The Canadian Show Jumping Team competed in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final held from September 29 to October 2, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain.
Alicia Gadban-Lewis, 37, of Delta, BC; Rebecca McGoldrick, 32, of Toronto, ON; Beth Underhill, 60, of Mulmur, ON, and Tim Wilks, 27, of Henley-on-Thames, England, were the four members of the Nations’ Cup team with Kyle Timm, 33, of Calgary, AB, serving as the alternate.
Hours before the start of the first round of competition on Thursday, September 30, McGoldrick’s horse, Fanta M, showed signs of an allergic reaction and was withdrawn from competition. Due to a Federation International Equestre (FEI) rule that requires horse-and-rider combinations to have demonstrated their partnership prior to competing in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final, Timm was unable to join the Canadian team.
With only three horse-and-rider combinations, Canada had to count all three scores from its remaining team members. Lead-off rider Wilks put eight faults on the scoreboard for Canada riding Diamanthella VG Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide mare (Diamant de Semilly x Hickory Mail) owned by IN Showjumpers, before Underhill jumped clear with her 2022 ECCO FEI World Championship mount, Nikka van den Bisschop, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Emerald x Nabab de Reve) owned by Rein Family LLC and Torrey Pines Stable Inc.
Riding in the anchor position, reigning Canadian Show Jumping Champion Gadban-Lewis was eliminated when Nico 1427, a 13-year-old black German-bred gelding (Nekton x Calypso II) owned by Double Meadows Farm LLC, twice refused to jump the open water. Without the advantage of a drop score, Canada was eliminated from the competition.
“Going with three riders was less than perfect but everyone kept their cool, there was no drama, and everyone understood their job,” said Eric Lamaze, chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team. “I look at this as a very encouraging Nations’ Cup. I feel like I worked with people who I didn’t have much exposure to in the past, and it’s so exciting for me to have discovered that. They’ve maintained a level of dignity and composure. These things matter to me, to see people do the right thing under difficult circumstances.”
Moving on to the €96,000 1.55m City of Barcelona Trophy – MRW Cup, Timm posted a clear round for Canada riding Farezzo, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Arezzo VDL x Van Gogh) owned by Adam Pearsall and Torrey Pines Stables. Held in a format that saw the top 25 percent of the starting field advance to a second round, only nine horse-and-rider combinations would qualify. Timm had the slowest clear round and was siting in ninth position when Underhill entered the ring as last to go. In a twist of fate, Underhill delivered a clear riding Nikka van den Bisschop, dropping Timm to tenth place and out of the second round.
Returning for the second round, Underhill incurred eight faults to place ninth overall. Reigning European Champion Andre Thieme of Germany riding Conacco took the win over Dutch competitor Harrie Smolders aboard Dolinn.
“I was impressed with their passion for what we do,” said Lamaze of the Canadian team athletes competing in Barcelona. “These guys are serious riders, and the future is in front of them. We don’t have a lot of depth [on the Canadian team] but it’s not going to take long. If we don’t stick our neck out for new people from time to time, we’re not going to get more players in the game. We can hold our own pretty much anywhere. For a while, we’ll use young riders but won’t take long; they are winners, you can see that from their attitudes. We want to get better than holding our own; we have to get to the top. I feel that we will soon have the depth that it takes to be on top of the world. There’s some work to do, but it’s going to be great to be working with them. It was exciting for me in that way. That’s very encouraging as a chef.”
Canada qualified for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona, Spain, by being one of the top two teams in the North and Central America and Caribbean League along with Mexico. For full results, visit here.
The Canadian Show Jumping Team will next compete in the Nations’ Cup at CSIO4*-W Rabat, Morocco, from October 13 to 16, 2022.