Tag Archives: Nicole Walker

Nicole Walker Claims Canadian Show Jumping Championship Title

Nicole Walker riding Falco van Spieveld. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON claimed the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship title on Saturday night, November 3, at the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

“I will never forget this! It feels amazing. I’m very excited for my whole team, and I think the horse deserves a title like this because he’s such a special boy. I’m glad he could have a title to his name.” ~ Nicole Walker, who will celebrate her 25th birthday on Sunday, November 4

Having claimed victory in Friday’s $25,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Round One, presented by Lothlorien, Walker held the lead coming into Saturday night’s two-round competition. The defending Canadian Champions, Amy Millar, 41, of Perth, ON and Heros piled on the pressure by opening Saturday night’s competition with a clear round while Walker incurred four faults.

When the top six in the standings went through to the all-deciding final, Walker kept her cool to deliver another clear jumping round, picking up one time fault over the course set by Ireland’s Alan Wade to bring her total score to five faults. When Millar and Heros faulted the second time out, their final score of 7.13 penalty points left them in second place, handing Walker her first Canadian Show Jumping Championship title riding Falco van Spieveld, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON delivered a clear round riding Count Me In to finish in third position, while 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 71, of Perth, ON took fourth place riding Calvin Klein for Brookstreet Stables. Olympic team silver medalist Mac Cone of King City, ON guided Zaia di san Giovanni to fifth for owner Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings Inc., while Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON also made the cut for the top six riding Granturo.

As the defending Under 25 National Champion at the Royal Horse Show, Walker has grown up competing at the annual Royal Horse Show.

“I had a lot of friends and family here tonight as it’s very close to home,” said Walker, who trains with 2012 Irish Olympic individual medalist Cian O’Connor and his assistant trainer, Mark Kinsella. “But beyond everything, the atmosphere is incredible here. It has so much tradition. I would recommend every rider to come visit it at some point, even if they’re not riding. It’s just such a cool experience.”

With their top finishes on Saturday night, Walker and Amy Millar earned their tickets into the international division as the two highest placed finishers in the Canadian Show Jumping Championships not already qualified. Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, both of Perth, ON, qualified based on their standings in the Longines World Rankings while Jump Canada’s high performance committee named Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC and Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON as its two picks for the international division. The international division opens on Wednesday, November 7, featuring the $36,000 Jolera International Welcome in the evening session.

Lauren Kieffer Rocks $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge

The popular $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge rocked the house on Saturday night as competitors tackled a mix of delicate show jumping fences and challenging cross-country obstacles set by course designer Mark Phillips. Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA made her Royal Horse Show a winning one, riding Glendening Avis, a 13-year-old buckskin Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Callie Evans, to victory.

“I’m thrilled.  The mare is just incredible; she tries her guts out,” said Kieffer, who was riding a borrowed mount that she rode for the first time on Friday.  “It’s very rare that you hop on something and sync together so quickly.  It was so much fun to do this on her, and I felt so in sync with her.

“Brandon and Kendal certainly put the pressure on; I was hoping for a little bit more breathing room!” joked Kieffer following her indoor eventing debut.  “The format is fun; it’s energetic.  If it gets one person to leave here and go Google ‘eventing’ and get into it, then it did its purpose.”

Finishing second was Toronto’s own Brandon McMechan riding Oscar’s Wild to a clear round in a time of 92.78 seconds to hold off third-placed Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, who was also clear riding Totally Frank in a time of 94.30 seconds.

At the conclusion of the Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge, World Championship and Pan American Games medalist Selena O’Hanlon of Kingston, ON was presented with the Michael Gutowski Award, donated by Mr. Iain Gilmour, as the highest-ranked Canadian athlete on the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Eventing World Athlete Rankings.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Nicole Walker Opens Royal Horse Show with a Win

Nicole Walker riding Falco van Spieveld. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON opened the Royal Horse Show with a win in the first phase of the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship held Friday, November 2, as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Speed was the name of the game in Friday night’s $25,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Round 1, presented by Lothlorien. As the final competitor to tackle Irish course designer Alan Wade’s speed track, Walker laid down the winning round, jumping clear in a time of 64.37 seconds with her partner of three years, Falco van Spieveld, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

“It was nice to be able to watch a couple go since I went last,” said Walker, 24, of being the final competitor on course. “I knew just how fast I needed to go without risking too much. Hopefully we will have the same luck tomorrow.”

As the defending Under 25 National Champion at the Royal Horse Show, Walker spoke to her progression from winning in the Under 25 division to winning the opening phase of the Canadian Championships.

“The Under 25 program is a great stepping stone,” said Walker. “You get to be in [the Coca Cola Coliseum] and be in that kind of pressure situation. Being indoors is a bit of a different vibe than outdoors. You really need to be on it. Just having that experience helped to get to the next level.”

In a sport where men and women compete as equals, it was another young female athlete, Ali Ramsay, 26, who finished runner-up. Riding Casino, a 10-year-old Oldenburg owned by Ramsay and Angelstone Farms, the Victoria, BC native also left all the rails in place and crossed the timers in 66.47 seconds. Keean White, 35, of Rockwood, ON and Leilani left two poles on the ground, but their incredibly fast time of 59.04 seconds held up for third place despite having an eight-second time penalty added for an adjusted total of 67.04 seconds.

It was a family affair as 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 71, of Perth, ON took fourth place with a time of 70.23 seconds riding Calvin Klein for Brookstreet Stables while the reigning Canadian Champion, Amy Millar, 41, also of Perth, placed fifth with a time of 70.63 seconds riding her 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Heros.

Lauren Kieffer Makes Royal Horse Show Debut

Opening night of the Royal Horse Show also featured the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge. Making her Royal Horse Show debut, Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA rode Glendening Avis, a 13-year-old buckskin Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Callie Evans, to victory in the opening phase of competition. With a clear round in a time of 90.03 seconds over the course designed by Mark Phillips, the Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games veteran now holds the lead heading into the second and final round of competition on November 3. Finishing second was Toronto’s own Brandon McMechan riding Oscar’s Wild to a clear round in a time of 92.78 seconds to hold off third-placed Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, who was also clear riding Totally Frank in a time of 94.30 seconds.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Nicole Walker Wins $86,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup

Nicole Walker riding Deko de Landetta Z. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Caledon, Ontario — Nicole Walker, 22, of Aurora, ON, topped a nine-horse jump-off to win the $86,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup – Phase Three, presented by HEP, Aviva Insurance, and Edge Mutual Insurance on Sunday, September 25, at the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament in Caledon, ON.

In addition to winning Sunday’s grand finale, Walker also claimed her first Caledon Cup, presented by RAM Equestrian.  Held over three phases of competition on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, the Caledon Cup is presented to the rider who gains the most points in all three phases.  With a third place finish in Thursday’s $10,000 Caledon Cup – Phase One as well as fourth in Friday evening’s $36,000 Caledon Cup – Phase Two, Walker was the clear winner of the 2016 Caledon Cup riding Deko de Landetta Z, her 12-year-old Westphalian stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Caletto I).

A total of 33 riders attempted the track set for Sunday’s $86,000 Caledon Cup – Phase Three.  Walker had the enviable position of being last to go, turning in the ninth clear round over the track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela and setting the stage for a thrilling jump-off.  In an unusual twist, the lead was jointly held by Keean White of Rockwood, ON riding Corette and Friday night’s winner, Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC with Hermelien vd Hooghoeve, who had both crossed the finish line in the exact same time of 42.36 seconds when Walker entered the ring as the final jump-off challenger.

Walker ensured that there would not be a tie for the win, leaving all the rails in place and galloping Deko de Landetta Z through the timers in 41.91 seconds to claim victory.  In addition to her share of the prize money, Walker also received a $1,000 bonus from class sponsor HEP for wearing its branded saddle pad in all three phases of competition.

“I knew what I had to do!” said Walker of being the final jump-off challenger.  “I think the jump-off suited my horse really well.  He’s fast in the turns and he’s fast on the straightaways, so it was a good jump-off course for him.  I didn’t want to give a pull on the reins; I know he is fast, I knew I could trust him, and he was super for me.”

The win marked Walker’s second career victory in International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned competition, with the other victory coming earlier this summer in the €25,000 CSI2* Prix Hotel Byblos in St. Tropez, FRA.  Her partner for that win was also Deko de Landetta Z, her partner for the past four years.

“A win on home soil is always very special,” said Walker, who lives 45 minutes away from the Caledon Equestrian Park, host of equestrian events for the 2015 Pan American Games.  “It’s very special to compete at this venue because it has the prestige of the Pan American Games.  We can compete at it all summer long with great footing and great jumps.  We are very lucky to have this venue so close to home.”

Walker’s consistency throughout the week allowed her to claim the Caledon Cup, presented by RAM Equestrian.  At 22, she is by far the youngest athlete to ever hoist the trophy.

“It feels pretty good to win the Caledon Cup, and shows that my horse was feeling good all week,” said Walker of her last outdoor competition of the season.  “The time allowed in the classes all week was quite tight with Leopoldo designing, but my horse is naturally very fast.  On his day off on Saturday, we went for a hack and kept him happy.  It’s nice when you have a plan and you stick to it.

“Thank you to the sponsors,” continued Walker, who trains with Irish Olympic medalist Cian O’Connor.  “Without them, these classes wouldn’t exist.  Luckily, I had the HEP saddle pad on all week long and got the extra $1,000 there as well!”

Walker’s horses will now enjoy a break from competition while she begins her career in the family business at Stronach Group.  She then plans to compete in the Under 25 divisions at both the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY and the iconic Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON in November.

On Saturday evening, hunter competition took center stage with the $3,000 Canadian Hunter Derby.  Carly Campbell-Cooper of Waterloo, ON topped a 16-horse starting field riding California for owner Meghan McDonald.  Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON placed second riding Hide Away, while Toronto’s Cawthra Burns took third with Crush.

Pan Am Challenge classes for junior and amateur show jumping athletes rounded out the competition at the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament.  Fifteen-year-old Delany Owens of Burlington, ON riding Darrington beat out Mackenzie Munro of Toronto, ON aboard Fidelio 279 to win the $10,000 Low Pan Am Challenge, presented by Horseware Ireland.  Riders qualified for the Low Pan Am Challenge based on points earned throughout the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park show season in the .9m, 1m and 1.10m divisions.

Meanwhile, riders qualified for the $20,000 High Pan Am Challenge, presented by MVS Solutions, based on money won in the 1.20m, 1.30m and 1.40m divisions.  Julia Prather, 17, of Calgary, AB, topped the class riding Winny Boy for owner Bradon Equestrian Ltd. while Lindsay Farrow of Fenwick, ON was the runner-up riding Carbon Copy.

For more information on the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, including full results, please visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com.

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