Eric_number_one_copy.jpgLausanne, Switzerland – Canadian show jumping athlete Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, is now ranked number one in the world.

Lamaze, who claimed Individual Gold and Team Silver medals at the 2008 Olympic Games riding Hickstead, took over the number one spot when the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) released the Rolex World Rider Rankings, calculated monthly, on January 6, 2009.

Prior to the Olympic Games in August, Lamaze was in third position in the rankings, and moved up into the number two spot after claiming the Olympic championship title. Consistent performances throughout the fall season kept him in the number two spot behind Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. Victory in the €175,000 Rolex World Cup Grand Prix in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 14 gave Lamaze the additional points required to take over the coveted number one spot. Lamaze currently has 3,550 points while Michaels-Beerbaum has 3,535.

“Over the past four years, I have committed myself to competing against the best in the world, which has meant spending a lot of time in Europe,” said Lamaze, 40. “My owners, as well as a great team of people at home, have helped make that possible. To have achieved my goal is simply incredible, and for a Canadian to be number one in the world is something we can all be proud of.”

While points are tabulated using rider results only, the majority of Lamaze’s world ranking points have come riding his Olympic partner, Hickstead. Owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, Hickstead is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion that is now actively used for breeding.

Since the Olympic Games in August, Lamaze and Hickstead won the €60,000 Grand Prix of Caen and placed second in the €200,000 Grand Prix of Deauville, both in France. The pair then enjoyed a triumphant homecoming at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show where they won the $100,000 CN World Cup Grand Prix on November 12. Returning to Europe to contest the €150,000 Rolex Top Ten Final, open to the top ten ranked riders in the world, in Brussels, Belgium, the pair placed fourth overall. Geneva, where he won the €175,000 Rolex World Cup Grand Prix, was the final stop on Lamaze’s 2008 competition calendar.

Lamaze is competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, running January 7 to March 29, 2009, and hopes to qualify for the 2009 World Cup Final to be held in Las Vegas, NV, in April.