Highlighted by a strong performance by 2008 Canadian Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, the Canadian Show Jumping Team tied for fourth place in the $150,000 CSIO4* Nations Cup held Saturday night, February 29, at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

Eric Lamaze of Wellington, FL; Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB; Jonathon Millar of Perth, ON; and Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON, represented Canada in the only Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) sanctioned senior team event held during the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival. A total of nine teams competed for top honours over a track set by American course designer, Ken Krome.

Underhill, 57, and her mount, Count Me In, got Canada off to a strong start by leaving all the rails in place. However, the reigning Canadian Show Jumping Champions incurred four faults when they failed to clear the entire width of the open water jump.

Riding for the first time in the Wellington Nations’ Cup, Mannix, 30, had rails down at the liverpool obstacle at fence five as well as ‘b’ of the triple combination set as fence 11 riding Catinka 25, her 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Catoki x Luxano). The pair also exceeded the tight time allowed of 70 seconds to pick up a time fault for a total of nine faults. When the best three scores of Canada’s four-man team were counted, Mannix’s score would be dropped from the team total.

Millar, 45, also had two rails down late on course at the ‘a’ and ‘b’ elements of the triple combination for eight faults riding Daveau, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Glennridge) owned by his family’s Millar Brooke Farm of Perth, ON.

Lamaze, 51, kept Canada in the thick of things with the recently acquired Idalville d’Esprit, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Carabas v/d Wateringhoeve x Nabab de Reve) owned by Chris Stinett and Lamaze’s own Torrey Pines Stable Inc. The pair left all the rails in place but were caught by the clock for a single time fault in the opening round.

Counting a total of 13 faults, Canada was tied for third place with Brazil at the end of the first round. The United States had a flawless scorecard with zero faults while Ireland sat in second position with five faults.

Coming back for the second round, Underhill was working on a clear round when Count Me In, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes) owned by Sandy Lupton, took exception to the triple combination, resulting in an unplanned dismount and immediate elimination.

That meant the scores of the next three Canadians would all count towards the team total. Mannix brought home a score of four faults the second time out with Catinka 25 while Millar again incurred eight faults with Daveau, this time dropping rails at the double combination at fence three and again at the ‘b’ element of the triple combination at fence 11.

Lamaze then delivered a clear round in fine fashion, much to the delight of the Canadian cheering section that had bravely endured the unseasonably cold Florida weather. That gave Canada a total of 12 faults in the second round, and an overall score of 25 faults to tie for fourth place with Israel.

“Show jumping is an unpredictable sport and, unfortunately, tonight we had a couple of unexpected things happen,” said Canadian Show Jumping Team chef d’equipe Mark Laskin of Langley, BC. “To win a Nations’ Cup, everything has to go right and when it doesn’t, that’s the difference between first and fourth.”

The United States easily retained its place at the top of the leaderboard, aided by 18-year-old Brian Moggre riding MTM Vivre le Reve who posted the evening’s only double clear performance. Counting only four faults, the home side claimed victory over Ireland who finished the two-round competition with a total of 13 faults. Australia took third place with 22 faults while Canada and Israel tied for fourth place with 25 faults. Brazil rounded out the top six with 26 faults. Only the top six teams advanced following the opening round with Colombia, Mexico, and Chile failing to qualify.

The Canadian Show Jumping Team will next compete in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Mexico, to be held from April 30 to May 3 in Coapexpan, Mexico.