Margie Gayford of Sharon, ON, emerged the Eastern Division winner of the 2010 Jump Canada National Talent Squad Series while Hayley Alfonso of Calgary, AB, topped the standings in the Western Division.
In the Eastern Division Talent Squad competition held at the Caledon Summer Festival in Palgrave, ON, Gayford guided Winston, Wingberry Farm’s 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, to a second place finish. The duo also finished second in the Talent Squad class at the National Open in Ottawa, ON, and secured their Eastern Division win with a second place finish at the Eastern Division Talent Squad Final held at the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament in Palgrave, ON. They finished the season with a total of 57 points.
“Competing in the Jump Canada Talent Squad series is an invaluable experience that was designed to develop horses and riders in preparation for entering the Grand Prix ring,” said Gayford. “It gives the participants the opportunity to jump the technicality of a Grand Prix course without the height.”
In the Western Division, Alfonso piloted Lennox 157, a 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Tyndall Wood Farms, to a third place finish in the Talent Squad class at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. The pair won the Talent Squad class at the Bow Valley Classic I and finished in fourth place a week later in the Talent Squad class at the Bow Valley Classic Week II. They sealed their win in the Western Division with another Talent Squad victory at the Edmonton Classic Horse Show, finishing the season with a total of 21 points.
“I am really thrilled with how our season went, and my horse jumped great all summer,” said Alfonso, 23. “It is really great to have the Jump Canada Talent Squad Series, and now I am looking forward to next summer.”
As the top placed riders in the Eastern and Western Divisions, Gayford and Alfonso will be awarded airfare to the 2011 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Final in Leipzig, GER, to be held April 27 to May 1, 2011. In addition, the two Division winners will be nominated to Sport Canada to receive Athlete Developmental Funding Cards.
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 5–14, 2010.
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.