The Canadian Show Jumping Team, comprised of Kara Chad, Lisa Carlsen, and Mario Deslauriers, finished fifth in the €300,000 Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final – Challenge Cup held Saturday night, October 6, in Barcelona, ESP.
In the opening round of competition on Friday at the Real Club de Polo, 15 countries contested the annual title following months of intense qualifying competition. The Canadian Show Jumping Team won the opening round in Barcelona last year but another strong start was not assured this time around as Canada was fielding a three-man team. Without the luxury of a drop score, Canada had to count the nine faults incurred by Carlsen despite clear rounds from both Chad and Deslauriers.
Following Friday’s opening round of competition, the top eight teams move forward to Sunday’s Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final while the other seven teams contest the Challenge Cup. Nine faults would leave the Canadians in 11th position, putting them into the Challenge Cup alongside Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Friday’s scores are not carried forward to the Challenge Cup, putting all teams back on equal footing.
As the lead-off rider for Canada, Olympian Carlsen, 53, of Okotoks, AB, and Parette, her 12-year-old bay Brandenburg mare (Passoa VDL x Barinello), posted a score of ten faults. The pair had a back rail down at ‘a’ of the double combination at fence four followed by another rail at the Lexus oxer set at fence five. The pair also picked up two time faults for exceeding the tight time allowed of 81 seconds set by Spanish course designer, Santiago Varela.
The clock would also catch Chad, 22, of Calgary, AB, hot off her FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) debut two weeks earlier. After a rail down at the first fence, Chad and Carona, an 11-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Untouchable x Silverstone) owned by Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, went on to leave every other rail in place, giving them four jumping and one time for a total of five faults.
Chad’s WEG teammate, Deslauriers, 53, originally from Bromont, QC, and now making his home in New York, NY, was the anchor rider with Bardolina 2, a nine-year-old Holsteiner mare (Clarimo x Landos) owned by Wishing Well Farm LLC. Deslauriers, a two-time Canadian Olympian who holds the record as the youngest rider to ever win the World Cup Final at the age of 19, put his decades of experience to good use by jumping clear for the second day in a row only to be caught by the clock for one time fault.
Deslauriers and his daughter, Lucy, who was riding in the anchor position for the United States, were both eligible for a €50,000 bonus if they could repeat their fault-free efforts from Friday’s competition and again jump clear. Both father and daughter managed to keep all the jumps in place but picked up agonizing time faults with Mario stopping the clock in 81.37 and Lucy tripping the timers in 81.22 seconds to leave the bonus money unclaimed.
With a final total of 16 faults, Canada finished the Challenge Cup in fifth place. Germany claimed the win with five faults followed by the United States in second with nine faults. Brazil finished third with 10 faults while the home team from Spain was fourth with 15 faults.
“It’s like competing with one hand tied behind your back when you only have three riders,” said Canadian Show Jumping Team chef d’equipe Mark Laskin of Langley, BC. “I thought it was a good team when I put it together and that we had a legitimate shot to do well here. We were hoping to have Eric but, unfortunately, things change. Yesterday, two of our three riders were clean but, without a drop score, it put us out of contention.
“The positive is that the experience for this group is invaluable,” continued Laskin. “Lisa has never been to Europe with her horse, so she will benefit from it immensely and is excited to do more. Kara has been phenomenal for three big events in a row; I think she has the only horse in the world that has jumped at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, WEG, and here in Barcelona. That’s high level stuff! Mario almost jumped double clear and his horse gained great experience both at WEG and here in Barcelona, so there is a lot to be positive about in the future.”
The Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona marked the final team event of the 2018 for the Canadian Show Jumping Team. For more information on CSIO5* Barcelona, including full results, visit www.csiobarcelona.com.