Tag Archives: Eric Lamaze

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

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 Win $130k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photos © Sportfot.

 Scott Stewart and Fun Prevail in Shapley’s Grooming Products High Performance Conformation Hunters

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2017 – Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze topped the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 riding Fine Lady 5 on Thursday at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

2012 London Olympic course designer Robert Ellis (GBR) built the track for 55 competitors in Thursday’s class. Fourteen horses advanced to the jump-off with Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, owned by Artisan Farms, LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, returning third to post a fault-free round in 41.23 seconds. His time could not be beat and gave Lamaze his second WEF Challenge Cup Series victory of the 2017 season after also winning round 3 with Houston.

Hardin Towell (USA) came the closest to bumping Lamaze from the top, but finished double clear in 43.72 seconds for second place riding Lucifer V, owned by Evergate Stables, LLC. From the lead-off position in the jump-off, Margie Engle (USA) settled for third with a double-clear effort in 45.27 seconds aboard Royce for owner Gladewinds Partners, LLC.

Mexico’s Alberto Michan stopped the clock clear in 45.69 seconds for fourth riding GC Chopin’s Bushi, owned by Iron Horse Farm, and Ben Maher (GBR) rounded out the top five with a double-clear finish in 45.80 seconds aboard Don Vito for Poden Farms.

“She is really an unbelievable horse,” said Lamaze of Fine Lady 5, the mount he piloted to an individual bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. “I have said it before: no one wants to compare anyone to Hickstead, but she is getting there slowly. For me, it is going to be the second horse of a lifetime.”

Thursday’s victory marked Lamaze’s 25th WEF Challenge Cup win in his career, four of which were in the irons of Fine Lady 5, a 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth FRH x Drosselklang II).

“I have been doing [the WEF Challenge Cup Series] for quite some time,” he said. “I think for [Fine Lady 5], she suits every sort of competition.”

Second place rider, Hardin Towell, was pleased with Lucifer V’s performance, saying, “We were riding for second today. I knew I wasn’t going to catch [Eric]. Fine Lady is fast, and they looked fast today. I set my plan and went as quickly as I felt I could to leave up the jumps.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Luis Larrazabal (VEN) won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI 2* speed class riding Atlodetto FZ, owned by San Francisco Stables, LLC.

The $2,500 Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class saw a win for Cristobal Collado (MEX) riding Creativo, owned by E2 Stables, while Emma Heise (USA) riding Broekie claimed the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper speed class for Old Willow Farm.

Scott Stewart and Fun Named Champion Shapley’s Grooming Products High Performance Conformation Hunters

Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL rode Fun, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, to win the championship in the Shapley’s Grooming Products High Performance Conformation Hunters during WEF 5. The pair won the model, the stake, and an over fences class, earned second place in the handy, and third place under saddle for an impressive total of 35 points.

Scott Stewart and Fun

“He is really fun,” said Stewart. “He was a little tired yesterday because the weather was so hot. Yesterday wasn’t his best day, but today he was a little bit fresher and jumped better. He is a blast to ride and really sweet.”

Fun is a coming seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Chello III VDL. Stewart has campaigned the gelding since 2015 and the pair also claimed the championship in the High Performance Conformation Hunters during week one and week three of WEF.

“We did him in the Pre-Greens a couple years ago,” said Stewart. “Last year he did the Green Conformation Hunters and Becky [Gochman] also shows him in the 3’3″ Amateurs.”

Havens Schatt of Georgetown, KY and Custom Made settled for the reserve champion title with a total of 29 points. The pair won the handy and the under saddle, earned third place in the model and an over fences class, fourth place in the stake, and fifth place in another over fences class. Custom Made, owned by Shaw Johnson Price, is a 2005 Mecklenburg gelding by Chambertin that Price also shows in the Amateur-Owner division.

The fifth week of WEF continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5* and the $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 2* in the International Arena. Also on Friday, the Ariat National Adult Medal will decide a winner. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 Win $130,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI 3* at WEF

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photos © Sportfot.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair Are Champions Three Weeks in a Row

Wellington, FL – January 28, 2017 – Eric Lamaze, Canada’s 2008 Olympic Champion and 2016 Olympic individual bronze medalist, guided his Rio mount Fine Lady 5 to victory in the $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday night at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Lamaze topped Germany’s Olympic team bronze medalist Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum riding Comanche 28 in second, and Spanish Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya aboard G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone in third.

Belgium’s Luc Musette built the course for Saturday night’s grand prix under the lights in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Forty-three entries contested the first round track, with seven advancing on to the jump-off, and three double clear rounds.

Lamaze, with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Fine Lady 5, stopped the clock in 40.26 seconds for the win. Michaels-Beerbaum and Artemis Equestrian Farm’s Comanche 28 finished second in 40.79 seconds. Moya was close behind for a third place finish in 40.80 seconds with G&C Farm’s Unicstar de l’Aumone. Laura Chapot (USA) clocked the fastest four-fault round with Mary Chapot’s ISHD Dual Star to place fourth in 41.83 seconds.

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 concluded a banner 2016 season with a win in the Rolex Top Ten Final at CHI Geneva (SUI) in December before a short rest and gearing up to compete this winter.

“She felt really good tonight,” Lamaze said of the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth FRH x Drosselklang II). “I gave her a long rest after the Olympics, and then started back and just did Paris and Geneva. I plan on using her quite a bit at the beginning of the circuit here since she is fit from Geneva already. Then we will give her a rest before returning to Europe.”

Fine Lady’s quick foot speed carried the pair easily through the jump-off track, and Lamaze remarked on the long gallop home to the final oxer on course.

“You need to have the distance in front of you to be fast,” he noted. “If there is something in front of you, you take it. One pull and I’m easily third or maybe fourth.”

He added, “This was a difficult course, but she has done some very big classes lately. This was hard, but for her but it was a little bit of an easier class.”

Michaels-Beerbaum was happy with the progress that her mount, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Coupe de Couer x Baloubet du Rouet), has made since last winter in Wellington.

“I think Fine Lady is a really fast horse, and Comanche is just learning to go fast,” she stated. “I was very happy with him tonight. Comanche, I believe over the last year, has gained a tremendous amount of experience. He has always been a fantastic jumper, but he has been slightly green in the ring and a little bit spooky. Over the last year he’s been to shows all over the world, and I think that has helped him. I think he has grown up a lot, and tonight you could really see he gained a lot of self-confidence.”

Michaels-Beerbaum applauded Lamaze on his victory, adding, “It is a great honor to sit next to this guy and to be second to him by just a tiny bit.”

Riding for Spain, Moya was aboard a young mount in the nine-year-old Selle Francais mare Unicstar de l’Aumone (Ninio de Rox x Timorrak des Isles) for his first experience in a WEF “Saturday Night Lights” grand prix.

Moya stated, “I was very confident with her. She has never been under the lights, but she is always great. She tries her best, and she never doubts anything. She is naturally very fast, so I did not want to override the jump-off. It was not an easy class, and it is an honor to be next to Eric and Meredith. I am very happy with my third place.”

Allyn Mann, representing class sponsor and week three title sponsor Adequan®, was on-hand for the night’s event and remarked on the competition.

“What an honor to be sitting here with Eric, Meredith, and Sergio,” Mann stated. “The beauty of these equestrian disciplines is that it is an acknowledgment of these animals and what we ask them to do. Tonight was a wonderful example of that. We are honored and humbled by the opportunity to help the health and well-being of the horse so that these riders can go out and do what they love to do, which is to compete.”

Michaels-Beerbaum was also presented the award for Leading Lady Rider for week three, the award sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in memory of Dale Lawler.

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Eugenio Garza and El Milagro’s Victer Finn DH Z won the $15,000 Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. The $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper speed class saw victory for Cooper Dean aboard William Upton’s WEC Quidam-Quidam. The $1,500 Equiline Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class awarded top honors to Michelle Navarro-Grau riding Tazman.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair Are Champions Three Weeks in a Row

On Saturday, Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA and Small Affair claimed their third championship in a row in the Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division at WEF. In the past three weeks, the pair has won ten over fences classes. This week, they took the blue ribbon in three over fences classes, placed second in another, and finished fifth under saddle.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Affair

Small Affair, owned by Lyn Pederson, is a coming 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf d’Or. Iwasaki started riding him almost exactly a year ago and has shown him all over the country.

“He’s kind of grumpy,” said Iwasaki of her accomplished hunter mount. “He likes to keep to himself, and he thinks he’s the best.”

Iwasaki, who is just 12 years old, splits her time between riding in the pony divisions, Junior Hunters, and equitation classes. She is looking forward to hopefully showing in the USHJA/WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular during week six.

When asked which division she enjoys showing in the most, Iwasaki responded, “The Junior Hunters, for sure.”

Emma Wujek of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI took reserve honors aboard Puppet, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram LLC. The pair earned second place under saddle, and finished second, fourth, fourth, and eighth over fences. Puppet is a 2006 gelding by Palladium Ex Poladii.

The third week of WEF concludes on Sunday with the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division will award championship and reserve honors in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Eric Lamaze and Houston Capture $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3

Eric Lamaze and Houston. Photos © Sportfot.

Kelley Farmer and Because Nearly Perfect in Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9″

Wellington, FL – January 26, 2017 – Canada’s 2008 Olympic Champion and 2016 Olympic Individual Bronze Medalist Eric Lamaze took top prize in Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 riding Houston at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Belgium’s Luc Musette set the course for 79 starters at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Thursday, with 15 entries qualifying for the jump-off, and 13 moving on to the short course.

The jump-off had three clear rounds, the first of which was set by Molly Ashe (USA) and Maarten Huygen’s Audi’s Dimple in 42.60 seconds. Leslie Howard (USA) and GJ Stable’s Gentille van Spieveld followed, crossing the timers in 41.38 seconds. Lamaze with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Houston then took the lead in 40.55 seconds.

Houston, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Heartbreaker x Corofino), is an up-and-coming mount for Lamaze that was purchased by Artisan Farms at the start of 2015. The young horse has steadily progressed and ended the 2016 season with clear rounds at both the La Coruña CSI 4* and Stephex Masters CSI 5* events.

“It is a horse that really came off strong towards the end of last year,” Lamaze detailed. “He is an upcoming horse, and he is a stallion, so you have to ask things nicely. He has all the talent in the world, but with my string of horses, he never truly had a chance to show off last year other than to get some great mileage at a lot of competitions. This is his time to step up, and we could not be happier with how it is coming along.”

Lauren Hough (USA) and Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) were each faster than Lamaze in the jump-off, but incurred four faults. Hough’s time of 39.49 seconds placed fourth with Laura and Meredith Mateo’s Waterford. Moya took fifth place with his time of 40.11 seconds riding G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone.

Commenting on his winning round, Lamaze detailed, “I was very surprised with how big of a stride Houston got. I thought eight strides from fence two to three in the jump-off would be very forward, but it was normal for me. I almost asked myself if I did nine. I knew I had to slow down a little bit for the double, and I just let him come home. He put a brilliant effort in at the last fence. A lot of the time we invest years, and the owners invest money and time, into bringing these horses along, so it is nice when you finally get there.”

Lamaze will jump Saturday night’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* with Fine Lady 5, which he rode to an individual bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as the win in the Rolex Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva (SUI) in December. He looks forward to jumping the track set by Luc Musette, noting, “He is a top-class course designer, having just finished building the Rolex competition in Geneva. He gets asked to do the biggest competitions in the world, so it is no surprise that he can come here and make this a good competition for everyone.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Vlock Show Stables’ Cream Caramel won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class.

Kelley Farmer and Because Nearly Perfect in Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9″

Kelley Farmer, of Keswick, VA, and Because, owned by Jane Gaston, were almost flawless in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9″ division. The pair won all four over fences classes and placed fourth under saddle for the championship title. Farmer and Because earned an impressive 96 in the stake and a pair of 90s in the over fences classes.

Kelley Farmer and Because

Because is a coming ten-year-old KWPN stallion by Verdi that Gaston purchased almost a year ago from Daniel Geitner. Both Gaston and Farmer earned coveted tri-color ribbons with Because during the 2016 indoor finals circuit. Most recently, during WEF 2, Farmer and Because were also named champions of the Green Hunter 3’9″ division with notable scores of 94, 92, and 90.

“He’s an amazing, amazing animal,” Farmer said. “I can’t say enough about him. He’s a complete ham, a total sweetheart, and he wants you to spoil him. He shows with Jane in the Amateurs and he goes absolutely beautifully.”

Gaston and Because were also named reserve champion of the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35 division during week two.

“He’ll show a little bit with me and more with Jane,” Farmer said. “We’ll do week six, World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week, where he’ll go with both me and Jane. Now that he’s gotten into circuit and into the groove a little bit, he’ll probably show a little less with me, except for the derbies.”

Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, guided Fashion Farm’s Captivate to the reserve championship. The pair placed first under saddle, second in the handy, third in the stake, and third and fourth over fences. Captivate is a 2009 Westphalian gelding by Captain Fire that Stewart has ridden since April of 2015.

The third week of WEF continues on Friday featuring the FEI $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m in the International Arena. Also on Friday, the Triple Crown Blankets Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A championship will be decided. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

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 Celebrates Winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final with Fine Lady 5

11 December 2016, Geneva, Switzerland – Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze celebrates winning the 2016 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva with the famous trophy and Fine Lady 5, after the competition.

THE HISTORY OF THE ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

In 2001 the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) created the first Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. The concept was initially conceived in the late 1990s with the idea to improve the formula of the ranking list and celebrate the success and talents of the finest show jumpers in the world. The competition meant that the Top 10 highest ranked riders in the world for that year were invited to go head-to-head. An idea similar to the ATP World Finals in tennis, which is also supported by Rolex, the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final is the only competition which is run by the competitors, through the IJRC. The competition has been won by several of the greatest names in the sport including Rolex Testimonees Rodrigo Pessoa, Steve Guerdat, Scott Brash, Kent Farrington and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. Eric Lamaze now joins this group of legendary names engraved on the exclusive winner’s trophy.

FINAL RESULTS OF THE ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

  1. Eric Lamaze (CAN) riding Fine Lady 5
  2. Christian Ahlmann (GER) riding Taloubet Z
  3. Steve Guerdat (SUI) riding Corbinian
  4. Kevin Staut (FRA) riding Reveur de Hurtebise HDC
  5. Penelope Leprevost (FRA) riding Vagabond de la Pomme
  6. Scott Brash (GBR) riding Hello M’Lady
  7. Marcus Ehning (GER) riding Pret A Tout
  8. Kent Farrington (USA) riding Creedance
  9. Daniel Deusser (GER) riding First Class van Eeckelghem
  10. Simon Delestre (FRA) riding Chadino

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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 Triumphs in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva

09 December 2016, Geneva, Switzerland – The world’s Top 10 riders gathered for a thrilling competition on Friday 9 December, in the sixteenth edition of this world-famous spectacle and the twelfth time it has been staged at CHI Geneva. Crowds for the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final were treated to an evening of excitement, tension and elation as last to go, Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze, produced a spectacular round to take title spot and reign victorious.

Staged over two nail biting rounds without a jump-off, pin point accuracy and upmost precision is required to win the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. With five riders jumping fault-free in the first round, the stage was set for an exhilarating final round.

Christian Ahlmann took a commanding lead in round two, setting a superb time of 43.05 seconds which looked hard to beat. The last three riders of the class to go were Rolex Testimonees Steve Guerdat, Kevin Staut and Eric Lamaze. Even the elite riders, Staut and Guerdat, were unable to push Ahlmann out of title spot, leaving it to Canada’s Eric Lamaze to challenge the German rider. In true Lamaze style, he looked to shave off hundreds of seconds at every corner aboard his mare Fine Lady 5. With the packed crowd on the edge of their seats, and fixated on the clock, he finished in a time of 42.56 seconds, providing Lamaze with the narrowest of margins to win the class for the first time in his career and adding this title to his stellar roster of global equestrian achievements.

Speaking after his victory, a delighted Lamaze said, “We all saw Christian go in the jump-off; I thought the competition was over. Fine Lady is naturally very fast but I knew I didn’t have any option but to try everything. I was lucky enough to have a galloping distance to the Rolex oxer at the end. I took the opportunity and I think that made the difference.

“Fine Lady 5 is an amazing horse, to win the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final; I could not ask for any more.”

CHI Geneva will now look ahead to Sunday where it will see the retirement of Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat’s wonder horse, Nino des Buissonnets, in an emotional farewell after the Rolex Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Guerdat obtained third spot in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, with a superb performance riding Corbinian.

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Eric Lamaze Enjoys Homecoming at Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Photo Credit: Kit Houghton/Rolex.

Calgary, Canada – Fresh off his bronze medal win at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Eric Lamaze (CAN) has arrived in Calgary, Canada to contest the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament running September 7-11, 2016.  He is joined by fellow Rolex Testimonees Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Scott Brash (GBR), who made history at last year’s ‘Masters’ tournament by becoming the first rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Lamaze, who credits his success at the 2016 Olympic Games to his preparation at the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series’, will face another star-studded field when he contests the $2 million CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, on Sunday, September 11.

“It is a big weekend here; we are going to jump the same fences we jumped at the Olympics, and it’s the same level of competition,” said Lamaze, who added an Individual bronze to the Individual gold and Team silver won at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. “You don’t come into Spruce Meadows taking things lightly.”

Spectators at last year’s Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ witnessed history in the making as Brash, riding Hello Sanctos, became the first athlete to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The pair won at CHI Geneva (SUI) followed by a second victory at CHIO Aachen (GER) before handling the pressure to take the win at Spruce Meadows and claim the unprecedented €1 million bonus offered to any rider able to win all three Grand Prix events in succession.

“What we saw last year with the Rolex Grand Slam was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in this venue,” said Lamaze, who was a two-time winner of the International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex (the predecessor to the now CP ‘International’) 2007 and 2011 with the legendary Hickstead. “I have been part of many exciting things that have happened at Spruce Meadows over the years, but this was one of the very best moments that I have witnessed. I know what it’s like to win this Grand Prix, and it’s not easy. We saw something that was truly incredible.”

At this year’s Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, Philipp Weishaupt (GER) is the live contender, having won the last leg of the Rolex Grand Slam at CHIO Aachen. Lamaze considers the German and his partner, LB Convall, one of the riders to beat come Sunday.

“I think his horse jumped very well here in the summer, and it went on to Aachen to win the Rolex Grand Prix where it jumped incredible,” said Lamaze. “I believe he is one of the favourites to win this, and I think he has his eye on the prize. We’re going to see great sport.”

While Lamaze’s Olympic partner, Fine Lady 5, is enjoying a well-deserved rest following Rio, he has three horses in the stable for this weekend’s main event. Check Picobello Z is the most experienced while Chacco Kid and Houston are also proving themselves at the top level.

“I think we’re going to get a nice welcome home,” said Lamaze, who is competing on Canadian soil for the first time following the Olympic Games. “The public appreciated what we did there – we brought home a medal from the Olympics – so I think we will be very well-received!

“Spruce Meadows is unique,” concluded Lamaze, who is the all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, where Rolex has been the official timekeeper since 1989. “The arena is magical on the weekend when there are 60,000 people here; as a rider it is such a special moment to hear the crowd cheer. There is nothing else like it.”

Whatever the outcome, top sport is guaranteed at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.

Rod Kohler
Revolution Sports
Tel: +44 (0)203 176 0355
Email: rod@revolutionsports.co.uk

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