Friday, November 28, 2008

Canadian Endurance Team Finishes Seventh in Malaysia

Hunter Jumper news
Written by Julie Cull
November 28, 2008

Ottawa, ON—The Canadian Endurance Team comprised of Wendy Benns of Pontypool, ON, Ruth Sturley of Owen Sound, ON, Yvette Vinton DVM of Simcoe, ON, and Bob Gielen of Norton, NB, finished in seventh place out of 21 starting teams on November 7, 2008, at the World Endurance Championships.

Held at the Terengganu International Endurance Park in Lembah Bidong, Merang Setiu, Terengganu, Malaysia, 126 riders representing 33 countries took part in the 100-mile competition, which saw only 48 individuals finish.

Only seven nations finished three riders, and the results were very close. First place went to United Arab Emirates in a time of 27 hours, 57 minutes and 59 seconds. Qatar finished in second with a total time of 28:47:17, and third place was awarded to Bahrain with 30:54:22. Canada finished in 38:25:45 for seventh place overall.

“I felt our strength would be in our teamwork and I think this proved true. Even though it didn’t always go according to pre-ride planning, on the whole the strong Canadian performance was the work of the whole group—grooms very much included—that got the horses through in such good condition and in position to place top ten,” remarked Chef d’équipe Kay Melvin. “Congratulations again to the whole Canadian contingent on a job well done. We should also thank our hosts who treated us so well and made us welcome in their beautiful country.”

Individually, Gielen was the top placed Canadian rider, with a time of 12 hours and 27 minutes for 40th place, with his horse FC Galaxy, an 11-year-old Arabian gelding. In 42nd spot, in a time of 12 hours and 49 minutes, was Sturley and RBF Super Sport, her 15-year-old Arabian gelding. Recording the same time, of 13 hours and eight minutes, was Wendy MacCoubrey of Ste. Justine, QC, for 46th place, on Mariah, a nine-year-old Arabian gelding, and Vinton, for 47th, and Tease, an eight-year-old Arabian gelding. Benns her horse Supreme Justice, a nine-year-old Arabian gelding, did not complete the ride.

“This was the most challenging ride that I have ever completed, and my horse performed way beyond my expectations,” remarked Gielen who hope to qualify for the Canadian Endurance Team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. “Completing the ride in Malaysia was just an incredible experience.”

Maria Mercedes Altars Ponton of Spain lead the competition from start to finish on Knobby, a 13-year-old Arabian gelding in a time of eight hours, 48 minutes and six seconds.

“This year’s world championships lived up to Endurance’s reputation as the most demanding of all equestrian sports, as the nearly two-thirds of competitors who were unable to complete the course can certainly attest. The climate, terrain, and distance were physical and psychological trials of both horse and rider, and we are proud of our team for thriving on a course that most other nations struggled merely to survive,” praised Equine Canada CEO, Akaash Maharaj.

The next stop for the Canadian Endurance Team is to field two teams, Canada East and Canada West, to 2009 World Equestrian Games Endurance Test Event in Kentucky in preparation for the 2010 World Championships.

About Endurance Canada

Endurance Canada is a committee of Equine Canada, and the National governing body of the sport of Endurance Riding in Canada, from the grassroots to the international level. Endurance Canada is responsible for the growth and pursuit of excellence at all levels of the sport, providing support and guidance through various programs and committees: veterinary; rules and sanctioning; athlete and sport development; education and coaching; communication and awards. For more information, please visit the Endurance Canada section of the Equine Canada website.

About Equine Canada

Equine Canada is a member-based association that represents, promotes and services Canada’s equine community and industry. Its core areas of activity involve sport, equine health and welfare, education and safety, governance and marketing, representation and communication. Equine Canada is recognized by Sport Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Coaching Association of Canada as the national organization representing equestrian sport and equine interests in Canada. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit

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