Saturday of the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament is always full of excitement with fans cheering on their favourite teams in the BMO Nations Cup. This year nine teams competed for glory and to have their names put on the trophy that has been a part of the Spruce Meadows Collection for a very long time.
Athletes were challenged over 12 of obstacles with a time allowed of 74 seconds. In round one a limited amount of clear rounds were posted, but Germany made it look easy finishing in first after a team score of zero. United States, defending champions, finished round one on a team score of eight following close by the Irish and Canadians with team scores of 10 and 12 respectively.
After two rounds of competition Germany remained at the top of the leader board finishing on a team score of six. It was a battle for second place between Team Canada and Team Ireland - clear rounds were crucial. Two clear rounds for Canada posted by Kara Chad and Eric Lamaze had the crowd on their feet as it would secure a silver medal finish forcing Ireland to take the bronze.
"It is the greatest Nations Cup in the world - it's unbelievable!" German Chef d'Equipe Peter Hofmann said about winning the BMO Nations Cup.
Earlier in the day riders competed to earn their spot in the 1.50m Suncor Winning Round. Only 30 horse-and-rider combinations qualified and of those, the top 10 from round one moved on to compete in the winning round.
There were ten clear rounds posted in round one, and all proceeded to the winning round. The rider with the best score in round one would have the opportunity to go last in the winning round and Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten held that position with a quick clear time of 70.77s.
It was an even playing field going into the winning round, with all riders starting on a zero score. Conor Swail (IRL) was first to go and posted a quick clear time of 54.38s but that was short lived as Philipp Weishaupt (GER) flew around the course in a time of 53.25s aboard Solitaer 41 (Salito x Goldfasan). Van der Vleuten had the advantage of being able to watch the nine competitors before him, but could not catch Weishaupt's time and it would be a victory for Germany ahead of Swail and GK Coco Chanel (Clarimo x Lerano) in second, and Canada's Jim Ifko on Un Diamant des Forets (Diamant de Semilly x Papillon Rouge) in third.
"It feels amazing to win," Philipp Weishaupt said afterwards.