Team Canada qualified for the Nations Cup finals in Spain Friday with a second-place finish at the showjumping event at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley.
The evening got off to a dramatic start as Mexico – last year’s winner at Thunderbird – came third in the first of two rounds, after suffering a significant number of faults.
“It’s a bit of an upset,” said Thunderbird press officer Emily Penn.
Team USA led after the first round, taking only four faults on their score. Canada had 14, and Mexico and Ireland were well back.
Riding for Canada were Tiffany Foster, Chris Surbey, Keean White, and Ian Millar.
Foster, from British Columbia, helped her team stay in contention with a strong first ride and a perfect second ride. Millar and Surbey followed with two more perfect rides in the second round.
Canada would have taken the victory if the US team had racked up eight faults – but they were near-perfect as well, and only suffered a single fault in their final round.
Although it’s the same field, the course varies every year, said Penn.
Peter Holmes, the course designer, added some challenging obstacles this year, including a five-foot water jump.
“It’s a hard course for sure,” said Penn.
The time was also tight, and several riders suffered time faults for taking longer than allowed to get through the course.