The Canadian League Dressage World Cup Final will once again be a highlight of the Royal Horse Show, held November 5-14 as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at the National Trade Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
The country’s five highest-ranked horse-rider combinations are set to go head-to-head in a battle that will not only crown a winner, but also determine Canada’s sole representative for the 2005 World Cup Final scheduled for April in Las Vegas, NV. All five horse-rider combinations will contest the Grand Prix on Wednesday, November 10, as part of a free afternoon performance with the best four advancing to the following night’s feature event, the overwhelmingly popular Grand Prix Freestyle, on Thursday, November 11. Always the first event to sell-out at the Royal Horse Show, the Grand Prix Freestyle allows riders the opportunity to demonstrate their artistic side by choreographing required movements to their music of their choice.
The competition in this year’s Canadian League World Cup Final will be tougher than ever with two members of the 2004 Canadian Olympic Team, Cindy Ishoy of Binbrook, ON, and Leslie Reid of Langley, BC, both strong favourites. Ishoy, a 1988 Olympic Team Bronze Medallist, remains Canada’s to performer at the annual World Cup Final, placing second in 1988 aboard the legendary Dynasty. This year, Ishoy will be riding her Athens mount, the impressive German-bred Proton, in her attempt to secure the Canadian League Final.
Reid, the winner of the Canadian League Final in 1996, will also be aboard her Athens Olympic mount, Mark. Last year, Reid and the Dutch Warmblood gelding claimed the Individual Gold Medal at the 2003 Pan American Games and led Canada to the Team Silver.
Two of Reid’s 2003 Pan Am Silver Medal Teammates, Jacqueline Brooks of Mount Albert, ON, and Evi Strasser of Ste-Adele, QC, have both been perfecting their Grand Prix routines. Brooks of Mount Albert, ON, recently won a World Cup Qualifier in the United States riding the expressive Gran Gesto while Strasser is hot off a European Tour with Quantum Tyme. Strasser has made two World Cup Final appearances, in 1995 and 1997, while Brooks has contested almost every Canadian League Final in recent years and will be hoping 2004 brings her first victory. Joining the four female competitors in the only Olympic sport where men and women compete together is Jon Costin of Puslinch, ON, who will attempt to win his first Canadian League Final at the famed Royal Horse Show riding Wholio. Interesting, all five of the horses competing in this year’s Canadian League World Cup Final are 10 years of age or younger, and are only just beginning their careers at the Olympic level of Grand Prix.
“This is shaping up to be one of the most hotly-contested Canadian League World Cup Finals that the Royal Horse Show has ever seen!” said Kim Philip, Chairman of the Royal Horse Show. “Five top riders, all with a long list of accomplishments, will be competing for the title, and fans will witness the sport of dressage at its finest when the Grand Prix Freestyles are performed on Thursday evening in front of a packed house in the Ricoh Coliseum.”
In addition to the two days of dressage competition offered by the Canadian League World Cup Final, spectators will have the opportunity to witness a unique dressage performance on Opening Weekend, November 5 and 6, as yet another 2004 Canadian Olympian, Ashley Holzer, performs a Grand Prix Freestyle live to the music of four pianos, each played by three musicians. Boyanna Toyich will conduct the 12 musicians in the theatrical undertaking featuring music from the operas ‘Carmen’ and ‘Faust’.
Tickets for all Royal Horse Show performances can be purchased through Ticketmaster at tel: 416 872-7777 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca. For more information on the Royal Horse Show, including complete schedules, please visit www.royalfair.org or call tel: 416 263-3400.
Leslie Reid and Mark, 2004 Devon Grand Prix Freestyle Champions
Leslie Reid and Lars Petersen Dominate at 2004 Dressage at Devon
Evi Strasser Wins Qualifiers for the 2005 World Cup Canadian League Finals
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