Articles: Press Release
Eric Lamaze and Hickstead are on form heading to
the 2006 World Equestrian Games.
PHOTO CREDIT: "With back-to-back wins in major Grand Prix events in
Blainville and Ottawa, Eric Lamaze and Hickstead are on form heading to
the 2006 World Equestrian Games."Photo Credit -(c) 2006 Cealy Tetley
Kenneth Kraus of Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ottawa, Ontario - July 20, 2006 - After two back-to-back weeks of show
jumping in Blainville and Ottawa, you have to take your hat off to Mr.
Riding Hickstead, the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion he has been
named to the World Equestrian Games (WEG) Team with, Lamaze proved to be
Sunday's best two weeks running. In Blainville, he topped an
eight-horse jump-off to take the $70,000 Grand Prix Jumping du Quebec
World Cup Qualifier and, in Ottawa, he was his own toughest competition,
winning the $60,000 'Kubota' Big Ben Memorial Grand Prix while also
finishing runner-up with Ronaldo. Conrad Homfeld, one of five course
designers waiting to hear if he will get the job at the 2008 Olympic
Games, built both courses.
Lamaze has always had high hopes for Hickstead. Two years ago at
Blainville, in the horse's first competition in Canada, he told me that
the little stallion was the horse to watch and how right he was! After
his win in Blainville last week, he again reaped praise on Hickstead,
saying, "He's is a great horse and a very good competitor. He's got a
great personality, and he's a fun horse to ride because I know him so
well. He's feisty, he knows why he is out there, and he knows that
knocking down a rail is not good! Some horses just don't get it."
The Capital Classic Show Jumping Tournament in Ottawa marked Lamaze's
last appearance on Canadian soil with Hickstead before the WEG. The
horse now travels to Europe where the entire Canadian Show Jumping Team
will enjoy an outing during the second week of CSI Valkenswaard, as well
as some other possible warm-up shows. Lamaze will travel back and
forth, hitting a few of the other big Canadian Grand Prix events with
his other mounts (goodness knows he has a stable full of them - he won
the $20,000 Open Welcome at the Capital Classic riding Narcotique de
Heading into his fourth consecutive WEG appearance, an accomplishment in
itself, Lamaze is optimistic about his chances. Having taken advantage
of the opportunity to compete at CSIO5* Aachen in May, Hickstead has not
only proven that he is comfortable in the venue, but that he can compete
with the best in the world, placing third after jumping three clean
rounds in the 300,000 Euro Grand Prix of Aachen.
"I would love to make it to the final four," Lamaze confided.
"Hickstead is not an easy horse, so it would be interesting to watch the
other competitors try to ride him. I have spent my whole life catch
riding, so I think it could be very exciting."
Another competitor who looks hot on the money heading to Aachen is Chris
Pratt who would be making his WEG debut. In both Blainville and Ottawa,
Pratt advanced to the jump-off with Rivendell where he was again
fault-free to place fifth and third respectively. After his third-place
finish at the Capital Classic, Pratt explained his strategy, saying, "I
just tried to be efficient and stay safe. I know Rivendell can go
faster than he went today, but with the World Championships coming up, I
just wanted to keep him jumping at his best, and give him confidence."
As for the rest of the WEG team members, Ian Millar only showed his WEG
mount, In Style, at Blainville where four faults kept him out of the
jump-off. A hometown favourite, Jill Henselwood was missed at the
Capital Classic, but her horses had only just returned from a three-day
road trip after spending the past two months at Spruce Meadows. It was
the same story for Mario Deslauriers, the other WEG team member.
In addition to extending best wishes to the five athletes heading to
Aachen, we must also credit the next generation of competitors. Erynn
Ballard, 25, the first alternate to the WEG team, impressed with her
third place finish in the Blainville World Cup Qualifier, steering Robin
van Roosendael to a double clear round with a polished and efficient
ride. In Ottawa, it was Lauren Hunkin, 26, whose name stood among the
veterans in the final results. A fourth place finish in the seven-horse
jump-off had Hunkin ecstatic. A student at Millar Brooke, Hunkin has
been riding Orleans, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding since
January, and her result in the $60,000 Kubota Big Ben Memorial Grand
Prix was her best finish to date. Most importantly, Hunkin enjoyed
every minute of the experience, enthusiastically telling the press,
"This is what we live for!"
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