The Canadian Show Jumping Team earned third place in the $600,000 MXN CSIO 4* FEI Nations’ Cup™ held May 5, 2017 at the CSIO 4* Coapexpan in Xalapa, MEX.
The Canadian team, made up of Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB, Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC, Chris Surbey of Calgary, AB, and anchor, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, earned their third place after finishing on a team total of 34 faults.
Their total score came after two rounds of head-to-head competition over a course set by FEI 4* course designer, Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who also set the track for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. For the Nations’ Cup, Jorge challenged riders with 12 jumps and 16 efforts up to 1.60m in height and 1.70m in width within the tight time allowed of 78 seconds.
Team anchor, White, 34, led Canada to their third place finish, riding his partner from last month’s 2017 FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Omaha, NE, For Freedom Z (For Pleasure x Baloubet du Rouet). The 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Angelstone Partners helped White earn a top-20 finish at the World Cup Finals and was even more impressive in Coapexpan.
“For Freedom has been very solid for me at major competitions around the world the last year, and it’s a great feeling to have such a reliable partner,” commented White.
A foot-perfect first round in the Nations’ Cup saw White and For Freedom Z leave all the rails up, but come in just over the time allowed for a single time fault. They returned in round two to knock off the time fault, achieving what would prove to be one of just three clear rounds throughout the day.
“It was very exciting to anchor the Canadian team; It’s an honour to represent Canada at such an incredible event,” said White, who has regularly represented Canada since making his Canadian Show Jumping Team debut in 2008. “The team spirit this week has been incredible, and it’s a great feeling to know your teammates are behind you.”
Acting as the pathfinder for Canada was Surbey, 30, who also attended 2017 FEI World Cup Jumping Final and was Canada’s top finisher in 18th place. For the Nations’ Cup, Surbey was partnered with Cavarola (Corland x Wellington), a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Linda Southern-Heathcott and Spruce Meadows Ltd. Together, they incurred 12 jumping faults in round one, but returned for a much improved effort in round two, lowering only the ‘c’ component of the triple combination for four faults.
Mannix, 28, was paired with Grand Cru VD Vijf Eiken (Contact van de Heffinck x Heartbreaker), her 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion. The duo had a strong start to their time in Mexico, winning the Procter & Gamble Grand Prix Cup on April 30 at the CSI 4* Coapexpan. In their first Nations’ Cup round, they didn’t touch a single rail, but had a refusal at the open water jump to incur four jumping and four time faults. However, Mannix and Grand Cru VD Vijf Eiken returned to the second round to ace the water jump, but lower just one rail at fence 11 – a 1.60m vertical immediately following the water jump – and came in just over the time at 79.58 seconds for a total of five faults.
Ramsay, 25, rode her 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Hermelien VD Hooghoeve (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Thunder van de Zuuthoeve). The duo incurred 12 jumping and one time fault in round one and had four rails for 16 faults in round two.
After applying the drop score to count only the top three scores in each round, Canada finished on a total score of 34 faults. The $600,000 MXN CSIO 4* FEI Nations’ Cup was won for the second consecutive year by Mexico I, who led throughout the two rounds, and finished on 16 faults. The United States was a close second with 17 total faults.
The Canadian athletes were supported at the CSIO 4* Coapexpan by Chef d’Équipe, Mark Laskin and Equestrian Canada Manager of Jumping, Karen Hendry-Ouellette.
The CSIO 4* Coapexpan acted as the second qualifier in the North America, Central America and Caribbean League of the 2017 FEI Nations’ Cup Jumping series, which opened with the $100,000 FEI Nations’ Cup in Ocala, FL on Feb. 17, where Canada finished third for 80 points. After adding another 80 points in Coapexpan, Canada is currently sitting third overall with 160 points. The United States is leading with 180 points, and Mexico is in second on 170.
The third and final FEI Nations’ Cup qualifier will take place on June 2 during the CSIO 4* Odlum Brown BC Open at the Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC. From there, the top two teams in the league will be invited to contest the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, set for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2017.
For more information on the FEI Nations’ Cup Jumping series, click here.
Full results here.