CALGARY, ALBERTA  – Members of Canada’s Olympic show jumping team competed as individuals on June 28th, along with riders from five other nations, and two of Canada’s team members went head-to-head in the tie-breaker. Jill Henselwood came up the victor in the $50,000 RBC Cup at the Spruce Meadows Canada One tournament.

Henselwood, of Oxford Mills, Ontario, and Eric Lamaze, of Schomberg, Ontario,  accounted for three of five clear rounds, from an original starting field of 43. Lamaze was faultless on two mounts. He was the first to navigate the course successfully on his Olympic mount, Hickstead, and repeated on his reliable second-string partner, Narcotique de Muze II. Joining Lamaze in the tie-breaker was Henselwood on Special Ed; Mexican Olympic hopeful Enrique Gonzalez on Frida; and 2000 Olympic veteran Lauren Hough, of the U.S., on Casadora.

At one point it looked like it would be a 1-2 finish for Henselwood and Lamaze on their Olympic mounts. But, in the end, it was the women that rose to the top as Henselwood and Hough finished just over one-half second apart. Hough opted not to bid for this year’s U.S. Olympic team, but has been a frequent winner during the current Spruce Meadows summer series. Lamaze finished third on Hickstead today and fourth on Narcotique de Muze II.

Team captain Ian Millar, of Perth, Ontario, left all the jumps standing today on his Olympic mount, In Style, but incurred 1 time fault for exceeding the time allowed. The fourth member of Canada’s Olympic team,  Mac Cone on Ole, had one knockdown to earn 4 faults. 

Henselwood, who rode Special Ed to the individual gold medal at last year’s Pan American Games, started him gradually this year. Her intent was to peak for the Olympics and her strategy appears to be paying off. “These horses’ performances can’t be maintained at a peak all the time”, she explained, “and there is no scientific way to know just how to peak them at a certain time. But, I couldn’t be more pleased. I think we’re right where we should be at this time.” Henselwood also rode Special Ed to win the Grand Prix of Madrid in May, after competing lightly in the winter.

The Olympic-bound horses will enter quarantine in late July and fly to Hong Kong, host of the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympics, in early August. Show jumping competitions take place August 18 to 21.