Ottawa, Ontario — Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt was named the recipient of Jump Canadaâ€™s â€˜Official of the Yearâ€™ Award for 2006 during the Equine Canada National Awards Banquet in Ottawa, ON, on February 10.
One of Canadaâ€™s top international show jumping competitors in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Vaillancourt won the Individual Silver Medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in front of a hometown crowd in Montreal. He later proved his talent in other aspects of the equestrian industry, including as a coach and course designer.
A Senior Status National Hunter and Jumper Course Designer since 1985, he was promoted to FEI â€œIâ€ Jumper Course Designer status in 1994, and remains one of only three Canadian course designers to hold this designation. Over the years, Vaillancourt has been sought after to design courses for some of North America’s most prestigious horse shows including Spruce Meadows and the North American Young Riders’ Championship.
In 2006, Vaillancourt was the course designer for such prestigious events as the CSI2* Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic in Wellington, FL, which attracts top international riders from around the world, as well as Canadaâ€™s own CSI-W Royal Winter Fair Horse Show in Toronto, ON, where his challenging tracks, including an exciting World Cup Grand Prix, drew rave reviews from competitors and spectators alike. Vaillancourt also set the track during the CSI-W Caledon Summer Festival in Palgrave, ON, which concluded with the $100,000 World Cup Grand Prix.
Vaillancourt was the National Coach for the Canadian Show Jumping Team from 1993 to 1996. He was the first person to hold this position full-time, taking the Canadian Show Jumping Team to the 1994 World Championships, the 1995 Pan American Games and the 1996 Olympic Games as well as several Nations’ Cup victories. He is also one of a handful of Canadians to hold the Jumper Level 4 Coaching status, which he earned in 1998.
A native of St. Felix de Valois, QC, Vaillancourt currently resides in Aiken, South Carolina. It is with great pleasure that Jump Canada recognizes Vaillancourt as its 2006 â€˜Official of the Yearâ€™ in recognition of his accomplishments and his dedication to the highest possible standards of show jumping.
â€œIt is quite an honour for me to receive this award,â€ said Vaillancourt. â€œIt is always nice to be recognized when you have done a job well.â€
In its inaugural year, the 2004 â€˜Official of the Yearâ€™ Award was presented to Tom Michiel of Calgary, AB, who is Past Chair of the Jump Canada Officials Committee and also represented Canada as an FEI Jumper Judge. In 2005, Jump Canada paid tribute to world-renowned FEI ‘O’ Jumper Judge, Francois Ferland of St-Jean-Chrysostome, QC.