Equestrian Canada (EC) is pleased to announce that Camille Carier Bergeron of Laval, QC, has been awarded the 2022 Orion Cup after consistently achieving outstanding results at the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Under 25 (U25) level.

The Orion Cup was created in memory of one of Canada’s most well-known equine dressage stars – Orion. The Orion Cup is presented to a promising dressage athlete in the process of transitioning from the Young Rider level to Grand Prix.

Open to Canadian dressage riders aged 16 to 25, the award is presented to the rider with the highest average of three scores from the U25 Grand Prix level. Scores obtained at CDI-level competitions receive a 1% bonus. The program encourages young athletes to focus on training and planning at an elite level, with tangible goals and confidence.

Coming off a successful 2022 season, it comes as no surprise Carier Bergeron captured the 2022 title, as she is the only Canadian currently sitting in the FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking’s – U25 top ten, holding ninth place as of Nov. 1, 2022. Her impressive 70.457% qualifying average score was earned aboard Sound of Silence 4, or ‘SOS’ (San Amour x Limes), a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by her father, Gilles Bergeron.

“Winning the Orion Cup this year with Sound of Silence is truly exciting and rewarding. I can’t thank enough Pia for her generous support towards the youth over the years with the Orion cup, but also towards me and SOS,” said Carier Bergeron. She added on her relationship with Fortmuller about how “she has been a true mentor and has helped our relationship grow in what it is now. She believed in us in times where I was not sure myself, we could do it.”

The partnership with SOS has been a strong bond for a few years now, “I have competed with SOS in the FEI junior, FEI young rider until last year and now this year for the first time in FEI U25 Grand Prix. We came up the levels together and I learned so much training him up.” She added, “I didn’t think we could make it to top 10 in the world this first year or neither win the Orion Cup. I’m so lucky to have such a partner and I’m so grateful to my team, my parents, my coach Brittany Fraser and all my therapists, friends and sponsors. It takes a village!”

Carier Bergeron’s first qualifying score came on March 18 during week 10 at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CDIO U25 in Wellington, FL. The duo was awarded a score of 69.641%, plus a 1% CDI bonus, to finish with a score of 70.641%. On May 21, Carier Bergeron received her next qualifying score of 68.034%, plus another CDI 1% bonus, to a score of 69.034% at the Ottawa Dressage Festival in Ottawa, ON. She would clinch the Orion Cup on September 3, after recording a score of 70.697%, plus a 1% CDI bonus to 71.697%, in Bromont, QC.

Pia Fortmuller, who knows Carier Bergeron well, was super excited to present the award to her and SOS at the Royal Horse Show. “Camille and SOS winning this award is very exciting on many levels, because I know this combination very well with Camille living with me in Priddis, Alberta for over a year.” Fortmuller added, “SOS was a big question mark whether or not he has the motivation required for high performance and Camille was skeptical, but she trusted me to believe in herself and this turned out to be one my favourite, beautiful stories.”

Fortmuller believes that where Carier Bergeron and SOS started to where they are now shows “it’s a true definition of having courage to take a leap of faith and dream big!” With no awards being given out last year, including the Orion Cup, she added, “Its important to mention that we have so many strong up-and-coming talents in Canada at the moment; for example, Camille was the highest-ranking FEI U25 rider with her other horse, Acoeur.” Fortmuller concluded, “biggest congratulations to both Camille and SOS for this huge achievement.”

Orion (Jazz x Consul), a 1996 Dutch Warmblood gelding, was an Olympic Team horse for Canada and was trained to the advanced level by Fortmuller’s former coach, Leslie Reid, who rode Orion at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In 2009, Fortmuller took over the ride on this incredibly talented horse. The pair would go on to compete at the Grand Prix level, culminating with their selection as the reserve combination for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sadly, Orion died at the start of 2014. His passing was a devastating loss to Fortmuller and her family, as well as the Canadian Dressage Team.

The Orion Cup pays tribute to this very special horse. Just as Orion was instrumental to the start of Fortmuller’s Grand Prix career, this award provides other talented Canadian dressage athletes with a leg-up in the sport.

For more information about dressage, visit www.equestrian.ca/sport/dressage.