Oct. 4, 2018 - Olympian Yann Candele conducted a two-day Competitive Edge riding clinic for New Brunswick’s show jumping team at Foshay South in Hampton, NB. The event was part of the Long Term Equestrian Development program sponsored by the New Brunswick Equestrian Association (NBEA) under the auspices of Equestrian Canada.
“I am very interested in helping to develop young riders in Canada,” Candele says. “There is tremendous talent out there, but not many are switching to the jumpers. So, we are not producing enough riders to replace us older riders on the national team. Deanna (Phelan, President of the NBEA) asked me to come here and help the New Brunswick riders.”
The clinic was structured in a Nations Cup format. There were two teams of four riders each competing against each other. Each team member rode the jumper course once and scores were tabulated.
Grace Stevenson, the youngest rider on the team, riding Ever So Clever, in the 1.0m Division, with Yann Candele. Photo: Images by Ceci
“One thing our riders don’t have a chance to do is to ride in a team environment,” says Deanna Phelan, President of the NBEA. “Most equestrian competitions are ridden as an individual, so participating on a team adds another element to the experience. It also prepares them to go out and represent their province in interprovincial competitions. We want to encourage them to think about continuing to develop and perhaps, one day, represent their country on the international stage.”
Candele explains that, “In a Nations Cup competition, there are four riders on each team. Each team jumps two rounds, and possibly a jump-off if necessary. At the end of each round, only three scores per team count, the lowest being dropped. If you are that rider with the lowest score, it can be frustrating, but you have to remember that you are a part of a team. Similarly, the other riders on the team need to learn to support each other, including the one with the dropped score. The team wins (or loses) together.”
After the first round of jumping, each clinic participant and spectators were invited to walk the course with Candele as he explained the strategy for approaching each jump. He wanted the riders to understand the relationships between the jumps and how to calculate and ride those distances effectively. Then each rider was given some individual instruction in the warm-up ring prior to riding their second team round of jumps. The smiles were huge as riders emerged from their rounds, each experiencing noticeable improvement in their performance.
Despite the incessant drizzle, muddy riding ring, and nervousness at riding before such a famous competitor as Candele, the riders all felt they learned a lot and were inspired to work that much harder.
Yann Candele was born and grew up in France. As a junior rider, he competed twice at the European Junior Championships. He has competed around the world including in Japan where he won the 1991-92 Asian World Cup League. Representing his native France, Candele made several Nations’ Cup appearances and competed at the 2004 World Cup Final in Milan, Italy. In 1998, Candele moved to Canada to work for Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze. After obtaining his Canadian citizenship in 2008, Candele led Canada to back-to-back victories in the 2009 and 2010 Nations’ Cups in Wellington, Florida, and was a member of the winning team again in 2014. He has represented Canada at both the 2010 and 2014 World Equestrian Games and, incredibly, won four consecutive Canadian show jumping championship titles riding Pitareusa (2010), Game Ready (2011 and 2012), and Showgirl (2013). In 2015, he and Showgirl helped Canada win team jumping gold at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Since 2007, Candele has operated his own training business, Normandy Hills, with his wife, Jennifer Wallace Candele. Candele was the travelling alternate for the London 2012 Olympic Jumping Team. In his official Olympic debut at Rio 2016, Candele and First Choice 15 were part of Canada’s fourth place finish in the team event.
The clinic was held at Foshay South training centre near Hampton, NB, owned by Dr. Robert (Rob) and Suzanne Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson is also an Olympian having ridden on Canada’s Eventing Team in Barcelona.
The teams will be competing October 6-7 at the NBEA General Performance Championship show at the Princess Louise Park Show Centre in Sussex, NB.
For further information, contact Deanna Phelan, President, NBEA, phone 506-461-1649, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main photo: Images by Ceci