Olympians Bray for Calgary Masters’ Tournament

The annual competition kicks off at Spruce Meadows

Show jumper Amy Millar is back from her Rio Olympics adventure ready to compete in the Spruce Meadows Masters’ tournament this week.

“This summer, with this horse, has been about having new and bigger experiences,” she said.

Though her horse Heros and their team narrowly missed the team bronze medal in Rio, Millar, daughter of 10-time Olympian Ian Millar, believes the experience will give her a leg up going forward.

“The energy of the Olympic games is something you almost can’t describe,” she said. “All those amazing athletes around, being in that environment, it brings you to a different level.”

She’ll be competing alongside teammate Eric Lamaze, who was one rail away from the individual gold medal in Rio and left Brazil with an individual bronze medal around his neck.

The Spruce Meadows Masters’  — the world’s richest team show jumping event — runs from Sept. 7 to 11, bringing elite athletes from around the globe to compete in the city. The final day of the tournament includes the CP International Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of show jumping – with a potential individual prize of $2 million.

The tournament will also host the Nations’ Cup, running on Saturday, with teams from 10 countries in a two-round competition course.

Representing the hometown this week is Calgarian Kara Chad, who went to Rio as an alternate with her horse Belinda. She hopes this week she can show why she’ll be jumping for the gold herself in the future.

“Of course, I wish I was competing (in Rio), but I know one day I’ll be there,” she said, adding it was an incredible learning experience regardless.

“I have two great horses here – Gin Tonic and Belinda. I think we’re going to have a really successful week.”

This will be Chad’s first Masters’ and first Nations’ Cup tournament.

Beyond the prizes and the prestige, both riders said the real reason they compete is to build a bond with their equine partners.

“Working with these amazing animals is what it’s all about,” said Millar. “They’re so kind and talented, and every day is a new challenge.”

 

Metro News - Sept 6, 2016

Britni Weston