Tag Archives: Leslie Howard

Second Victory for Leslie Howard & Donna Speciale

Leslie Howard & Donna Speciale. Credit Tom von Kap-herr.

Bromont, August 1, 2019 – American rider Leslie Howard and Donna Speciale continue on their momentum with a second victory in the FEI (Fédération Équestre Internationale) sanctioned events at the International Bromont held at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park until August 4, 2019.

A commanding course
The course designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) comprised 12 obstacles for 15 efforts in the first round and the technical difficulties beat most of the athletes. The really tight turn between the first and second obstacle, the double combination and the second to last obstacle pushed rides and their mounts to fault. In fact, the tight square turn between the first and second obstacle presented a difficult approach, while the double combination, emphasizing the second part of the gymnastic, caused a lot of faults at the first effort. Finally, obstacle 11, with its back to the crowd, brought the horses to an angle, making it easier to make the bar drop. Only 10 pairs made it to the jump-off, including Canadians Amy & Jonathon Millar, respectively riding Truman and Bonzay, Hyde Moffat (CAN) and Gisborne VDL, Quebecker Alexanne Thibault with Chacco Prime, Irishman Daniel Coyle with Cita, as well as Americans Jonathan McCrea and Fantasy BB, Christine McCrea with Jarcobond Van Den Oude Eik and Dali de Vy, and Leslie Howard & Donna Speciale.

Simply masterful
The first pairs back on the course for the second round, Alexanne Thibault/Chacco Prime & Frank Hendriks/Dio, both got penalties over obstacles. Irishman Daniel Coyle, who follows in the ring with Cita, throws caution to the wind: the pair starts with a fast rhythm allowing them to execute a clear round and establishes the time to beat at 34.78 seconds. The following 7 pairs had a leader to beat. Neither Christine McCrea with her two horses, Jonathon Millar/Bonzay, or Hyde Moffat/Gisborne VDL succeed to get clear rounds. As for Jonathan McCrea/Fantasy BB & Amy Millar/Truman, their perfect rounds are not enough to take first place, as Coyle & Cita still have the best time.

That is when Leslie Howard & Donna Speciale, who have been in the top 4 of all international events last week, come in the ring. Leslie Howard, who is not afraid of anything, pushed her mare to give her best: stride after stride, taking all possible shortcuts, the pair gain ground. They only have one goal in mind: get the best time and execute a clear round to finish first. With close to a lead of one second over Daniel Coyle & Cita, Leslie Howard & Donna Speciale sign their second victory at the International Bromont.

For more information, visit the web site at: www.internationalbromont.com.

International Bromont: Leslie Howard & Donna Speciale Gallop to Victory

Bromont, July 25, 2019 – American rider Leslie Howard and her mount Donna Speciale did not give their fellow competitors a chance at the opening CSI3* event presented by the town of Bromont at the Olympic Equestrian Park.

Welcome to Bromont
29 horse-rider pairs took part in the opening event sanctioned by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). The course by FEI4* designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) was a real challenge: with 12 obstacles for 15 efforts, including three double combinations, as well as a series of technical turns, where only 8 pairs made it to the jump-off.

The fastest in the first round, Andrew Kocher, who made it to the second round with both mounts, gets 8 penalty points with Abelone O.T. Lowlands Z, his eight-year-old Zangersheide mare, giving Daniel Coyle and Farrel the chance to establish the time to beat with a clear round in 37.63 seconds. The following pairs are unable to do better. Leslie Burr Howard then comes in the ring with Donna Speciale, an eleven-year-old KWPN mare, owned by Laure Sudreau-Rippe & Peter Howard. An experienced rider known for her speed, she rushes forward with her mount. Manoeuvring around the turns with skills and overcoming the course’s challenges, Leslie Howard and Donna Speciale take the lead with a perfect round in an unbelievably fast time of 34.72 seconds, leaving their competitors no room to manoeuvre.

Events throughout the week
The International Bromont offers classes for all levels until Sunday, while Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) sanctioned events will take place on Friday and Sunday. The show will present its second week from July 31 until August 4, 2019.

For more information, visit www.internationalbromont.org.

Leslie Howard Dominates $133,700 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3*

Leslie Howard riding Quadam. Photo by The Book LLC.

North Salem, NY – U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Leslie Howard stormed to a victory in the $133,700 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3*, presented by The Kincade Group, riding Quadam during the final day of the 2019 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY on Sunday, May 19. The highlight class of the two-week event also had local rider Katie Dinan of North Salem in second place with Brego R’N B, while Israel’s Daniel Bluman, also based in North Salem, was third riding Colestina H.

In 1983, Howard rode to her first grand prix victory at Old Salem Farm aboard Albany, the horse that later carried her to win a team gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. On Sunday, she returned to familiar territory and claimed another milestone win on the Old Salem Farm Grand Prix Field. From a starting order that included 30 horses, Howard, 62, was the first of only three to jump clear over a challenging track set by Ken Krome (USA).

Again leading the charge in the jump-off, Howard and Quadam, owned by Laure Sudreau, set the pace with another clear round in 42.45 seconds. The time was more than enough to top runner-up Katie Dinan (USA), who guided Brego R’N B to a double-clear day in 42.45 seconds.

Howard welcomed Quadam, a 13-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Quite Easy x Stakkato), into her string when she found him for her client Richard Neal in 2014. Two years into that partnership, they decided to sell the mount and Sudreau stepped up to make the purchase as a grand prix ride for Howard.

“He almost won the American Gold Cup here last year with one down in the jump-off, but today’s course suited him because he is very well balanced,” said Howard. “The horses that are a little long in the body and not as active behind had a hard time because there were a lot of tight turns. My horse’s hind end is always underneath him, he turns well, and he’s easy to ride because his stride is so expandable. Jump-offs like today’s are so much easier for him because when you slow down you don’t lose any energy.”

Contact: Jennifer Wood

Leslie Howard Wins at Royal Horse Show

Leslie Howard riding Donna Speciale. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Leslie Howard of the United States opened international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show with a win in the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on Tuesday, November 8.  The CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show is held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Top show jumping athletes representing Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, the United States and the home nation of Canada contested the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on Tuesday afternoon, opening five days of international competition at the Royal Horse Show.

Upon successfully completing the ‘power’ phase, riders advanced to the ‘speed’ portion where the fastest time wins.  U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Leslie Howard stopped the clock in 28.82 seconds over the track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal to take the win riding Donna Speciale over David Will of Germany, who crossed the timers in 29.72 seconds riding Monodie H in his Royal Horse Show debut.

“Obviously, it takes a lot of pressure off,” said Howard of claiming the first international victory of the week.  “It puts everything in a positive light, and that’s a great feeling.  Today was a nice 1.40m with nothing that crazy, but the course designer gave us the option of some nice inside turns that you could take a shot at.  It was a perfect course for the first time in the ring.”

Of her winning mount Donna Speciale, an eight-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Cavalier x Concorde) owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, Howard noted, “She is a real horse for the future.  She just has everything; she’s scopey, fast, careful, game, and she loves to win.  She’s just a really super horse and if she can keep doing this up through the levels then she’ll be the best in the world!”

Canadian riders made an impressive showing on home soil with Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON placing third in a time of 31.75 seconds riding Thalys Z for The Thalys Group.  Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC clocked in at 32.18 seconds riding Brighton for owner Artisan Farms, while Keean White of Rockwood, ON rounded out the top five riding Corette, owned by Angelstone Farms, Javier Salvador, and Diamante Atelier, with a time of 32.20 seconds.

No stranger to Toronto, Howard has been competing at the Royal Horse Show for nearly three decades.

“It’s special for me simply because I have a lot of great memories,” said Howard, 60, who is especially pleased to be competing for Longines FEI World Cup points at this year’s Royal.  “I’m so happy that Toronto has one of the North American League World Cup qualifiers because I think it is the best indoor show that we have; the footing is perfect, they have great course designers, the scheduling is wonderful, and they have super crowds.  It really is the best of the best.”

Howard will pilot another mount, Gentille Van Spieveld, in the $130,500 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 9, which highlights international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show, and is a qualifying event for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska next spring. Howard will face stiff competition in the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto from McLain Ward of the United States and HH Azur, who have returned to The Royal to defend their 2015 title.

Ward comes into Wednesday’s competition following a win in the $35,000 Jolera International Welcome on Tuesday night riding Malou, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare.  The pair raced to victory in the one-round speed class by stopping the clock at 54.66 seconds.  2004 Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil took second with a time of 54.75 seconds riding Citizenguard Cadjanine Z, owned by himself and Alain van Campenhoudt, while Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam placed third with a time of 54.80 seconds riding Main Road for owners Seabrook LLC and Sweet Oak Farm.

Tickets for the Royal Horse Show can still be purchased by visiting royalfair.org or ticketmaster.ca.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439

Chris Surbey and Quetchup de la Roque Win Enbridge Classic Derby at Spruce Meadows

Chris Surbey and Quetchup de la Roque. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Leslie Howard and Donna Speciale Triumph in Spruce Meadows 1.45m Classic

Calgary, AB, Canada – On Sunday at Spruce Meadows, Calgary’s own Chris Surbey (CAN) made history by becoming the 20th rider ever to jump a clear round in the long-running Enbridge Classic Derby. Surbey and Linda Southern-Heathcott’s Quetchup de la Roque joined an impressive list of winners, completing the only clear round out of 13 starters, to win Sunday’s feature competition. Daniel Coyle (IRL) riding Ridley and Lisa Carlsen (CAN) aboard Worlds Judgment finished second and third respectively, each finishing the course with eight faults.

The Spruce Meadows 1.45m Classic, presented by Kubota, concluded the ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, with a win for Leslie Howard (USA) and Donna Speciale.

Thirteen entries contested Sunday’s Enbridge Classic Derby, which saw seven competitors finish with eight faults, and only the one clear round. Great Britain’s Pamela Carruthers designed the original course in 1985 and redesigned the track in 1990. For the last 26 years, the course has been the same. But out of 650 total attempts, Chris Surbey and Quetchup de la Roque are only the 20th pair to ever complete a clear round.

Featuring a demanding 16 numbered obstacles and 23 jumping efforts, the Enbridge Classic Derby is an incredible test of endurance and stamina for both horse and rider. The most challenging obstacles include a 26-foot bank, double liverpools, and a Devil’s Dyke.

Born and raised in Calgary, Surbey (29) began riding as a professional for Spruce Meadows two years ago, and took over the ride on Quetchup de laRoque from Kelly Koss-Brix last fall. “Her whole life, I think she has always had a heart of gold,” Surbey said of the 12-year-old Selle Francais mare (Quidam de Revel x Kannan). “She tries her best every time out. She is very careful, she is quick, she can turn, and she is brave. She has everything I think you need for a good derby partner.”

Surbey also jumped Quetchup de la Roque in the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby during the summer’s ‘National’ Tournament in June.

Speaking of his second, very successful attempt at the derby, Surbey noted, “We jumped at the National, and she was actually quite good, but that was her first try. I was hoping that we would improve from there, but I was not quite expecting a clear round. I was just excited that Quetchup dug deep and showed us what she can do.

“In this attempt, I was maybe a little bit more relaxed,” Surbey detailed. “Obviously the first time in, you are not sure how they are going to react to some of the different natural jumps out there, but she showed us in June that she was comfortable. I think I had more of a relaxed approach today and she was able to take her time and jump a clear round.”

Surbey stated that completing one of so few clear rounds over the track is just “icing on the cake” to winning the coveted event. The obstacle on course that worried him the most was actually the smallest, but his horse handled the entire track with confidence.

Subrey explained, “Honestly, I do not think any part of the course concerned my horse. But I have to say, I have never been afraid of such a small jump in my life with that fence on top of the bank. That is probably the most intimidating jump because it is so close to the edge of the hill. Some horses even refuse to jump it because they can see the edge coming, so it is really an exercise in timing and patience, as well as bravery on the side of the horse.”

Daniel Coyle and Lisa Carlsen traded places in this week’s derby after Carlsen placed second and Coyle finished third in the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby during the ‘National’ Tournament.

Riding to second place on Sunday with the fastest eight-fault round in 135.58 seconds, Coyle was aboard Ridley, a ten-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding (Ustinov x Adiantus AS) owned by Susan Grange.

Carlsen took third place honors with eight faults in 136.75 seconds aboard Worlds Judgement, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Judgement x Farmer) owned by WJ Partners.

Speaking of his return to the derby track with Ridley, Coyle stated, “I did not know what was going to happen today because it was only his second derby. He is not the most talented horse in the world, but he is one of the best for trying. I had two very simple fences down. I think mostly it just came from him being tired at this stage after five weeks of jumping here. Then again, I had an early fence down, so I could be fast and play to my advantages.”

Like many Irish riders, Coyle grew up jumping derbies in his home country, but noted that derby success really depends on the horse.

“Anytime there was a derby we did them,” Coyle said. “Irish people do the derbies a lot more than other countries. Maybe that is why I am a wee bit better at this than I thought, but at the end of the day we can be as good as we want, but the horse has to jump the fences. It really comes down to them.”

Commenting on the impressive event at Spruce Meadows, Coyle added, “The derby is a brilliant competition for riders and horses. Some riders are better at derbies, and some horses are better at derbies than actual show jumping, so it is great for us to be fit to do both. To be in the ring that long with a big crowd cheering you on is very exciting.”

Lisa Carlsen was a little challenged on Sunday riding with a strained groin, but felt confident in her horse, who has jumped consistently in derby competitions for several years.

“She is super brave,” Carlsen said of Worlds Judgement. “I do not think the mare has ever stopped with me. She does everything I have ever asked her to do. She is just super brave and talented, so she is a good derby horse.”

Commenting on her round, Carlsen added, “My mare was a little too fresh today because I have not been able to get her in the ring enough. She was more aggressive than I would have liked, but that’s just life.”

Leslie Howard Takes Final Event of Summer Series

Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) concluded the week’s competition with 41 entries jumping his track in the Spruce Meadows 1.45m Classic, presented by Kubota. The final event of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, Leslie Howard (USA) took top honors with the fastest of five double clear rounds in an eight-horse jump-off. Howard guided her husband, Peter Howard’s, Donna Speciale to the win in 38.72 seconds.

Daniel Coyle (IRL) finished second in 40.18 seconds aboard Fortis Fortuna for Susan and Ariel Grange. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and The Doodle Group’s Cocq a Doodle placed third in 40.55 seconds. Mario Deslauriers (USA) took fourth place honors with Wishing Well Farm LLC’s Cherrypop in 42.57 seconds, and Ben Asselin (CAN) finished fifth with Attache Stables’ Cool Feeling in a time of 42.99 seconds.

Leslie Howard and Donna Speciale
Leslie Howard and Donna Speciale

Donna Speciale, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Cavalier x Concorde), is a new ride for Howard this year. The pair first joined up in January and started this summer competing at the 1.40m-level. Over four weeks at Spruce Meadows, the young horse has made great progress and jumped her first 1.50m at the beginning of this week. For the final day of competition, Howard dropped her back down, and let the mare’s speed come out in full force for the first time.

“She got some ribbons in the1.45m competitions, but I never really let her open up in the jump-offs,” Howard detailed. “She had one rail this whole circuit in four weeks and that was only in her very first 1.45m. Then I let her move up to the 1.50m and she was great. She is young and eager; I think she will jump a lot bigger. I think she is world-class, but I did not want to show her any bigger than that yet.”

Daniel Coyle had a very fast round with Fortis Fortuna, and Howard explained that at first she was not going to try to beat him, but the mare’s natural speed took over.

“I do not have to do much encouraging with her,” Howard explained. “Going slow is the struggle; going fast is easy. She is a young horse, but she had a lot of great mileage in Holland. She is just a natural at going fast.

“The nice thing about her, or any good speed horse, is that if you lean your body a little right or left they immediately try to find the jump that your body language is taking them to,” Howard continued. “She was immediately searching and locking in on the next jump, so it makes it so easy. I think that is something that they are almost born with. They have to learn it, but some horses you could spend hours trying to teach them to turn and look for the jump, and they never get it. She is just innately a fast horse.”

Commenting on Santiago Varela’s courses, Howard praised, “I think Santiago did a fabulous job all week. We could not have asked for more. The courses were fair, they made sense, and they progressed at a nice level. They started out the week easy so the horses got encouraged and then they built up during the week. I thought it was super.”

Coyle also commented on his round with Fortis Fortuna, stating, “Today I was not sure what to expect because the last round I jumped on the mare did not go to plan. In the jump-off, I honestly do not think I could have gone much faster and jumped a clear, so congratulations to Leslie.”

Rounding out a fantastic summer, Coyle concluded, “All of my horses have jumped really well here. It was my first time at Spruce Meadows, and I love the show, and all of the people. I want to thank everybody for that. For my first time here, they made me feel very welcome.”

Sunday’s competition concluded the 2016 Spruce Meadows Summer Series. The ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO 5* is the next feature event on September 7-11, 2016.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Spruce Meadows Media Services

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media

Leslie Howard and Patricio Pasquel Win on Day Three of ‘Pan American’

Leslie Howard and Quadam. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Calgary, AB, Canada – The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continued on Friday featuring the Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m, as well as the WestJet Cup 1.45m in the Meadows on the Green. USA’s Leslie Howard jumped to an exciting win in the evening’s 1.50m aboard a brand new mount in the young stallion Quadam. Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel got the win in the 1.45m earlier in the day with his homebred gelding Babel.

Ireland’s Alan Wade set the course for 34 starters in Friday’s Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m with six entries advancing to the jump-off. Jeff Campf (USA) and Kimberly Bruce’s Wordsworth II were first to go over the short course, setting the pace in 44.19 seconds to eventually finish fourth. Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) followed with a clear round in 41.74 seconds riding Armando Torrado’s Temascaltepec RM to earn the third place prize. Theodore Boris (ISR) and Garkus van het Indihof had a good time in 40.72 seconds, but dropped two rails to finish sixth. Philipp Weishaupt (GER) jumped Ludger Beerbaum’s Liberty Son 2 into the lead with a time of 39.13 seconds, but was quickly bested by Leslie Howard and Laure Sudrea’s Quadam, who raced through the timers in 39 seconds flat. Last to go, Nick Dello Joio (USA) jumped into the fifth position with his time of 44.51 seconds riding The Corlida Group’s Corlida.

Howard is no stranger to the winner’s circle at Spruce Meadows, but Friday’s victory was an exciting one for the rider, who has been working to build her partnership with Quadam since taking over the ride two months ago. The ten-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Quite Easy I x Stakkato) was previously owned and ridden by Howard’s student, Richard Neal, mostly in the amateur and U25 divisions.

“I met Laure Sudreau last year, and she loves the sport and told me to keep my eyes open if I ever saw a good one for her to buy, and I said, ‘Well, I think I have a good one right in my barn,’” Howard detailed. “So she bought him and I have been showing him since May.

“Whenever you get a new horse, it is always up and down because you do not know them, and they do not know you,” Howard noted. “Sometimes you feel like you are speaking Chinese and they are speaking Spanish, and the two of you are just not in sync, but it has been slowly getting a little bit better all the time. It was just a rail here or a rail there because we were not totally understanding each other, but today it all came together.”

Howard’s plan in the jump-off changed slightly midway through her course after realizing that she was very close to the winning time.

“I just planned to be very tight for jumps one through four,” she explained. “I watched the rider ahead of me who was winning and I thought I was right on the same time as him, but then I turned back to the vertical and I found it a little bit quiet. I thought that might have put me a smidge behind, so I just said, ‘What the heck?’ and floored it to the last two jumps. He had enough quality that he left the jumps up. He was right with me everywhere.”

Howard plans to compete Quadam again in the 1.50m this coming week at Spruce Meadows and will then work on building him up throughout the year. She is excited to see what the future holds as their partnership develops.

Patricio Pasquel Wins WestJet Cup 1.45m

The WestJet Cup 1.45m was the first FEI competition held in the Meadows on the Green Friday afternoon with an exciting first international victory at Spruce Meadows for Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel. The rider guided his nine-year-old homebred gelding, Babel (Billy du Lys x High Flyer), to victory in a nine-horse jump-off out of 77 first round starters.

Patricio Pasquel and Babel
Patricio Pasquel and Babel

Six entries jumped double clear over Alan Wade’s (IRL) short course, but it was Pasquel and Babel who took the winning prize with the fastest time of 37.54 seconds. USA’s Lucy Deslauriers clocked the second place time of 37.73 riding Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester. Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS placed third in 38.87 seconds. Taizo Sugitani (JPN) guided Yvonne Barrow’s Avenzio to fourth place honors in 39.73 seconds. Molly Ashe (USA) and Louisburg Farm’s Pjotter van de Zonnehove finished fifth in 40.23 seconds, and Conor Swail (IRL) clocked the sixth place time of 40.65 seconds riding Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein’s Cenzo.

Pasquel has been knocking on the door of Spruce Meadows’s international competition with several second place finishes and was very happy that he was finally able to get the win on Friday. He had the help of Nikolaj Hein Ruus and Norman Dello Joio on the ground, as well as a great team that got his horses ready for the competition.

“I am a businessman, so riding is my hobby,” Pasquel stated. “I was in a board meeting yesterday until 4 p.m. in Mexico City and then I got to Calgary at 3 o’clock in the morning. I had a long flight, but I have a great crew, and they had the horses ready. It is all about the team. There is a lot of work going on behind the riders that nobody sees. I really appreciate all of the people that help me.”

Speaking of his winning mount Babel, Pasquel noted, “It is an interesting story. I bred Babel myself at my ranch in Mexico. I have had this horse his whole life, and it is funny because when he was a three-year-old, he was a big, horrible horse. He is a bit crooked and I wanted to give him away, but I decided to keep him. Then he was four-year-old champion of Mexico, and then five-year-old champion of Mexico, then six-year-old champion and seven-year-old champion, and now he is winning all of the classes. I think I have won over 110 first place ribbons with this horse. He is amazing; it is really a nice story to tell.”

Pasquel qualified two mounts for Friday’s jump-off, going first in the order with Careyes, who ended the competition in seventh place overall with one rail down over the short course.

“Of course that always helps to have two horses in the jump-off because I was in the ring with that horse first and it gave me a little advantage,” Pasquel detailed. “My first horse jumped really well. I wanted to go faster with that one, but I had number two down, so I had to just wander around. Then I went in again and I said, ‘Babel wants to win today,’ and I gave it a shot.”

The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continues on Saturday with its feature event, the $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, as well as the CIBC Cup.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Spruce Meadows Media Services

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media

Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis 2 Top $210,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby

Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis 2. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Win $85,000 Enbridge Cup

Calgary, AB, Canada – July 5, 2015 – Spruce Meadows hosted the final day of competition in its ‘North American’ Tournament CSI 5* on Sunday with a win for USA’s Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis 2 in the $210,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby. Earlier in the day, McLain Ward (USA) and HH Carlos Z won the $85,000 Enbridge Cup 1.50m.

Howard and 16-year-old Lennox Lewis 2 (an Oldenburg gelding by Loreatus x Weizenkorn) have been together for ten years, so the pair definitely had experience on their side on Sunday. They also won the same competition in 2009 and have two wins in the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby from 2011 and 2013.

Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios designed the derby course for Spruce Meadows eight years ago with a demanding 19 numbered obstacles and 25 jumping efforts. It is an incredible test of endurance and stamina for both horse and rider, including double liverpools, a table bank, a 26-foot, steep derby bank, and the Devil’s Dyke.

The course is the same for every derby competition and has only seen three clear entries out 199 starters since it was first set in 2007. Beezie Madden (USA) cleared the course twice aboard Judgement, the first year in 2007 and again in 2008. Pablo Barrios (VEN) went without fault in 2010 with G&C Sinatra. As is often the case, no one was able to jump a clear round on Sunday. There were four entries that finished on just four faults, however, and a jump-off was held to break their tie.

Ben Asselin (CAN) and Linda Southern-Heathcott’s Doremi were first to jump-off, with one rail down in 45.58 seconds, putting the pair in fourth place. Lisa Carlsen (CAN) and Alycia Hayes’ World’s Judgement were next to go, with a clear round in 36.86 seconds that landed the duo in second. Howard and Lennox Lewis 2 followed, with the fastest clear round in 36.63 seconds to take the win. Last to go, Richard Spooner (USA) and Show Jumping Syndication Intl’s Cristallo had a rail down in 40.55 seconds to place third.

As Howard detailed, her horse has jumped the derby course so many times that he could probably do it in his sleep at this point.

“The first derby earlier this summer, he was actually going very well and I got to the top of the bank and started daydreaming,” Howard laughed. “I said to myself, ‘I wonder how many times we have come down this bank?’ I was just so nonchalant; he just came to a complete halt at the bottom of the bank because I did not even tell him that he was supposed to continue on.”

One of Lennox Lewis 2’s strong suits is jumping the Devil’s Dyke (or grob), which causes problems for many other horses.

“In all the derbies I have ever shown him in, win, lose or draw, he has only ever had a rail once in the grob,” Howard detailed. “The water jump he is a little lackadaisical. I have to practice the water a lot because he would rather canter through it or maybe stop and take a drink than actually jump it. That is actually my biggest concern. If you were watching, everybody did seven strides to the water and I actually did eight because I really wanted to get him back on his hind end and just blast him at it as hard as I could. I was hoping that momentum would carry me past the tape and it worked out.”

In addition to her four wins with Lennox Lewis 2, Howard has two other derby victories with two different horses at Spruce Meadows.

“The key is just to have a good horse, and it is really that simple,” she noted. “There are not a lot of horses that you would show in a derby, but the ones that do it well can do it with their eyes closed. I have had three or four now that are just really good at it.”

“They cannot be a cold horse because they run out of gas,” Howard continued. “First of all, they have to have blood and second of all, they have to be very brave with a great, calm mind. My younger horse today (Moondoggie) exerted all of his energy at the beginning of the course. I came around the corner to the last two jumps and he just ran out of gas. He had tried too hard at the beginning of the course, whereas Lenny just comes in and says, ‘Oh, we’re back in the derby and here we go.’”

Lennox Lewis 2 had a break from competing at the top level and showed instead with an amateur rider last year.

“Since I got him back this May, I think he is actually fresher than he was two years ago,” Howard noted. “He had done a lot at the top level and dropping down to the 1.35m and 1.40m I think gave his body a bit of a break. I do feel he is as fresh as he has ever been.”

“He is also an extremely sound horse,” Howard added. “I have been doing this for about 50 years now and I have never had a horse as sound as Lennox Lewis. He has never missed a show. We bought him as a six-year-old and he is 16 now. His legs never fill up. He never limps. If you go back to the barns right now, other horses might be resting a leg or feeling a little tired. He will be standing there, I promise, four on the floor, eyes pricked, begging for food. He is just an extremely athletic, sound horse.”

Lisa Carlsen and World’s Judgment
Lisa Carlsen and World’s Judgment

Second place finisher, Lisa Carlsen, has a horse with great lineage for the derbies and explained how she has improved with World’s Judgement in the four derbies that the pair has jumped. The mare is by Judgement, the stallion that jumped two of only three clear rounds on the course with rider Beezie Madden.

“As Leslie said, they have to be blood horses and brave, and that she is,” Carlsen stated. “She is a unique horse. I cannot warm her up, so I only get on her about two horses away from my round. Her warm up is on a lunge line up top where she can settle. I just get on and canter two laps and walk in. By the end of the course, I might have more rails than the beginning because she starts to get her blood up too much, but she is getting better every time I go to the ring.”

Course designer Leopoldo Palacios explained that endurance is very important to success in the derby and that you not only need a good horse, but a good rider.

“For many years I have seen this derby and Leslie can say that you need a good horse, but you need to be a good rider too,” Palacios remarked. “For jumping derbies, the rider needs to administrate the energy of the horse, and she really does that. From the very beginning, Leslie is very soft, she is very light in the saddle the whole time, and at the end she still has enough horse. A lot of riders start fighting at the beginning, and then at the end they do not have enough horse. In the derbies, the endurance is very important. I need to congratulate these riders for doing it well. They are good riders and they know how to do it right.”

Ward Wins Another

McLain Ward (USA) carried his winning momentum from Saturday’s $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup into Sunday morning with a victory in the $85,000 Enbridge Cup 1.50m aboard Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z.

Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) set the track for 39 entries in round one of the Enbridge Cup, with 16 advancing to the jump-off, and nine double clear rounds. Ward and HH Carlos Z blazed to the win in 40.50 seconds. Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl finished second in 41.26 seconds. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and Antares placed third in a time of 41.27 seconds, and Kent Farrington (USA) took fourth in 41.38 seconds riding Gazelle.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

The win marks Carlos and Ward’s third victory in this year’s Summer Series along with many other top placings. HH Carlos Z, a 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire), is always fast and careful.

“He is a remarkable little horse,” Ward remarked. “I have been lucky enough over the years to have a few like him. He is just a great little competitor.”

“I have a great string of horses,” Ward said of his success this summer. “I have great people behind me, great sponsors. I have the same team that I have always had, but we all bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the table. It is always the same in a series – if things start off well, typically you keep going that direction. If it starts out a little rough, it is sometimes hard to pull yourself out. I have been on the top and I have been on the bottom and I probably will be both again, so I will enjoy it while it is going well!”

Carlos jumped several times this week, but the cards played differently each time, and Ward chose to keep his preparation for Sunday’s competition simple.

“It was a long week; this is his fourth competition of the week,” Ward noted. “On Wednesday, he was in good form and then he lost his shoe in the jump-off and kind of fell down. Yesterday, he was in great form and had the time in the jump-off and I messed up the last fence. He doesn’t need much practice. Today we just walked him to the ring right out of his stall. He jumped a few jumps and went in the ring.”

Commenting on his winning jump-off, Ward detailed, “He is very fast everywhere. Everything was showing up nice. I had a nice cut on the original fence number one. I got the six-stride, which was a little longer than I thought to the Rolex jump, and then I think I was very fast to the last. He is so careful; you can kind of leave out all the way.”

The 2015 Spruce Meadows Summer Series concludes with one more week of competition, the ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 4*, presented by Rolex, on July 9-12, 2015.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Spruce Meadows Media Services

Leslie Howard and Tic Tac Top $100,000 CSI2* Synoil Energy Services Cup

Leslie Howard guided Tic Tac to victory in the $100,000 CSI2* Synoil Energy Services Cup. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Palgrave, Ontario – U.S. Olympic gold and silver medalist Leslie Howard topped an international starting field to win the $100,000 CSI2* Synoil Energy Services Cup at the CSI2* Summer Festival held August 6 to 10 at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON.

As the site of equestrian events for the 2015 Pan American Games, the CSI2* Summer Festival acted as the official observation event and inspection in preparation for next year’s games. In appreciation and recognition of the years of hard work that have gone into rebuilding the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park, those involved were honoured during a special ceremony held before the jump-off for the $100,000 CSI2* Synoil Energy Services Cup.

1976 Canadian Olympic individual silver medalist Michel Vaillancourt, who will handle course designing duties at next year’s Pan American Games, set the tracks throughout the week. In Thursday’s $35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome, Vaillancourt’s course produced six clear rounds from the 33-horse starting field. In a thrilling jump-off, Canadian Equestrian Team veteran Hugh Graham of Schomberg, ON chased down the time of 39.66 seconds set by Leslie Howard and Tic Tac, narrowly taking the win with Julie Firestone’s Airborne in 39.63 seconds.

Hugh Graham and Airborne claimed the $35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome
Hugh Graham and Airborne claimed the $35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome

With Howard hungry for redemption, the stage was set for Saturday’s $100,000 CSI2* Synoil Energy Services Cup. This time, only four riders found their way around the clever track set by Vaillancourt. First back, Jonathon Millar had four faults in a time of 43.90 seconds riding Calvin Klein, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Millar Brooke Farm of Perth, ON.

Howard, who hails from Newtown, CT, was next up with Tic Tac, an 11-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion (Clinton x Darco) owned by Jane Clark. Not content to settle for anything less than a win this time out, Howard meant business as she worked her way around the course, stopping the timers in 39.78 seconds to put the pressure on the final two challengers.

In the end, both succumbed to the pressure with Ljubov Kochetova of Russia opting for a conservative clear round with Balou du Reventon in a time of 47.44, while Millar incurred eight faults with his second jump-off contender, Star Power. Star Power is the usual mount of Millar’s father, Ian, who had left his 2012 London Olympic mount in the care of his son while he was competing at the Dublin Horse Show in Ireland.

“I went second in the jump-off, following Jonathon with Calvin Klein. I watched and knew what I had to do to beat him,” said Howard. “I knew Star Power was still to come and could possibly catch me; he is a fast horse and I felt I did leave the door open a little. But I crossed my fingers and Jonathon had a rail and Ljubov was clear but slow, so it all worked out.

“Michel did a super job; he is so good at measuring the field and building just the right course,” continued Howard. “It was tricky enough to only get four clear, but safe enough not to put anyone on the floor. He has a wonderful feel for what to build.”

Howard has been riding Tic Tac for the past year and a half, with the CSI2* Summer Festival marking the pair’s first competition since June.

“I wasn’t able to do the last two weeks at Spruce; Tic Tac had a bad grab, and it took him out of commission for the last two weeks at Spruce,” explained Howard, who had competed during the Spruce Meadows Summer Series held in June and July in Calgary, AB. “Tic Tac was great this week, and jumped double clear both days.”

Of Tic Tac’s strengths, Howard noted, “He’s extremely careful, extremely scopey. The rideability was the issue before, but that’s ironed itself out this year. Since the World Cup Final onwards, he’s been great. He’s had a great season so far, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”

As for her decision to head north of the border to the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park, Howard said, “Frankly, our country is so lacking in CSIs that if you want to keep up in the FEI ranking list, which is important to me, you either have to go to Europe or come to Canada in the summer. Palgrave has done a fabulous job of upping its facility, and the footing is wonderful.”

As a veteran of the United States Equestrian Team, Howard, 57, also took advantage of the opportunity to compete at next year’s Pan American Games venue.

“I think the Pan Ams for me and Tic Tac would be a great experience,” said the two-time Olympian, who won team gold at the 1984 Olympic Games and team silver in Atlanta in 1996. “We don’t have a lot of Nations’ Cup experience, so that level would be a very good stepping stone towards the Olympics the following year.”

The CSI2* Summer Classic marked the fourth of five weeks of International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned competition to be held at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in 2014. The final week of FEI competition this season will be the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament from September 24-28. Produced by Equestrian Management Group (EMG) and led by Craig Collins, who also acts as Sport Organizing Chair – Equestrian for the 2015 Pan American Games, increased prize money and opportunities to earn valuable FEI World Ranking points have attracted show jumping athletes from around the globe to Palgrave, ON this season.

For more information on Equestrian Management Group-produced competitions, including full results, please visit www.equiman.com.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439

Top Finish for Leslie Howard and Tic Tac in $100,000 ESSO Challenge 1.60m CSI-W

Leslie Howard and Tic Tac. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra Win $33,000 West Canadian Cup 1.50m

Calgary, AB – June 30, 2013 – The ‘Canada One’ Tournament came to a close today with two top competitions in the Meadows on the Green at Spruce Meadows. The highlight of the week, the $100,000 ESSO Challenge 1.60m CSI-W, was an exciting finish for Leslie Howard (USA) and Tic Tac, who took the top prize. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and Zara Leandra were victorious in the $33,000 West Canadian Cup 1.50m.

The Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments continue next week with the ‘North American’ Tournament CSI 5* on July 3-7. It will feature the $140,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby and the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup.

There were 32 entries in the $100,000 ESSO Challenge 1.60m CSI-W, and they were jumping over a course designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. There were seven clears in the first round and it led to an exciting jump-off.

Conor Swail (IRL) and Martha Louise were the first to go in the competition and in the jump-off. They had eight faults in 45.44 seconds and finished in seventh place. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito had one rail down in 41.52 seconds and took sixth place.

Christine McCrea (USA) and Zerly were the first to go double clear. They stopped the timers in 40.70 seconds, which would hold up for second place.

McCrea was very pleased with how Zerly reacted to today’s competition. “She’s a little bit inexperienced at that level, so I was really happy with how she held her brain together,” she noted. “She just jumped the jumps and didn’t overreact about anything. She has a tendency to take over. She really wants to do her job and get to the next jump, so it was nice that she was so rideable.”

In a weird twist of timing, the next two riders barely made it into the jump-off. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Southwind VDL and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Powerplay went one after the other in the first round and both finished on exactly 82.00 seconds, which was the time allowed. Since the time is only recorded to the hundredth place, they both advanced.

Foster and Southwind VDL were clear as well in the jump-off, but a slower time of 45.26 seconds slotted them into fourth place. Lamaze and Powerplay were just faster in 41.19 seconds and they finished in third place.

Lamaze was very happy with how Powerplay has advanced in the three weeks of showing that they have been together. “I really feel that Spruce Meadows is a great venue to make up a horse,” he said. “A horse always leaves here a better horse. My horse did some big classes with Pius Schwizer before. This was for me to get used to the horse. I do believe that this horse has even gotten better just with competing here and jumping at this venue with these types of fences. My horse for sure has improved.”

Last year’s ESSO Challenge winners, Ashlee Bond (USA) and Cadett 7, were next in the jump-off, but it was not to be two in a row for them. They had four faults in 40.32 seconds and finished fifth.

Howard and Tic Tac, a 10-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion by Clinton x Darco owned by Jane Clark, had the prime position as last to go in the jump-off. They made a very quick turn back from fences two to three and from there, went on to stay smooth and quick. They finished clear in 39.22 seconds for the win.

Howard said this was the fastest she has ever gone with Tic Tac and that the course was nice for her. “You could keep one gallop, outside of the one turn after the in-and-out, which did get sloppy for me. But it was a nice course. There was no place where you had to really fly. Well, I sort of did to the last jump!” she laughed.

With more speed over the first three jumps on course, that’s where Howard felt she made up time. She pointed out, “I thought he was beautiful one to three. What was so nice was that he was so with me in the turn to the wall, and then over the wall, I just told him where the next jump was. He really locked into it like radar. There was never a question that he didn’t know where he was going.”

Howard and Tic Tac have not been paired together for long, and she has worked on his rideability and consistency. Agreeing with Lamaze, Howard felt that since Tic Tac has been showing at Spruce Meadows, it has “really been an upward path every day.”

She continued, “He’s scopey, careful, and getting nicer and nicer to ride all the time. He’s a great competitor. When he goes in the ring, he tries harder than he does outside the ring, which is the biggest quality of a show horse. It was just getting to know his moves and he had to know my moves. He has a little bit of a tricky mouth, and now it’s actually fine. The training was what was the little chink that was missing.”

Howard also mentioned that Tic Tac’s “biggest asset” is his soundness. She explained, “In our sport, the biggest problem we all have is that we’re asking these athletes to perform at the top of their level every time we walk in the ring and you need an incredibly strong animal, and he is that.”

With a win today, Howard gained points to qualify for the FEI World Cup Finals. “Obviously I’d love to go. I haven’t been in probably 10 years. I’m starting to pack my bags!” she said with a smile.

Barrios Takes Less Risk for the Reward

The $33,000 West Canadian Cup 1.50m had 42 entries, and 15 were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. Coming into the ring tenth in the jump-off order, Barrios knew there were no totally clear rounds. The best at that point was Jos Verlooy (BEL) on Farfelu de la Pomme, who had one time fault in 44.80 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place.

Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra
Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra

Barrios and Zara Leandra, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Metropole x Ahorn owned by ZL Group Inc., took the outside track to the final line, which had a double combination to a large oxer. They finished clear in 41.12 seconds for the win.

Barrios related, “I was pretty much at the end, so I really tried to go clean and not take too much risk to place in the top three, or for sure in the top five.”

Second place went to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Everly Chin de la Pomme, who were clear and just slower in 41.32 seconds. Paolo Amilibia (ESP) and Notre Star de la Nutria were third with a clear round in 43.21 seconds.

Barrios was very happy with Zara Leandra’s performance today since she had not felt as comfortable for the past two weeks at Spruce Meadows. He explained, “The mare is really good and she really was struggling in the last two weeks. I think I made a mistake and put her in the big grand prix the first week. She’s only nine. She’s capable to do it, but she really got impressed. She didn’t jump bad, but she started to jump a little worried on the back rails. Finally today I got some tips from friends that helped me a lot. She jumped really different today.”

Barrios has ridden Zara Leandra just over a year and they have had top wins in Wellington and Kentucky. “I love her. She’s very simple. She’s quick and is a very smart horse,” he said.

Barrios said his position in the jump-off suited his plan, as he didn’t want to go all out. “I didn’t want to take too much risk,” he acknowledged. “There was an inside turn to the double, but I didn’t see it necessary to do it, especially with no clears before me. I’m happy and I told my groom that this was one of those times when it’s your time to win. That was a slow jump-off for me and we won. Sometimes you go so fast and you place fifth.”

The Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments continue on July 3-7 with the ‘North American.’ For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations

Victory in $175,000 Nexen Cup 1.60m Derby Goes to Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis 2

Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis 2. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Eric Lamaze Notches Canadian Victory in $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup

Calgary, AB – June 9, 2013 – The final day of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament had two exciting competitions that featured speed and stamina. Leslie Howard (USA) and Lennox Lewis 2 took their second victory in the $175,000 Nexen Cup 1.60m Derby, equaling their 2011 finish. Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze went into another gear to notch the week’s first Canadian victory in the International Ring in the $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup 1.50m.

Attendance during this ‘National’ week was 86,715, with 36,000 people coming to Spruce Meadows on Sunday. It was a great testament to the fans of show jumping and Spruce Meadows in that there was a 32,000 person increase from this week in 2012.

Since the course was re-designed by Leopoldo Palacios in 2007, there have only been three clear rounds in the history of the Nexen Cup Derby. Riders tackle the same course every year. Two of the clear rounds in the history of the class were tallied by Beezie Madden and Judgement, three-time winners of the competition. Pablo Barrios and G&C Sinatra were also clear in 2010. Last year’s winners, Richard Spooner and Cristallo, had just one time fault.

With a course distance of 1,100 meters and 25 obstacles including the large derby bank, table bank, open water, and grob, the Nexen Cup Derby is a challenge for anyone entering the ring. It’s a test of scope, stamina, and heart.

This year the heights and widths of the fences were made more inviting for competitors as part of Spruce Meadows’ commitment to helping develop a new generation of derby horses. In addition, all who completed the course from fifth to 17th place received $5,000 in prize money. There were no eliminations in today’s competition, so everyone took home prize money.

Today’s competition had 17 entries. Two horse and rider combinations were able to get through the course with the least amount of faults: Beezie Madden and Wrigley were the first to accumulate just four faults, which came at fence 3a of the table bank. Seven horses later, it was 2011 Nexen Cup Derby winners Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis 2 who had one rail at fence 11, the dry ditch oxer.

The two riders could have jumped off for the winner’s share of prize money; however, it was announced that Wrigley could not come back for a jump-off. Howard and Lennox Lewis 2 returned and completed the jump-off with four faults in 54.27 seconds for the win.

When asked why she completed the entire jump-off, Howard replied, “Spruce Meadows does so much for us, and I know it was important for them to have somebody come back for the jump-off. It’s the least we can do to give back to Spruce.”

Madden said it was an easy decision not to return for the jump-off since Wrigley was “quite sore.” Madden explained, “She’ll be okay; her back foot stepped on her front foot. She had a pretty big gash and she was bleeding. At the end when I pulled up, I could tell it was bothering her, but I didn’t notice it during the course. It’s disappointing I didn’t get the chance to win, but I’m ecstatic about how she went. Second is still a good prize in the derby.”

The course stays the same every year, and that’s something that Howard says helps if you have a veteran horse like Lennox Lewis 2. “It gets easier if you’re riding a horse that you’ve ridden over that course before. I used to get sick to my stomach when I did the derbies,” she revealed. “When I walked the derby, I’d literally get ill. Now with ‘Lennie,’ you wake up on Sunday morning and go, ‘It’s Derby Day!’ If you have a horse that you don’t know, you wake up and go, ‘Oh dear, it’s Derby Day.’ It really depends on the horse you’re on. It’s a blast because I know he’s going to go through grob, he’s going to do the liverpools, I know he’s not going to do anything stupid. The worst that’s going to happen is we’re going to have some rails.”

Howard described Lennox Lewis as the quintessential derby horse. “He’s been in the top of the derbies every year since I’ve been doing them, probably four or five years,” she said. “He’s just a great derby horse. He’s easy to ride, he’s very brave. He’s not hard on himself. He never jumps too exuberantly; he doesn’t get too excited about anything. He’s just very steady Eddie. That’s a great attribute in a derby horse.”

Although Madden had never ridden Wrigley in the derby before, Wrigley’s former rider, Callie Schott, had, so Madden knew the grey mare could do it. “It’s like Leslie said – it’s nice to be out there with a horse you have confidence in and you know is going to go from start to finish without any big catastrophes. It gives you more confidence. It enables you to ride the course so that the horse can jump clean too, because otherwise you’re overriding everywhere,” she said. “She has good blood and stamina, for sure. That’s part of what makes her a good derby horse.”

Ashlee Bond had a solid day with her two horses in the competitions. She and Wistful had two rails at fences 19a and the final jump, 19, for eight faults in 155.05 seconds for third place. On Cadett 7, she had 12 faults in 148.23 seconds for fourth place.

This was Wistful’s first derby, and their finish today helped Bond win the CN Spruce Meadows Canadian Championship. “I’m so proud of her,” Bond said. “This whole week she has just risen to the occasion. Everything I’ve ever asked of her, she’s never questioned.”

The CN Spruce Meadows Canadian Championship was decided today after points were accumulated in four competitions: the Friends of the Meadows 1.60m, Spectra Energy Cup, CN Reliability Grand Prix, and Nexen Cup. For her top placings all week, Bond received $15,000 in bonus prize money, a championship cooler, and medal. Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star won the Silver Medal and $7,500 in prize money. The bronze medal and $2,500 went to Katie Prudent and V.

Bond expressed, “I’m very honored. It was a nice surprise. Before I did Cadett, I knew I had won that. It’s a really great accomplishment. To be able to do it twice now is great. Every time I come here, I’m really excited because I know the competition is going to be great and there’s a lot of prize money to be had. You’ve got to come with the right horses. Wistful decided to grow up a little bit this week. It worked out to be a consistent week. I’m savoring it for right now and on Tuesday it’s a clean slate all over again.”

Lamaze Victorious in Speed

The $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup 1.50m featured 21 entries going for speed over a faults converted format course. Going second to last, it was Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S who would be able to take the lead with a time of 84.74 seconds. Three horses earlier, it was Reed Kessler (USA) and Ligist who set a time of 85.33 seconds, which would eventually finish second. Cameron Hanley (IRL) and Newton du Haut Bois were third with a time of 85.58 seconds.

Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S
Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S

Lamaze made the decision to watch most of the competition to see how he could be faster. Lamaze explained, “In these classes, it’s so important to watch more than warm-up. In the class there are so many fences to jump, so I only jump six fences (in the warm-up). The best are at the end, so I glued myself to the TV for as long as I could to watch, watch, watch. I had my strategy. I knew I could do nine (strides) to the double vertical with him. He’s very clever with that stuff.”

Wang Chung, a 10-year-old KWPN stallion by Royal Bravour x Ahorn owned by Morningside Stud & Torrey Pines Stable, is now Lamaze’s most experienced horse. As “a great 1.45m, 1.50m horse,” Lamaze noted that competitions of this type are exactly in his comfort zone.

“He’s really a competitive horse,” he noted. “When I had the other horses, that’s what he did for me, that I used in all those (speed) classes. It’s great to go in a competition like that, feeling maybe not that you’re the favorite, but I feel like I can play to win. It’s nice to have one during the week that you can really go on.”

While Wang Chung is a “very little horse,” Lamaze said his big stride is what helps him, along with the fact that “you can run him and he never gets flat or strong.” Lamaze added, “What makes him a great speed horse is that he’s very cold. He never gets hot, he never gets quick. You can always push him. He doesn’t go by himself, that’s why he’s able to do so many speed classes.”

Since revamping his string of horses, Wang Chung has had to step up in certain events, like Florida’s Nations Cup event. But Lamaze is excited to have two new nine-year-old horses that will move up to the big grand prix events in the coming weeks at Spruce Meadows.

Since stepping off the plane last week from Belgium, both Powerplay and Quelmec du Gery had a trial by fire in the International Ring. “If you’ve never competed on a horse here, even if you know it well, it’s always difficult,” Lamaze conceded. “So on horses that have never been here and you don’t know, it’s a difficult task, but they went extremely well. The most logical thing was to do 1.30m or 1.35m with them, but I was so excited to be in this ring that I was like, ‘Eh, I’ll try it!’ It’s really exciting for me. This season is going to be about learning everything about them and them learning about me.”

Additional Honors and Awards

PD Stables won the “Jump To It” contest and took home the prize of a full set of jumps for their farm.

Dr. John and Chris Wood “Pegasus” Memorial Award is given to a volunteer that has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and this year’s winner is Renee Richardson.

The RSA Scholarships were awarded today as well, with Maeve Scarborough on Oscar and Shelby Edwards on Renaissance taking home the honors.

The ‘National’ Tournament concluded with today’s competition. The Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments continue next week on June 13-16 with the ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO-W 5*. For more information on Spruce Meadows and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations