Monday, June 25, 2012

Eric Lamaze and Tiffany Foster Nominated to Canadian Olympic Committee

Eric Lamaze monte Verdi - Photo Parker/Russell 

Canadian Olympic Show Jumping Champion Eric Lamaze and his student, Tiffany Foster, both of Schomberg, ON, have been nominated to the Canadian Olympic Committee for review and naming to the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team for show jumping.

Lamaze, 44, made his Olympic debut in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, becoming the first Canadian equestrian athlete to win an individual gold medal, while Foster, 28, has never before represented Canada in Olympic competition. Other athletes nominated to the Canadian Olympic Committee for show jumping are Yann Candele, Jill Henselwood, and Ian Millar.

Lamaze is in the unique position of being nominated with two horses, Derly Chin de Muze and Verdi. Both horses are new to Lamaze, having been acquired in December of 2011 following the tragic death of his Olympic championship partner, Hickstead, on November 6.

Derly Chin de Muze is now under the ownership of Ashland Stables and Torrey Pines Stable, the same owners as Hickstead. Formerly ridden by Ashley Fleischhacker, the Fleischhacker family generously passed the reins to Lamaze in support of his Olympic quest. Lamaze and the nine-year-old chestnut Belgian Warmblood mare (For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve) were members of the Canadian Team for the Nations’ Cup held March 2 in Wellington, FL, turning in two faultless efforts.

Verdi is owned by Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable. A 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood gelding (Heartbreaker x Mr. Blue), Verdi formerly competed under the saddle of Stephanie van den Brink of The Netherlands. Lamaze began competing with Verdi in international competition in May, placing third in the €150,000 Volvo Grand Prix held at CSI5* Madrid, Spain, on May 20.

“It is incredible to think that in such a short period of time, I am now in the position of having two horses to choose from,” said Lamaze, who suffered a devastating loss when Hickstead collapsed and died of a heart attack after completing the first round of world cup qualifying competition in Verona, Italy. “We thought Hickstead would be going to London to defend the title, so we didn’t really have a back-up in mind. With the help of my owners, we have done what I wasn’t sure was even possible with one horse, let alone two. Thanks to their incredible support and generosity, I am in the position of having two horses selected for this summer’s Olympic Games.”

The final decision on which horse Lamaze will ride will be made by July 4, the deadline for definite entries to the Canadian Olympic Committee.

“Both horses are young, but I really like them both,” said Lamaze. “I think I can definitely help the Canadian team be in contention and hopefully win a medal. Individually, I am dealing with younger horses and anything can happen. I do feel like I could have successfully defended the gold medal with Hickstead, but these are both great horses and anything is possible. For sure this year is important with the Olympics, but the most important thing is that both of these horses have big futures in front of them and are going to go on to have incredible careers.”

In 2008, Lamaze helped Canada claim the team silver medal, only the second Olympic team medal in its history, before going on to claim the individual gold.

Tiffany Foster et sa monture Victor
Photo by Parker/Russell
Foster was in attendance at those 2008 Olympic Games, cheering on the Canadian team as well as Lamaze, her coach and mentor. Having broken her back in a riding accident that kept her out of the saddle for six months, Foster had only just started walking again when she attended her first Olympic Games. Now, four years later, she finds herself on the road to London riding alongside Lamaze.

“I am so excited!” said Foster enthusiastically. “I don’t even know where to start!”

Foster has been nominated with Victor, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.

“Victor really pulled through for me,” said Foster, who is originally from Vancouver, BC. “I really wanted him to be good, and he showed just how good he was! I am really happy with him.”

Foster continued, recognizing the owners of her Olympic nominated mount by saying, “I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for Andy and Carlene Ziegler as well as Eric; he is also a part-owner. They could have sold Victor; I know they have had a lot of offers. I am going to give my best and make them happy that they didn’t sell him!”

Foster made her Canadian Show Jumping Team debut in the $350,000 BMO Nations’ Cup held at the 2011 Spruce Meadows “Masters” tournament riding Southwind VDL, and has subsequently represented Canada riding Victor in Nations’ Cup competitions in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Wellington, Florida; Lummen, Belgium; and Linz, Austria.

“I couldn’t imagine anything better than being on an Olympic team with Eric,” said Foster, who began training with Lamaze in 2006, having previously enjoyed great success under the tutelage of Brent and Laura Balisky. “He is not only my coach; he is one of my best friends. I made my Nations’ Cup debut with him, and now I get to make my Olympic debut with him. It is going to be a great experience!”

Lamaze is also looking forward to riding alongside Foster, who he has trained for the past six years, as well as Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, who trained with Lamaze for over 10 years.

Candele, who has represented his native France in Nations’ Cup competition as well as at the 2004 World Cup Final, came to Canada in 1999 to further his career by working and training alongside Lamaze. Having gained his Canadian citizenship in 2008, Candele is nominated to his first Olympic team riding Carlotta Singular La Magnifica.

“It is so nice to have two people that have been so closely associated with me named to the same Olympic team,” said Lamaze. “Yann came to me many years ago with great ambitions and hoping to further his career while Tiffany came to me as a working student with a good, solid background. Both have worked very hard to get to where they are today, and I am very proud of what they have achieved.”

Lamaze and Foster are currently competing in the summer tournaments held at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB. Following the close of competition on July 8, they will return to their European base, Artisan Farms in Vrasene, Belgium.

For more information, please visit

SOURCE: Jennifer Ward

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dressage@Blainville: Jacqueline Brooks qualifies for the Olympics

Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro in Grand Prix Special. Credit: Cealy Tetley.

Blainville, June 15, 2012 – Dressage@Blainville presented today the last event held on Canadian soil for the Olympic team selection. Rider Jacqueline Brooks stays in first place, closely followed by rider Diane Creech.

"D Niro has improved a lot since the last few months", indicated FEI judge Peter Holler (Germany), “It is a talented horse. He has a very classical piaffe and is really strong in both extended trot and passage”. The heat of the last two days was tough on the horses, according to judge Holler who added, "That is where you see that Jacqueline is a very experienced rider, even with few little mistakes, she won the class”. Peter Holler, who chairs the CDI3* Dressage@Blainville, has really appreciated the participating riders’ performances: “There were, in the Grand Prix, 3 or 4 horses of very high level. It’s not so many, but the level of the exhibitor’s was really good.”

Brooks leads the CDI3* division
Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro, who are leading with an average score 68,356% for the Grand Prix Special, are ahead of their closest rivals,  Diane Creech and Devon L, only by 0,867%. Her victories yesterday in the Grand Prix (69,064%), and today in the Grand Prix Special 68,356%) leave her on top of the leaderboard in the event’s CDI 3* division, as well as assuring her a spot for London.

Jacqueline Brooks, proud of D Niro’s performances
"My goal for Dressage@Blainville was to secure my spot on the Olympic team, so I trained a lot for the Grand Prix. All the things I wanted to improve with D Niro were clean in the ring", declared Jacqueline Brooks. “For the Grand Prix Special (today), D Niro was more tired and we haven’t trained as hard as the Grand Prix, but he still had a great energy and we won, so I was very proud of him”. D Niro, which Jacqueline Brooks acquired just last February, was originally at the Prix St-George level, one level below the Grand Prix. "This year for D Niro is the very first year of competition at Grand Prix level. He learned on the job, with his participation on the competition circuit. He had to get used to me, used to the movements; and now, we are qualified for the Olympics. He is incredible”.

Let the music play
Dressage@Blainville will end tomorrow, Saturday June 16, with the Simons Freestyle Gala, presented at the Blainville equestrian park starting at 6 p.m. The Simons Freestyle Gala, comprising riders from Grand Prix, Inter 1, Young riders and Junior divisions, all FEI levels, promises to be an unforgettable evening for spectators. 

Founded by Linda Pepin in 2010, Dressage International is a non-profit organization, unique to Quebec. With its mission of developing excellence in dressage, both in Quebec and in Canada, Dressage International makes it a point to offer large-scale events that provide athletes, sport enthusiasts and the public at large with an exceptional and memorable experience.

Source: Alexandra Hill, communication, Dressage International.

Dressage@Blainville: Jacqueline Brooks takes the lead of the CDI3*

Blainville, June 15, 2012 – The CDI3* Grand Prix of Dressage@Blainville generated a lot of enthusiasm today when three riders vying for a spot on the Olympic team competed in the Adequan i.m. ring.

The first three riders in the ring, David Marcus, Jacqueline Brooks and Diane Creech, are among Equine Canada top 5 for the Olympic selection. "Equine Canada will only choose four riders plus an alternate for the London Games. Those four riders will then have to measure up to the international elite. More than ever, we expect the rider/horse duos to deliver a flawless performance", explains Linda Pepin, the event organizer. 

A dazzling performance
Ontario rider Jacqueline Brooks and her mount D Niro executed a perfect ride earning a final score of 69,064%, thus getting ahead of their opponents, the duos of Diane Creech – Devon L and David Marcus – Chrevi’s Capitol by 1,468 % and  3,149% respectively.

"Jacqueline and D Niro have presented the only totally clean test in Grand Prix today (June 14th). With the Olympic selection; that can make a difference", indicated FEI judge Lorraine Stubbs. Judge Brenda Minor added, “It was difficult to determine who would be the winner at the outset and it was very exciting to judge.” Both judges agree: one of the best moments of Jacqueline Brooks’ performance was without a doubt her piaffe. "The piaffe was regular and expressive, and reliable too. It was one of the best movements of D Niro" indicated both officials.

Today’s event, the Special Grand Prix, will be the last event towards the Olympic team selection. It will be the riders’ ultimate chance to impress the panel of international judges assembled at the Blainville equestrian park.  The test will start at noon in the Adequan i.m. ring.

The Simons Freestyle Gala: a stylish event
Spectators are invited to a magical experience Saturday night in Blainville where the rider/horse duos of international level will take over the Simons ring to reveal their dancing talents. The freestyle is one of the highlight of the dressage event presently held in Blainville. Visitors can purchase tickets at a cost of $25 at 450-434-5261 or at 450-510-0600.

Founded by Linda Pepin in 2010, Dressage International is a non-profit organization, unique to Quebec. With its mission of developing excellence in dressage, both in Quebec and in Canada, Dressage International makes it a point to offer large-scale events that provide athletes, sport enthusiasts and the public at large with an exceptional and memorable experience.

Source: Alexandra Hill, communication, Dressage International.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Canada's Bid to Host the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ One Step Closer

Ottawa June 13, 2012 - Equine Canada, together with the Bromont Bid Committee for the 2018 FE,I World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) has received word that Canada is one step closer to hosting this prestigious international equestrian event. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) reports that five countries have been confirmed as bidders and move to Official Candidate status: Rabat (MAR); Bromont (CAN); Budapest (HUN); Vienna (AUT) and Wellington (USA).

"This is great news for Canada and the entire equestrian community," stated Paul Côté, chair of the Bromont Bid Committee. Mike Gallagher, president of Equine Canada, and a member of the committee added, "If successful, this event will create a lasting legacy for our equestrian nation, not to mention world-class facilities for our athletes to train and compete."

The Bromont Equestrian Park, located in south-east of Montreal in the eastern townships, together with the City of Montreal were host to the 1976 summer games. Bromont regularly welcomes prestigious competitions including the FEI International Bromont in Jumping and the VOLVO CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event held this past weekend, the last North American qualifying competition leading up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years, in the middle of the Olympic cycle. The eight FEI disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining - are all included on the competition schedule.

"We now enter the second phase of the bid process," advises Mr. Gallagher, "and will be reaching out across the country for input from all of our disciplines, potential partners, organizers and stakeholders as we move forward together as Canadians to bring the World Equestrian Games to our country."

"As a result of hosting this event, we stand to generate millions of dollars in economic spin-offs, not to mention the creation of a world class equestrian centre capable of year-round training and competitions for decades to come."

The Bromont Bid Committee will travel to FEI Headquarters in Lausanne for a special briefing on July 11, along with the four other bidders. The Committee has until December 15, 2012 to submit its official host bid package and will receive a delegation from the FEI for a site inspection between July and then. A decision will be announced in the spring of 2013.

"We must acknowledge and thank the many supporters who have been assisting our committee in this dream," states Mr. Côté. "We could not have made it this far without their help - but going forward, we will be calling upon more government, business and equestrian partners and sponsors to get behind this major event for Canada."

"It's time to give equestrian sports, including all the riders, horses, coaches, owners and supporters, a home-town world class venue and such prestigious event in which participants will shine internationally," enthuses Mr. Côté. "It's time our nation's athletes and horses were welcomed home to the World Equestrian Games."

The following expressions of support have already come forward for the 2018 Bromont Bid from:
City of Bromont
Cirque du Soleil
Rio Tanto Alcan
Canadian Olympic Committee
Canadian Paralympic Committee
Government of Quebec
City and Tourism Montreal
City of Sherbrooke
Fédération équestre du Québec
Tourism Eastern Townships
University of Montreal
Eric Lamaze, elite athlete
Mario Deslauriers, elite athlete
Chester Webber, elite athlete
Montreal Hunt Club
John Maddem
Leopoldo Palacios, FEI course designer

The Bromont Bid Committee for the 2018 WEG will be establishing a web site in order to further communicate with the public as the bid process moves forward. Interested individuals are encouraged to stay-tuned for more information coming on line.

SOURCE: News Release Equine Canada

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The FEI is delighted to announce that five countries are confirmed as bidders to stage the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018. The five bid cities that have now taken on Official Candidate status are Rabat (MAR); Bromont (CAN); Budapest (HUN); Vienna (AUT) and Wellington (USA).

Under the new bidding process put in place last year by the FEI for the FEI World Equestrian Games™, eight signed Expression of Interest documents were received from the National Federations of Australia, Austria, Canada, Hungary, Morocco, Sweden, Russia and the USA in November 2011.

The Australian, Russian and Swedish applications were withdrawn prior to the start of the official Candidate Phase earlier this year, but the five remaining applicants have moved ahead with their bids.

The five Candidate cities all met the 30 April deadline for receipt of the official Applicant Questionnaire. The five Bid Applications and Questionnaires have now been validated by FEI Headquarters. Details of the five bid cities were formally presented to the FEI Bureau at its meeting in Lausanne (SUI) last week.

An FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 presentation will be made to the five Candidates at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne on 11 July to explain the FEI’s expectations and procedures concerning the Games. Legal Documentation will also be given to Candidates during that meeting. Completed Legal Documentation, including a signed Host Agreement, must be submitted to the FEI by 15 December 2012.

 “It is fantastic to have five really strong bids for hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018 and there could be no better endorsement of the FEI’s flagship event”, FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos said. “The new bidding process that we put in place last year for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ has generated a huge amount of interest and we now look forward to welcoming the 2018 bidders to FEI Headquarters next month.”

As the final stage in the bidding process, the Candidates will formally present their bids to the FEI Bureau at its Spring 2013 meeting, after which the official announcement of the host organisers of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be made.

The FEI Championships Bid Guide can be accessed here.

Dressage@Blainville: the road to the Olympics

David Marcus & Chrevi's Capital. Credit Photo: Susan J Stickle. 

Montreal, June 12, 2012 – Dressage@Blainville will feature the sport’s elite on June 14, 15 and 16 at the Blainville equestrian park. This competition will indeed select the members of the Canadian team going to the London Olympic Games. 

"Almost all the riders who are actually leading in the rankings will be in Blainville", declared proudly Linda Pepin, President of Dressage International and show manager. She also indicated that, "David Marcus, Jacqueline Brooks and Diane Creech, three Olympic hopefuls, will be participating."

For Gina Smith, London’s Canadian Team Manager, competing at the Blainville event is indispensable. " Blainville is a fantastic venue for our riders to make their final qualifying rides before the team selection.  Our athletes love the show organization and high energy atmosphere at Blainville which will prepare their horses for what they will be facing in August.", stated Mrs. Smith before concluding : " Blainville offers everything, and it is a perfect venue for people to see the progression from the lower levels of dressage to the best we have in Canada at the International level."

Three riders, vying to qualify for London, will have to impress a panel of five International judges in the Grand Prix on Thursday June 14 and the Special Grand Prix on Friday June 15. To insure their results will count for the selection, each rider/horse team must score higher than 67% in both events.

A gala all in elegance
Dressage@Blainville will end on a touch of magic:  the Gala of the Kürs Simons, presented Saturday June 16 starting at 6 p.m., with the registered rider/horse teams competing to outdo each other with charm. Although the event does not count for the London selection, it nevertheless counts for style: some of the most notorious riders will perform to enchant the public’s heart and soul.  David Marcus, Olympic contender, and Tom Dvorak, Medalist at the Pan-American Games, will compete with Meagan Lane and Jaimey Irwin, both promising riders on the International scene.

Juniors and Young Riders try to stand out
In a competition dominated by the road to London, Junior and Young Riders competing at the FEI level, vie to find their way to Kentucky. In fact, Dressage@Blainville will allow them to cumulate precious points towards participation at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC), to be held from July 16 to 22, 2012.

Quebec Young Riders, who won a team silver medal in 2011, will try to surpass themselves. Rider Tanya Strasser, who scored an outstanding 75 % at Dressage@Bromont in her freestyle test, hopes to see her hard work rewarded by the panel of European and Canadian judges at Dressage@Blainville.

Junior Riders have a lot of potential for 2012, particularly with riders Laurence Blais-Tétrault and Naima Moreira, and they hope to put together a team for the NAYJRC.

Founded by Linda Pepin in 2010, Dressage International is a non-profit organization, unique to Quebec. With its mission of developing excellence in dressage, both in Quebec and in Canada, Dressage International makes it a point to offer large-scale events that provide athletes, sport enthusiasts and the public at large with an exceptional and memorable experience.  

Source : Alexandra Hill, Communication

Four Canadians Finish top 10 in CIC 3* Division at the Bromont Three Day Event

The Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, was the last North American qualifying competition leading up to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Held in Bromont, QC, on June 7-10, 2012, Canadian riders, led by 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) team member Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, BC, posted great results while earning qualifying results for the upcoming Games.

Coming off a win in the CIC 3* Jersey Fresh weeks before, Rebecca Howard and Riddle

Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, BC, and Riddle Master, Blithe Hill Farm's 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, placed fifth in the new CIC 3* division at the Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge.

Master, Blithe Hill Farm's 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, placed fifth in the new CIC 3* division, which was added this year at the request of the Canadian and United States Eventing Team selectors for Olympic selection and training purposes. The pair was tied for 22nd place following dressage with a score of 54.60. A clear cross country ride with eight time penalties over Derek Di Grazia's challenging cross country course and a fault-free show jumping round, allowed Howard to finish on a score of 62.60.

"Riddle Master jumped fantastic on cross-country, but it took me a bit to get going," said Howard of her cross country ride. "In show jumping, we both were great. I think it was actually the weekend we needed. It highlighted some things for me to work on, and we are only going to come out stronger from this competition."

Howard added, "I love coming to Bromont, because they do a great job and it only gets better and better each year."

Danica Moore of Salmon Arm, BC, and her own Utah B, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, finished just behind Howard in sixth place. With a score of 56.00, for 26th place, in dressage, they added eight cross country time penalties and two rails during show jumping to finish with a score of 72.00. In seventh was Michele Mueller of Port Perry, ON, riding Julie Anna Pring's Amistad who finished on a score of 72.20. Bracebridge, ON, native, Kelly List and her own Smarty Pants, an eight-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred gelding, were 10th with a score of 79.40. Shandiss Wewiora of Oakville, ON and Jorge Bernhard's 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Rockfield Grant Juan, finished in 11th with a score of 83.30

The CIC 3* division was won by American Karen O'Connor and Mr. Medicott.

The top Canadian in the CCI 2* division was Diana Burnett of Blackstock, ON, riding Diamond Cut II, a nine-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by the rider and the Diamond Syndicate. Sitting in sixth place after dressage on a score of 52.20, the pair added only 0.8 cross country time penalties and a rail, for four faults, in the jumping round to finish with a score of 57.00, which was good for sixth place out of 42 starters. Finishing in ninth place and adding 11.60 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 53.30,was Canadian Olympian Selena O'Hanlon of Kingston, ON, and her Pan American Games partner Foxwood High, John Rumble's nine-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, who finished with a score of 64.90.

The CCI 2* division was also won by O'Connor and Mandiba.

Hawley Bennett-Awad of Langley, BC and De Mello, Megan Lepper's eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding, added only four jumping faults to their dressage score of 48.80 to finish with a score of 52.80 for fourth place in the CCI 1* division out of 56 entries. Wewiora and her second mount, Prince Mayo, Bernhard's seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, added eight cross country time faults to her dressage score of 46.90 to finish in sixth place with a score of 54.90. Riding her own nine-year-old Canadian Sport Horse, Chatsworth, Penny Rowland of Orangeville, ON, finished in eighth place with a score of 56.90. In ninth place was Jordan McDonald of Oakville, ON, riding Glencento, a seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare also owned by Bernhard, with a score of 57.80. Kelli McMullen-Temple and her own Calero, a seven-year-old Holsteiner mare, finished the CCI 1* in 10th place, scoring 58.10. In 11th place was Haley Armstrong-Laframboise riding Steven Chepa's 12-year-old Trakehner mare, with a score of 58.50, while Katherine Martineau of Brossard, QC, rounded out the top 12 riding her own H.M. As Spirits Go, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, with 58.90.

American Buck Davidson won the CCI1* division riding Copper Beach.
"Bromont is growing each year and getting better and better, and we can't do it without the owners and sponsors," said the competition's organizer Sue Ockendon. "I also want to thank Derek Di Grazia, the cross country course designer, and Jay Hambly, the course builder. They did a wonderful job with the courses."

"Overall, we had a great day on cross county," added Di Grazia. "The penalties were spread over the all the courses, and it was nice to see the great turnout in the one and two star divisions."

The Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event proudly hosts The Todd Sandler Challenge in memory of an aspiring young event rider, Todd Sandler of Dollard des Ormeaux, QC. Todd at the age of 18 died tragically in a car accident on April 26, 1999 while returning home from the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. He was one of Canada's best eventing prospects.

"Once again Bromont has seen record entries challenging for top spot over their spectacular course and facilities," said Mike Gallagher, Equine Canada's president. "Competitors from across North America had nothing but praise for the fantastic competition."

For complete results of the CCI Bromont Three Day Event visit

About Canadian Eventing
Canadian Eventing is a committee of Equine Canada responsible for the sport of eventing in Canada from the domestic to the international level. The Canadian Eventing Committee is comprised of 12 members, including two rider representatives elected by the Elite Riders Association. Directed by the strategic plan for eventing, all eventing activities are administered by this committee via six technical sub-committees with the support of eventing department staff based at the Equine Canada office in Ottawa. The national team athletes and program, led by International Technical Advisor David O'Connor, are monitored by the High Performance Committee. For more information about Canadian Eventing, visit

The Canadian Eventing Committee is grateful to Own the Podium, Sport Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, and to its members, sponsors, supporters, suppliers and friends for their continued support of the Canadian Eventing High Performance program in its quest for excellence.

About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada's national governing body for equestrianism. A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry. Equine Canada is recognized by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organization representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Holling and O’Connor Score Wins at Volvo Bromont Three Day Event

Jonathan Holling riding Downtown Harrison
Bromont, Quebec – Jonathan Holling of the United States won the 2012 Volvo Bromont CCI3* Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, on Sunday, June 10, in Bromont, Quebec.  The CIC3* division was won by Karen O’Connor of the United States.  It was a clean sweep for the USA, with O’Connor also winning the CCI2* division and fellow American Buck Davidson winning the CCI1* division.

Holling of Ocala, FL, led the CCI3* division from beginning to end riding Connie Holling’s eight-year-old Trakehner gelding Downtown Harrison.  Of the initial 18 combinations in the division, 12 completed the event which concluded with the show jumping phase.  Not one of the horses posted a clear round within the time allowed over a demanding course designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela and built by Mauricio Garcia of Puerto Rico and Canadian J.P. Ayotte.

Holling, entering the arena last, had two rails in hand and he used them both.  An early knock down at the second fence, a vertical, was followed by another vertical down at number five.  Holling managed to leave the rest of the jumps in their cups, adding eight faults to his score for a total of 58.8, and clinching victory in his horse’s three-star debut.

“My horse ran great yesterday on cross-country, but he is young and I could tell he was tired today,” said Holling, whose win at Bromont is a career first in a CCI3*.  “After the second rail fell I was doing math in my head as I cantered around, but he jumped better and better as he went.  It’s always nice to win on a clear show jumping round, but this is Bromont, and Bromont is always a true test.”

Even though the Volvo Bromont CCI3* and CIC3* divisions were the final observation trials for selectors of the US and Canadian Olympic Eventing Teams, Holling said he didn’t declare Downtown Harrison for the US Team.  Instead, he is looking ahead to future team opportunities.  “I’d like to think I’ll have him for quite a long time to come.  I could not be happier with him.”

Finishing second in the CCI3* division was Australian-born American Boyd Martin of Unionville, PA, riding Trading Aces.  Martin had one rail down, which was good enough to advance him two places from fourth following cross-country.  Holding onto third place with an eight fault round was equine veterinarian Kevin Keane of West Grove, PA, riding Fernhill Flutter.  His score of 66.6 kept him just ahead of fourth placed Phillip Dutton, also of West Grove, PA, on Atlas with 67.4 penalties.  Dutton lost his second place position when Atlas dropped two rails and incurred a time penalty for not completing the round within the time allowed.

Caitlin Silliman of Paoli, PA, was fifth riding Catch A Star.  A 12 fault show jumping round gave Silliman a final score of 78.2 penalties.  Silliman was also awarded the Best Conditioned Horse Award for having the horse that the Veterinary Commission determined had ended the competition in the best physical condition.

Karen O’Connor of The Plains, VA, rode Mr. Medicott through a fault-free show jumping round in the CIC3* division to win on her dressage score of 43 penalties.  The CIC3* division was offered for the first time at Bromont at the specific request of the US and Canadian Olympic Eventing Team selectors. O’Connor has ridden in four Olympic Games and is hoping to make London her fifth.  A long-time fan of the competition at Bromont, she knew her performance with the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Mr. Medicott Syndicate would be closely watched by the selectors, including team chef d’equipe Captain Mark Phillips.

“Mark made it clear he wanted to see my horse make the time on cross-country,” said O’Connor.  “The selectors were happy to see that.  I love the track at Bromont.  For me, this is about making the US Olympic team, but also about getting there and knowing you are within striking distance of the best in the world.”

Second and third place in the CIC3* went to two combinations who also finished on their dressage scores.  Will Faudree of Hoffman, NC, rode Andromaque around a beautiful clear round to second place on 47.4 penalties, and the winner of last year’s Bromont CCI3*, Clark Montgomery of Fairburn, GA, was third with 48 penalties following his fault-free round on Loughan Glen.  Faudree had a second horse in the top five, placing fourth with 53.8 penalties after adding four faults to his score on Pawlaw.

Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, BC, was the top Canadian in the CIC3* division, placing fifth.  Riding Riddle Master, the horse on which she competed at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Howard had one of only five clear show jumping rounds within the time to finish the day with 62.6 penalties.  Howard was the winner of the 2011 Bromont CCI** riding Roquefort.

Karen O’Connor riding Mr. Medicott
Karen O’Connor put in another flawless round to win the CCI2* division with Mandiba, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Joan Goswell.  Going into the show jumping, O’Connor was tied for first place with Will Coleman of Gordonsville, VA, riding Zipp.  “Will is closer to the optimum time, so it’s not really a tie,” she explained before the show jumping phase.

O’Connor was impressed with the fact that the show jumping course at Bromont was created by Palacios, a top international show jumping course designer.

“It was very exciting to ride one of his courses,” she said.  “He knows the weaknesses of the event riders, and he asks the right questions of our abilities.”

Having gone second to last, O’Connor’s clear round put the pressure on Coleman, who went last.  Zipp had a single rail down that cost Coleman not only first place, but second as well.  Moving up one place to second was Danielle Dichting of Roswell, GA, after her clear show jumping round on The Graduate gave her a score of 48.8, leaving her just ahead of third placed Coleman with 51.9 penalties.

In the CCI1* division, Buck Davidson of Unionville, PA, took top honours on his dressage score of 47.5 penalties riding Copper Beach, a six-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Carl and Cassie Segal and Sherrie Martin.

“It was a fantastic week here at Bromont,” said Davidson.  “It’s so cool to see a place that is made better every year, regardless of whether it’s the one, two or three star. I feel like my horses will leave better horses than they were when they got here.”

Davidson’s clear show jumping round was the difference maker in a tight battle among the top three.  Doug Payne of the United States took one rail to finish second on 49.9 penalties, while American Alison Springer, who had led the division through the end of cross-country with Eclipse, had two knock downs which in turn knocked her down to third place with 50.8 penalties.

The hard work of the organizing committee and volunteers, along with the generous support of its sponsors, once again produced a resounding success at the 2012 Volvo Bromont CCI3* Three Day Event, which takes place each year at the site of equestrian events at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.  The cross-country course, designed by Derek di Grazia of Carmel Valley, CA, and built by Canadian course builder Jay Hambly, received unanimous praise from the competitors.

This 26th edition of the Volvo Bromont CCI3* Three Day Event is generously supported by a number of sponsors, including title sponsor Volvo and Beaulieu Canada.  For the second year, the Volvo Bromont CCI3* Three Day Event is part of the PRO Tour Series, which is sponsored by SSG Gloves.

The Volvo Bromont CCI3* Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, is made possible in part through a contribution from the Government of Canada. The organizing committee also wishes to thank the Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, for their support of this year’s event.

For more information about the Bromont Three Day Event, including full results, please visit the bilingual website,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Little-Meredith Leads at Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event

Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Rovano Rex (USA)
Bromont, Quebec – Marilyn Little-Meredith took the lead in the CIC3* division of the Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, following the opening phase of dressage in Bromont, Quebec. This 26th edition of the Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event is the final North American outing for athletes seeking a berth at the 2012 Olympic Games. The majority of top Canadian and American Olympic Team hopefuls have opted to compete in the CIC3* division of the Bromont event. Little-Meredith of Frederick, MD, earned a score of 38.6 penalties riding RF Rovano Rex to top an international starting field of 33 horses. Little-Meredith, who competes at the grand prix level in show jumping as well, also holds 17th position with RF Demeter, another horse that she has declared for U.S. Olympic Team consideration. Boyd Martin of Aiken, SC, is currently second in the CIC3* division riding Remington XXV with a score of 39 penalties and third riding Neville Bardos with 42 penalties. The top Canadian following the opening phase of dressage is Selena O’Hanlon of Elgin, ON, riding Colombo, her partner at both the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2010 World Equestrian Games. With a score of 47.4 penalties, O’Hanlon is tied for tenth position with American Will Faudree aboard Andromaque. “This is really a preparation event for Canada’s team,” said Canadian Eventing Team Technical Advisor and 2000 Olympic Champion, David O’Connor. O’Connor also noted that the Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event plays an important role in the Canadian Olympic Eventing Team’s final preparations for London, saying, “Overall I am quite happy with how the riders did today.” In addition to the CIC3*, 42 horses contested the dressage phase of the CCI2* division on Friday. In first place after dressage with 43.9 penalties is Olympic team silver and bronze medalist Karen O’Connor of the United States riding Mandiba. Lying second with 44.7 penalties is American Liz Millikin with Masterpiece 54. Danielle Dichting, also of the USA, is third with The Graduate on a score of 45.6 penalties. The cross-country phase, regarded as the most thrilling phase in eventing sport, will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday with the CCI2* division held first, followed by the CCI3*, CIC3* and CCI* divisions. Bromont’s cross-country course, which is built on the same terrain used for the evening competition at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is designed by Derek Di Grazia of the United States and built by Canada’s Jay Hambly. The third and final phase of competition, show jumping, will take place on Sunday, June 10. A total of 149 horses are contesting the four divisions of the 2012 Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, which is one of North America’s most prestigious three day events. The venue, which was built to host the equestrian events at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, is a fitting site for the final team selections for the Canadian and U.S. Olympic Eventing Teams. The event is generously supported by Volvo, Beaulieu Canada and several other sponsors. The Volvo CCI3* Bromont Three Day Event, The Todd Sandler Challenge, is made possible in part through a contribution from the Government of Canada. The organizing committee also wishes to thank the Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, for their support of this year’s event. For more information about the Bromont Three Day Event, including live scoring, please visit the bilingual website,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Report on Research

Genomic Road Map to Rhodococcus Opens New Expressway to Vaccine Development
Imagine a 3 decade journey - a quest for an insidious bacterium possessing elusive qualities equivalent to that of the Holy Grail. Dr. John Prescott, University of Guelph Professor and Chair of the OVC Department of Pathobiology, has been unwavering in staying the course on his quest to find a vaccine able to combat the deadly Rhodococcus bacterium. Rhodococcus (R. equi) is no bug on the windshield that can be easily wiped off. Once this air-borne organism leaves Point A (soil and manure) to travel to Point B (the lungs of a young foal) it hides in the very macrophages that should normally seek out and destroy invading bacteria. The advent of genomic research has opened up a super highway full of new information. Since the recent mapping of the R.- equi genome (published 2010), the destination for a vaccine is not far away.

The need for a vaccine is great. R. equi can stow away inside a young foal undetected for months. By the time symptoms of panting and coughing first appear, (usually at the same time horse owners are busily bringing in their hay) the only course of action is the expensive and time-consuming administration of antibiotics.

Dr. Prescott and his team are collaborating internationally to tackle this global disease. Prescott's former MSc student, Iain MacArthur, is also committed to seeing this epic journey through and works closely with Prescott online using Skype. MacArthur is currently working on his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh and runs tests using micro-arrays. This entails printing every Rhodococcus gene onto a slide and looking at their expressions under different conditions. MacArthur explains the advantages of having the blueprint for the R.-equi genome:"instead of hunting around a cave with a tiny flashlight - we can now switch the lights on, view all contents and see how the genetic material relates."

"This level of understanding would have been considered almost science fiction just a few years ago - It is incredible what we can do with this new genomic technology," exclaims Prescott. The advances in research, since 2003 when the human genome project mapped out all the sequence of DNA in the body have been truly incredible. When looking at all 5,000 genes in the R. equi sequence they are now able to assign a function to each - a task which simply was not possible before mapping the R. equi genome. The level of understanding has been increased exponentially due to advances allowing researchers to look at the whole genomic picture. Prescott explains, "It's a very complex process, although it gets easier as more and more people work in the area of genomics." The high beams are on and researchers are able see all the genes that are switched on - the complete blueprint. They now know what makes this organism a pathogen, what it needs to live and how it works. Prescott and MacArthur are isolating and targeting the most switched on and linked genes to develop a weakened form of the live virulent which could then be orally administered as a vaccine.

So the million dollar question breeders want to know regarding the road to a Rhodococcus vaccine - Are we there yet? Not far now!