Canadian Show Jumping Team 4th at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

equine show jumping team Rio 2016 Olympic Games Canadian Show Jumping Team Eric Lamaze Yann Candele Guilherme Jorge Brazil, Amy Millar, tiffany foster, Mark Laskin, Karen Hendry-Ouellette Dr. Sylvie Surprenant

equine show jumping team Rio 2016 Olympic Games Canadian Show Jumping Team Eric Lamaze Yann Candele Guilherme Jorge Brazil, Amy Millar, tiffany foster, Mark Laskin, Karen Hendry-Ouellette Dr. Sylvie Surprenant

Source: Equestrian Canada

In a dramatic end to jumping team competition on August 17 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, BRA, the Canadian Show Jumping Team forced a jump-off with Germany for the bronze medal, but were edged into fourth place. Individually, Canada’s Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON was the only rider of the Games to maintain a perfect score of zero after three rounds of individual qualifiers. 

France claimed gold for the first time in 40 years on a team score of three faults. Silver went to the United States on five faults. Canada and Germany were tied at eight faults at the end of the final team round, but Germany claimed the podium after three consecutive clear rounds in the resulting jump-off.

The team competition also acted as the third individual qualifier, and in addition to Lamaze, Yann Candele of Caledon, ON and Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC moved on as part of the top 35 competing for individual honours on August 19. After carrying their individual scores through three qualifying rounds, all riders will have a fresh start on a score of zero for the two-round individual final. 

Heading into the team final, the Canadian Show Jumping Team was in sixth place with a total of four faults carried over. This put them just one rail off the lead.

equine show jumping team Rio 2016 Olympic Games Canadian Show Jumping Team Eric Lamaze Yann Candele Guilherme Jorge Brazil, Amy Millar, tiffany foster, Mark Laskin, Karen Hendry-Ouellette Dr. Sylvie Surprenant

Yann Candele from Caledon, ON and First Choice. Photo: ©Cealy Tetley - www.tetleyphoto.com

Candele, 45, and First Choice 15 (For Keeps x Angard), a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by The Watermark Group, were in their customary pathfinder position for Canada. As such, they were the first Canadians to face the challenging course set by FEI 4* course designer, Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. The track featured 13 jumps and 16 jumping efforts in a lightning fast time allowed of 82 seconds that caused 28 of 43 horse/rider combinations to incur time faults. 

One of the first combinations of the day to cross the finish line under the time allowed, Candele and First Choice 15 were foot-perfect until the very last fence, when a toe on the back rail brought their score to four faults. 

“He’s a horse with some blood and character and so far he’s felt great,” said Candele, who made his Olympic debut in Rio and finished up the three individual qualifying rounds on eight faults with First Choice 15. “We’ll have a day off and then go again in the individual and see where that goes.” 

equine show jumping team Rio 2016 Olympic Games Canadian Show Jumping Team Eric Lamaze Yann Candele Guilherme Jorge Brazil, Amy Millar, tiffany foster, Mark Laskin, Karen Hendry-Ouellette Dr. Sylvie Surprenant

Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC with Tripple X III. Photo: ©Cealy Tetley - www.tetleyphoto.com

Foster, 32 and Tripple X III (Namelus R x Cantango), a 14-year-old Anglo European stallion owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, were up next and had a quick and clear round to put a zero on the board for Canada. 

“My horse is flying right now and he’s jumping unbelievable,” said Foster, who also completed the first three qualifying rounds on eight faults to secure her place in the individual final. “I think I went as fast as I could go at this height, without making a huge risk, because I knew we needed a clear. It’s too bad though, because we were so close to a medal, but you know if you are going up against Germany for a medal you are in good shape. I think (my horse) is in great form right now and I’m looking forward to the individual final.” 

equine show jumping team Rio 2016 Olympic Games Canadian Show Jumping Team Eric Lamaze Yann Candele Guilherme Jorge Brazil, Amy Millar, tiffany foster, Mark Laskin, Karen Hendry-Ouellette Dr. Sylvie Surprenant

Partnered with Heros, Amy Millar from Perth ON, made her Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: ©Cealy Tetley - www.tetleyphoto.com 

Riding one of the youngest horses in the competition, Heros (Canadian River x Clinton I), a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by AMMO Investments, Amy Millar, 39, was off to a great start - but an early rail at fence four, along with two rails down in the triple combination at fence 11, set to maximum height and width, brought her total to 12 faults. 

“It was a very tough course today and my horse is only nine years old, so I think he’s really wonderful and talented,” said Millar, daughter of show jumping legend and 10-time Olympian, Ian Millar. “There was lots of excitement, but lots of anxiety too. This is my first championship and it is definitely his first. For the bronze, it could have gone either way and unfortunately it did not go our way today, but that is sport.” 

Canadian Show Jumping Team veteran and 2008 Olympic Champion, Lamaze, 48, rode in the anchor position aboard Fine Lady 5 (Forsyth x Drosselklang II), a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, and laid down his third consecutive clear round at the Games to force the jump-off for bronze with Germany. 

Following Olympic rules, all four Canadian athletes were slated to come back for the jump-off, with the ability to earn one drop score. Foster and Tripple X III put in another clear round, but Candele and Millar both incurred one rail over the shortened course. After the first three German riders put in clear jump-off performances, they were guaranteed the bronze medal, making it unnecessary for Lamaze to return to the ring. 

“I think there is no shame to be fourth at these Olympics,” said Lamaze, who is statistically a favourite for the individual final after three perfect rounds to date at the Games. “(My horse) just keeps jumping better and better. In fact, tonight, I was warming up before the jump-off and she was still flying, so I was ready to go, but it was done. I am feeling very good coming into the individual final. I feel like I have a lot of horse left and it’s going to be interesting.” 

The Canadian Show Jumping Team is supported at the Games by Chef d’Équipe, Mark Laskin, Team Manager, Karen Hendry-Ouellette and Team Veterinarian, Dr. Sylvie Surprenant. 

Round ‘A’ of the jumping individual final begins at 10 am BRT on August 19, with Round ‘B’ to follow at 1:30 pm. For more information, including the full schedule of jumping competition, starting lists and live results, please visit www.rio2016.com/en/equestrian. Further information on the Canadian Equestrian Team can be found at www.equestrian.ca

Main Photo: Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON with Fine Lady 5. Photo credit: ©Cealy Tetley - www.tetleyphoto.com

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