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CIEC Daily Update!

The following are the daily updates from Michelle DeGarie (Team Coach)


Day 1

Grace Gallow, Lisa Pfister and I flew from Moncton to Calgary to participate as part of the NB Team in the Canadian Inter-provincial Championships for Dressage.  The competition starts later this week at the John Anderson’s Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Facility, which is just minutes from Spruce Meadows!  Since the competition is very far from NB, we opted to compete on horses from Alberta, and we were VERY fortunate to “borrow” Welpteg, a 10 year old Hanoverian owned and ridden by a fellow NB’er, Emily Smith.  Emily has been residing in Alberta for over a year, and was able to spend the afternoon with us to get acquainted with her horse.  Grace leased a horse through the competition, and we have heard that her lucky horse is called T.G.I. Friday. He doesn’t arrive until Tuesday… but we’re having some bets about what he may look like!  So far, only the Ontario horse and Willy are stabled at the facility. We expect the other teams to move in within the next few days.

We are also very lucky to have rented an apartment very close to the show grounds…. thanks to Renee who was able to find this steal online!!  The owners (Peggy and Gordon) have been extremely welcoming and accommodating.

Thanks again for everyone who made this journey possible for these two ladies. They will be making NB proud!!!

Day 2

Since we are so close to the Rockies, the girls and I decided to take an early morning road trip to visit Canmore and Banff… and we weren’t disappointed. The views from this area are simply breath-taking!!  We even hiked up Mount Sulfur, which overlooks Banff.  We returned to the showgrounds mid-afternoon to school Willy in the main ring. Some of the other teams are slowly moving into the show grounds.  We finished off the evening by heading into Calgary for great steaks and a tour of downtown Calgary. The steaks were amazing, and the downtown is pretty spectacular.

Day 3

We headed to the showgrounds early to school Will in the main ring in the cooler morning weather and to watch the training sessions of the other team riders. The jumper riders were jumping in one of the warm up rings, and we saw one of the junior Ontario riders in the dressage warm-up.  We schooled Willy, and then the girls spent the rest of the morning organizing and decorating our horse stalls and tack stall.  After lunch, we ventured to a few tack shops and toured Spruce Meadows.  We were lucky enough to witness the filming a commercial for the RCMP musical ride in the Spruce Meadows International Ring!  Upon our return to the barn, we were introduced to the newest addition of our team, TGI Friday!! He’s quite a character, and we are excited to see what he is like under saddle tomorrow!

Day 4

Today started with the jog for the leased horses. TGI Friday passed with flying colors. Both horses were ridden in the dressage warm-up area, as well the main show ring, which is right next to the jumper ring. All the horses and teams have now moved into the facility, which is great to see. The reiners are “spinning” around, with the jumpers galloping in the background. It’s quite different to see all these disciplines in the same location!

After the training sessions, we had the opening ceremony for the CIEC’s. We had a provincial parade of teams which took place in one of the jumper rings, followed by a dinner.  John Anderson was there and greeted the teams, along with fellow EC president Mike Gallagher!!!!

Day 5

The competition is now in full swing, and the last 2 days have been full of activity, so I apologize in advance for this long email!  However… not everything has been good news. As some of you may have heard, Bryan Anderson (Johhn’s brother) passed away on Sept 11 after sustaining injuries in a riding accident. Equine Canada’s news release about the passing can be read here:–Bryan-Anderson–1969-2013—-Equine-Canada.html?soid=1102707527364&aid=dY6wKojZFLI

On a better note, we’ve had a few days to watch the other teams train… and OMG!!!! Some of these horses and riders are simply amazing! The level of riding that we’ve seen so far is fantastic, and the leased horses are outstanding. Doreen from AB was responsible for finding the leased dressage horses…. and I don’t know how she did it, but she found some really well schooled and talented horses for the riders.  The junior riders in this competition (reining, jumping and dressage) are extremely talented, and I would bet that the highest placing combinations overall (in all disciplines) will be the junior riders.

Flying the colours in Alberta.

Flying the colours in Alberta.

Observing the others train and compete has also opened my eyes to the differences and complexity in the horse naming conventions.  I am now suggesting that no horse ever be named after a province, country, month or day of the week!!  Imagine my confusion when I am talking to the Yukon jumper rider (Brooke Neilsen) about her dressage ride time, when she is getting ready for the jumper class.  She proceeds to tell me that she is a jumper.. not a dressage rider… and I try to convince her that she is supposed to be in the dressage ring! Come to find out that the horse named “Yukon”, ridden by the Saskatchewan rider was supposed to be in the ring!  This also happened this afternoon when someone mentioned that the Brazil rider was next in the ring… then there was confusion about why a Brazilian was part of the dressage show, when in fact it was the horse named “Brazil” that was ridden by a BC rider. So far, the most confusing names have been: Friday, Sunday, Africa, Brazil and Yukon.  I won’t even get started about the reining horses!!!

Today was the first day of competition. The reining horses were first thing this morning, and I must say that watching them compete is very entertaining and educational.  The crowd gets very involved during the rides and the fact that they announce the scores as soon as the horse is done, is very educational for the spectators.  The jumpers started mid-afternoon at the same time as the dressage riders, in rings that were side by side. Some of the riders that rode earlier noted that there horses were a bit distracted by the jumpers, but overall I think most of them were fine. The dressage riders rode from 2-6 pm, and the CIEC committee opted to keep the scores private until the ribbon ceremony at 7 pm. So…. there was lots of anxious dressage riders!  They awarded ribbons from 1st to 10th place, however we’re still not sure where the other riders stand for scores and placings. I was hoping to have some results to report for this update… but unfortunately there isn’t!  Keeping with the Friday the 13th suspense…. results will have to wait until tomorrow!

Day 6

We have good news!!!!  Today was a fantastic day for NB Dressage!  Lisa rode her heart out, and was rewarded a 6th place (3rd placed Senior overall) and a score of 66.7%. Based on the size and caliber of riding, that is an amazing accomplishment, especially considering she’s only been ridding Willy since Sunday!

Lisa rides again tomorrow morning for her last class of the competition. Please keep your fingers crossed!

Day 7

Today was unfortunately not our best day in dressage. Lisa started a great dressage test, when one of the jumper horses got loose in the adjoining jumper ring.  It took about half of the test to catch the loose horse….. so needless to say Willy and Lisa lost a bit of their composure.  On a good note, there were great moments to their test, but the distractions caused them valuable marks.

The CIEC final awards were presented this afternoon and were presented by the Honourable Bal Gosal, the Federal Minister of State (Sport). Team Ontario and Team Alberta cleaned up almost every division! In some of the divisions, the leased horses even won individual medals! Out of the 3 provinces that sent smaller teams (NS, NB and Yukon), NB was the overall highest placed, based on Lisa’s great score and placing from yesterday. Also, Lisa was presented the sportsmanship award at the final award ceremony, for her great attitude and sportsmanlike behavior during the competition!!