The Canadian Show Jumping Team comprised of Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Mario Deslauriers of New York, NY, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, and Amy Millar of Perth, ON, placed fifth in the $290,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America on Sunday, February 17, at the CSIO5* Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, FL.
Canadian Team hopes were off to a shaky start when lead-off rider Ballard, 38, suffered elimination at the fourth fence on course with Darkos Promise, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Ilan Ferder. As the best three out of four scores are used toward the team total, the next three performances for Canada would all count.
Millar, 42, was working on a clear round as she approached the final line of Irish course designer Alan Wade’s track riding Heros, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Canadian River x Clinton) owned by AMMO Investments but a rail coming out of the vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination added four faults to the Canadian scorecard.
Foster, 34, also ran into trouble at the triple combination, lowering the height of the ‘a’ and ‘c’ elements for eight faults riding Figor, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (VDL Groep Zagreb x C-Indoctro) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms LLC.
A veteran of Olympic and World Championship competition as well as the winner of the 1984 World Cup Final, Deslauriers, 53, used his experience to deliver a clear round for Canada riding Bardolina 2, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare (Clarimo x Landos) owned by Wishing Well Farm LLC.
Counting the scores of four and eight posted by Millar and Foster respectively, the Canadian Team was sitting in fifth position with a total of 12 faults at the end of the opening round. Mexico lead the way after three of its riders jumped clear while Ireland and the United States were tied on eight faults apiece. Israel sat fourth on nine faults while Colombia trailed in sixth position with 16 faults at the end of the first round.
Ballard returned in round two to post an eight-fault score. Millar produced a clear round riding Heros to keep Canada in the hunt but when Foster and Deslauriers lowered a rail each, eight faults were added to the team total for a final score of 20 faults.
Mexico kept its cool to claim victory with a total of four faults while Israel maintained a clear scorecard in the second round to finish runner-up on nine faults. The U.S. finished third with 12 faults followed by Ireland with 17 faults, Canada with 20, and Colombia with a total of 28 faults.
“It was not the best day for us but I think our riders learned something about themselves and their horses that will help us in the future,” noted Canadian Show Jumping Team chef d’equipe Mark Laskin. “We’re in a bit of a hole now in terms of qualifying for the Nations’ Cup Final but I have the utmost confidence in our group being able to dig themselves out.”
The $290,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America acted as the first of three qualifying events in the North America, Central America and Caribbean League for the Longines Nations’ Cup Final to be held in Barcelona, Spain, from October 3 to 6. As the only three teams eligible for qualifying points, Mexico earned 100 points for the win while the United States earned 80. Canada has 60 points on its scorecard heading into the next event, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Mexico, to be held from May 2 to 5 in Coapexpan, Mexico.
The third and final qualifying event takes place on home soil for the Canadian Team. The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Canada will be hosted at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC, from May 28 to June 2. At the conclusion, the top two teams in the point standings will be invited to contest the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona.