With brand new grandstands packed to capacity, Canada jumped to a convincing victory for the home crowd in the $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada Sunday afternoon at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC.
Team Canada is victorious in the $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada at the 2019 Odlum Brown BC Open. Photo by tbird/Cealy Tetley
Consisting of Lisa Carlsen, Nicole Walker, Tiffany Foster, and Mario Deslauriers, Team Canada took an early lead and never relinquished it, finishing on a team total score of 4 faults. Defending champions Ireland finished second on 8 faults, while the United States finished third on a score of 12.
“I grew up here, literally, as a working student,” said Foster, a Vancouver native. “I think it’s so cool that [Thunderbird] is able to host an event like this, and the kids here now are able to watch this level of sport. For us to come back, do a good job and put on a good show [means a lot]. [My teammates] today did an amazing job. It’s just a dream come true to win the Nations Cup here.”
Foster played a key role in victory. Entering the Fort Grand Prix Ring in the second round aboard the talented 9-year-old Figor, she needed a 4-fault score or better to clinch the win for her nation. She delivered, pulling just one rail at the oxer at Fence 10. That meant that team anchor Deslauriers and Bardolina did not have to jump a second round, as Canada already had a rail in hand over Ireland. That team rebounded after an 8-fault first round to post three clear rounds and a perfect 0 score in Round 2.
Hometown hero Tiffany Foster clinched the win for Team Canada. Photo by tbird/Cealy Tetley
“I definitely thought about it,” Foster said. “I’m not great at math, but I figured out the situation. Coming down the last line after the rail, I had Mario in the back of my mind.”
Carlsen, aboard the big-hearted Parette, and Walker, riding her veteran partner Falco van Spieveld, were the stars for Canada, each putting forth double-clear performances.
“As a young kid, I was on the [national] team,” Carlsen said. “I took some time off, and I had a kid. When I got Parette, I thought I’d try to take a shot again. She had a lot of potential [when I first got her], but she was very difficult. I took my time developing her, and now she’s starting to peak.”
Lisa Carlsen and Parette were one of two double clears for Canada. Photo by tbird/Cealy Tetley.
Both Carlsen and Walker were also on the third-placed Nations Cup team that represented Canada at the Mexican leg in May and agreed that the experience is paying off in spades.
“Of course there’s pressure,” Walker said. “We all felt a lot of fans here cheering for us, and other people are relying on you, [but] you also can take it in positive way. We come together as a team, and you can become better in the second round. I’m enjoying the pressure. It’s good for me.”
In order to qualify for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona this October, Canada needed to win and for the U.S. to finish fifth. While Team Canada did its part, they fell just 10 points short of tying with the Americans in the final league standings. Mexico finished the North and Central America and Caribbean division on top with 270 points. The U.S. clinched the second qualifying position with 250 points, and Canada finished third in the division with 240 points.
Photo by tbird/Cealy Tetley
“It’s bittersweet,” Canadian Chef d’Equipe Mark Laskin said. “It’s great to win [today] especially on home field, but there were two parts to the equation. The first part, we took care of. The second part, we just missed.”
The 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada marked the first time the home team posted a victory at tbird.
“It was such a beautiful day for everyone here,” said tbird President and Tournament Director Jane Tidball. “With the crowd and the whole team, it was such a celebration to have Canada win. They had our hearts pounding!”