Quote of the Week
“I think most of you will know that I normally don’t like to be beaten. [But] when I saw a ‘2’ on the screen [today], something made me really happy, because I knew Eric won.”
—World #1 Steve Guerdat telling the press why he was delighted to settle for second place in this weekend’s RBC Grand Prix to good friend Eric Lamaze (more on that below). Maybe there’s no crying in show jumping, but press conferences are totally fair game.
Eric Lamaze’s Legend-Making Win at Spruce Meadows
Truly great moments in sport come around only once every few years, and on Saturday, June 8, one of them came for Canada’s Eric Lamaze, who rode Chacco Kid to victory in the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix of Canada at Spruce Meadows.
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Lamaze has been privately battling a brain tumor for the better part of a year, and this is his first major win since being back on the international stage. Lamaze topped a seven-horse jump-off featuring some of the sport's best riders, including Guerdat in second place (with Albfuehren’s Bianca), Conor Swail (IRL) in third with Koss Van Heiss, and the USA’s Beezie Madden & Coach—who had a rail in the jump-off—fourth. “This is an ongoing battle for me and today is a gift,” said the 2008 Olympic Champion. “With great support from Steve [Guerdat], my owners and clients, my staff, and people all around the world, you keep fighting and the dream came true.”
Lamaze is the all-time leading money winner at Spruce Meadows, earning more than $6 million over the course of his career (yes, you read that right). He’ll add a good deal more this week, having also ridden to victory in Thursday's 1.50m PwC Cup on his 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Fine Lady 5.
The rider, who called Saturday’s win one he will “cherish forever,” is notoriously stoic, but after this class, he couldn’t help but profess his gratitude for the many horses who have given him so much over the years. “With the great Hickstead was the last time I won this grand prix; he was looking out for me today,” said an emotional Lamaze. “I didn’t get up this morning thinking this was possible… It shows what a good horse can do for you. When you don’t have the fight in you, they fight for you.”
Lamaze & Chacco Kid in the RBC Grand Prix of Canada (c) Sportfot/Starting Gate Communications
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College Riding 101
Kids, take it from us, it’s never too early to start planning for your future, and if that future could include participation on a college riding team, then boy, have we got the deets for you! From $$$ perks to being a team player, here are five things you should know about the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA).
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Watch Harry Charles & Abc Quantum Cruise Trot a 5-Foot Vertical at GCL Cannes
Practicing trot jumps is something many of us would rather live without, but you never know when that practice is going to come in handy. And no, we’re not talking about a handy hunter round, we’re talking about 1.55m Global Champions League competition. Last week, Great Britain’s U25 rider Harry Charles & Abc Quantum Cruise managed a flawless trot jump demo mid-course, then went on to pull off a crucial clear for their team, the Miami Celtics, helping them finish second overall. Talk about sitting chilly (watch Harry's third jump)!
This Just In...
Lauren Hough’s Ohlala Has Officially Retired
After taking the season off due to injury, Lauren Hough announced this week that her top mare, “Lala” will not return to sport, instead retiring to a new career in breeding. Hough, who has called Ohlala her “horse of a lifetime,” says it was a difficult decision for her to make, but the right one for her horse. “I know the sport will always remember you as the little mare with the biggest heart,” Hough said on her social pages.
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I would like to announce the end of Ohlala’s sporting career and the beginning of a new chapter of her life to focus on breeding. She is in very good health and very happy, but I just didn’t think that she would make it again to the very top of the sport with her injury from last year. * I would like to take a moment to thank my entire team and her wonderful owners for always allowing me to do what’s best for “Lala”. She has been a horse of a lifetime for me, and this was a difficult decision to come to terms with for me. However, I know in my heart that it’s the best one for her! * Thank you, Lala, for so many amazing victories all across the world... I'm not sure that I will ever replace you, but I hope to carry on your legacy with some beautiful foals! Lala, I know the sport will always remember you as the little mare with the biggest heart ❤️
A #CutePonyGirl-Approved Gender Reveal
Gender reveals can go wrong in SO many ways (most ways, if we’re being honest). But if you must gather a bunch of your closest friends together and make them gawk awkwardly at some colored balloons, or the inside of a cake, or some such, at least spring to put on a show for them. And if your show involves an exciting, sliding-stop reining display, all the better.