The Canadian Show Jumping Team finished fifth in the $150,000 CSIO4* Nations’ Cup, presented by Premier Equestrian, held Friday, March 5, at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Erynn Ballard, Mario Deslauriers, Tiffany Foster, and Amy Millar represented Canada in the only Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) sanctioned senior team event held during this year’s Florida winter circuit. A total of eight teams competed for victory over tracks set by American course designers Steve Stephens and Nick Granat including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, and the United States.
In a change of schedule from prior years, the first round got underway at 4:30 p.m. ET followed by the second round at 7:30 p.m. At the mid-way point, Ireland led with a clear scoresheet after all four of its riders produced clear rounds. The United States followed in second with a single time fault and Israel was in third with four faults. Brazil was next in the provisional standings with eight faults while Canada and Great Britain were tied in fifth position with 12 faults. All eight teams moved forward to the second round.
Foster, 36, of North Vancouver, BC, acted as Canada’s lead-off rider with Northern Light, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Plot Blue x Contender) owned by Foster in partnership with Artisan Farms LLC. In the mare’s Nations’ Cup debut, the pair posted scores of eight faults in both rounds.
Ballard, 40, of Tottenham, ON, was riding Gakhir, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Spartacus x Indorado) owned by Ilan Ferder and Esperanza Imports LLC. Incurring eight faults in the opening round, the newly-formed partnership kept it to four faults the second time out.
Millar, 44, of Perth, ON, was the star of the night with Truman, a 12-year-old Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Kolibri) owned by Millar Brooke Farm Ltd. and Overlund. Looking fresh and confident, the pair left all the rails in place both times they toured the track to deliver a double clear performance.
As the most experienced member of the Canadian team, Deslauriers, 56, of New York, NY, acted as the anchor. An unlucky rub at the double combination in the first round led to four faults, while it was a rail at the triple combination that fell during round two for another four-fault performance. The Wellington event marked the first time Deslauriers was riding Uris de la Roque, a 13-year-old Selle Français gelding (Capital x Quick Star) owned by Aram Ampagoumian LLC in partnership with Deslauriers, in Nations’ Cup competition.
“All the Canadian horses jumped very well in the Nations’ Cup,” said Mark Laskin, Chair of the High Performance Jumping Committee. “We had three new horses that hadn’t competed for Canada previously and they gained critical experience towards their future careers. Special recognition should be given to Amy Millar who laid down two picture perfect rounds and led the way for us with a double clear performance.”
On the event’s 20th anniversary, it was the United States that claimed victory in the $150,000 CSIO4* Nations’ Cup with the one fault incurred in the opening round. Ireland placed second on four faults, Brazil finished third on 14, and Israel fourth on 16 faults. Canada was fifth with a two-round total of 20 faults while Great Britain finished sixth with 24 faults. Colombia and Mexico took the final two placings in the standings with scores of 29 and 33 faults respectively.