Ottawa, ON—Two vaulters from Alberta and two from British Columbia will represent Canada at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Jeanine van der Sluijs of Olds, AB and Hannah Marland of Rocky Mountain House, AB will be joined by a sister and brother from Chilliwack, BC, Alisa Schmidt and Colin Schmidt.
The Games will be an especially memorable event for van der Sluijs, who recently became a Canadian citizen, and will represent Canada at the world championship level for the first time. Introduced to recreational vaulting at the age of six in the Netherlands, van der Sluijs, 22, competed at her first CVI in 2005, and was the Alberta Senior Women’s Vaulting Champion from 2005–2007. She was also named Canada’s first Division A Women’s champion in 2009. Besides vaulting at international level, Jeanine is the head coach of the Meadow Creek Vaulting Club.
“I feel extremely honored to be representing Canada at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games” said van der Sluijs. “This will be the first time for me competing at WEG, and I am looking forward to the experience of the games. I am very excited to compete there and being a part of Team Canada."
Marland, 18, was only five-years-old when she started vaulting with the Cheam Vaulters in Chilliwack. In 2003, she moved with her family to Rocky Mountain House, AB and became the Alberta Junior Women's Champion in 2004 and the Alberta Senior Women’s Champion in 2008. Her first CVI, at the age of 14, was in Saratoga, CA, and she has since competed at many international events including the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, GER and the 2008 World Vaulting Championships in Brno, Czech Republic. Marland trains with and coaches the Spruce Valley Vaulters in Rocky Mountain House.
“I feel honored to be one of the four Canadians representing our country at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky. It is an exciting opportunity to have the Games so close to home, and to compete in them for Canada is such an exciting opportunity,” said Marland.
Alisa Schmidt, 24, began vaulting at just four years of age and has been both the Junior and Senior Women’s Provincial champion for BC. Her first FEI competition was CVI Saratoga, CA in 2000 at the age of 14, and at CVI Saratoga in 2004 she became the first Canadian female vaulter to ever win gold at an FEI event. She has since represented Canada at several FEI competitions and championships including CVI Sydney, AUS in 2008 where she had the top score by a foreign vaulter. In 2008, she became Canada’s first Division AA National Women’s Champion. Alisa Schmidt trains with and coaches the Cheam Vaulters in Chilliwack, BC.
“An honor like this only comes along once in a lifetime,” remarked Alisa Schmidt about the opportunity to represent her country at the first WEG on North American soil.
Colin Schmidt, 31, began vaulting at the age of 11 with the Cheam Vaulters in Chilliwack, BC. He was the men’s provincial champion in BC for many years and in 2008 became Canada’s first Division AA National Men’s Champion. His international career began with CVI Saumur in 1994. He has since represented Canada at many CVI competitions, world championships and the past three WEG events. In 2006 he won bronze at CVI Sao Paulo, BRA, and in 2008 he competed at CVI Sydney and became the first Canadian male vaulter to ever win gold at an FEI event. In June 2010 he won the silver medal for Canada, the host country at CVI Chilliwack, BC. Colin Schmidt is also the head coach of the Cheam Vaulters. In 2005, his contribution to coaching was recognized by Horse Council BC as he was named the BC Equestrian Coach of the Year.
“At WEG this year will be the first time that North Americans can compete at the World Championship on their own horses, or on horses that they have had a long term relationship with,” noted Colin Schmidt. “This home turf advantage has always been the privilege of the European countries in the past, and it is a great feeling knowing that it’s our turn this time.”
Marita Hoppe from the Okotoks, AB will be chef d’équipe for the Canadian vaulting delegation.
The Vaulting competition at WEG takes place from October 6–10, 2010, and additional information about WEG may be found at www.alltechfeigames.com.
VaultCanada is the discipline committee of Equine Canada that is responsible for developing and implementing programs on behalf of the vaulting community and administrating the high performance program for vaulters in Canada. For additional information regarding VaultCanada please visit www.vaultcanada.org.
About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism. A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry. Equine Canada is recognised by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organisation representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca.