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Captain Canada helps launch crucial season at equestrian park

May 21, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Mac Cone of King City guided Vannety B over the first jump of Friday’s $35,000 Alberta Premium Welcome. They, alas, knocked down a rail on this jump, amounting to the only faults they picked up in the round. The did better in Sunday’s $35,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix, advancing to the jump-off and finishing third.
Photo by Bill Rea

By Bill Rea
It’s still very much a work in progress, but Caledon Equestrian is getting rave reviews after the first event of the season, the Classic @ Palgrave Phase 1.
The highlight of the weekend was Sunday’s $35,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix. And it was Captain Canada, Olympian Ian Millar who took the prize aboard Dixson.
There were 25 horses in the competition, with Millar and Dixson being among the nine to ride clear through the first round and advance to the jump-off. Faults were rare during the jump-off, with Millar and Dixson completing the course in 43.51 seconds. Ireland’s Conor Swail saw the need for speed when it was his turn in the ring aboard Martha Louise, and he shaved roughly three-quarters of a second from Millar’s time, but he knocked down a railing in the process, and had to settle for seventh place, as well as second spot on his other entry Lansdown. The pair were the first two in the jump-off, turning in a clear round in a swift 44.52 seconds.
Third place went to King City resident Mac Cone aboard Vannety B, with a clear round completed in 45.98 seconds.
Rounding out the results from the jump-off, fourth place went to Jacqueline Steffens from Harriston riding Quercus van Generhese, followed by Jonathan Millar of Perth on Contino 14, Ljubov Kochetova of Russia on Wilford 2, Swail and Martha Louise, Caledon resident Yann Candele on Brooklyn Blues and Kochetova riding Veyron.
The weekend did see some success for Swail, as he won Friday’s $35,000 CSI2* Alberta Premium Open Welcome with Lansdowne.
Swail’s return to competition at the Caledon park was notable, as it was his first show back after tearing his Achilles tendon at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto in November. Having won the last two major competitions of the 2013 season at Caledon, with Lansdowne, the pair resumed exactly where they had left off, by claiming victory over a 12-horse jump-off field. Their time of 43.58 seconds gave them the win over Millar and Dixson, who had stopped the clock at 46.20, making it a great day for Susan and Aerial Grange of Cheltenham, owners of both Lansdowne and Dixson.
“It’s nice to be back,” Swail remarked after Friday’s performance.
In a little more than a year, the park is going to be hosting equestrian events for the Pan American Games, and the work that’s been done has been drawing plenty of praise.
“The facility’s fabulous,” Swail declared.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” Millar commented after his victory Sunday. “This will be the best Pan Am facility, probably ever.”
He stressed the developments taking place at the park are going to leave a legacy, both for the community and the sport. They are going to include an indoor riding facility. So far, the only one in this part of the country is at the Coliseum at Exhibition Place in Toronto. The new one in the works, he said, is “one that we will use plenty.”
He also observed a facility like this is going to attract attention, which will add up to more sponsorship, TV coverage, etc., and that will be beneficial for the sport in the years to come.
Cone was impressed as well.
“I think it’s going to be just a world-class facility,” he remarked after Sunday’s competition.
He said the footing in the ring where the weekend competitions took place was perfect.
Craig Collins, managing partner of Equestrian Management Group (EMG) which runs the facility with the Town of Caledon and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, said it was “unbelievable” that they were able to get things ready so fast, considering the recent weather.
“Mother Nature was not the most helpful friend,” he remarked. “I’m thrilled that we were able to pull it off.”
Sierra Excavation, a local family-operated business, has the job for the installation of the footing system.
“They worked their guts out in horrendous conditions,” Collins said. “They did a tremendous job.”
But the work is on scheduled for next year’s games.
“We’ve got about a thousand little things that we’ve got to finish here,” he commented.

         

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