Tamie Phillips of Strathmore, AB has emerged the Western Division winner of the 2011 Jump Canada National Talent Squad Series.

The 2011 Western Division is comprised of nine competitions which started at the end of the month of March at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and concluded with the division final at the Rocky Mountain Classic II in Alberta at the end of August. Registered riders are awarded points based on their results in each class they participate in. The rider with the most points at the end of the series is declared the division winner.

Phillips, 38, captured the victory following the final stop of the series, Western Talent Squad Finals, at the Rocky Mountain Classic II with a total of 33 points riding Lerche 37, her nine-year-old Holsteiner mare sired by Quantum. Phillips and Lerche 37 started the season with a fifth place finish in the Open Jumper Classic at Bow Valley Classic I for nine points.  The pair also earned 15 points for their fifth place result in the $50,000 1.40m Grand Prix at the Rocky Mountain Classic I.  Yet another fifth place finish, for an additional nine points, during the $25,000 Western Talent Squad Finals secured the victory for the pair in the series.

Dominique Shone, 18, of Langley, BC, finished as the reserve champion in the Western Division with a total of 24 points riding Ka Ching, Caroline Shone’s nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.

“It ended up that I won the series, and I was quite surprised,” said Phillips, 38, who operates Caragana Show Jumpers in Strathmore.  “It was a pretty awesome surprise.  I never made winning it a part of my plan, so I just assumed that there would be other people ahead of me.

“I thought that the course was hard enough,” added Phillips when asked about the Western Division Finals.  “I was surprised that there were that many clear.  It just goes to show that there are so many talented riders in the area.  There were enough questions being asked.  Everyone was prepared, and rose to the challenge.”

As the top placed rider in the Western Division, Phillips will be nominated to Sport Canada to receive an Athlete Developmental Funding Card.  The winner of the Eastern Division will also be nominated to receive an Athlete Developmental Funding Card.

The top 10 riders from both the Eastern and Western Divisions will go head-to-head in the Jump Canada National Talent Squad Championships, which will take place during the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON, from November 4–13, 2011.

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.  For complete standings and criteria, please visit www.equinecanada.ca/jumpcanada.