Ocala, Florida – The Canadian Show Jumping Team comprised of Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, Elizabeth Gingras of Edmonton, AB, Amy Millar of Perth, ON, and her father, ten-time Olympian Ian Millar, also of Perth, ON, placed third in the $100,000 FEI Nations Cup held at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, FL, on Friday, February 17.
A total of seven countries fielded teams for the first FEI Nations Cup of the year held on North American soil including Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Ireland, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela. Ireland claimed victory in the third edition of the annual event with a total of 12 faults, followed closely by the defending champions, the United States, in second with 16 faults and Canada third with 24 faults. Mexico fell to fourth with a final score of 28 while Colombia was fifth with 52 faults. El Salvador opted not to return for the second round while Venezuelan hopes were dashed in the opening round.
A total of seven riders produced clear efforts in the first round over the track set by Brazilian course designer Marina Azevedo, keeping four countries well within striking distance. Ireland held the lead at the end of the opening round with four faults, followed by Mexico and the United States tied with eight faults apiece, and Canada with 12 faults.
Foster, 32, opened the second round by producing another clear round for Canada. Her double clear performance was one of three on the day, matched only by Cian O’Connor riding Seringat for the winning Irish team and Beezie Madden, who was double-clear as the anchor rider for the United States aboard Breitling LS.
“We’ve had pretty good luck being the lead-off, going double clear in the last three events we’ve ridden in for Canada,” said Foster of her partnership with Victor, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable. “I know him so well that it is an advantage to go first because I just follow the plan that I have for him. When you know a horse as well as I know Victor, it is not a disadvantage to go first. It’s a good strategy for us!”
Gingras, 35, who incurred eight faults in the opening round, returned to again post an eight-fault effort with Coup de Chance, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cardento x Darco) owned by B Gingras Equestrian Limited. Coup de Chance was a last-minute substitution after Gingras’s planned Nations’ Cup mount, Zilversprings, incurred a minor injury in Thursday’s competition.
Amy Millar, who celebrated her 40th birthday on Valentine’s Day, had eight faults in the first round and incurred 12 faults in the second round after dropping rails at the final three fences on course riding her 2016 Rio Olympic mount Heros, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Canadian River x Clinton) owned by AMMO Investments.
Riding in the anchor position, Ian Millar, 70, posted scores of four and four for Canada, incurring a rail in the triple combination both times out riding Dixson, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON.The Canadian Show Jumping Team. From left to right: Ian Millar on Dixson, Tiffany Foster on Victor, chef d’equipe Mark Laskin, Amy Millar on Heros, and Elizabeth Gingras on Coup de Chance. PC: Starting Gate Communications
The $100,000 CSIO4* FEI Nations Cup in Ocala acted as the first of three qualifying events for the FEI Nations Cup Final to be held in September in Barcelona, Spain. Four countries – Canada, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States – were in the race for qualifying points with the United States earning the maximum 90 points, followed by Canada with 80.
“We came into this Nations Cup feeling that we want to have a shot to qualify for Barcelona, and I think we did that,” said Foster. “I think by delivering a double clear, we kept the team afloat. I am happy I could do that.
“We are able to do this because we have such great horses and have such great owners in Andy and Carlene Ziegler,” continued Foster, referencing the owners of Artisan Farms who support both her and 2008 Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze. “They really allow us to take our time and develop these horses. That’s a big deal for Canada, and I am really looking forward to the future with the young horses we have coming up.”
“The day certainly didn’t go how I had it scripted, but ultimately it was a good result for Canada,” noted Canadian Show Jumping Team chef d’equipe Mark Laskin of Langley, BC. “We finished on the podium in third place and are now second in our region for qualifying for the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona this year. Ian Millar was strong in the anchor position for us but the star of the day was definitely Tiffany Foster riding Victor who produced their third straight double-clean performance in Nations Cup competition for Canada.”
The Canadian Show Jumping Team will next compete at the $150,000 Nations Cup in Wellington, FL, on Friday night, March 3. Then it’s on to Mexico for the second FEI Nations’ Cup qualifier to be held during CSIO4* Coapexpan, Mexico, from May 2 to 5. The third and final FEI Nations’ Cup qualifier will take place at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC, from May 31 to June 4. The top two teams in the qualifying league will be invited to contest the FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona from September 29 to October 1, 2017.