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Profile: Canadian showjumper Mac Cone

Mac Cone and Amor van de Rostal.

Mac Cone with Amor van de Rostal in the $C1m CN International at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows, Calgary. © Cealy Tetley/Rolex

Canadian showjumper  Mac (Malcolm) Cone has been named as the Rolex “One to Watch” this month, after the 60-year-old moved up the sports rankings 79 places to 220.

Cone was born in Memphis, Tennessee (USA), and is based in King, Ontario (CAN) where he runs Southern Ways Stable. He moved to Canada in 1979 and is one of only two riders to have ever competed internationally for both the Canadian and United States Equestrian teams (1984 World Cup Champion Mario Deslauriers is the other). Cone has now competed at two Olympic Games, with his most successful result coming in Beijing in 2008 where, alongside Eric Lamaze, Jill Henselwood and Ian Millar, the Canadian team won the silver medal.

Having started riding at the age of 10 in his native Tennessee, Cone spent his early career training in the United States where he had the opportunity to work under the guidance of renowned jumping coach and legendary horseman Bertalan de Nemethy.

Sharing his own wealth of knowledge, Cone has coached several students to international level including 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games teammate Melissa Brown; 2003 Pan American Games team member Mark Samuel; and Gail Greenough, who remains the first woman and only North American to win the World Show Jumping Championships, which was held in Aachen (GER) in 1986.

Cone is currently partnered with the 11-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding, Unanimous, and the 12-year-old bay Belgian Warmblood gelding, Amor van de Rostal.

Cone, who has been a consistent performer on the international jumping scene for more than 30 years, has had a thoroughly memorable equestrian career. As well as his team silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Cone’s lifetime highlights include winning the 1996 Olympic Selection Trials at Spruce Meadows with Elute and going on to become the highest-placed Canadian partnership at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA). At the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, Cone was again the highest-placed Canadian riding Cocu. At the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cone was a member of the silver medal team riding Melinda.

Cone’s notable results during September 2012 include a third place finish in the Grand Prix at the CSI2* Caledon, Ontario, and a second place finish in the Open Welcome at the CSI2* Angelstone National Show Jumping Tournament in Rockwood, Ontario aboard Unanimous. Riding the exciting new prospect, Amor van de Rostal, owned by Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings, Cone produced scores of four and four in the $300,000 BMO Nation’s Cup at CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Calgary, Alberta. Cone will continue to campaign both mounts throughout the remainder of the 2012 season.

“I am very fortunate to have the owners that I do, namely Mark Samuel, the Kelk family and the Kerr family,” said Cone, whose partnership with Samuel has now spanned 30 years.

“Without owners like them, it is impossible for a rider to be strong internationally. Unanimous and Amor van de Rostal are ages 11 and 12 respectively, and both are coming on strongly right now. Amor was extraordinary at Spruce Meadows and Unanimous had some wonderful placings this year as well. When your horses are jumping well in top FEI competitions, the rider results are carried along with them. I am just lucky to have those owners and those horses.”

Of his future plans, Cone noted, “I am qualified for the international week at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show in Toronto, so I will first do the Canadian Championships and then march on with both horses into the international week. We love showing at the Royal, and it is exciting to know that I can compete in all the international classes with two horses. Then it’s back down to Wellington, Florida for the winter.  To have both horses going well and to compete for the Nations’ Cup team in Wellington is my next goal.”

In addition to his own competitive career, Cone recently took on the role of Assistant Chef d’Equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team. He is also a popular colour commentator for CBC Sports television.

The Rolex One to Watch is an initiative which identifies the rider who has made the biggest jump within or into the Top 250 of the Rolex Rankings the previous month.

• Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson is currently ranked number one in the Rolex Rankings and therefore holds the Green & Gold armband which bears the words “Number 1, Rolex Rankings”. The Rolex Rankings are updated monthly and issued at the start of each calendar month.

 

 

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