Paul Halpern scored his first major victory at Wesley Clover Parks with a win in the $50,000 Steel-Craft Grand Prix on Saturday, July 9, at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.

The featured event of the Ottawa Summer Tournaments Week One proved to be a tough task to master with only two riders producing clear rounds over the course designed by Marina Azevedo of Brazil. Paul Halpern of Saint Anne des Plaines, QC, was the first rider to jump clear before François Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, did the same to ensure a jump-off.

Halpern took his best shot riding Esra, slicing and dicing his way around the shortened jump-off track before a rail fell at the final fence for four faults. As the crowd waited to see if Lamontagne could improve on Halpern’s performance, it was announced that he had voluntarily withdrawn his young mount, Thunderbird vh Scheefkasteel Z, from the jump-off. Lamontagne has been steadily developing the eight-year-old Zangersheide mare that he purchased as a four-year-old. Lamontagne had been the winner of Thursday’s $20,000 Giant Tiger Open Welcome with his veteran campaigner, Chanel du Calvaire, but settled for second place in the Grand Prix.

And with that, Halpern celebrated his first grand prix win at Wesley Clover Parks, making the two-hour drive from his home base in Saint Anne des Plaines, QC, more than worthwhile.

“I’ve always liked jumping on grass, the jumps are beautiful, and it’s great to have the crowds back,” said Halpern, who has 20 horses from his stable showing at the Ottawa Summer Tournaments. “It’s one of the big shows with some of the better riders and more competition, so that always makes it more fun. We’re so lucky; it’s great to have a venue like this. There is no stone left unturned. They really do their best at everything.”

Halpern’s partner for the win was Esra, a 10-year-old mare (Bratt Z x Nekton) that was bred in Canada and is registered with the American Holsteiner Association.

“My manager, Vanessa Lee, owns her, and I started riding her as a five-year-old,” said Halpern, 42. “I love the horse. She’s amazing, there’s a little click that we have. As a 10-year-old, she’s still quite green. She’s been on fire this year; she’s been in the top 10 in every single class she’s done.”

Noting what makes Esra so special, Halpern said, “Her character, her heart, and I think she likes the lifestyle. We have a good partnership, but I think she’s just a wonderful horse.”

Halpern was surprised that more riders didn’t join him in the jump-off, noting, “I went later in the order but there were lots of combinations with an unlucky four that could have easily jumped clean.”

A total of six riders had four faults in the opening round with their final placings being determined by their times. Lauren Esdale, 20, of Seagrave, ON, stopped the clock in the fastest time, 74.06 seconds, to take third place riding Viamdios d’Avril, a 13-year-old grey Selle Francais mare (Diamant de Semilly x Fol Avril) owned by Pauline Esdale.

Local favourite Kelley Robinson, 38, of Russell, ON, placed fourth with her 15-year-old homebred gelding, Blue’s Yer Daddy, while Hyde Moffatt, 43, of Brantford, ON, rounded out the top five with Langley, an eight-year-old Canadian-bred mare (Lansdowne x Andiamo) owned by Ariel Grange.

The first of two weeks comprising the Ottawa Summer Tournaments concludes on Sunday, July 10, with the $10,000 Brookstreet Hotel Modified Grand Prix beginning at 2 p.m.

Spectators are invited to enjoy the competition at Wesley Clover Parks; tickets are not available at the gate and may only be purchased in advance online HERE.

Livestreaming coverage from the Grand Prix field will be available from Thursday through Sunday during both weeks of competition in partnership with Equestrian Digital here.

For more information on the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments, visit

$50,000 Steel-Craft Grand Prix – Saturday, July 9, 2022

1. Paul Halpern / Saint Anne des Plaines, QC / Esra / 0:4 / 44.16

2. François Lamontagne / Saint-Eustache, QC / Thunderbird vh Scheefkasteel Z / 0:withdrawn

3. Lauren Elsdale / Seagrave, ON / Viamdios d’Avril / 4

4. Kelley Robinson / Russell, ON / Blue’s Yer Daddy / 4

5. Hyde Moffatt / Brantford, ON / Langley / 4

6. Marie Messier / Laval, QC / Chacco Mio Al Khair Z / 4

7. François Lamontagne / Saint-Eustache, QC / Chanel du Calvaire / 4

8. Lauren Hayes / Mono, ON / Icon NR / 4

9. Colleen Loach / Dunham, QC / FE Golden Eye / 8

10. Hyde Moffatt / Brantford, ON / Grafton / 8