In my last post I tried to explain the action, but ran out of room before I got to the press conference. Therefore, let’s have a look at what was said by our winning team… they are all pretty darn funny!
Ben, congratulations, one of only 2 double clears – amazing! What were you thinking or feeling when you rode on course?
After the first round I was feeling a lot better, the nerves had subsided and I knew that I could do it. My horse had jumped great in the first round and jumped even better in the second round. I got a little lucky with the bike, but ya, he was just incredible today.
Ben, earlier this week you spoke about growing up and dreaming about this event. Did you ever dream about it going this well?
Ha ha! I hoped it would go this well, it couldn’t have gone any better! I’ve dreamed of riding on this team with these guys for a long, long time, and now we are gold medalists. What a special experience.
You were 12 years old the last time Canada won this event, do you remember watching it?
Yeah, of course. I was pretty happy. (You could tell that Ben was really trying to contain his emotion and answer very “professionally”… it didn’t work so well though when the rest of the team was dying laughing).
The screen flashed to the three of you (Ian, Eric, Tiffany) when Ben cleared the final fence. It looked like you were losing your mind… can you describe what was going on?
(Ian to Tiffany – all you, you’re better at this!) Well, with a team competition we are always really behind each other, and we are all really nervous when anyone is going around. After Ben went the first round we had a lot of faith in him, and we were kinda depending on him to go again, and he pulled through!!
Mark Laskin- I might add that we all know how hard it is to do what Ben did today, so there is a great appreciation for it and it’s like a burst of joy when it happens. To see him on his first Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows jump double clean, just fantastic.
In the pre-game show when Ian introduced the team, he told Ben that he was counting on him to post a double clear… No added pressure or anything.
Eric: You listened to him?!
Tiffany glares down the table shaking her head
Ian: I, I was just kidding!
Eric, this was probably one of the few times that you were happy not to go – you had already won!
Well, they won this in 2006 when I wasn’t part of this team, and they just won in 2014 and I still feel like I’m not part of the team. But yes, I felt like if I needed to go things would have gone better for me. When you have great riders in front you riding rounds like that, often the last rider doesn’t have to go. Everyone did a great job today.
Ian, Canada has only won this once before, can you describe to me what its like winning this huge competition?
Yes, we’ve only won it twice in 150 years and I’ve been on every team! And Eric said it didn’t matter, but I’ll tell you that it matters for all of us to know that he’s there, last to go to clean it up (if it has to be cleaned up). It’s a big deal to know that this quality of rider and horse is standing in fourth position, so (looking to Eric) you were very much apart of this team today (Tiffany: Absolutely!).
No, it’s just a fantastic thing. It’s always a little embarrassing seeing that we didn’t have a better record here because we come with our best game on, and we really try so darn hard and maybe that’s the problem? I mean, I don’t know. We have had some lovely finished in it, but the win has been elusive. It’s a fantastic day today!
Ian, can you talk a little about the course?
Well, it sure did the job! When we walked it the obvious problems were obvious, they were right there for you to see. The triple combination, with the brown material over the white planks, the idea being to draw the horses eye down (this exact statement was echoed by Leopoldo during the course walk), with three in a row was maybe a little overboard *laughs*, but it sure did the job for him! The time allowed was tough, and in the early going it really looked like a time fault could change this competition. But then getting into the second round, my guess would be that the shadows were what started to change the scores. It played out the way it played out, and at the risk of repeating myself, what a team!
These course designers are geniuses, they are so good at what they do. It’s so interesting with what they are do.
Mark, you had mentioned your disappointment with how the team did last week. How pleased are you today with their performance?
Tiffany (looking down at Mark) – What are you trying to say?
Eric – What did he say?!
Ian- (looking down the table) What?? (Laughing) He didn’t say any of that to us!
Eric – You told us we were great!
Tiffany – You couldn’t have been prouder!
*Serious puppy dog eyes directed down the table at Mark by all 3 of them*
Haha, my expectation every time out is that we are going to win. Therefore, whenever we don’t, I’m disappointed. Today, not so much!
(This is me talking again) That’s where we will leave the BMO, and begin to shift our focus to Sunday’s CP International. With 1.5 million on the line, the course is going to be incredibly tough, and the riders will be bringing their absolute A-game. I really hope that in my next post I will be talking about our Canadian winner… But until then, I already have butterflies!!