The second competition of the day in the International Ring at the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' was one for the history books: Fans were able to join on the property and watch showjumping at Spruce Meadows for the first time in two years. What a competitive and entertaining competition they were treated to.
The 12 obstacle and 15 jumping efforts course designed by Leopoldo Palencios (VEN) challenged some of the top riders in the world, including the likes of McLain Ward (USA), Martin Fuchs (SUI), Max Kühner (AUT), and Nayel Nassar (EGY). Canadian fan-favourites Eric Lamaze, Mario Deslauriers, Ben Asselin, and Tiffany Foster also took to the ring, where they were greeted by enthusiastic cheers from the small crowd who sat around the ring.
With eight horses and riders in the jump-off, spectators were treated to a thrilling competition as the athletes took on the 300m track with a time allowed of 45 seconds. McLain Ward and HH Azur (Thunder vd Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui vd Zuuthoeve) were the first to go for the jump-off, and none of the remaining riders managed to touch their zero-fault ride of 37.38 seconds. In fact, Ward was the only double-clear, with second place going to Nayel Nassar and Coronado (Cassini I x Acord II) who accrued three time faults in the jump-off. Third place went to Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance (Lord Z x Notaris), with four faults and a time of 38.34 seconds.
"HH Azur's always been a very fast horse. She's got a massive stride, she's a big mare... and she can cover the ground, and quick off the leg, so she's actually traditionally been a quick horse," Ward commented after his win.