Top international jumpers were battling it out at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Park Friday and Saturday, with Langley’s Mark Laskin returning to familiar surroundings to oversee a come-from-behind win by Team Mexico.
On Saturday, Laskin, the newly appointed Mexican Chef d’Equipe of Team Mexico (who formerly held the same role for Canada), engineered the Junior Nations Cup victory by the four-rider squad of Sofia Michel, Ana Sofia Legorreta Hernandez, Federica Fernandez and Xaviera Maurer Buch over Canada and the United States.
“I was always told when I started riding Nations Cup that no matter what happened [in] the first round, the goal is to improve your score,” said Laskin.
And that is what his riders did.
After falling behind Canada and the U.S., Michel, Legorreta Hernandez and Fernandez all produced clear efforts to take a notable victory by the first all-female team to ever represent Mexico in Nations Cup competition.
“There’s a lot of great team spirit [within Team Mexico],” Laskin commented.
“All of the senior riders are here to watch and support this morning, so I like that – it’s kind of like Canada, they ride by the seat of their pants a little bit, but they also have a sprinkling of structure and good, good, solid foundation.”
Laskin made headlines last November when he resigned his position as Equestrian Canada’s technical advisor – jumping, which includes acting as chef d’Equipe for the Canadian show jumping team at major games and Nations’ Cup team competitions, citing lack of a contract and “interference” by Equestrian Canada leaders who, he said, lack understanding of the sport.
Equestrian Canada said a review of Laskin’s job was underway when he resigned.
Also on Saturday, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle won the tbird Cup.
Friday at tbird, the U.S.A’s Kent Farrington recorded a new milestone when the Olympic silver medalist recorded his first five-star grand prix victory, riding his own Orafina to the top of the Longines Grand Prix.
“Orafina is a very special horse,” Farrington said. “She’s so easy to ride, but she’s really an incredible athlete and starting to come into her own.”
Weather played a role on the day, with storms forcing the feature class of the Odlum Brown BC Open program to be moved from the Fort Grand Prix Arena on the grass to the Thunderbird Jumper Arena on sand.
Also on Friday, Cat Ninja gave Canada’s Jacqueline Steffens her second individual five-star victory of the season at tbird in the West Coast Cup.
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