François Lamontagne of St-Eustache, QC, won the Jump Canada Talent Squad Final on Saturday, November 5, at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show. The 10-day international equestrian competition is held as part of the 89th edition of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair from November 4–13 in Toronto, ON.

Held over two days, the Talent Squad Final competition opened on November 4 with the $8,000 Alfred Rogers National Talent Squad Series Championship, Phase I, where Lamontagne and Underground des Hauts Droits, Ferme Lamontagne’s seven-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding, won the opening speed competition.

Lamontagne and Underground des Hauts Droits returned to the Ricoh Coliseum the following day to win the $10,000 Alfred Rogers National Talent Squad Series Championship, Phase II, with the only double clear ride with a jump-off time of 32.33 seconds.  With the back-to-back victories, Lamontagne was declared the 2011 National Talent Squad Final Champion.

“I am really happy because I won both classes, but I am especially pleased because this horse is a new one for me—I just got him in May,” said Lamontagne who was the winner of the 2008 Jump Canada Talent Squad Eastern Division riding Anton. “We started this season in the 1.10m division, and we progressed from there.

“I would like to thank my family and girlfriend, because without them I would not be here,” he added.

Tatiana Dzavik of Toronto, ON, claimed the Reserve Champion title riding Catwalk 19, an eight-year-old Holsteiner stallion owned by Dzavik and South Shore Farm. The pair finished in second place in both Phases.

“The Talent Squad is excellent for us,” said Dzavik. “Catwalk is eight-years-old, so he is still quite green. We are really proud of him, because we just got him in July and I was injured, so we did not make it into the ring until the beginning of August.”

Dzavik continued, “The Jump Canada Talent Squad is an excellent way to develop horses, and it was the perfect opportunity for us to compete at the Royal. This show has such a wonderful atmosphere and is a fantastic experience.”

The Jump Canada Talent Squad Series is a means of recognizing up-and-coming riders who are preparing to enter the grand prix ranks and gives them a platform to demonstrate their ability to become future members of the Canadian Equestrian Team.