Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lamaze Starts Strong in Lyon, Student Wins in Syracuse

Lyon, France – Olympic Show Jumping Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, is off to a strong start at CSI5*-W Lyon, France.

On Friday, October 30, Lamaze won the first class offered in the international division. Riding Coriana van Klapscheut, Lamaze beat out 35 entries to win the competition for Seven-Year-Old horses. His clear round in 55.83 seconds gave him the victory over France’s own Simon Delestre who stopped the clock in 56.07 riding Oslo du Chalet.

“This is the first time the mare and I have competed together in an indoor competition,” said Lamaze, who began riding the chestnut Belgian Warmblood mare earlier this year for owner Artisan Farms. “She is a true winner, and I think she will perform very well in the future.”

With his day off to a winning start, Lamaze continued to find success in the next two competitions. In the €20,000 Prix Region Rhone-Alpes, Lamaze was one of 13 riders to advance to the jump-off from the 48-horse starting field. There, he again posted a clear round riding Artisan Farms’ Take Off in a time of 29.19 seconds that would leave him fourth. The competition was won by Ireland’s Cian O’Connor who had the winning time of 26.65 seconds with Complete.

Lamaze brought out his Olympic Gold Medal partner, the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Hickstead, for the day’s final competition, the €50,000 Prix FFE Generali. As usual, Lamaze used the class as a warm-up for the weekend’s events which include Saturday’s Equita Masters by GPA and Sunday’s Rolex World Cup Grand Prix, both of which Hickstead will contest. Lamaze and Hickstead delivered a characteristic clear round in a time of 58.85 to place ninth amongst the 50-horse starting field. The winner, with a time of 55.32 seconds, was Patrice Delaveau riding Katchina Mail.

While Lamaze was excelling in France, his student, 14-year-old Caitlin Ziegler, was also making a trip to the winner’s circle on the other side of the Atlantic. Having won the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter championship title, Ziegler and Safari’s results also earned them the prestigious Grand Junior Hunter Championship at the 126th National Horse Show, held in Syracuse, NY.

While Cookie Beck trains Ziegler in the hunter divisions, Lamaze and Tiffany Foster, a trainer at Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable in Schomberg, ON, have been coaching Ziegler in the jumper divisions for the past two years. On Thursday, Ziegler, who is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, won the Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper competition riding Mayhem.

“It is very exciting, Caitlin is a very talented young rider,” said Foster, who is coaching Ziegler in Syracuse. “She won a lot already this year at big venues like Spruce Meadows, and we are looking forward to having her continue to do great things. In addition to being really sweet, she is a hard-working young girl, and that will take her far in this sport.”

Ziegler’s two winning mounts, Safari and Mayhem, are owned by her family’s Artisan Farms, as are Lamaze’s two mounts, Coriana van Klapscheut and Take Off, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare.

“It is a very unusual occurrence to have both of us winning on the same day, on opposite sides of the world,” laughed Lamaze. “She is having a great show over there, and I am having a great show here!”

Following CSI5*-W Lyon, Lamaze, currently ranked number two in the world, will compete at CSI5*-W Verona, ITA, from November 5-8 followed by the Global Champions Tour Final in Doha, Qatar, from November 11-14 where more than €1.4 million in prize money will be on the line.

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