With perfect conditions at ‘tbird’ as it is known, course designer Peter Holmes of Cowichan Bay, BC, laid down a track appropriate for Nations Cup competition and challenged the combinations from Teams Mexico, USA, Ireland, Australia along with Canada to a thrilling day in the grass ring.

“Any day on the podium is a good day,” said Chef d’Equipe Ian Millar. “It wouldn’t be a Nations Cup if there weren’t some surprises. This is the nature of the sport and we put in a great effort today.” 

Canadian Show Jumping Team Second in Longines Nations Cup of Canada

Tiffany Foster and Hamilton
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Leading the way for Canada was hometown favourite Tiffany Foster of Langley, BC, riding Hamilton, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Quadros 3 x Acolord) owned by The Hamilton Group. The two-time Olympian with her go-to Nations Cup partner had an unlucky first round taking down the second element of the double combination and the first rail of the triple combination. Being just over the time allowed, she incurred nine faults which would become the team’s first round drop score. She came back in round two improving on her result with four faults. 

Canadian Show Jumping Team Second in Longines Nations Cup of Canada

Erynn Ballard and Gakhir
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Next in the order for the home team was Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, aboard her World Championship mount Gakhir (Sparatacus x Labor’s VDL Indorado) a 12-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding owned by Esperanza Imports LLC & Ilan Ferder. The pair expertly navigated the 1.60m course twice, posting one of only two double clear performances in the day’s competition. 

Canadian Show Jumping Team Second in Longines Nations Cup of Canada

Mario Deslauriers and Emerson
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Veteran of the team, three-time Olympian Mario Deslauriers, of Venise-en-Québec, QC, who lives in New York, NY, delivered another strong first round aboard Emerson (Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Berlin), the 11-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding owned by Wishing Well LLC. After navigating the course, they dropped the first element of the triple combination and ended the round on 4 faults. With the pressure on, they came back and jumped clear in the second.

Canadian Show Jumping Team Second in Longines Nations Cup of Canada

Amy Millar and Truman
Photo Credit: Cealy Tetley

Anchoring the team was Olympian Amy Millar of Perth, ON, aboard Truman (Mylord Carthago*HN x Kolibri), a 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Millar Brooke Farm LTD. & Overlund. The pair delivered an expertly ridden clear first round and followed it up with a mere four-fault performance in the second to finish the team on a total of eight faults.

“Sometimes these Nations Cups come down to an absence of errors,” said the Chef d’Equipe. “And as we went into the second round tied with the Irish on four faults, that’s what it came down to. Unfortunately, they made none. We made one.”

Ireland, the defending champions at Thunderbird took the win, Canada was second, the USA rounded out the podium in third place with Mexico in fourth and Australia in fifth. At the conclusion of the North American series, USA and Mexico have secured the two spots in the Longines Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain this October.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Thunderbird has hosted the FEI Nations Cup of Canada since 2016. Founded by George and Dianne Tidball in 1970, the prestigious facility is widely considered one of the top venues in North America, but more importantly is well-known for its welcoming and warm hospitality lead by tbird CEO Jane Tidball. Everyone can agree that it was a great day of show jumping in Langley.

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