Canadian showjumper Yann Candele has a new horse thanks to countryman Eric Lamaze, who has orchestrated the purchase of Showgirl.
Previously owned by Jonathan Asselin’s Attaché Stables, Showgirl is a 13-year-old chestnut selle francais mare (Gold de Becourt x Vedette Normande – Elf III). She was originally campaigned by Margie Gayford for then owner Wingberry Farms before she found her way to Asselin, in 2011. Showgirl and Asselin were Canada’s top placed combination at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and this year won the $140,000 1.60m Cenovus Energy Derby Classic at the Spruce Meadows “North American” tournament.
The pair most recently represented Canada in the €1,500,000 Furusiyya Nations’ Cup Final at CSIO5* Barcelona, Spain, where the team placed sixth overall among 18 countries vying for the inaugural title.
Albro Creek Farm, Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms, John Edwards, Eric Lamaze, and Uplands Farm joined forces to buy the mare.
“I’ve always been impressed with Yann’s riding and watching him in Barcelona confirmed that he’s a world-class competitor; we need people like him on the team,” said Lamaze, 45, of Schomberg, Ontario.
“When I approached this group of people about helping me to support Yann, they all said ‘yes’ without hesitation. It is extraordinary to see everyone coming together, and I thank them all for joining me. We hope that together, Yann and Showgirl will be able to do great things for Canada.”
Andy Ziegler of Artisan Farms said his primary sponsorship commitments were to Lamaze and Tiffany Foster, “but Yann is a terrific rider and a dear friend, and we are delighted to be part of the group supporting him with the purchase of this outstanding horse”.
Asselin who owns Attaché Stables with his wife, Nancy Southern, said they were happy Showgirl is going to her new owners. “It’s a tribute to Eric that he’s supplying another rider with a top mount, and we wish everyone involved a hearty best of luck and congratulations on the purchase. We want the best for her, and we’re very proud that we’ll see Showgirl continue to compete for Canada.”
While the ownership group’s primary goal is to support Candele with an international calibre mount, the purchase also strengthens Candele’s prospects of representing Canada at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
“It is very exciting,” said Candele, 42, the reigning three-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion. “I want to thank everyone for their support and for giving me this opportunity. We’re very pleased that the owners are coming together to try to put the best team possible together for Canada at the World Championships next summer.”
A native of Normandy, Candele noted, “Competing at the World Championships would be a special moment because I am from there, and also because the group of owners would be able to see their dream come true. It would be doubly enjoyable if we get there, for both reasons. There is still a lot of work to be done, and we’re excited to be working together towards such a major event.”
Candele is Head Trainer of Wingberry Farms, overseeing the training of all Wingberry Farms horses and clients. Candele’s own mounts are stabled at Mill Creek Stables in Cambridge, Ontario, where he also maintains his own horse sales business. Candele previously worked for Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable from 1999 through 2007.
Candele first made his senior Nations’ Cup debut in 2001 and competed at the 2004 World Cup Final in Milan, Italy, for his native France. Since gaining Canadian citizenship, Candele has ridden for Canada in eight Nations’ Cup competitions in addition to being a member of Canada’s fifth placed team at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games. He was also the traveling alternate for the 2012 London Olympic Games and represented Canada in CSIO5* Barcelona, Spain, held from September 26 to 29, 2013.