For Immediate Release
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Calgary, AB – June 12, 2013 – The first day of the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament featured two welcome competitions in the Meadows on the Green. The first was a $5,000 Friends of the Meadows 1.45m Welcome for the horses in contention to compete in tomorrow’s $100,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™. Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and Quilebo D Tillard took the win in the speed format competition. Abigail McArdle (USA) and Cosma 20 were fastest to win the second $5,000 Friends of the Meadow 1.45m Welcome.
The ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO-W 5* runs June 12-16 and is host to the $100,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ on Thursday, June 13, as well as the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix CSI-W on Sunday, June 16. There will be complimentary admission and parking for spectators during the ‘Continental’ Tournament.
The opening competition had 43 entries going for speed over a course designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. It featured an option fence with the open water jump, which will only be used in the Nations Cup. Riding out of the eighth spot in the order, Gonzalez and Quilebo D Tillard, a nine-year-old Selle Francais by For Pleasure x Quat Sous that Gonzalez has owned for two years, stopped the timers with a clear round in 74.97 seconds. Christine McCrea (USA) and Wannick WH were second in 75.02 seconds, while Ian Millar (CAN) and Baranus were third with a time of 75.68 seconds.
Gonzalez has been very pleased with his up-and-coming mount that placed second and fourth in major competitions last week in the International Ring in the ‘National’ Tournament. “He’s been really, really competitive,” he said. “He’s been really consistent and I’m really happy with him.”
Gonzalez plans to show his top horse Criptonite in the $100,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ tomorrow, so he “took just a little bit of a chance with Quilebo.” He explained, “Everybody was training a little bit with their horses, so I just went in a nice rhythm and I was lucky to win the class.”
This is Quilebo’s first year competing at Spruce Meadows. “I think he likes it!” Gonzalez smiled. “If everything goes okay in the week, he will jump the grand prix.”
Mexico will field two teams tomorrow and Gonzalez spoke about the great opportunity for the riders from his country. “Normally our country has a very small chance of going abroad and jumping these kinds of competitions. I think it’s a super experience. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do many Nations Cups for my country, but I think there are a lot of young people who need the experience before being exposed to Europe or a championship. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I think it will be good for horses and riders,” he remarked.
He continued, “Normally in our country, riding is not so big of a sport. We are struggling to put one team together. But now we’re able to put two teams together, so that just says the sport is growing and there is a lot of interest and a lot people wanting to be here. The ambience in the week is going to be very different with all the support of your friends and family and support of the team.”
Full press release available at the Spruce Meadows website here.