Friday, September 25, 2009

SHOW JUMPING - Local Riders Heat Up Canadian Show Jumping Tournament

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Competition is underway at the inaugural Canadian Show Jumping Tournament running September 23-27 at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON, and local competitors are making their mark among the best in the country.

Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, has already won twice in the grand prix arena. On Wednesday, Candele, 38, emerged victorious over 63 other horses in the 1.35m Jumper competition riding Carolla Z for owner Liz Currie of Claremont, ON. On Thursday, Candele returned to the grand prix ring to take top spot with Azzaro in the 1.40m Jumper Stake. Azzaro is owned by Susan Grange and Lothlorien Farm of Cheltenham, ON.

“It is amazing to be able to compete in a world-class venue by day and sleep in my own bed at night,” said Candele who operates his training business, Normandy Hills, in Cheltenham. “We are very lucky to have a top-class equestrian facility right in our own backyard.”

Another local rider taking multiple victories home to nearby Hillsburgh, ON, is Erynn Ballard who has been dominating the hunter competition. The 29-year-old claimed the Baby Green Hunter Championship on Wednesday riding Hannah for owner Braeburn Farms and also took the Reserve Championship title with her own Johnny Dollar.

On Thursday, she again took the Championship title, this time in the Six and Seven-Year-Old Ultimate Hunter Challenge, riding Otherwise for owner Rosalind Laperriere, and was Reserve Champion with Windhaven’s Arctic. Ballard operates Looking Back Stables in Hockley Valley with her parents, David and Sandi.

“It’s nice to have such a high profile show in our area,” noted Ballard, who has ridden on victorious Nations’ Cup teams for Canada. “It’s a great facility mostly because it’s made for horse shows and it is not a temporary facility for one event. There are always enough practice rings, the stabling is good, the food is great, and the show ring is excellent. I’m looking forward to having a good week.”

Heather MacInnis of Milton, ON, won Wednesday’s 1.40m Jumper class with Shine of Light. Another rider from Milton, two-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ainsley Vince, won the Pre-Green Hunter Low Over Fences class with Venti as well as the Baby Green Hunter Over Fences with Zara.

Schomberg’s Jeff Rundle has also claimed several wins including the Combined Working Hunter Over Fences riding Casino and the Baby Green Over Fences and Under Saddle competitions with Orion K.

Competition heats up at the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament on Friday, September 25, with the $32,000 Caledon Cup Open Welcome at 3 p.m. Saturday’s featured event is the $10,000 Omnivex Modified Grand Prix while Sunday brings the grand finale, the $100,000 Caledon Cup Final, at 2 p.m. Featuring the best of the best, Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, will be looking for victory, but will face stiff competition from his 2008 Olympic Silver Medal teammates, Ian Millar and King City’s Mac Cone, among others. In addition to offering $30,000 in prize money to the winner, the $100,000 Caledon Cup Final also acts a World Cup Qualifier for the 2010 World Cup Final to be held in April in Geneva, Switzerland.

Alongside world-class show jumping competition, the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament will feature family entertainment such as the Horse Sport Performing Dogs, the Birds of Prey exhibition, and the Foxbury Farm Horseless Horse Show judged by Connor Jessup, star of TVO’s popular ‘The Saddle Club’ television show. Families can also enjoy the Home Depot Kids Workshop where children can build their own toolboxes, a jumping castle, and face painting.

For more information on the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, please visit www.equiman.com. Follow the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CdnSJT.