Canada’s Eric Lamaze made his first competition appearance in three months at the CSI5*-W Geneva International Horse Show, but in the capacity of commentator, not competitor.
Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Show Jumping Champion and former number one in the Rolex Rider Rankings, began a short hiatus from competition following the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows “Masters” tournament in Calgary, Canada, in September. While Lamaze will not return to competition until the 2013 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, he travelled to Geneva to support the competition, held December 6 to 9, and its sponsor, Rolex.
Before both rounds of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, Lamaze provided the large audience with a course description, giving them an insider’s look at the challenges and questions posed by Swiss course designer Rolf Ludi in the Palexpo Arena. Lamaze also conducted a course assessment for the media before the event on behalf of Rolex.
On Sunday, Lamaze provided television commentary of the Rolex World Cup Grand Prix, the sixth leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series, for French broadcast outlet, Equidia. It is a sideline Lamaze has come to enjoy, having commentated for other international show jumping events, including calling the $1 million CN International at Spruce Meadows on September 9 for Canada’s CBC Sports.
The trip to Geneva also gave Lamaze an opportunity to watch Pilar Cordon of Spain compete with Coriana van Klapscheut, the horse who carried him to second place in the 2011 edition of the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. Cordon has ridden the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Artisan Farms in the past when Lamaze has had scheduling conflicts, and took over the ride for the European indoor circuit when Lamaze announced his break.
“It was really fun to be there, and I was happy to be able to do a lot for the show,” said Lamaze, noting that Geneva is one of his favourite shows on the European circuit. “It was nice to see all my friends from Rolex and from the European circuit, and being in Geneva also gave me a chance to watch Coriana being ridden by Pilar. I was very pleased with how the horse is jumping.
“I’m back riding again myself, and looking forward to the 2013 season where we’ll concentrate on making up a new string of young horses.”
Lamaze will be riding two new horses, Rosana du Park, a 2005 bay selle francais mare (Kannan x Quinine de Livoye) and Big Smile, a 2006 grey Westphalian mare (Cartano x Hors de la Loi II). Both horses were bought by the Ziegler family’s Artisan Farms and arrived in Wellington, Florida, in mid-November.
Lamaze, who divides his time between Belgium and Florida, will return to competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival running January 9 through March 31 in Wellington, Florida. Despite having not competed for the past three months, Lamaze is still ranked among the top 30 in the current Rolex Riders Rankings.