Ottawa, ON, - The Canadian Show Jumping Team has been invited to compete at CHIO Aachen, Germany, from July 11 to 20. Canada will be represented by Yann Candele, 43, of Caledon, ON, Tiffany Foster, 29, of Vancouver, BC, Eric Lamaze, 45, of Schomberg, ON, Ian Millar, 67, of Perth, ON, and Chris Sorensen, 32, of Caledon, ON. Considered one of the most prestigious events in equestrian sport, featured show jumping events at this year's CHIO Aachen include the €350,000 Mercedes-Benz Nations' Cup on Thursday evening, July 17, and the €1 million Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, July 20. A total of eight countries have been invited to contest the €350,000 Mercedes-Benz Nations' Cup. Canada was last invited to field a Nations' Cup team at Aachen in 1996.
"We are extremely honoured and excited to be competing at one of the most historic and prestigious show jumping tournaments in the world," said Mark Laskin, chef d'equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team. "It has been 18 years since the Canadian team has been invited to Aachen, and we look forward to representing our country there. This is an important stepping stone in our continuing preparation for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy in September."
2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze has competed at CHIO Aachen on several occasions as an individual, most notably in 2010 when he won the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen riding Hickstead, despite breaking a bone in his foot during the first of three rounds comprising the competition.
"I've been going to Aachen by myself for the last couple of years," said Lamaze. "I always watch the Nations' Cup and, as a Canadian, I've often found myself wondering how Canada would do if we had a team there. I've been frustrated that Canada has not been a part of the Nations' Cup events at shows of Aachen's calibre, where the Nations' Cup team events are so important. For Canada to finally have a chance to be a part of it is an honour."
CHIO Aachen is also part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, with the other two stops being the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows "Masters" tournament in Calgary, Canada, from September 10-14, and CHI Geneva, Switzerland, from December 11-14. Any rider who wins all three grand prix events will receive a €1 million bonus. Winning two in a row earns a €500,000 bonus while winning two out of three, not in succession, earns €250,000.
"With Rolex initiating the Grand Slam, and with one of the events being right in our own backyard at Spruce Meadows, it is very important for Canada to have been invited to Aachen," said Lamaze, who is a Rolex testimonee. "It is an honour for Canada to have a full team in Aachen and for us as riders to represent Canada in that arena. We have a strong team and for us to be competing with the greatest nations in the sport, together as a team, is great preparation for Canada for the World Equestrian Games. It is really nice to be part of a Nations' Cup at a show in the league of Aachen's stature, and to measure ourselves as a nation prior to going to the World Equestrian Games."
Canada has enjoyed great success to date in 2014, winning the Nations' Cup events in Wellington, Florida, in February and Coapexpan, Mexico, in May. In June, Canada won the North American, Central American, and Caribbean League of the Furusiyya FEI Nations' Cup to qualify for the €2,000,000 Furusiyya Nations' Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain, from October 9 to 12.
The Canadian Show Jumping Team will compete in Aachen, Germany, thanks in part to funding provided by Own The Podium. The Canadian Team will be led by chef d'equipe Mark Laskin and Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette.