Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, continued his impressive run of victories by winning the $80,000 Suncor Energy Winning Round and guiding his student, 16-year-old Caitlin Ziegler, to second place on Saturday, September 10, at the Spruce Meadows “Masters” Tournament in Calgary, AB.
A total of 27 riders entered the International Ring to tackle the course set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela with 11 jumping clear.  In a format that only sees the top eight return for the second round, Lamaze and his two students, Ziegler of Mequon, WI, and Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, were among those to advance.
Foster was the first of the trio to attempt the jump-off, coming home with eight faults to eventually place eighth riding Victor, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.
Making her Spruce Meadows “Masters” debut, Ziegler crossed the timers in 40.61 seconds to move to the top of the leader board with only Lamaze left to challenge.  Ziegler was aboard Valencia, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by her family’s Artisan Farms.
Lamaze, the number one rider in the world, managed to shave mere fractions of a second off his student’s time, stopping the timers in 40.50 seconds riding Coriana van Klapscheut.  For the win, Lamaze earned $24,000 while Ziegler took home $16,000 for second place.
“You have to put your rider hat on, and then you have to put your teacher hat on,” said Lamaze of competing head-to-head with his students.  “They are both very professional, and I have taken great pride in watching them come along.  For Caitlin to only be 16 and competing at the “Masters” for the first time is very impressive.”
Of his mare Coriana van Klapscheut, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, Lamaze noted, “She’s become my speed specialist.  She’s won so much this year.  She’s a little horse and she tries so hard.  She’s a lovely mare and a great winner.”
The victory marked the third win of the week for Lamaze in the International Ring.  On Wednesday, he and his Olympic partner, Hickstead, won the $35,000 Finning Welcome.  On Thursday, he guided Coriana van Klapscheut to victory over 41 entries in the $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup.
After winning the $80,000 Suncor Energy Winning Round, Lamaze’s day was far from over.  One hour after taking his victory gallop, he mounted Hickstead in preparation for the $350,000 BMO Nations’ Cup.  Riding alongside him on the Team for the first time was Foster, who was making her Nations’ Cup debut for Canada, as well as Olympic veterans Jonathan Asselin and Ian Millar.  Canada made an impressive effort, finishing second among the 10 countries competing.
“I am very proud to have a student on the team with me,” said Lamaze, who was the only rider to post two clear rounds in the Nations’ Cup competition.  “It is a great experience to bring someone along from doing hunter competition to riding on the Canadian Team.”
Foster posted scores of eight and 12 in her Nations’ Cup debut.  She was riding Southwind VDL, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Baloubet de Rouet that had only been purchased by Artisan Farms in July.
“I was a little nervous, but I was trying to pretend that it was just a normal course,” said Foster, 27, who had only been asked to ride on the Canadian Team one week earlier.  “I knew I had Ian and Eric after me, which was nice padding.”
While Hickstead and Coriana van Klapscheut are competing in Canada, Lamaze’s other two top mounts, Atlete Van’t Heike and Sidoline van de Centaur, are awaiting the Nations’ Cup Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain, from September 21 to 25.