Starting Gate Communications
Geneva, Switzerland, December 20, 2021 – Fine Lady 5, the horse that carried Canada’s Eric Lamaze to an individual bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, was officially retired in a special ceremony held Friday night, December 10, during the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva, Switzerland.
Bred by Wilhelm Leymann and born in Germany in 2003, Fine Lady 5 was acquired by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms LLC as a mount for Lamaze. The Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) arrived at Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable in the spring of 2014 and quickly proved her prowess by earning numerous top finishes at the 1.45m and 1.50m levels in the pair’s first few months together.
Showing great form in the 2016 season, Fine Lady 5 was selected as Lamaze’s mount for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After leading the Canadian team to a fourth-place finish following a jump-off against Germany for the bronze medal, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 advanced to the individual final where their only rail of the entire games came during the jump-off for the gold medal. That one rail would leave them in bronze medal position, which was still far beyond any expectations ever set for Fine Lady 5.
Fine Lady 5, owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, was officially retired in a special ceremony held December 10, 2021 at CHI Geneva, Switzerland. L-R: Eric Lamaze, Fine Lady 5, and groom Tia Stenman. Photo: Tiffany Van Halle/Vygo.be
“She is one of a kind because she was not a horse that anyone thought could reach the level that she did,” said Lamaze of his partner of eight years. “With Hickstead, he was favoured to win an Olympic medal and it was up to me to make a mistake. With Fine Lady, it was the partnership that we developed and the trust we had in each other that earned us the Olympic medal.
“Winning a medal with that horse means a lot to me,” continued Lamaze, who holds individual gold and team silver medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Hickstead in addition to the individual bronze earned with Fine Lady 5. “She is a great little mare with a huge heart that believed in any adventure you faced her with. She became the leading horse in my stable, with the ability to win at any height, when she wasn’t bought to be that. Winning an Olympic medal and the Rolex Top 10 Final demonstrated her huge heart.”
Following their incredible performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 went on to win the €300,000 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final later that year at CHI Geneva, Switzerland. In a unique competition that sees the top 10 riders in the world rankings go head-to-head over two rounds, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 were clear in both rounds and produced the fastest time in the second round to win. Their victory marked the first time a Canadian athlete had ever claimed the coveted title.
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 won the coveted Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2016. Photo by Rolex / Kit Houghton
“I would like to give special thanks to the Zieglers for supporting me with Fine Lady, not to mention many other horses over the years,” said Lamaze, 53. “She is a horse that I will never forget, and she will be greatly missed from my string. I’m happy we were able to give her the retirement that she deserves, and especially to have the ceremony in Geneva during a very special competition that she won. Hopefully we’ll have many Fine Lady babies running around in the future as she continues in the sport as a broodmare.”
In their final competitive appearance, Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 were members of Canada’s winning team in the $600,000 BMO Nations’ Cup at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB, on September 11, 2021. Fine Lady 5 will be retired in Belgium where both Lamaze and the Ziegler family have properties.
“It has been a delight to own Fine Lady 5 for Eric to compete,” said Carlene Ziegler. “It meant so much to us to have her do well at the Rio Olympics and to experience great victories all around the world. She loved to win, and she loved Eric in the saddle. We are happy she will now have a restful retirement in Belgium. As a European horse, she’s always been happiest there.”
To learn more about Lamaze, visit www.ericlamaze.com.
Main Photo: Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 claimed the individual bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Credit: Arnd Bronkhorst Photography