooke Farm, to jump clear, but at the expense of two time faults.
With scores of 18 and 11, Canada Two placed fifth in the final standings with a score of 29 faults.
Both the Canada One and Canada Two teams were supported by Equine Canada's Manager of Jumping, Karen Hendry-Ouellette, and stable manager, Darren Roberts.
For complete results from the $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations' Cup, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.