Canada Wins First Ever Nations Cup In Taking Wellington CDIO3* Gold
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 23, 2017–Canada won its first ever Nations Cup Thursday, capturing the CDIO3* to beat the United States and Spain over two days of team competition.
The Canadian team of husband and wife small tour pairs Jaimey Irwin on Donegal V and Tina Irwin on Laurencio and the Big Tour combinations of the Olympic duo of Megan Lane and Caravella and Jill Irving and Degas led from the start to take gold.
The all Grand Prix American team was awarded silver, the only loss in Wellington since the first Nations Cup outside Europe was staged at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in 2013 and a year after taking the entire trans-Atlantic series.
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Lonoir, Lisa Wilcox on Galant and Shelly Francis on Doktor could not overcome setbacks on the first day despite bonus points for Big Tour horses. Shelly had gone off course during the Grand Prix and Arlene “Tuny” Page and Woodstock were eliminated for blood in the mouth of the horse.
Spain was awarded the bronze.
The final team results were: 1. Canada 434.528; 2. USA 432.661; Spain 397.690.
Canada had come into Thursday’s competition of Intermediate 1 and Grand Prix Special after being the overnight leader following the Prix St. Georges and Grand Wednesday.
Tina Irwin on Laurenco repeated as the top small tour score. After her husband, Jaimey on Donegal V, also rode small tour it was up to Jill Irving on Degas and Megan Lane on Caravella to cement the win on their big tour mounts that each received a bonus of 1.5 points for each score on both days.
Megan, the anchor for the Canadian team on her Olympic, World Games and Pan American Games mount, said she tried not to think about the pressure when she was the last rider in the competition with Canada slightly behind the United States.
However, she tried not to think about the pressure and felt priveleged to be on the team.
“I’m still shaking,” she admitted.
The format of mixed Big and Small tour combinations is unique in the official International Equestrian Federation (FEI) trans-Atlantic series. Wellington kicks off the series that now moves to Europe.
The United States won the series in 2016, the first year of the official lineup of events.
Canada’s Mathilde Blais-Tetreault on Utah won individual gold on a score of 68.279 per cent in the first Under-25 Nations Cup outside Europe. Anna Buffini of Del Mar, California on Sundayboy took silver on 68.093 per cent with her American team mate Molly Paris of Charlotte, North Carolina on Countess receiving bronze on 65.721 per cent.
Mathilde, 25 years old, took over the ride on the Dutch-trained Utah four months ago, competing only in Wellington in the past two months.
Evi Eisenhardt of Germany, president of the ground jury and who was on the panel at the 2016 European Under-25 championships, said she was astonished at the “really, really high level” that was on par with Europe.