Toronto, Ontario – Quebec’s Laurie Bucci claimed her first Canadian Show Jumping Championship title on Saturday, November 4, at the Royal Horse Show running as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair from November 3-12 in Toronto, ON.
Riding Quidam’s Ramiro, the 34-year-old competitor from St. Hilaire, QC, posted two clear rounds to seize the victory from veterans Mario Deslauriers and eight-time Olympian Ian Millar. Following Friday evening’s Phase One of the Canadian Show Jumping Championships, presented by Greenhawk Harness and Equestrian Supplies Inc. and Ariat International Inc., Deslauriers was in the driver’s seat riding Naomi while Millar was in second position. Bucci was sitting sixth in the standings.
All 20 competitors vying for the national title carried their scores from Friday night forward to Saturday’s two-round Phase Two. In the first round, eight riders managed to post clear rounds, including Millar of Perth, ON, who overtook top spot riding In Style, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Susan Grange. With a fallen rail, Deslauriers and Naomi, his 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare fell to second place.
The stage was set for a battle of the veterans in the second round, where the top 10 riders returned to the ring to attempt a completely new track set by Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt. Defending champion Jill Henselwood was in seventh position coming into the second round. A perfect performance with Special Ed, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding, put the pressure on those who followed – with every rail that fell, she climbed further up the ranks. When Bucci posted a clear round, she overtook the lead, but there were still four more riders to follow. One by one, John Pearce, Kelley Small, Deslauriers and finally, Millar, all dropped one rail, catapulting Bucci into top spot to claim her first Canadian Show Jumping Championship title.
“I never expected to win,” said Bucci, who was overwhelmed by her victory. “I was hoping to do well, but when you have Mario and Ian following you into ring, you think there is no way it could happen.”
Incredibly, the Royal Horse Show marked the first time that Bucci had competed with Quidam’s Ramiro indoors. The small ring, coupled with a full house in the 6,400-seat Ricoh Coliseum, is a remarkably different environment than the sprawling outdoor arenas that the horses have been competing in all summer.
“He was super,” said Bucci in praise of the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Claude Dufresne. “He is very brave. Nothing bothered him at all and he really held his focus.”
Henselwood fell just short of winning back-to-back Canadian Show Jumping Championship titles.
“Strategy wise, I made one mistake Friday night,” said Henselwood who, riding Special Ed, represented Canada at the World Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, this year. “It was my mistake, not Special Ed’s mistake. When you have the back rail down, I think it is generally the rider’s fault.”
In addition to crowning a national champion, the Canadian Championships also determined which riders moved forward to the international show jumping division of the Royal Horse Show, beginning on Tuesday, November 7. Bucci and Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON, along with Erynn Ballard of Hillsburgh, ON, will join the top five Canadians in the FEI Gandini World Ranking List – Millar, Deslauriers, Henselwood, Pearce and Small.
Tickets for all Royal Horse Show performances, held as part of the 84th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 416 872-7777 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca. For more information on the Royal Horse Show, including complete schedules, please visit www.royalfair.org.
Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Final Results
- Laurie Bucci St. Hiliare, QC Quidam’s Ramiro 4.82
- Jill Henselwood Oxford Mills, ON Special Ed 5.13
- Ian Millar Perth, ON In Style 6.83
- Mario Deslauriers Bromont, QC Naomi 8
- Kelley Small Ottawa, ON Calibur 8.18
- John Pearce Stouffville, ON Archie Bunker 8.39
- Hyde Moffatt Brantford, ON Ting Tin 8.86
- Jennifer Grey Owen Sound, ON Roxette Delores 11.01
- Mike Grinyer Campbellville, ON Alcatraz 11.09
- Ainsley Vince Milton, ON Catch 22 20.02