Canada’s Tiffany Foster Takes $80,000 TD Cup at Spruce Meadows

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Calgary, Alberta – Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, won the $80,000 TD Cup on July 9 at the Spruce Meadows “North American” Tournament in Calgary, Canada.  Held in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows, widely considered to be one of the best show jumping venues in the world, Foster topped a starting field of 26 horses on her way to victory in the $80,000 1.50m TD Cup.  A total of six horses were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off.
California’s Hannah Selleck led the jump-off, posting a clear round in a time of 44.78 seconds riding ES Carando Z.  Foster was next to go riding Victor and was able to negotiate the shortened track in a time of 42.98 seconds.  It was then a matter of waiting as such well-known speed specialists as McLain Ward and Mario Deslauriers, both of the United States, took their turns.  Ward had the time, 41.59 seconds, but incurred a rail along the way to place fourth while Deslauriers had two rails down to finish sixth.  Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam took a shot at victory but incurred six faults riding Rolette to place fifth, while British Olympian Michael Whitaker was able to post a clear round but in a slower time of 45.49 seconds to finish third.

The win marked the first major victory of Foster’s show jumping career.  “He was so good; he was just amazing,” said a jubilant Foster, praising the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.  “I have always been very conservative, and today I tried to go faster.  The faster you go, the higher he jumps and the harder he tries.”  For the jump-off, Foster received valuable advice from her trainer, Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze.

“Hannah went first and was quite fast, and Eric said the only way to catch her was to go faster from fences one to two,” explained Foster, who also works for Lamaze.  “We put the jets on and flew from one to two, and then we just kept on going.  I didn’t pull.  With Michael, McLain Ward and Mario behind you, you have to go for it.  I went up the ring to watch the rest of the jump-off, but Eric told me it was bad luck, so I ran back to the warm-up and just had to wait and listen to the groans from the crowd to know what was happening.”

For her victory, Foster earned $24,000 in prize money.  Owned by Artisan Farms and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, Victor was originally intended as a mount for Lamaze.  The number one ranked rider in the world, Lamaze rode Victor during the 2010 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, before turning the reins over to Foster while he competed in Europe.  By the time the pair got to Spruce Meadows two months later, Lamaze could see a strong partnership was forming, and opted to leave the horse with Foster.

“I am so lucky because Eric owns half and the Zieglers own half, and yet I still get to ride him,” said an appreciative Foster.  “Not many people would let you keep riding a horse that nice.  I am so thankful to them for the opportunity.”  

For Foster, winning in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows is a dream come true.  “When I was a kid I used to come to Spruce Meadows to watch and thought it was the coolest thing,” said Foster, 26, who is originally from Vancouver, BC.  “For me to even ride in the International Ring is a big deal, let alone win.  To be able to go fast and win against those people is just incredible.  To see them raising the Canadian flag and knowing they were doing that for me was so amazing.”

Foster’s win came two days after Caitlin Ziegler, who is also trained by Lamaze, made history by becoming the youngest rider to ever win an International Equestrian Federation (FEI) event in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows.  The 16-year-old from Mequon, Wisconsin, won the $31,000 1.50m AON Cup on July 7 riding Valencia, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms.

Photo: Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, won the $80,000 TD Cup on July 9 at the Spruce Meadows “North American” Tournament in Calgary, Alberta.  Photo Credit – Spruce Meadows Media Services