Weather wins out at Spruce Meadows

  • More than 60mm of rain in 28rs brought the BMO Financial Group Nations’ Cup to a halt at Spruce Meadows, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. All of the 26 competitors from six different nations refused to compete in the second round of the competition, due to concerns about their horses’ welfare. This marks the first time in the competition’s 29-year history that a winner has not been crowned.

    The second round course had been modified and approved by the FEI ground jury and veterinary commission, responsible for horse and rider safety. But each nation elected to forego the competition for the impressive $300,000 stake, despite the organisers and officials wanting them to continue. The Spruce Meadow record book now reads “No final placings recorded as no team completed two rounds of competition with three riders.”

    American team captain George Morris claimed that the horses’ welfare was above all considerations and, along with the other competitors, decided not to jump. Officials disagreed with the competitor’s behaviour but duly told the 30,920 fans in attendance that the nations’ cup had been abandoned.

    Bill Downe, deputy chair of the BMO Financial Group, which has sponsored the nations cup in Calgary since its creation, announced that this year’s $300,000 purse would be allocated to augment the purses of future BMO Financial Group Nations’ Cup events and refund tickets.

    Despite the terrible weather, Britain’s Nick Skelton had a successful visit to Canada, finishing runner-up in the CN International Grand Prix. Skelton, partnering Arko III jumped three faultless rounds to finish just behind the USA’s Beezie Madden, earning himself a prize of $200,000.

    William Funnell and Julie Slade’s Cortaflex Mondriaan finished in ninth place with Michael Whitaker and Gillespie Equestrian’s Portofino 63 in 12th.

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