An unscripted glimpse at the Canadian Equestrian Team's athletes, supporters & fans before, during and after major games. #CanadaStrong

Posts tagged ‘Showjumping’

Olympic Jumping Day 1

After a formal training day yesterday in the main stadium, day one of jumping competition got underway with the first Individual Qualifier.

Today definitely has the most spectators so far, but as you can see it’s still pretty sparse but hopefully that will change with each day of competition.


Yann Candele & First Choice 15

Yann Candele was the trailblazer for Canada with First Choice 15. This is Yann’s second Olympics as he was the travelling reserve for London 2012.

First Choice 15 looked very fresh, soaring over the very large fences and giving them lots of room. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned at the final line, which proved to be the bogey fence for many of the world’s top horse/rider combinations.

Yann did an amazing job getting through this line, both encouraging First Choice while at the same time getting out of his way, and only incurred 4 faults.


Tiffany Foster & Tripple X III

This is also Tiffany’s second Olympics, but she is definitely looking for a much different experience after London 2012 where her horse Victor was disqualified even before competition got started because of a small knick on his coronet caused a positive hypersensitivity test.

It’s also a second Olympics for Tripple X III, who was part of the gold medal winning British team at London 2012 with then-partner Ben Maher.

Tiffany and Tripple X III really made the course look smooth and easy. They soared effortlessly over the jumps, and nailed all the distances. They even looked stylish through that troublesome last line, and had the second element down. It really seemed like a cheap rail because it had nothing to do with the height, or the approach. It just looked like he slightly clipped the rail with his hind hoof on the descent. But no mater how you get a rail down, it’s still 4 faults. Here’s hoping that it’s enough to qualifying them for the second round because they truly looked amazingly powerful and poised out there.

Amy Millar & Heros

It’s no secret that there are very high expectations on Amy’s shoulders given her Dad’s legendary status not only in Canada, but in the world of showjumping. But anyone who has seen Amy ride knows that she is uber-talented in her own right, and her partnership with Heros has seen some amazing results this year.

They entered the main stadium looking like cool cucumbers, and that didn’t change as they worked their way through the course conquering the fences one by one.

There was one heart-stopping moment mid-way when Heros touched a rail on the way down with his hind legs, much like Tripple X III had done earlier, but thankfully it just rattled a bit in the cups but didn’t come down.


As happy as Amy was about her brilliant round, her dad was even happier! What a way to start off your Olympic debut. And even more impressive that Hero is one of the youngest and least experienced horses in the international field. Way to go Amy and Heros!


Eric Lamaze & Fine Lady 5

This is Eric’s third Olympic appearance, after winning individual gold in 2008 with Hickstead, and I think what’s fair to say a disappointing London 2012 experience. In 2012, Eric had the relatively inexperienced Derly Chin de Muze. For Rio, he has the very experienced Fine Lady 5 and I think it’s fair to say it will be a very different experience for him. The pair certainly looked very in harmony with one another, and Eric put in a very masterful ride to go clear.

So that’s 2 clear and 2 4 faults for Canada after Day 1. Given the difficulty of the course, and the casualties it claimed to some very top level horses & riders, this bodes very well for the days to come!

Likely more difficult than riding an Olympic course yourself is to watch your friend, mentor and teammate ride one!


Lots of Misses and Spills

The course set by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge was big – bigger than the opening class in London 2012. And it took it’s toll on several big names.

Included in that list was Belgian Nicola Philippaerts on Ziverstar T. They had 2 refusals at the second element of that trick last line (with the musical notes). I was taken aback at how rough Nicola treated his horse, and Horse & Hound are reporting that the Ground Jury have subsequently disqualified him for excessive use of spurs.

Jur Vrieling of the Netherlands also ran afoul of the Ground Jury for using his whip excessively after having two refusals (at different fences). But unlike Nicola (who is competing as an individual only), Jur can continue riding as part of his team in the next round.

I’m not sure I understand the logic in that. How can you eliminate one rider for being abusive to his horse, but not the other? That’s a question the FEI should be made to answer.

Note…since originally writing the above, the FEI has just issued this statement:

Stephan Ellenbruch, President of the Rio 2016 Equestrian Olympic Ground Jury, said: “We can confirm that Jur Vrieling has been disqualified from today’s individual Jumping competition.
The FEI’s rules are very specific -if any blood is found on the flank of a horse, the Athlete/Horse combination is automatically disqualified from the competition.
The veterinarians on site have examined the horse, Zirocco Blue, and will continue to monitor to ensure he is fit to compete on Tuesday, 16 August for the Jumping Team Round 1 qualifier event”.
*Please see FEI rule below:
Article 242.3.1 of the FEI Jumping Rules: Horses bleeding on the flank(s), in the mouth or nose or marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Disqualification.)
*Please see statements below from the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation:
Rob Ehrens, Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation national coach: “I’ve been a professional rider for 27 years and I know the feeling when everything goes wrong. But this should not happen and will not happen again. While Jur and Zirocco Blue are chasing medals, this has to be handled professionally. We will use tomorrow to relax Zirocco Blue.”
Jur Vrieling: “I was encouraging him, saying ‘come on boy, don’t do this again’. I should not have given him these extra pushes. It is stupid, this happened in the heat of the moment, and it will not happen again.”

Biggest Upset of the Day

France’s Penelope LePrevost is one of the top riders in the world, and heavily favourited for an individual medal. Those hopes fell apart when Flora de Mariposa stumbled on the landing of a huge jumping effort. This pitched Penelope forward, and she never had a chance to recover. The strangest things can happen at an Olympics that would never happen anywhere else, and unfortunately the consequences can be devastating.


Honorable Mentions

It’s tough to pick out some non-Canadian favourites when there are so many absolutely stunningly talented horses here in Rio. But there are a couple who I loved prior to Rio, and love even more after seeing them go around the course.

Brazil’s Quabri de L’Isle (Pedro Veniss).  I first saw this horse at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and immediately had to look him up to see who he was. Aside from being gorgeous to look at even when standing, which is beautiful flaxen mane and tail, he can also jump the moon. This picture definitely doesn’t do him justice.


Japan’s Imothep (Taizo Sugitani). This horse used to be ridden by Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and is another one who I couldn’t take my eyes off of when first seeing him at Spruce Meadows. And he still looks stunning with his new rider Taizo Sugitani. Unfortunately it wasn’t their day today as they picked up 16 faults….but I still love him.



I just love this shot of Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci. It’s a testament to the depth of talent (both rider power and horsepower) that Meredith was called up at the very last minute in Rio to replace Marcus Ehning whose horse incurred a minor injury after taking a stumble in yesterday’s training session.  Talk about scope! This is the water jump.


Studying the course…


View this post on Instagram

Captain,Torchy and I are happy with today results.

A post shared by Yann Candele (@yann_candele) on

Lots of Canadian fans out!






View from the media area

Let’s hear it for the ring crew! I wouldn’t fancy putting together this jigsaw fence in a hurry.



Access here

Jumping Team Round 1 & 2nd Individual Qualifier

Jumping takes a day off tomorrow to make way for the Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle, then is back on August 16th.

I’m really liking the compressed schedule, but it does make for non-stop days without much of a breather!

How does it work?

The top 60 from the 1st Individual Qualifier move forward to the 2nd Individual Qualifier. And the scores from today don’t move forward to the 2nd Individual Round. It does make for a very arduous competition since those that make it to the end are jumping up to 5 rounds (or 6 if there’s a jump-off). At these heights, that seems crazy to me and I don’t understand why they can’t better combine the Individual and Team rounds. Can you imagine asking Eventers to run another cross-country for individual medals??

As things progress, a number of individual competitors are dropped each day. All Team riders can continue to jump so long as their Team is still qualified to jump. And ALL Teams (and their members) jump in Team Round 1.




The Canadian Jumpers are Here!

With a much more compact schedule for these Olympics, it’s been a challenge to keep on top of everything!

So here’s a quick blog to show some love to our Canadian Showjumpers who arrived earlier this week.

This year’s team is Eric Lamaze, Yann Candele, Tiffany Foster and Amy Millar with Kara Chad as the travelling reserve and commandeered by chef d’equipe Mark Laskin. I think they looked pretty stoked about Rio!

The horses flew out from Liege, Belgium where they have been based following their fantastic performances last month in Aachen, Germany.

Amy Millar’s Heros


I see what you did there….Tiffany Foster’s Tripple X III and groom Caroline Holberg

View this post on Instagram

On our way to the Rio Olympics!! ✨🇧🇷🏅✨

A post shared by Caroline Holmberg (@carolineholmberg1) on

View this post on Instagram

Frankfurt airport departure to Rio in 20 minutes !!

A post shared by Yann Candele (@yann_candele) on

I think Yann might be just a little excited about Rio?


Stables suitably “Canadian-ified”


A pretty happy looking group! 
From left to right: Franca Maas (groom for Bellinda), Martina Natali (groom for Fine Lady 5), Caroline Holberg (groom for Tripple X III), Yann Candele, Kara Chad, Amy Millar, Karen Hendry Ouellette (Jump Manager), Virginie Castleman (groom for First Choice 15)

Arriving a few days earlier meant that everyone can get settled in, and take in a few sights before getting into serious competition mode.


Groom Caroline Holberg taking Tripple X III for a leisurely stroll around the Deodoro grounds.




The jog took place this morning (August 12) prior to the Grand Prix Speciale kicking off. And all Canadian horses passed with flying colours….although some took the word “flying” a little too literally!

But first….let’s take a selfie

View this post on Instagram

Let's do this!! 🇨🇦💫🙌🏼 @tiffanyfoster18

A post shared by Caroline Holmberg (@carolineholmberg1) on

Phew! Got the beans out before actually trotting up.




Showjumping Schedule

August 13 – Training Session

August 14 – 1st Qualifier (Individual)

August 16 – Jumping – Team Round 1 (Individual 2nd & Team Qualifier)

August 17 – Jumping – Team Round 12 (Team Final and Individual 3rd Qualifier)

August 19 – Jumping Individual Final






Pan Am Showjumping Finals

It’s amazing how long it takes to get life back on track when you get totally consumed by a Major Games.

The individual showjumping finals saw a tough course built by Canadian FEI course designer (and 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist) Michel Vaillancourt. The jumps were high, and the time was tight.

After leaving everything out on the field of play to grab the Team Gold (and ticket to Rio2016), Eric, Ian and Yann had a tall order to replicate the magic and unfortunately it wasn’t to be. However the very appreciative crowd gave them a hero’s welcome each time they entered the ring.

Here are some pictures and videos from that day.

It doesn’t get much more Canadian than this….

2015 Pan American Games Individual Showjumping

 The officials keep everything running smoothly (David Ballard standing)

2015 Pan American Games Individual Showjumping

Surprisingly this jump didn’t come down very often. All the train cars are separate, which made for an entertaining re-setup when it was knocked down.

2015 Pan American Games Individual Showjumping

 Some of the hardworking volunteers had a chance to catch the action.
2015 Pan American Games Individual Showjumping

One of my favourite combinations – Argentina’s Jose Larocca Jr & Cornet du Lys (4th place)

2015 Pan American Games Individual Showjumping

 The Grandmaster himself – Craig Collins. Job well done!

Craig Collins 2015 Pan American Games Individual ShowjumpingYann Candele & ShowGirl

Eric Lamaze & Coco Bongo

Ian Millar & Dixson

Rio here we come!

It’s the finals for individual showjumping today, and I’m about to head out the door, but I had to make a very quick post about Canada’s golden moment in the Team medal round. I have lots of pictures and videos to share, but hands down this is the best one.

Canada showed everyone that it’s not over until it’s over, and now not only is there gold hardware hanging around Tiffany’s, Yann’s, Eric’s and Ian’s necks…but a ticket to Rio for Canadian showjumping!

Now onto the domination of the individual medal round, where unfortunately because of the Pan Am rules Tiffany & Tripple X III won’t be competing as there is a maximum of 3 riders per nation. Same goes for Kent Farrington & Gazelle of the USA.

So as not to tempt fate, I’m wearing the same outfit as I did for Team competition.

Go Canada!

Day 1 Showjumping in the books

I’m going a bit out of order here, so please forgive me and know that a dedicated post to our superlative Silver & Bronze Eventers will be following tout suite.

2015 Pan American Games Eventing Team Bronze - Canada

In the hopes of being at least timely for today, I’m posting first about Day 1 of Pan Am showjumping, which was the qualifying round.

Under the new Pan Am format, which is being modeled after the Olympics format, the usual speed round has been dropped. Instead the qualifying round, as well as the 2 Team rounds on Thursday, is what helps to determine the top 35 who move onto the Individual medal round on Saturday.  Having said that, the Pan Am rules state that only the top 3 riders per nation can compete in the Individual Final. So if Canada has all 4 athletes in the top 35, one will be dropped. It’s a rule which I think can be long debated weighing the pros of “universality” vs a true competition of the best-of-the-best.

For a great explanation of the format, as well as reactions from riders, check out including comments from heavyweights like Eric Lamaze and McLain Ward who aren’t big fans of the new format and feel that consistency should be rewarded and champions should be decided by their stellar performance every day, not just on medal day.

So while Day 1 was essentially an easy warm-up class, with 30 horse/rider combinations going clear (including all of Team Canada – yay!), over what looked like a fairly straightforward course, look for course designer Michel Vaillancourt to turn it up a few notches for both the Team competition on Thursday and the individual medal showdown on Saturday.

Having said all that, it was an amazing day at the Games. After going through oppressive heat & humidity for Eventing it was awesome to watch the best horses & riders in the Americas under sunshine with fluffy clouds in a blue sky, no humidity, and a wonderful breeze.

And for those not fortunate enough to be there, CBC is finally showing equestrian some love with live coverage!

July 23 Startlist

Roll on the Team Medal competition!


Yann Candele & ShowGirl - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping Team Canada


Tiffany Foster & Tripple X III - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping Team Canada


Eric Lamaze & Coco Bongo - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping Team Canada


Ian Millar & Dixson - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping Team Canada

Starting Gate’s Jennifer Ward with TO2015 Equestrian Sport Venue head honcho Craig Collins

Eric Lamaze, Tiffany Foster, Ian Millar, Craig Collins & Jonathan Millar

Yann Candele & Eric Lamaze

Tiffany Foster with her sister (right) and Reserve Team Rider Elizabeth Gingras

Canada & Barbados Team Spirit!

Dr. Yves Rossier on the far right

The nicest guy you could ever meet!


 McLain Ward & Rothchild….with ears forward!!

McLain Ward & Rothchild - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping

Kent Farrington & Gazelle

Kent Farrington & Gazelle - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping

Tiffany Foster & Tripple X III make their way to the ring with Yann Candele, Mark Laskin, her groom Caroline Holmberg and her sister Rebecca Foster

Tiffany Foster & Triple X III - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping

Tiffany Foster & Triple X III - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping
Mark Laskin, Yann Candele & Eric Lamaze watch Tiffany’s perfect round on Tripple X III

Tiffany Foster & Triple X III - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping

Eric and Coco Bongo ready to go!

Eric Lamaze & Coco Bongo - 2015 Pan American Games ShowjumpingThe fullest the stands have been…

2015 Pan American Games ShowjumpingMark Samuel (Jump Canada founder and FEI Bureau member) and Olympic gold medalist Terrance Millar (EC High Performance Chair and former Jump Chef d’Equipe) watch Canada lay down 4 perfect rounds.

2015 Pan American Games ShowjumpingEC President Al Patterson has been out supporting all the athletes since Day 1

2015 Pan American Games ShowjumpingFinally CBC is showing Equestrian some love!

2015 Pan American Games ShowjumpingIan Millar and Dixson make their way down to the ring.

Ian Millar & Dixson - 2015 Pan American Games Showjumping...and patiently waiting their turn

Ian Millar & Dixson - 2015 Pan American Games ShowjumpingGo Team Canada!

2015 Pan American Games Showjumping

%d bloggers like this: