By Starting Gate Communications
Brussels, Belgium – Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill has joined Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable with bases in Brussels, Belgium, and Wellington, FL.
The new collaboration will see Underhill competing at the highest levels of show jumping with the horses of Torrey Pines Stable. Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic champion, continues to battle serious health issues which have forced him to take a sabbatical from the sport. His last competitive appearance was on home ground at the 2021 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB, in September where he was a member of the victorious Canadian team in the BMO Nations’ Cup riding Fine Lady 5, the horse he rode to an individual bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Underhill will take over riding duties on Lamaze’s top string when the horses relocate from Belgium to Florida in December. She will be based at the Torrey Pines Stable property in Wellington, FL, and will begin competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival which runs from January 5 to April 3, 2022.
“I’ve known Beth for many years, and we first rode on a team together at the 1994 World Equestrian Games in Den Hague,” said Lamaze. “I’ve always admired her determination and winning attitude as well as her dedication to producing the best results for Team Canada.
Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill, pictured here competing for Canada in the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival Nations’ Cup in Wellington, FL, is joining Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable. Photo: Starting Gate Communications
“Due to my own health issues, I have to hand the reins over to someone else and I could think of no better candidate than Beth,” continued Lamaze, who will continue to oversee the horses’ training programs from the ground. “She’s been to Belgium to ride some of the horses, and we are both excited to see her in a position to compete with top-caliber mounts.”
Underhill has been a mainstay of the Canadian Show Jumping Team for the past three decades and has represented her country in Olympic, World Championship, Pan American Games, and World Cup Final competition. She and Lamaze were teammates at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, MB, where Canada won a bronze medal. She has been crowned the Canadian Show Jumping Champion on four occasions, most recently in 2019 riding Count Me In.
“I’m very excited at the prospect of riding for Eric,” said Underhill, whose own students will be based with her at Torrey Pines Stable for the winter. “We’ve been friends for many years and competed on numerous Nations’ Cup teams together. He’s also been a fantastic supporter, teammate, and friend to me. While I’m saddened that Eric’s health is forcing him to take a step back from his own riding career, I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to join the Torrey Pines team.”
Several of the horses that Underhill will be riding are owned by Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable in partnership with fellow Canadians Mark and Tara Rein, who began supporting Lamaze in 2019.
“The quality of horses that Eric has is outstanding and I’m thrilled to be able to ride such top-level horses, especially as I’ve not had one at that level myself for some time,” continued Underhill. “I would like to give special thanks to Mark and Tara Rein for their support, which has been simply outstanding. It’s amazing that they have embraced the sport again at this level with their support of Eric and now me as well. It’s really a momentous occasion.”
“Our partnership with Eric has always had the goal of helping Canada compete at the highest level of international show jumping,” said Mark Rein. “He’s been able to find and develop some incredible horses, several of which are starting their climb on to the world stage. When he suggested that Beth help us continue toward that goal, Tara and I were instantly supportive because she’s one of Canada’s best riders but didn’t currently have any horses at this level. We’re very much looking forward to seeing her work with our horses in Wellington this winter.
“For years we have marveled at Eric’s incredible generosity toward other riders and, combined with his unwavering devotion to helping Canada succeed, it makes us proud to be his partners and honoured to be his friends and supporters,” concluded Rein.
Lamaze, 53, is Canada’s most successful show jumping athlete having claimed gold, silver, and bronze medals in Olympic competition alone. Lamaze and Hickstead, the horse he rode to individual gold and team silver medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, were recently inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame on October 3, 2021.
To learn more about Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable, visit www.ericlamaze.com.
Main Photo: Longtime friends and teammates Beth Underhill and Eric Lamaze discuss strategy on a course walk at the 2019 Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON. Credit: Starting Gate Communications