Mon, September 23, 2013

Lamaze among faces on Olympic equestrian squad

By ROD KELLY, QMI Agency


Olympic Games individual gold medallist Eric Lamaze is one of many experienced riders going to London. (Lyle Aspinall/QMI Agency/Files)


CALGARY - Headlining Team Canada's entry this year will be reigning Olympic Games individual gold medallist Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ont., and Perth, Ont.'s Ian Millar, who'll be appearing in a record-setting 10th Summer Olympics.

Also to be named to the Canadian contingent are Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, Ont., Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ont., and Yann Candele of Caledon, Ont.

Team Canada's chef d'equipe, Terrance Millar, said this year’s selection process came with few surprises, but one challenge for Team Canada heading into this year’s Games is the fact Lamaze will no longer be guiding Hickstead, the mount he rode to Olympic gold four years ago.

The star stallion died during competition late last year.

The loss of Hickstead is a massive one.

“I don't know what you could compare the loss to,” said the chef d'equipe. “Maybe a basketball team losing Michael Jordan, or not having Secretariat for the horse race.”

Lamaze, Ian Millar and Henselwood were part of the Canadian team that won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics four years ago.

That veteran presence is sure to benefit Canada, but as always, new challenges arise with every Games, Terrance Millar said.

“I think one of the challenges for our team this year is perhaps that our horse-and-rider combinations don’t have the same amount of experience together as they did heading in 2008. The combinations are perhaps not as seasoned as they were then. But having said that, we’re feeling good about our team.”

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