Tag Archives: Eric Lamaze

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

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7770 647 662

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.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7770 647 662

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

Lamaze and His Very Fine Lady

Canada’s Eric Lamaze. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 18 August 2016 – On the eve of the Olympic individual Jumping Final at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro (BRA), the riders are thinking ahead to Friday’s big challenge. A total of 35 combinations will tackle the track when the action gets underway at 10.00 local time, and if form is anything to go by then one to watch will definitely be 2008 Olympic individual champion, Canada’s Eric Lamaze, who will have the best of the draw when last to go in the first round.

Riding the 13-year-old mare Fine Lady he has completed the first three individual qualifiers without knocking a pole while posting super-fast times.

His single-point advantage over America’s Kent Farrington (Voyeur), Sweden’s Peder Fredricson (All In), and Maikel van ver Vleuten (Verdi) counts for nothing when the action resumes, however, because everyone starts Friday’s competition on a zero score. That isn’t preventing the 2008 individual Olympic champion from feeling pretty positive though.

Feel good

“You can’t help but feel good about it so far, and it’s great to be leading going into the competition even though it doesn’t mean anything to be in that position. What it is is a testament to how good your horse is jumping,” says the 48-year-old Canadian rider. “Of course there’s always the unknown; this sport can bring very bad news very quickly and the last day is going to be a Grand Prix course. But look at Hong Kong (Beijing 2008 Olympic Games) – the ones in the lead stayed in the lead at the end.”

He’s very aware that a number of other horses are excelling themselves this week but is supremely confident in his mare. “She’s a very predictable horse; she’s not affected by the heat and when you go in the ring she sparks,” he points out. And he didn’t have to compete in Wednesday’s thrilling jump-off for team bronze in which Team USA pipped Canada. “We really wanted to win that bronze yesterday but it was good for me not to go in the jump-off. I would have been happy to do it, but in the end it wasn’t necessary,” he explains.

Many of his career highlights came through his remarkable partnership with the great stallion Hickstead, who carried him to team silver and individual glory in Beijing, but tragically died three years later.  “He was one of a kind,” Lamaze says with pride. “With him I went to Beijing as favourite and he stayed favourite – you couldn’t help but feel good going into the final there. But it’s a different scenario here; there are already 12 other clears going into the last day.”

Same horse

He says Fine Lady is “pretty simple – she knows her routine, and when you go in the ring you get the same horse every time.” And his confidence is boosted by the fact that the mare is in the right frame of mind. “I find that most times when you arrive at a show and the horse is ‘on,’ then the horse is ‘on’ – when the horse is having a good week, it stays that way,” he says.

And the courses designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge hold no horrors for him. “I’m used to his courses; he’s a very clever course builder, very technical but horse-friendly,” Lamaze says. He talks about the penultimate double in the first track last Sunday which caused plenty of problems, and says he expects the open water to continue to be influential Friday. “I like it when the water is an independent jump and the riders have to find it. On the first day you could find it yourself, but on the second day it was on a bending seven-stride line and it was hard to get the distance forward enough.”

Surprised

He’s really surprised with how Fine Lady has developed into such a top-quality competition ride. “We never bought her to go to the Olympics; she just grew into her scope, but she was originally a 1.50m speed horse. It was only after she jumped great at Geneva (SUI) last year that I thought I would experiment, and I can hardly believe how much she has improved. She’s as good a horse as I’ve ridden since Hickstead, and she’s as competitive as he was. She’s 13 years old but she feels just amazing, and who knows what’s left for her to win. I slowly brought her to where she is now and she has surprised me every time,” he says.

When asked what he thinks of his chances of a medal, he replies, “We all dream of medals, but so many things need to go right – although look at the French yesterday and how that worked out!” referring to the French team victory despite a terrible run of bad luck for them earlier in the week. “Regardless of the outcome I will be giving my best and for sure she will give her best too. It would mean the world to win another medal, but it won’t break me if I don’t,” Lamaze says.

And then he talks about what makes an “Olympic” horse. “They need to have a lot blood, they need agility, and they have to be versatile. They should never look down at the bottom of a fence; they need to carry their eyes level; they need to look and to measure and to know exactly where they are and where they’re going.

“Hickstead had eyes in his legs, and Fine Lady is very much the same. She’s all about rhythm and speed.”

Equestrian in the Olympics

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912. Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping. Uniquely across the Olympic Movement, men and women compete against each other for all the medals in equestrian sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

Rio 2016:

Anja Krabbe
Venue Media Manager
anja.krabbe@rio2016.com
+55 (21) 97556 1218

FEI:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

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 Wins Again in Aachen with Olympic Mount

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

Aachen, Germany – 2008 Olympic Show Jumping Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON won his second event of the week in Aachen, Germany, riding his Rio Olympic mount, Fine Lady 5.  The pair won the €62,700 Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe on Wednesday before topping the €100,000 Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia on Friday, July 15.

The victory came one day after the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) officially announced the Canadian Equestrian Team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which included Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.

In Friday’s €100,000 Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia, a world-class starting field of 55 horses tackled the two-round competition over tracks set by German course designer Frank Rothenberger.  Following the opening round, the top 25 riders carried their faults forward to a second round where speed became the name of the game.  With a time of 58.13 seconds, Lamaze annihilated the competition, clocking in more than three full seconds faster than runner-up Maurice Tebbel of Germany, who crossed the timers in 61.70 seconds riding Chacco’s Son.  Four-time Olympic gold medalist Ludger Beerbaum of Germany took third with a time of 63.55 seconds riding Chiara 222.

It was Lamaze’s first win in the €100,000 Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia.  In 2010, he placed second riding Hickstead, the same year the pair captured the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.

With two wins in one week in Aachen, widely considered to be the most competitive show jumping venue in the world, Fine Lady 5 is proving worthy of Lamaze’s belief in her as his Olympic mount.

“Talk about the best way to go into Rio!” exclaimed Lamaze, who arrived in Aachen following four weeks of competition at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB.  “Not only what she did in Calgary, but what she did in Aachen proves to me that she was the right choice for Rio.  Today was a big 1.55m with two rounds over two different courses and Fine Lady was unbelievable!  She seems to be peaking at the right time, and is proving to be quite an incredible horse.”

Lamaze will head to Rio alongside Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, and Amy Millar of Perth, ON.  Kara Chad of Calgary, AB will be the traveling alternate.  While the COC was making the official announcement, Chad, Foster, Millar and Lamaze were contesting the €350,000 Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup team event in Aachen, Germany.

“It was great, a super team effort,” said Lamaze of the Nations’ Cup competition where Canada finished seventh.  “I was riding Chacco Kid, a horse that is greener than Fine Lady, and I was really proud of him in both rounds.  Kara made a few minor mistakes in the first round as a 20-year-old riding in Aachen in front of thousands of people, but she corrected herself and put in a great effort for us in the second round.  Amy had a great experience – her horse has proven that he is worthy of going to the Olympics with those two rounds – and Tiffany is in great form.  It was in Yann’s horse’s best interest to sit this one out so we didn’t have our full Olympic team, but we were very happy with our result.”

Speaking of his own performance in the Nations’ Cup with Chacco Kid, a ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) owned by Chacco Kid Group, Lamaze said, “Chacco Kid was amazing; he was a superstar.  I think he’s going to do some incredible things.  To be in the Nations’ Cup in Aachen when we only purchased him in January is incredible.  I thought Rome, where he did his first Nations’ Cup, was a big step up, and then to come to Aachen and do the Nations’ Cup here with scores of zero and four proves to me that he is the horse I think he is.”

Lamaze had three mounts in contention for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  His 2015 Pan American Games team gold medal partner, Coco Bongo, was in the running, as was Check Picobello Z.  Ultimately, Lamaze felt that Fine Lady 5 was his best choice.

“In a year when you are well-mounted and everything is coming together, you can protect your top horse and still continue to do the big classes,” explained Lamaze, who won individual gold and team silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.  “Chacco Kid could do the Nations’ Cup in Aachen, and Check Picobello was third in the grand prix in Spruce Meadows last week.  We have other horses that can fill Fine Lady’s shoes; they can back her up and protect her.

“Andy and Carlene Ziegler have put a great string of horses under me, as well as under Tiffany, and it makes all the difference in an Olympic year,” continued Lamaze.  “I went into the Olympics in London thinking I had no chance; I was on a very inexperienced horse.  For this Olympics, I feel like I am well-mounted and have a chance.”

While Fine Lady 5 will now rest before Rio, Lamaze will continue to compete at CSI4* La Coruna, Spain, from July 29-31 followed by a stop on the Global Champions Tour at CSI5* Valkenswaard in The Netherlands from August 4-7.

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

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