Category Archives: Jennifer Ward

Eric Lamaze Ends Global Champions League with Team Victory

Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid. Photo by Stefano Grasso for Global Champions League.

Doha, Qatar – Canada’s Eric Lamaze, riding alongside Harrie Smolders, led the Hamburg Diamonds to the overall victory in the final event of the Global Champions League held November 10 and 11 in Doha, Qatar.

The 2017 Global Champions League saw 18 teams participate, with the majority named for stops on the Global Champions League tour.  Heading into the final event of the season, the Hamburg Diamonds held a narrow lead over Valkenswaard United, with the final rankings to be decided over two days in Doha.

Lamaze incurred nine faults in Friday’s opening round, hindered by two broken ribs suffered days earlier, while his teammate, Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands, jumped a clear round to keep hopes of an overall victory alive.  On Saturday night, Lamaze delivered when it counted most, producing a clear round aboard his 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, a 14-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.  When Smolders matched his fault-free performance riding Don VHP Z, the Hamburg Diamonds secured the 2017 Global Champions League title with a total of 312 points over Valkenswaard United, who kept the pressure on right until the end and finished runner-up with 308 points.  The Mexico Amigos finished a distant third with 250 points.

The Hamburg Diamonds won a total of €2,269,614 in prize money throughout the 2017 Global Champions League season.  Lamaze, Smolders, and six-time British Olympian John Whitaker were joined by Audrey Coulter of the United States and Jos Verlooy of Belgium, both two-time World Cup Finalists, in representing the Hamburg Diamonds over the course of the 2017 season for owners Copernicus and Euro Horse.  Two riders from each team are selected to compete in each of the 15 Global Champions League events held around the world.

“Thank you to Axel Verlooy and the Coulter family for including me on their team this season,” said Lamaze, 49, who rode alongside Smolders, Coulter, and Jos Verlooy during his 2017 season appearances.  “When Axel first approached me, I didn’t hesitate to join such a strong team.  It took the best riders to win the championship title.

“I would also like to thank my owners, particularly Andy and Carlene Ziegler, for allowing me to ride their horses in the Global Champions League this year,” added Lamaze.

Lamaze competed in four Global Champions League events riding his 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Fine Lady 5.  He also made three appearances with Chacco Kid, an 11-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler, Rick and Sara Mershad, and Ludi and Carol Sollak, who, collectively, form The Chacco Kid Group.

Lamaze has two competitions left on his 2017 schedule.  The three-time Canadian Olympic medalist will compete at the CSI5* Paris Masters in France from November 30 to December 3 before heading to Switzerland for the CHI Geneva from December 7 to 10.  In Geneva, Lamaze will defend his title in the innovative Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final, which offers 475,000 Swiss francs in prize money to the top ten ranked riders in the world, on Friday night, December 8, as well as contest the Rolex Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, on Sunday, December 10.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, visit www.EricLamaze.com.

Media Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Ian Millar Claims $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic in Caledon

Ian Millar riding Dixson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Caledon, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON opened the Canadian international show jumping season with a win in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, presented by Horseware, on Sunday, May 21, during the CSI2* Caledon National in Caledon, ON.

The clear rounds just kept coming for Millar and Dixson throughout the five-day CSI2* Caledon National tournament.  Having jumped double-clear in Friday’s $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome for a fifth-place finish, the pair turned up the heat in Sunday’s Jumper Classic.  With the advantage of being the final challenger in an eight-horse jump-off, Millar knew exactly what he had to do to catch the leading time of 34.82 seconds set by Ireland’s Conor Swail and Flower, a new acquisition owned in partnership with Canada’s Vanessa Mannix.  With decades of experience under his belt, Millar sliced and diced his way around the jump-off track, meeting every distance with trademark precision.  As he cleared the final obstacle and galloped through the timers, the new winning time of 34.09 seconds flashed on the scoreboard.

“Conor pushed me really hard; he was fast, but Dixson was right on his game!” said Millar, 70, of the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON.  “There was a turn to the pair of verticals where we happened to catch the correct distance and shaved the time off.  I know Dixson well, and he knows me, too.  He knows what I’m about to do it almost before I know I’m going to do it.  We’re like a married couple.”

Millar and Dixson celebrated their victory in the same arena where they had helped Canada claim the Team Gold medal two years earlier during the 2015 Pan American Games.  As the host of equestrian events, the Caledon Equestrian Park now serves as an important legacy to horse sport.

“Dixson is starting his Canadian season here at the Caledon Equestrian Park,” said Millar, who spent the winter competing at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.  “He’ll enjoy a rest next week, and then we’re off to Langley, BC, where he’s on the Nations’ Cup team for Canada.  Then it’s over the mountains to Spruce Meadows for the summer series.”

Millar had two shots at victory in the $50,000 CSI2* Jumper Classic, as he also qualified Vittorio 8 for the tie-breaker by jumping clear over the first-round track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela.  Millar has been riding Vittorio 8 for owner Future Adventures for the past year, and the pair was double clear in a time of 36.25 seconds to finish in fifth position.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the Spruce Meadows tour will do for him,” said Millar of the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Valentino DDH x Ramiro’s Bube).  “He has the technique, power – he’s careful, modern.  He would be a Games horse.  He’s just nine now and if he takes the next step over the next year, he is there.”

While Millar dominated Sunday’s proceedings followed closely by Swail, another Irishman settled for third.  Daniel Coyle, who is 22 years of age, guided Cita, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Ramiro) to a third place finish for owners Susan and Ariel Grange, giving the mother-and-daughter team both the win as well as a third place finish.  Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON took fourth place following a clear jump-off performance in a time of 35.24 seconds riding Carimba B, a nine-year-old Hanoverian mare (Contendro I x For Pleasure) owned by her family’s Looking Back Farm.

While Swail may have settled for second in Sunday’s $50,000 Jumper Classic, it was he who stood alone in the winner’s circle following Friday’s $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome.  The times were close but, in the end, Swail’s time of 39.49 seconds gave him the edge over Coyle, who had stopped the clock in 39.62 riding Cita.

Canadians filled the next three spots in the placings with Keean White of Rockwood, ON turning in a time of 41.10 to take third with Carrera v/h Westleven Z, Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON placing fourth with a time of 41.47 riding Count Me In, and Millar and Dixson rounding out the top five with a time of 42.30 seconds.

FEI-sanctioned show jumping competition continues with the CSI2* Classic at Palgrave Phase II from May 23 to 28 at the Caledon Equestrian Park.  The tournament marks the second of five weeks of FEI competition offered at the Caledon Equestrian Park this year by competition organizer Equestrian Management Group.

For more information on the CSI2* Caledon National, including full results, as well as a full competition schedule, please visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com.

Media Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Eric Lamaze Reflects on Career Year

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.

Wellington, Florida – Canada’s Eric Lamaze marked a career year in 2016 by adding even more medals and accolades to his already impressive list of accomplishments.  As much as individual titles are meaningful, it is teamwork that truly drives the 2008 Olympic Champion.

The stage was set for success when, a year earlier, the Canadian Show Jumping Team claimed the gold medal in front of a home crowd at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.  There was only one starting position for the 2016 Olympic Games up for the whole of North, Central and South America, and Canada clinched it with its gold medal performance.

“The Pan Am Games were super important because it was our only chance to qualify for the Olympics; it was absolutely crucial that we put in a good performance,” explained Lamaze of the event that was the catalyst for 2016.

Good riders need good horses, and while Lamaze and his teammate, Tiffany Foster, were strongly supported by their owners, Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms, Lamaze made it his mission to find major games horse power to put under Yann Candele.  That meant approaching potential investors, and the Watermark Group was quickly formed to purchase Showgirl, later followed by First Choice 15 and Happiness.  With a group committed to the cause, a small share of ownership for each of them meant big support for Candele, and for the rest of the Canadian Team.

“Canada had a great rider in Yann Candele, but he didn’t have the horses,” said Lamaze.  “When the opportunity to purchase Showgirl came about, Jennifer Rogers and John Edwards quickly stepped up to the plate, along with Deborah Roy and Artisan Farms.  When the time came to invest in new horses, we were able to expand the circle of support.  As a result, Yann was able to put in very good performances, helping Canada achieve great results at the World Equestrian Games, Pan Am Games, and Olympic Games.”

Additional investors for First Choice 15 and Happiness included Janice Aron, Susan Chu, and Moffat Dunlap.

“Watermark Group has been a big part of what we, as Canadians, have been able to achieve on the international scene,” Lamaze emphasized.  “We are truly grateful for their support, which was not just financial, but they supported us by coming to watch, and by being there at major events to cheer us on.  A small investment allowed so many people to support Yann, to support Canada, and to own an Olympic horse.  So much camaraderie was created by the members coming to Rio to support Yann and First Choice.”

While having strong teammates was a priority, Lamaze also focused on managing the show schedule of his selected Olympic mount, Fine Lady 5.  With other horses in his stable able to jump in grand prix and Nations’ Cup events, Lamaze was able to carefully select Fine Lady 5’s classes to have her in top form for Olympic competition.

“Everything with Fine Lady’s season was based around the Olympics,” said Lamaze of the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms.  “It was a well-planned season; even winning two classes at Aachen but not doing the grand prix in July was all part of the careful preparation.  I had a plan, and it paid off.  Sometimes it doesn’t go your way regardless of everything you do right but, in this case, it really worked.  Everything went my way.”

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 arrived in Rio and blew the competition away as the only pair to jump five clear rounds and leading Canada into a jump-off against Germany for the team bronze medal.

“For us Canadians to have been jumping off against Germany for the bronze medal was a victory in itself!” said Lamaze.  “We had Yann’s horse that is not so fast and Amy Millar’s was a young horse, but to be in that position was, for us, a victory.

“Yann sacrificed his whole year with First Choice to be there for us at the Olympics, and Tiffany has really come into her own and is a very strong teammate.  Amy was at her first Olympics riding a nine-year-old horse, and she did everything right to prepare – she came to Europe; she jumped in the Nations’ Cup at Aachen.  The effort that everyone put forth for the Canadian team was very impressive, and I am very proud of everybody and how we all worked together.”

With Canada finishing fourth in the team standings, the weight of a nation now rested on Lamaze’s shoulders.  Canadian fans reminisced about his incredible gold medal victory with Hickstead at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and, having witnessed Fine Lady’s incredible form, hoped for a repeat performance in the individual final.

The pair jumped both rounds of the individual final clear, but so did six other horse-rider combinations to force an all-deciding jump-off for the medals.  While they would have had the winning time, a rail down at the penultimate fence gave Lamaze the individual bronze while his long-time friend, Nick Skelton, claimed the gold for Great Britain aboard Big Star.  Added to his individual gold and team silver from Beijing, Lamaze has now won an Olympic medal in every colour for Canada, setting a record for the most Olympic medals ever won by a Canadian equestrian athlete.

“Fine Lady’s performance, in my opinion, made her the best horse at the Olympic Games,” said Lamaze, 48.  “She delivered round after round of impressive jumping.  It really showed the heart that she has.  It’s one thing to jump a clear round at the Olympics, it’s another to jump five of them!

“For an animal to come into its own like that, so on point and so full of confidence, was incredible,” he continued.  “She gave me confidence that we could do it because she had confidence.  I will always remember her as being the best horse at the Rio Olympics.”

Another great memory that Lamaze treasures from Rio is the support that he, and the entire Canadian team, received.

“When we went into the arena, seeing all the Canadian flags in the air gave us an extra boost of support,” he said fondly.  “We really saw their energy, and it transferred into us wanting to do even better.  I could see Carlene Ziegler, I could see Kim Kirton, and so many members of the Watermark Group.  It meant so much for those people to support us the way that they did.  Looking up in the stands and seeing familiar faces brought a smile to my face and made me feel great about what we were achieving.  That is a memory I will always cherish.”

Lamaze reserved the greatest gratitude for Andy and Carlene Ziegler, whose generous and unwavering support following the sudden death of Hickstead allowed him to come back from tragedy and once again stand on the Olympic podium.

“The Olympic medal from Rio is every part theirs,” said Lamaze of the Ziegler family, who were recently named the Jump Canada ‘Owner of the Year’ for a record fourth time.  “They did everything they could to provide us with the best horses with the Olympic Games always being the goal.  I am very happy that we could achieve the goal that we set for ourselves at a time when, for me, it was hard to believe it would ever be possible.  We would be nothing without Andy and Carlene’s support.”

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 closed out their year with a thrilling performance to win the €300,000 Rolex Top Ten Final on December 9, in Geneva, Switzerland.

“It was a touching moment for me,” said Lamaze, who had contested the Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final four previous times in his career.  “It brought back so many memories with Hickstead, and the days when I was in the top ten in the world.  It was a competition where we always came close, but I was never able to win it with him.

“It was a title that I was very happy to add to my accomplishments,” said Lamaze, a Rolex testimonee who is also sponsored by Bruno Delgrange, Dy’on, Samshield, and SSG Gloves.  “You are competing against the ten best horses in the world on their best horses.  To be the only Canadian to have ever participated is something, but to bring the title back to Canada was very special.  I hope that seeing a Canadian win that competition is inspiring not just to every Canadian rider, but also to every young person who is looking to move up in the sport.”

Looking to 2017, Lamaze will begin the year competing at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.  In addition to Fine Lady 5, Lamaze has high hopes for Chacco Kid, a ten-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) purchased during the 2016 WEF season by Rick and Sara Mershad, Ludi and Carol Sollak, and Andy and Carlene Ziegler.

“One of the reasons we were able to prepare Fine Lady so successfully for Rio was due to my other horses all playing a part in giving her some relief,” explained Lamaze.  “She was able to skip some Nations’ Cup competitions thanks to the Chacco Kid Group supporting me by purchasing this incredible horse.  With Chacco Kid stepping up and taking on some difficult tasks, especially given his stage of development, it really gave Fine Lady a chance.  We look forward to a very bright future with this horse.”

Reflecting on an incredible season by anyone’s standards, Lamaze said, “I would like to thank all of my staff for doing what they do.  We are very much looking forward to a new season in 2017 with all our students striving to get better and better; we look forward to helping them achieve their goals.  A special thank you to Kara Chad, who is my rider and helps organize Torrey Pines.  Kara was on the Nations’ Cup team at Aachen and the reserve rider for the Olympic Games.  She is only 20 years old, and it is refreshing to have a young rider on our team.  I think she will be a big asset to Canadian show jumping in the future.”

Currently ranked number six in the world, Lamaze credits his success over the past decade to basing himself in Europe and competing against the best in the sport week in and week out.  Lamaze’s personal success also helped open the door for other Canadians to gain European exposure, with Canada fielding teams at such prestigious Nations’ Cup events in 2016 as Rome (Italy) and Aachen (Germany).  Individuals were also invited to five-star events such as La Baule (France), Paris (France), and Geneva.

“We have now established a strong path to international competition where we, as Canadians, are well-received,” stated Lamaze, who is based in Brussels (Belgium) and Wellington, FL.  “We have the support of our chef d’equipe Mark Laskin as well as Karen Hendry-Ouellette at Equine Canada, who is well-connected and such a valuable liaison and asset to our team, especially when we are competing at all the venues in Europe.  The pathway to Europe for up-and-coming Canadian riders has already been created, and I urge everyone to get themselves to Europe and better themselves.  Other than Spruce Meadows, there is no place in Canada where riders can measure themselves against the highest level of the sport.

“Tiffany Foster is a great example of that; she is competing against the best in the world, and has climbed so high in the World Rankings,” stated Lamaze of Foster’s 21st position.  “It is important to get out of your comfort zone and compete against the best if you truly want to be the best.  Initiatives like the Watermark Group and all that we’ve accomplished shows how important, yet attainable, it is for Canada to have the support of owners if we want to keep performing, and winning medals, on the world stage.  As we’ve proven, small steps in the right direction can bring big results for Canada.”

In conclusion, Lamaze said, “Thank you to everyone for such an incredible year.  I’m so proud of the Canadian athletes and what we have accomplished by working together.  We now have the 2018 World Equestrian Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics to look forward to, and the incredible support of our owners will once again position Canada as medal contenders.”

For more information on Eric Lamaze, please visit www.ericlamaze.com.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Eric Lamaze Wins Rolex Top Ten Final in Geneva

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (left) and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat hoist Eric Lamaze holding the Rolex IJRC Top Ten trophy in an impromptu podium celebration.  Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.

Geneva, Switzerland – Canada’s Eric Lamaze claimed the €300,000 Rolex Top Ten Final riding his Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, on Friday night, December 9, in Geneva, Switzerland.

With the top ten riders in the world show jumping rankings going head-to-head in a two-round showdown of epic proportions, Lamaze jumped clear in the opening round riding Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms.  As Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 had posted the fastest clear in the opening round, they had the luxury of going last in the all-deciding second round of competition.

Currently ranked number one in the world, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann had set the time to beat at 43.05 seconds riding Taloubet Z, forcing Lamaze to take every risk and rely on Fine Lady 5’s tremendously fast foot speed in a full-out effort to catch his time.  Coming home to the final fence on course, the packed house cheered encouragement as Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 sailed over the Rolex oxer and stopped the clock in 42.56 seconds to take the win.  Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, the 2012 Olympic Champion, was the only other rider to jump double clear, placing third riding Corbinian with a time of 44.30 seconds.

“Going last gave me an advantage in the jump-off,” said Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Champion who is currently ranked number six in the world.  “I thought Christian Ahlmann was not going to be beatable, but my gallop to the last fence won it for me!

“It’s a big win!” continued Lamaze.  “The Rolex Top Ten is one of the most prestigious competitions that we have throughout the year, showcasing the best riders in the world riding their best horses at this moment in time.  A grand prix is a grand prix, but the Rolex Top Ten is something special.  Having been second once before, having been so close, it means a lot to me to win.  And especially on this mare that had such an unbelievable Olympics; it’s like her gold medal!”

Lamaze has contested the Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final four previous times in his career with his best finish coming in 2011 when he was the runner-up riding Coriana van Klapscheut, also owned by Artisan Farms.  His other three appearances, in 2008, 2009 and 2010, were all aboard the legendary stallion Hickstead, the horse that carried him to the 2008 Olympic championship title as well as the team silver for Canada.  Lamaze is the only Canadian to have ever contested the Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final in its 16-year history.

“As a Canadian, I am extremely proud to bring this title back to Canada,” said Lamaze, 48, who has won Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals for his country.  “I hope this gives great hope to the new generation of riders back home.  Everything is possible.”

Lamaze spoke to the importance of having great owners behind him, noting, “The support I received from Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms after the tragedy of losing Hickstead truly revived my career.  I don’t know if I would be standing where I am today without them.  I am so thankful to them, and so thankful to Rolex for putting on this amazing event.  This is truly something special.”

Lamaze, who is also a Rolex testimonee, will contest the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, December 11, at CHI Geneva.  Part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Geneva is the third leg each year following Aachen, Germany, in July and Calgary, Canada, in September.  Great Britain’s Scott Brash is the current live contender for the €1 million bonus offered to any rider able to win all three grand prix events in succession, having won the last event at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.

For more information on CHI Geneva and the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, visit www.chi-geneve.ch and www.rolexgrandslam.com.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Eric Lamaze Claims Individual Bronze at 2016 Rio Olympics

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON claimed the individual bronze medal on the final day of show jumping competition held Friday, August 19, at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Riding Fine Lady 5, owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, Lamaze jumped clear in both rounds of the Individual Final to join a six-horse jump-off for the individual medals.

In the jump-off, Nick Skelton of Great Britain led with a clear round riding Big Star, stopping the clock at 42.82 seconds.  Steve Guerdat of Switzerland, Sheikh Ali Al Thani of Qatar and Kent Farrington of the United States all had rails down before Sweden’s Peder Fredricson jumped clear in a time of 43.35 seconds riding All In to secure a medal; the only question was which one it would be.  It was all up to Lamaze, who was the final rider to enter the packed Deodoro Olympic stadium.

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 had been the only pair to jump clear through every round of competition held over four days, but their luck ran out at the penultimate fence in the jump-off, giving the pair four faults.  Speed is never a question for Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 however, and they crossed the timers in 42.09 seconds, the fastest of all the jump-off contenders, to take the individual bronze medal.

“It was an incredible competition!” said Lamaze, who now has a third Olympic medal to add to his individual gold and team silver earned at the 2008 Beijing Olympics riding Hickstead.  “To even represent your country, let alone win a medal, at the Olympics is just amazing.  I am so grateful to Fine Lady and for the support of Andy and Carlene Ziegler.  To have a horse with the ability to come here and do that is incredible.  This medal is as much theirs as it is mine.

“Fine Lady didn’t win the jump-off, but she won the Olympics, in my opinion,” continued Lamaze of the 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II).  “She was the best horse; she was the only horse that started the jump-off today with zero faults.  But at the Olympics, it’s a brand new slate on the last day, and those other clear rounds don’t count.  That’s the way it is.  It was a gruelling competition, and for Fine Lady to be one of the best horses at the Olympic Games is incredible.”

Lamaze carefully built Fine Lady 5 up throughout the 2016 season with Rio in mind, competing throughout the winter in Wellington, FL and spending four weeks in June and July in Calgary, AB, competing at the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series’.

“We made the plan this year, and the whole thing was set up for her; she needed to arrive here full of confidence,” said Lamaze of his Olympic preparation.  “Spruce Meadows is one of the very best venues to get ready for championships, and we are very lucky to have that in Canada.

“I’m incredibly proud of the entire Canadian team, and especially that we qualified three riders for the Individual Final,” concluded Lamaze.

Having led the Canadian Show Jumping Team to a fourth place finish following a jump-off against Germany for the bronze medal on Wednesday, Lamaze sat at the top the leaderboard heading into the Individual Final, which saw the top 35 compete.  He was joined by teammates Yann Candele, 45, and Tiffany Foster, 32, in the battle for an individual medal.

Foster of North Vancouver, BC had the last fence down in the opening round of the Individual Final riding Tripple X III, a 14-year-old Anglo European stallion (Namelus R x Cantango) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.  Her score of four faults allowed her to move through to the second round, but 12 faults left them out of medal contention and in 26th position overall.

“I’ve never ridden in the Individual Final in any championships, so this is as far as I’ve ever gotten!” said an elated Foster, who made her Olympic debut in London in 2012.  “I’m thrilled with my horse; he gave me everything he had this whole week.  I couldn’t be happier with him, and I couldn’t be happier with my team.  I had the best Olympics I’ve ever had!”

Candele of Caledon, ON incurred 12 faults in the first round to tie for 32nd position in his Olympic debut riding First Choice 15, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (For Keeps x Angard) owned by the Watermark Group, a group of owners committed to supporting the Canadian Show Jumping Team.

“My horse was a bit tired today,” said Candele, noting that the Individual Final was the fourth day of Olympic-calibre show jumping.  “Basically, I was under the pace and that created the faults, I guess.

“I’ve never seen an Olympic Games with such a high standard of horse and rider combinations,” noted Candele.  “You had 15 or 20 starters that could have easily won.”

In the end, it was Great Britain’s Nick Skelton who stood in the center of the medal podium, flanked by Peder Fredricson of Sweden who won individual silver and 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze wearing the individual bronze medal for Canada.

For more information on the equestrian events at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, visit www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian-schedule-and-results.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Eric Lamaze Ranked Top Ten in the World

Eric Lamaze with Fine Lady 5. Photo by Arnd Bronkhorst Photography.

Brussels, Belgium – Canadian show jumping athlete Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON is number ten in the world on the new rider rankings released Thursday, August 4, by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

On the eve of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the 2008 Olympic Champion has regained his place in the top ten with a total of 2,449 points.  Having started the year in 39th position, Lamaze has steadily climbed up the world rankings following consistent performances across the globe.  Germany’s Christian Ahlmann has moved into the top position with 3,204 points to push last month’s number one, Simon Delestre of France, into second with 3,140 points.  Penelope Leprevost of France is number three, as well as being the top-ranked female rider in the world, with 2,909 points.

Lamaze’s return to the top ten after a four-year hiatus comes following a rebuilding period.  Formerly the number one ranked rider in the world, Lamaze has concentrated on rebuilding his string of competition horses following the sudden death of his great stallion, Hickstead, in November of 2011.  With the support of Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms, Lamaze has developed several young mounts into top international contenders.

In July, Lamaze scored a total of four victories in CSI5* competition, winning twice at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ tournament in Calgary, AB, and twice at the prestigious showgrounds of Aachen, Germany.  Three of the four victories came aboard Fine Lady 5, Lamaze’s mount for the Rio Olympics.

“Winning the two classes in Aachen was a big deal, as was having scores of clear and four with Chacco Kid in the Nations’ Cup,” said Lamaze, 48.  “Every one of my horses contributed to our success in July.  Fine Lady is my lead horse, but every horse in my string has played a part in this ranking.”

Lamaze earned valuable world rider ranking points for his strong performances aboard Chacco Kid in the €350,000 Mercedes Benz Nations’ Cup in Aachen, GER, on July 14 and also jumped three clear rounds riding Check Picobello Z to place third in the $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup held July 9 at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ tournament.

“Thank you to the Ziegler family of Artisan Farms for their unwavering support, and thank you to my staff for all of their hard work; this achievement truly is a team effort,” said Lamaze, who was last ranked in the top ten in September of 2012.  “I would also like to congratulate Tiffany Foster on moving up to number 32 in the world.  I remember when Tiffany was excited to be ranked number 500 in the world, so for her to now be on the verge of breaking into the top 30 is quite an accomplishment.  It’s always rewarding to watch people that you have helped move forward and get ahead in the rankings.  I’m very proud.”

Lamaze continued to speak to the importance of being ranked so highly in the world, saying, “It’s a big achievement as Canadians, especially considering we don’t have the luxury of doing as many Nations’ Cup events as other riders who are competing in Europe, so our world rankings are based mostly on grand prix competition.  We are very fortunate to have a venue like Spruce Meadows hosting so many world ranking classes, which really helps any rider who competes there to move up in the rankings.”

For Lamaze, regaining a position in the top ten is especially exciting as he prepares to compete in Rio alongside Yann Candele of Caledon, ON and Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, both of whom he trains, as well as Amy Millar of Perth, ON.  Another one of Lamaze’s students, 20-year-old Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, is the traveling reserve.

“We are feeling really good, especially after Fine Lady won two classes and Tiffany and her Olympic horse, Tripple X III, placed fifth in the €1,000,000 Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen,” said Lamaze.  “Amy’s horse has had a strong season and while Yann has sacrificed showing in some of the bigger events this summer, his horse’s competition schedule has been carefully planned with the Olympics in mind.  We have a strong reserve rider in Kara Chad, and know she can deliver should we need to call on her.”

Having led Canada to a team silver medal before capturing the individual gold in dramatic fashion riding Hickstead at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lamaze is optimistic heading to Rio with Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.

“I did it once on Hickstead, who was a favourite to win,” said Lamaze of his individual chances.  “In London, due to the circumstances, I was asking a young horse to do big things; I felt I was just participating and supporting the team.  This time, I’m going with a horse that can compete.  I feel really good about it.”

Lamaze will compete at the CSI5* Global Champions Tour in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands from August 5 to 7 with Chacco Kid and Check Picobello Z.  Then he and Fine Lady 5 head to Rio de Janeiro, where Olympic show jumping competition begins on Sunday, August 14.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, visit www.EricLamaze.com.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Eric Lamaze Flies to the Finish in France with Fine Lady 5

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, pictured here competing at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

2008 Olympic Champion Opens CSIO5* La Baule with a Win

La Baule, France – Eric Lamaze began a three-week European tour by winning on the opening day of competition at CSIO5* La Baule, France.  Riding Fine Lady 5, the 2008 Canadian Olympic Champion claimed victory in the €28,000 1.50m Prix FFE on Thursday, May 12.

Held in a one-round format that sees the fastest rider win, Lamaze was the seventh rider on course from a starting field of 64 entries.  He and Fine Lady 5 flew around the speed track, stopping the clock in a time of 68.20 seconds.  Of the 57 challengers still to come, only one rider even came close to catching Lamaze’s time, with Gudrun Patteet of Belgium clocking in at 69.90 seconds riding Sea Coast Atlantic.  Incredibly, the third place finisher, Brazil’s Stephan de Freitas Barcha riding Quentin PJ, was more than six full seconds off the winning pace, with his time of 74.69 seconds proving just how fast Lamaze had been.

“She’s fast, but it’s also been a long time since she was on the grass,” said Lamaze, who has not competed Fine Lady 5 on grass footing since the 2015 CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary, AB last September where they won the $35,000 1.50m ATCO Cup, placed second in the $35,000 1.50m TELUS Cup, and were members of the third-placed Canadian Team in the $300,000 BMO Nations’ Cup.

“I felt like I could go extra-fast and use the fences to slow her down,” continued Lamaze of the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II).  “Fine Lady is the perfect horse to do this class with on opening day.  I’m especially pleased because La Baule is a show that I like to do well at; it is one of my favourite competitions.”

La Baule is the first of three consecutive European shows that Lamaze will compete at.  From France, Lamaze travels to Madrid, Spain for the CSI5* Global Champions Tour from May 19-22 followed by CSIO5* Rome, Italy from May 26-29 where he will compete as a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team in Nations’ Cup competition.

In addition to Fine Lady 5, Lamaze is also riding Check Picobello Z, a ten-year-old grey Zangersheide gelding (Cardento x Orlando) and the recently acquired Chacco Kid, a ten-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On), at CSIO5* La Baule.  Fine Lady 5 and Check Picobello Z are owned by Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, while Chacco Kid is owned by the Chacco Kid Group, consisting of Lamaze, Rick and Sara Mershad, Ludi and Carol Sollak, and Andy and Carlene Ziegler.

While Lamaze is competing at CSIO5* La Baule alongside his 2015 Pan American Games gold medal teammate, Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, fellow Pan Am gold medalist and Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC is contesting CSI4* Windsor in England with students Kara Chad of Calgary, AB and Elizabeth Gingras of Edmonton, AB.

Following his European tour, Lamaze will return to Canada in June to continue competing in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, visit www.EricLamaze.com.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Artisan Farms and Tiffany Foster Honored at 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival

Tiffany Foster riding Victor for owner Artisan Farms at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Wellington, Florida – For the second year in a row, Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms was the recipient of the Harrison Cup Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the owners whose horses won the most money in all open jumper classes at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival held January 13 through April 3, in Wellington, FL.  Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC was named the Overall Leading Lady Rider of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival.  Both award presentations took place during the $500,000 CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix on Saturday evening, April 2.

Artisan Farms enjoyed another incredibly successful season on the winter circuit with five different horses winning Thursday’s feature event, the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup, a total of six times between Foster and fellow Artisan Farms rider Eric Lamaze.  Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Champion, also scored victory in the $216,000 CSI4* Ariat Grand Prix during WEF week four riding Check Picobello Z as well as the $86,000 1.50m Suncast Classic during WEF week nine with Rosana du Park.

In addition to picking up two wins in the WEF Challenge Cup Series, one in WEF week eight riding Brighton and again in the final week of competition riding veteran campaigner Victor, Foster was recognized as the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider a total of three times, in WEF weeks four, seven and eight.  Presented to the top female grand prix competitor each week, the award recognizes consistency in the weekly WEF Challenge Cup and Grand Prix classes.  At the end of the 12-week circuit, Foster was honored as the Overall WEF Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider Award, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in memory of Dale Lawler.

“I think it’s wonderful that Martha Jolicoeur presents this award throughout the circuit,” said Foster, 31, who received a set of custom jumps as her prize.  “One of the great things about our sport is that men and women compete against each other as equals, but I think it’s nice to recognize the leading ladies individually.  There are so many strong female riders on this circuit that it makes winning this award something to be very proud of.”

Speaking to her success as the top female rider of the Winter Equestrian Festival, Foster said, “The main secret to having such a consistent circuit is the incredible team of horses that Andy and Carlene Ziegler have put underneath both me and Eric.  We were able to compete in every important class and never have to overuse our horses because we have so many at the top level.”

Success in any sport is the result of teamwork, and Artisan Farms has an incredible group of people who all play a role in its success.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms,” said Foster of the support she receives.  “Their continued support and enthusiasm is unparalleled, and I am eternally grateful to them.  I would also like to thank Eric Lamaze for all of his help with all of my horses.  He is an incredible trainer and I feel very lucky to have him with me every step of the way.  I also want to recognize all of my grooms, the people on the ground, our farriers, our vets and everyone on our staff.  Everyone works incredibly hard and it would be impossible to do this without them.  I also want to thank all of my sponsors for their generous support and, of course, I want to give an enormous thank you to all of my horses that I love so much!”

“Tiffany is not only a great rider but a terrific trainer and friend,” said Andy Ziegler.  “Carlene and I have enjoyed watching her develop into one of the top riders in the world, and look forward to her future success.”

With the winter season now concluded, the Artisan Farms horses move back to their European base in Vrasene, Belgium.  Foster and Lamaze will next compete as members of the Canadian Team in Nations’ Cup events at CSIO4* Coapexpan, Mexico from April 28 to May 1 and CSIO5* Rome, Italy from May 26 to 29 before heading home to Canada to compete at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC and Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB in June.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Eric Lamaze Dominates with Fourth WEF Challenge Cup Victory

Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Wellington, Florida – Eric Lamaze won the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round VII held Thursday, February 25, at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. The win marked the fourth time so far this season that the Canadian Olympic Champion has scored victory in the weekly Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup.

Riding Fine Lady 5, Lamaze was one of 29 entries to jump clear over the track set by course designer Santiago Varela of Spain. Returning 15th in the jump-off order, Lamaze used Fine Lady 5’s naturally quick pace to full advantage, turning in a blistering time of 36.60 seconds to move to the top of the leaderboard. His time would prove unbeatable, with Todd Minikus of the United States coming closest riding Quality Girl in a time of 37.42 seconds. Lamaze’s 2015 Pan American Games gold medal teammate and fellow Artisan Farms rider, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, took third with a time of 37.77 seconds riding Victor for owner Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.

“I thought the course was nice but it walked a little bit light for a five-star and for that kind of money,” explained Lamaze. “In the end, there were a lot of clears. The jump-off almost became another class so the strategy was quite simple. Whenever you are in a jump-off like that, you basically just go as fast as you think your horse can go and hope that some of the forward distances keep showing up. With her, I can really trust her and show her some hard angles and believe that she will do the right thing. I was on the right horse for a jump-off with so many in it.

“I don’t think there is a rider who is going to tell you they didn’t take any risk going at that speed in the jump-off,” continued Lamaze, who left many onlookers, including his fellow competitors, in awe of his incredible performance. “A lot of it becomes about risk and what you are willing to risk. That is how you win these classes.”

Having already won two Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup classes with Rosana du Park and one with Check Picobello Z, who went on to win the $216,000 Ariat Grand Prix later the same week, it was Fine Lady 5’s time to shine. The 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) is currently favoured by Lamaze for a trip to the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games, but his choice of Olympic contenders is not limited to one horse, thanks to the support of owners Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms.

For Lamaze, the success of his students is equally important as his own. In addition to Foster’s third place finish, their fellow Pan Am Games gold medalist Yann Candele of Caledon, ON cracked the top ten riding First Choice 15 for The Watermark Group while Kara Chad, 20, of Calgary, AB, was also a jump-off contender riding Bellinda.

“I was really happy with Tiffany being third and another student, Kara Chad, was also in the jump-off,” said Lamaze, 47. “Yann Candele finished tenth and another student, Elizabeth Gingras, had to go first and finished with a very fast four faults to qualify for the grand prix on Saturday night. As a group, I am really proud and happy that everybody did so great. We have a plan, and I think everybody on our whole team is really coming together. It means as much to me as winning.”

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 will next compete in Saturday night’s $380,000 CSI5* Suncast Grand Prix.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, visit www.EricLamaze.com.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Returns for 2016

At only 15 years of age, Lucy Deslauriers of the United States topped the 2015 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series riding Hester. Photo Credit – Starting Gate Communications.

PLEASE NOTE: A mandatory meeting for all participants will be held on THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, at 3 p.m. in The Wellington Club overlooking the International Arena on the Winter Equestrian Festival showgrounds.

Wellington, FL – January 20, 2016 – The Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series returns to the Winter Equestrian Festival for its sixth season, offering a total of $170,000 in prize money.

Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series (AFU25GPS) showcases top young talent in show jumping sport. Open to competitors of all nationalities aged 25 and under, the AFU25GPS is sanctioned by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), giving many riders their first experience competing at the 1.45m level under FEI rules. For the final event of the Series, the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest the $50,000 CSI-U25 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Final held on Stadium Derby Field on Saturday, March 26.

The overall winning rider will be invited to compete at the CSI2* Chantilly Horse Show, part of the Global Champions Tour, from May 26-29, 2016, in France. In addition to their entry, the winner also receives two tickets to the Chantilly VIP lounge, transportation for one horse generously provided by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, and layover at Artisan Farms in Vrasene, Belgium.

In 2016, the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series will include a total of seven events as follows:

WEF 2: $10,000 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 WELCOME
Saturday, January 23, 2016 – PBIEC International Arena

WEF 2: $25,000 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 GRAND PRIX,
PRESENTED BY EQUINE COUTURE/TUFFRIDER
Sunday, January 24, 2016 – PBIEC International Arena

WEF 4: $25,000 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 TEAM EVENT,
PRESENTED BY THE McNERNEY FAMILY
Friday, February 5, 2016 – AGDF International Arena

WEF 6: $10,000 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 WELCOME,
PRESENTED BY ENTRUST CAPITAL
Saturday, February 20, 2016 – AGDF Derby Field

WEF 6: $25,000 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 GRAND PRIX,
PRESENTED BY ENTRUST CAPITAL
Sunday, February 21, 2016 – AGDF Derby Field

WEF 9: $25,000 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 SEMI-FINAL
PRESENTED BY SEABROOK, LLC
Friday, March 11, 2016 – PBIEC International Arena, under lights

WEF 11: $50,000 CSI-U25 ARTISAN FARMS UNDER 25 FINAL
PRESENTED BY EQUILINE
Saturday, March 26, 2016 – Stadium Derby Field

Over the past five years, the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series has proven to be a launching pad for young show jumping talent. Past winners include 2012 U.S. Olympian Reed Kessler and two-time World Cup Finalist Nayel Nassar of Egypt, as well as Chloe D. Reid, Victoria Colvin and Lucy Deslauriers, who have all represented the U.S. in international competition.

“The Series has been more successful than we ever could have hoped for,” said Carlene Ziegler who owns Artisan Farms together with her husband, Andy, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series. “We are thrilled that the USEF now recognizes the ‘Under 25’ division; it has filled a void in the sport for future Grand Prix stars.

“We are very excited to sponsor the Series for a sixth year, and wish all competitors the best of luck,” concluded Ziegler.

Leading by example, Artisan Farms is committed to the continued improvement and promotion of competitive show jumping. Based in Wellington, FL and Vrasene, Belgium, Artisan Farms is home to young professional Caitlin Ziegler, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, and 2015 Pan American Games team gold medalist Tiffany Foster.

Artisan Farms Media Contact:
Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com