Francois Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, successfully defended his title to win the $20,000 Open Welcome, presented by Wellings of Stittsville, for the second year in a row on Friday, July 14, at the Ottawa National Horse Show at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.

A starting field of 46 horse and rider combinations contested Friday’s $20,000 Open Welcome with 14 leaving all the rails in place over the track set by 2016 Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil.

With the stage set for the jump-off, Sam Pegg of Cannington, ON, riding Shaia de Macheco was the first athlete to navigate the short course. He laid down the gauntlet, again jumping clear in a time of 40.76 seconds.

Two riders later, Lamontagne returned to the grass field with every intention of defending his 2016 title with Chanel du Calvaire. The pair took every risk as they raced around the jump-off course, shaving more than three full seconds off Pegg’s time by stopping the clock in 37.55 seconds.

Ten other riders would try to better Lamontagne’s time, but none would succeed. Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON, came the closest, guiding Count Me In home in a time of 40.71 seconds for second place. Underhill and Count Me In were the winners of last year’s $100,000 Jumper Classic at the CSI Ottawa International Horse Show.

With Pegg taking third place, fourth went to local competitor Kelley Robinson of Russell, ON, riding Blue’s Yer Daddy. Wesley Clover Parks’ own Executive Director, Karen Sparks of Kanata, ON, finished in fifth aboard Teddy du Bosquetiau.

“Chanel du Calvaire is not the most conventional; she doesn’t have the most classic style the way she goes,” said Lamontagne of his nine-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare. “But whatever way she’s doing it, she’s doing it clear!”

Lamontagne and Chanel du Calvaire will be favourites to win the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix on Sunday, July 16, at 2:30 p.m. They will also be competing during next week’s CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Show running July 19 to 23.

“Since they started this show back three years ago, it’s been one of my favourites,” said Lamontagne, 33. “Every detail is really nice. We’re really happy to have a quality horse show like this in the area and close for us from Quebec.”

Following his time at the Ottawa National and CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows, Lamontagne and Chanel du Calvaire will head to Europe, having just been named to the Canadian team for Nations’ Cup competition in Samorin, Slovakia. Numerous Canadian Show Jumping Team veterans are competing at the Ottawa National Horse Show, including Canadian Olympians Ian and Amy Millar of Perth, ON, and Hugh Graham of Schomberg, ON.

Friday evening featured the $10,000 Canadian Hunter Derby, presented by Cavalor Equus Integral. A total of 41 entries contested the course set on Wesley Clover Parks’ expansive grass grand prix field with the win going to local competitor Taylor Mulligan of Merrickville, ON, and Westwyn, owned by Sydney Steele. Finishing in second was Miranda Travers-Cavill of Claremont, ON, riding Eldino while Isabelle Lapierre of Levis, QC, took third riding Carrera S.

Competition continues on Saturday, highlighted by the $2,500 Royal LePage Team Realty Canine Equine Relay beginning at 1 p.m. followed by the $7,500 Lynn Millar Memorial Speed Derby. Sunday’s featured event is the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix at 2:30 p.m.

Amber Marshall will be making a special guest appearance at the Ottawa National Horse Show on Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16. The star of CBC’s award-winning Heartland, Marshall will emcee festivities for the entertainment of spectators and competitors alike.

Family-friendly ‘Celebration of the Horse’ activities take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 15 and 16 and July 21, 22 and 23, offering a kids’ zone with bouncy castles and slides, face painting, balloon and glitter artists, children’s jumps, demonstrations, and many more activities.

Admission to the Ottawa National and CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows is $5 a day at the gate, with weekly admission passes available for $20. Children aged three and under are admitted free.

For more information on the Ottawa National and CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows, visit
$20,000 Open Welcome, presented by Wellings of Stittsville 
Rider / Horse / Faults-Time
1. Francois Lamontagne, Chanel du Calvaire 0/0-37.55
2. Beth Underhill, Count Me In 0/0-40.71
3. Sam Pegg, Shaia de Macheco 0/0-40.76
4. Kelley Robinson, Blue’s Yer Daddy 0/0-41.02
5. Karen Sparks, Teddy du Bosquetiau 0/0-42.31
6. Sam Pegg, Caroquodos T 0/0-43.62
7. Jonathon Millar, Bonzay 0/0-47.62
8. Nora Gray, Dior 0/4-41.25
9. Kelly Soleau-Millar, Cacharel 0/4-41.38
10. Ian Millar, Vittorio 8 0/4-48.68

$10,000 Canadian Hunter Derby, presented by Cavalor Equus Integral 
1. Taylor Mulligan, Westwyn
2. Miranda Travers-Cavill, Eldino
3. Isabelle Lapierre, Carrera S
4. Melissandre Lincourt, Athenes d’Amaury
5. Dannie Murphy, Quinn
6. Quincy Hayes, King Bee
7. Mackenzie Wray, Contact
8. Vanessa Robert, Commando
9. Ryan Roy, Leopold
10. Darcy Hayes, California