The Canadian team slipped to third after cross-country, having added some time faults over the three-star long format course. Designed by Frenchman Pierre Le Goupil, who will also be designing the Olympic course in Paris next year, the course featured lots of twists and turns with 37 jumping efforts over 4,425m. Only six entries of the 34 starters went clear without time penalties, and nine were eliminated on course.
The most experienced of Canada’s team, Mike Winter and El Mundo, were the pathfinders. The pair had a clear jumping round but came in 19 seconds slower than the optimal time, adding 7.6 points to their dressage score and ending the day in 10th.
“It’s always fun to ride your favourite horse,” said a delighted Winter after his ride. “He’s such a good boy.”
“Some of the size of the jumps in the combination weren’t enough to hold him,” he explained of their slower time. “I had to show jump through a lot of combinations, which took a lot of time.”
As the first on course, Winter was able to report back to his teammates which jumps to pay attention to and any lines that were tricky. “Go quickly but don’t take risks,” he said of his approach as front-runner.
Next up for Canada was Colleen Loach and FE Golden Eye, who also had a clean jumping effort but added 13.2 time penalties, dropping to 11th place.
“I wish I could have gone a little faster, but he got backed off a little at the first water and a couple of the turney questions near the beginning,” Loach explained after. “We didn’t lose any more after that but weren’t able to make it up.”
The course featured several twists and turns which Loach said made it hard for her to get her galloping rhythm at the beginning but was able to solve that for the second half.
“The second half he felt spot-on. He was galloping a bit better and I was getting a better distance out of his stride and not backing off at the last second.”
Making her Canadian team debut, Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge went clear with no jumping or time penalties, finishing right on the optimum time to move up to 5th.
“I was trying to make sure I had a clear round and went as fast as I could,” she said of her ride which was cautious going into the water but very quick between jumps. “I was trying to make sure I got all the combinations right and in between I pushed him as much as I could.
“It felt like a short format, just a bit longer,” she said of the track, “with the twists and turns and few gallop sections in between so you had to keep moving.”
Last to go for Canada was Karl Slezak and Hot Bobo who also produced a clear round to move up to 6th.
“She felt amazing right off the bat,” he said of their round. The pair were held up at jump seven but the Irish-bred mare was quick to regain her rhythm. The round almost took a bad turn when the mare got distracted by the crowd heading into the second pass of the water obstacle but were able to recover.
“She jumped in just looking at the crowd again, squished in a second stride at the second face and kind of clambered over it,” he explained. “Luckily she landed on her feet. I don’t know how she did it, but away we went again. After that she was just friggin’ awesome. I loved every minute of it.”
The US has maintained a solid lead with 86.2 points, followed by Brazil with 101.5. Canada is close behind in third with 105.2 which is a comfortable lead over Argentina in fourth with 194.1.
Team and individual medals will be determined tomorrow over the show jumping course.
Individual results here.
Team standings here.