Ottawa, Ontario – International show jumping competition galloped into Ottawa as the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments opened its gates on Wednesday, August 10. The two-week equestrian event is taking place at the National Nepean Equestrian Park, located at the Moodie Drive exit of the 417, in Ottawa, ON.
Approximately 500 horses will compete during the two weeks of competition, running August 10 to 14 and August 17-21. Ottawa City Mayor Jim Watson was in attendance on opening day, as was Terry Matthews, owner of partner hotel, Brookstreet, and title sponsor of the $75,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix on Sunday, August 21. Nine-time Olympian and Honorary Chair, Ian Millar of Perth, ON, joined National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments Co-Chair Jay Hayes and his daughter, Event Coordinator Ainsley Hayes, in officially launching this year’s event.
“We are thrilled to once again be bringing show jumping back to the Nation’s Capital, and are very fortunate to have such great support from the exhibitors, spectators, sponsors and the City of Ottawa,” said two-time Canadian Olympian Jay Hayes, who Co-Chairs the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments with his wife, Shawn. “The role that Mayor Watson has played has been instrumental. He has bent over backwards to ensure that show jumping returned to the city.”
Mayor Watson stated, “It has been my pleasure to help bring this event back to Ottawa, and to facilitate it returning for years to come. It’s part of my goal to offer tourist events that showcase the beauty of the city, that bring people in and let them experience it. The Hayes family should be so proud of the event they have put together. It is also great to have Ian Millar here. He is an incredible example of athleticism and persistence, competing in nine Olympics, and what an inspiration to Ottawa’s young athletes competing here.”
Brookstreet has been the partner hotel of the National Capital Show Jumping Tournament since its inaugural event in 2008. The hotel is the title sponsor of the $75,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix on Sunday, August 21, which is one of only a handful of Canadian events sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). It takes place on the grand prix field, widely considered to be one of the best grass jumping fields in North America.
“I have supported this event for many, many years,” said Terry Matthews, owner of Brookstreet. “It’s a great draw for people and for Ottawa tourism, and hey, nobody said you can’t have fun at the same time! It’s great to be involved with something that just keeps getting better and better.
“For the City of Ottawa, this really puts show jumping on the map,” continued Matthews. “The green grass, the horses, the entertainment, the athletes – everything just comes together here. It’s a great place for people in Ottawa to come and see show jumping up close.”
Olympic team silver medalist Ian Millar echoed those sentiments, stating, “This facility supports the foundation of the sport in the city. That riding school up on the hill is where kids can learn about horses, be with horses, and ride. To be able to showcase the sport like this at the Nepean National Equestrian Park is great. For the riders, it’s a thrill to compete here. Many of the competitors and spectators return year after year. Once they get a taste of it, they just want to keep coming back.”
Ainsley Hayes summed it up by saying, “We couldn’t have done this without the support of the city and the support of the fans. We have two great weeks of competition coming up, and what better way to end than with the $75,000 Brookstreet on Sunday, August 21. Bring your family and bring your friends. Even if they aren’t into horses, it’s a great event and fun for everyone.”
The two-week show jumping tournament will take place from August 10-14 and 17-21 at the Nepean National Equestrian Park, conveniently located at the 417 Queensway and Moodie Drive. The first week of competition, running August 10-14, is highlighted by the $25,000 Hayes Co. Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14. Other featured events include the $10,000 NationWide Open Welcome on Friday and the $10,000 Peel Maryborough Mutual Insurance Company/Henry Equestrian Insurance Brokers Ltd. Modified Grand Prix on Saturday, August 13, followed by the $5,000 Broccoli Hill Hunter Derby.
The second week of competition, running August 17-21, will see two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela acting as course designer on the grass grand prix field. In addition to Sunday’s $75,000 CSI** Brookstreet Grand Prix, highlights include the $10,000 Ottawa Rental & Supply Ltd. Open Welcome on Friday, and the thrilling $15,000 ATCO Jumping Derby on Saturday.
For more information on the National Capital Show Jumping Tournament, please visit www.hayesco.ca.
Photo: Opening day at the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments in Ottawa, ON. From left to right: Ainsley Hayes, Jay Hayes, Ottawa City Mayor Jim Watson, Terry Matthews and Ian Millar. Photo Credit – RedRibbonPhotography.com