It was deja vu in the $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada. For the second year in a row, Team Ireland jumped to the top of the leaderboard to close out the Odlum Brown BC Open CSIO5* tournament at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC.
Under a pristine blue sky and in front of a capacity crowd, the Irish Team led by chef d’equipe Michael Blake once again rose to the occasion, showcasing the incredible depth of their horse (and rider) power.
World no. 10 ranked rider Shane Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz led the charge, posting a pair of clear rounds. (The only other double clear on the day came from Canada’s own Erynn Ballard and Gakhir).
Daniel Coyle and upcoming mount Gisborne VDL were the drop score in the first round with 8 faults, but followed up with a clear in the second.
“I’m just getting to know the horse,” explained Coyle. “I have to learn how to ride him the best way for him. After I jumped the first round, I said to Michael, I need to do different strides [than we walked]. And Michael trusted that I knew how to get the best out of my horse. Thankfully, he jumped a beautiful round in the second round.”
Third to ride for the team, David Blake and Claude had a rail in the first round, but delivered Ireland’s third clear in the second, sparing anchor rider and world no. 8 Conor Swail and Nadal Hero & DB from having to jump in round two.
“Daniel and David didn’t cover themselves in glory in the first round [posting eight and four faults respectively],” said Ireland’s always competitive chef.
“Daniel, I said, you owe me one, so you better take care of that. And I got it [in the second round]. David spared Conor having to jump in the third round, and we were obviously of two minds as to who we were going to put in against the clock should it come to that.”
Finishing on a final overall score of just four faults, Ireland was tied with Canada until the final horse entered the Fort Grand Prix arena. With two foot perfect rounds from Ballard and Gakhir and a 4/0 from Mario Deslauriers and Emerson (Tiffany Foster and Hamilton were the drop score in both rounds on 9 and 4), it came down to Amy Millar and Truman.
If they could repeat their clear from round one, it would force a jump-off with Ireland. If they had so much as a time fault, Ireland would win. Unfortunately, Millar just touched fence six and it fell, giving Ireland the win.
Canada finished in second on a final score of eight faults, with the United States in third on a final score of 28.
“It was a sweet victory for us today because Canada had a really strong team,” said Michael. “We knew we would have to have a really strong team or else we couldn’t beat them. Thankfully, luck went our way today.
“I’d like to thank Chris and the Thunderbird team and I’d like to thank Longines because without them we wouldn’t have this great show we have today. To jump in the sunshine on this wonderful field, for me, it’s an honor.”
Added tbird President Chris Pack, “We couldn’t ask for better weather. We had a great turnout today. It’s tbird’s 50th anniversary. It was right down to the end and that’s all you can ask for any competition. We’re very appreciative of Longines and all the teams that came out to compete.”
Sunday’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada was the third and final leg in the North/Central America & Caribbean division of the 2023 FEI Longines Nations Cup™ series and the final chance for Canada, Mexico and USA to land a coveted spot at the Final in Barcelona this September.
Team USA finished the season with 280 points, winning earlier this year in Mexico and America. Sunday’s results leave Mexico and Canada tied on points (240), which is broken by the number of clear rounds jumped by each nation across the series. With seven clears, Mexico also secured their spot in the Barcelona Final.
$400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Faults
1. James Kann Cruz / Shane Sweetnam / Gizmo Partners LLC / 0/0
1. Gisborne VDL / Daniel Coyle / Ariel Grange Pine / 8/0
1. Claude / David Blake / Hollow Farm / 4/0
1. Nadal Hero & DB / Conor Swail / Mannon Farm 0/DNS
2. Hamilton / Tiffany Foster / The Hamilton Group / 9/4
2. Gakhir / Erynn Ballard / Esperanza Imports LLC & Ilan Ferder / 0/0
2. Emerson / Mario Deslauriers / Wishing Well Farm LLC / 4/0
2. Truman / Amy Millar / Millar Brooke Farm Ltd & Overlund / 0/4
3. Kalinka van’t Zorgvliet / Karl Cook / Signe Ostby / 8/0
3. Edocenta / Charlotte Jacobs / North Star / 8/4
3. Karlin van’t Vennehof / Lacey Gilbertson / Seabrook LLC / 16/8
3. Landon / Kent Farrington / Haity McNerney / 0/8