Ben Asselin, Bretton Chad, Kara Chad and Alexandria Smith represented Canada at CSIOY Bonheiden, BEL, held May 17–20, 2012, and both Asselin and Kara Chad were victorious during this first stop of their European Tour.
Asselin, 18, of Calgary, ON, rode Rush, an 11-year-old Belgian Sport Horse owned by Attache Stables, to the only clear round out of 53 starters to win the 5000 € 1.45 m Prijs Ashford Farm. With Lolita, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare also owned by Attache Stables, Asselin also had a clear round for the Canadian team in the Nations’ Cup held on May 19.
“Coming off knee surgery and winning in Bonheiden was a huge confidence booster,” said Asselin. “The competition was absolutely amazing with great people and superb jumping. Both of my horses jumped super. The experience has been surreal, and I couldn’t ask for better team mates.”
The youngest member of the team, 16-year-old Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, kicked-off the competition with a huge win in the 1,250 € 1.30m Prijs C & M on May 17. In a class of 73 entries, Kara Chad and Calle 11, Stone Ridge’s 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding, posted the fastest double clear with a jump-off time of 34.14 seconds for the victory.
“It was the first class of the competition, so both my horse and I were very excited,” said Kara Chad. “I have only ridden Calle four times, so you could say that I was still getting used to him. I felt very confident and solid in the first round and was ready to go for the win in the jump off. My horse jumped great and wanted to win as much as I did.”
Riding Alberto II, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Stone Ridge, Kara Chad was also double clean in the 1,500 € 1.40 m Prijs C & M to finish in fifth place out of 75 starters.
Eighteen-year-old Bretton Chad of Calgary, AB, rode Stone Ridge’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Tjengo, to third place in both the 1,000 € 1.25 m Prijs Schilderwerken vd Kerkhof and the 1,250 € 1.30 m Prijs Transport Van de Poel.
Smith, 19, who currently resides in San Juan Capistrano, CA, rode her own 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion, Albatros 86, to five faults in the 1,250 € 1.30m Prijjs C & M and gained invaluable experience competing in Europe.
In the Nations’ Cup competition, the Canadian team finished in eighth place overall.
“We just finished the first week of the Canadian Young Riders tour in Europe, and they certainly knew Canada was there,” said Jump Canada chef d’équipe, Mark Laskin. “Although we didn’t get the result we were hoping for in The Nations’ Cup on Saturday, the week was still very successful. We won two classes—Kara Chad with the first victory and Ben Asselin coming through in the Grand Prix with the only clean round out of 53 horses for the win. We had numerous other placings throughout the show, and the experience our riders gained riding on a Canadian team in Europe will be invaluable in the future.”
“I would like to thank everyone that made this tour possible. We have had top notch coaching with Mark Laskin, stable managing skills with Darren Roberts and a huge credit needs to go to my groom Sergio who works tirelessly to give my horses premium care and attention. And of course a huge thanks to my parents who continually give me once in a life time experiences and advice,” added Asselin.
To assist in making this tour possible, Equine Canada has received two very generous anonymous donations helping facilitate this forward thinking initiative to develop our next generation of Canadian show jumpers.
Additional details about CSIOY Bonheiden, BEL may be found at http://www.jumping-bonheiden.be/. The next stop for the young Canadians will be at CSIOY Lamprechtshausen, AUT, held May 24–28, 2012. Visit http://www.srclamprechtshausen.at/ for more information.