Small hopes her horsing around ends by tomorrow

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Kelley Small was waiting for a ride yesterday.

Hopefully, it will arrive tomorrow.

There is no place like home for the Kanata rider who is participating in this week's Kubota Capital Classic, which got under way yesterday at the Nepean Equestrian Park, but Small is still awaiting on the arrival of her horse, Black Ice.

After competing at Spruce Meadows in Calgary last week, Small, 21, arrived back in Ottawa on Monday and she's been enjoying all the comforts of home with this week's event only a hop, skip and a jump from her doorstep.

There's just one problem: No sign of Black Ice.

"This is great for me to be able to compete here and I look forward to it. It's so nice to be home and so nice to sleep in your own bed. This sport keeps me busy and it's not like I'm able to get home that much," said Small.

"My horse hasn't arrived yet. I have to show the horse (tomorrow), so I'm hoping it will arrive here in time. I checked this morning and the horse was still in Winnipeg. It shouldn't be a problem to get it here on time."

Such is life on the busy equestrian circuit for Small. She started training at age 13 with Ottawa native Jill Henselwood, a Canadian Equestrian Team member, and Small has been keeping busy ever since.

Last week, it was Calgary. This week, it's Kanata. Next week, it's off to Bromont, Que. No, not exactly a glamourous lifestyle, although competing in Indio, Calif., in the off-season is exciting. That's why being home is nice.

"This is always a great event," said Small.

In fact, the Capital Classic is growing into one of the biggest on the circuit. There are more than 700 competitors on hand and organizers expect more than 7,000 spectators at the gorgeous facility Saturday and Sunday.

Eric Lamaze, who was the 2000 and 2003 Canadian Show Jumping Champion, has 60 horses here competing from his Torrey Pines Stables in Schomberg. Lamaze, one of the most recognizable names on the circuit, is looking forward to the weekend.

"This is a really good event because you get the opportunity to show some young horses in a good setting and you don't always get that chance," said Lamaze, who has represented Canada at the World Equestrian Games in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

"This is a sport that's been gaining in popularity in Canada ... especially with the hockey not playing last year. There's a lot of good competition in Canada and this event here is something that has been growing."

In competition yesterday, Erynn Ballard of Hornby was the fastest of 40 entries who took to the Grand Prix field, jumping fences set at a height of 1.30 metres. Riding Paradigm, Ballard stopped the clock in 60.12 seconds, to edge out Chris Kappler of the U.S., who rode Lioseta to a second-place finish in 62.28 seconds. Yann Candele of France, placed third aboard Lord Concerto in 64.25 seconds.


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