French chef d’equipe Thierry Pomel knew he had good horses and riders on his team for the $351,088 BMO Nations Cup at the Spruce Meadows Masters. He just thought he might not have quite enough of them.
For most amateur riders, taking second place in a Prix des Nations competition at Spruce Meadows (Alta.) would probably rank high on a list of proudest achievements. For Sara Jorgensen, the satisfaction was doubled—her 14-year-old daughter Abby was another member of the team.
“When we were lined up for ribbons, I couldn’t even look at her,” Sara said. “I knew I would burst out in tears if I did, so I just kept looking down at my horse and adjusting my reins. I was so full of pride. It was a really good moment.”
Nine years ago, Jeroen Dubbeldam traveled to the Spruce Meadows Masters from his home in the Netherlands to contest one of the world’s most prestigious grand prix classes. His trip didn’t quite go as planned, however.
“I was eliminated in the grand prix and didn’t even get the $3,500 for finishing. Then, I sat next to Renne Tebbel on the plane home, and he had won the class. They weren’t such great memories,” said Dubbeldam laughing.
U.S. Chef d’ Equipe George Morris said it all during the awards ceremony of the $339,515 BMO Nations Cup at the Spruce Meadows Masters: “There’s nothing better than winning the Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows. Nothing.”
This was the U.S. team’s second win in three years, but it wasn’t without drama during a typical Calgary, Alta., fall afternoon that featured bright sunshine, rain showers and a significant drop in temperatures during the two-round class held today, Sept. 11.
In just the blink of an eye, Sapphire and McLain Ward captured the $921,560 CN International Grand Prix at the Spruce Meadows Masters today, Sept. 13, in a heart-stopping jump-off with reigning Olympic individual medalists Eric Lamaze and Hickstead.
In the end, the difference was .02 seconds.
“He [Eric] was nice enough to take a pull [on the reins],” said Ward with a smile. “And I’ll take it.”
Indeed, Ward took home first-placed prize money of $299,554, with Lamaze, the class winner in 2007, earning $184,341 for his gallant efforts.