American show jumper Karl Cook will also be at Stanley Park on Wednesday evening for a public demonstration aimed at encouraging people from Vancouver to attend the FEI Longines World Cup Jumping at tbird Sunday. (MOI Photography)

Stanley Park ride aims to ignite interest in Langley equine event

A Vancouver demo with Olympic-level riders hopes to pique interest in Sunday’s show jumping at tbird.

Vancouver PD mounted officers will be hot on the heels of two star equestrian athletes set to gallop through Stanley Park Wednesday morning.

Thankfully, it’s not a police pursuit and takedown, or any kind of criminal undertaking – for that matter.

It’s a joint effort where a number of different types of riders will be sharing their love of horses with park goers.

It’s a precursor to the upcoming Longines FEI World Cup Jumping presented by Facet Advisors – a qualifier being held Sunday, Aug. 27 in Langley.

Stanley Park is host to a variety of animals, from the sea creatures at the aquarium to the wild species that roam the beautiful park.

But on Wednesday morning, there will be animals that many don’t realize are quite integrated to the Stanley Park picture.

Horses.

Many see the carriage horses with their trolley, and spot the Vancouver Police Department on their horses as part of the mounted unit.

But this week, there are other working horses visiting the park between 7 and 9 a.m., show jumpers – the kind people see in the Olympics.

One of these horses will be seen jumping over “huge obstacles” with Canadian rider Ben Asselin on board.

Asselin, who at only 23 years old is one of the leading Canadian riders in the world, will be on site giving key points about the sport of show jumping.

He will be joined by top American rider Karl Cook.

It is an opportunity to witness, possibly for the first time, Stanley Park hosting show jumping, said tbird’s own Chris Pack.

Asselin and Cook are both competing on Sunday, Aug. 27, in the World Cup.

That action gets started at 2 p.m. at Thunderbird Show Park (6975 248th St. in Langley) – as part of the third annual FEI Longines World Cup Jumping qualifier.

This event is one of only four in Canada, and the only in B.C.

Cook won the qualifier last year, and was third overall in the North American League in points for 2016.

This Sunday’s event features these and other Olympic riders from all around the world as they compete for points to qualify for the finals in Paris next spring.

Show jumping is an exciting sport where horse and rider require exceptional skill and coordination, Pack said.

They must work together to clear a difficult series of jumps all within an allotted time.

Pack is encouraging people to bring the family out to Stanley Park on Wednesday to get just a taste of this “unique” and “rare experience,” and moreover he’s inviting people to attend Sunday’s show in Langley.

Langley’s free, family event not only features horses jumping 1.5-1.6-metre-high obstacles, but includes local bands, food trucks, pony rides, a beer garden, and lots of stadium seating.

More information available online at tbird.ca.

In addition to the tbird riders at Stanley Park on Wednesday, the VPD mounted squad will be on hand discussing the different jobs and training that goes into working with their horses.

This will be happening on the green by the totem poles.

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