When the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament returns to the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON from September 21-25, spectators will be treated to some of the best show jumping competition in the world.  Helping make the event a great success are the dozens of officials, volunteers, sponsors and staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes.
Sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament has secured two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela to set the tracks in the grand prix ring.  Presiding over that ring and this year’s featured event, the $100,000 Caledon Cup, will be Canada’s own Cathy Roy, who is an accredited FEI jumper judge as well as an Equine Canada Senior Judge.
Comprised of three legs of competition held over three days, the $100,000 Caledon Cup, presented by Aviva Elite, Peel Maryborough, and RAM Equestrian, is the ‘triple crown of show jumping’ and will see competitors fighting for top honours.
“It’s a high-end show,” explains Roy of King, ON.  “The elite riders like Eric Lamaze, Ian Millar, Mac Cone, all of our Canadian team members who are dispersed all year, usually come together at the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament.  It’s one of the first times we get to see them all come together to compete against each one another.”
Not only do the best riders in the country come together to compete at the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, the best team of horse show staff is assembled as well.
“They run one less ring than they usually do at their other shows so that they can focus most of their efforts on the grand prix ring and the elite athletes,” explains Roy, speaking about the show’s management team and all of various players who work together to ensure the event’s success.  “We have the best footing, the best jumps, the best stewards and the best security.  We have professional announcers and professional ring crew.  The ring crew there is probably as good as at any other venue in the country.  The management puts in extra effort to decorate the ring and make sure that everything, including the competition, is first-class and high quality.”
It’s more than just management putting in that extra effort.
“The tournament hires the best of the best and because of that, everyone knows their job very well,” continues Roy.  “Everything runs so smoothly because none of us have to ask what’s expected of us; we already know.”
While the caliber of competition is what draws spectators to the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, it’s the other events held during the four days that set the show apart.  A core group of volunteers manages everything from the activities surrounding the annual Children’s Wish presentation, where a recipient’s wish for a pony is granted, to the on-site trade fair with its various exhibits.
“We’re focused on major charities and we have a family component as well,” says Linda Pabst, a long-time volunteer at the Tournament who acts as Chair of the Children’s Wish Jumping for Dreams committee as well as Chair of the Unique Boutiques and Family Village committee.
The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada will once again be the beneficiary of this year’s Canadian Show Jumping Tournament.  Over the past two years, the Tournament has granted a child’s wish for a pony to two lucky recipients and raised more than $70,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation.  This year’s Children’s Wish Celebration, featuring a luncheon with live and silent auctions, followed in the evening by the Children’s Wish BBQ and Dance, will be held on Saturday, September 24.
The Family Village will be open Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25, and will feature entertaining and educational interactive displays and attractions.  The Foxbury Farm Horseless Horse Show is also returning this year, allowing children to jump kid-sized obstacles on foot in a competition of their own.  New in the Family Village is a public tombola, where people can buy tickets and win great prizes on the spot.
“A lot of dedicated volunteers and hard working management make these other events held at the horse show a great success,” says Pabst of Nobleton, ON.  “The committees meet once a month where we come together with all our thoughts and ideas.  In general, we just have a very hardworking group.  We also have very supportive and dedicated sponsors as well as very active community members who have donated items for our auction and tombola.  I just can’t say enough good things about the entire team.”
The athletes themselves will also have the opportunity to take part in the fundraising efforts by participating in the popular ‘Ribbon Campaign’ taking place throughout the duration of the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament.  By donating any ribbons won, competitors contribute their corresponding prize money to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Gate proceeds from the 2011 Canadian Show Jumping Tournament will go to support the Palgrave Rotary and other local charities.
For more information on the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, please visit http://www.equiman.com/.