The 2013 Spruce Meadows National opens the pristine venue's Summer Series with a premier show jumping display featuring the best athletes and horses on the planet in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Although extremely heavy rainfall has hit the area leading up to this marquee showcase, it is an issue that organizers are accustomed to dealing with. 51 millimeters of rain in May—more than double the typical precipitation—won't threaten the schedule.
According to a report by Bill Graveland of The Calgary Herald, Spruce Meadows senior vice president Ian Allison says that with new sod and advancements in draining technology, the rain will not stymie the events.
Let's take a closer look at how the action will unfold in this exciting, elegant display from riders and horses that begins tomorrow.
When: Wednesday, June 5 to Sunday, June 9
Where: Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
TV: CBC—Saturday, June 8: The CN Reliability Grand Prix (2-4 p.m. MST)
Sunday, June 9: ATCO Structures and Logistics Cup (1-2 p.m. MST)
Athletes to Watch
At the age of just 23, Bluman already has 20 years of experience in the saddle and was a finalist in the 2012 London Olympic Games, according to his website.
Bluman is truly one of the rising stars in the sport and recently said on his Facebook page that after two weeks of competition in Europe, all of his horses are "feeling great." That has to bode well for his chances to thrive in this massive event.
The group of horses that the Colombian will enter consists of Apardi, Clyde, Sancha LS La Silla, Cantando Lyngriis and Balou Lover from Bluman Equestrian, which he and two of his cousins helped create.
The official slogan for Bluman's website is, "If you believe...It's not a legend." He will look to build upon his already promising career with a prodigious performance that may wind up stealing the entire show.
Hailing from the USA, she took home an individual bronze and team gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
At Spruce Meadows in particular, Madden won the NEXEN Cup Derby that same year, and ranks second on the all-time Spruce Meadows money list.
In the Longines Jumping Rankings this season, she ranks in fourth place. In addition to being highlighted in the video above for one of her epic jumps, Madden became the first woman in jumping history to surpass the $1 million mark in earnings back in 2004.
There is still evidently plenty for her left to prove as she prepares for the Spruce Meadows National, and it will be interesting to see what the world-renowned American brings to the competition this time around.
A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Millar is still riding strong even at the age of 66. As the No. 3 all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, the veteran has plenty of tangible experience to draw on for this year's events.
Millar has won the Canadian Jumping Show Championship eight times since 1983, which is a record. With the Beijing Games in 2008, he had been a part of 10 consecutive Olympic teams for Canada.
To say that Millar is a prolific show jumping rider is a massive understatement, as he's been among the most consistently great over the years.
Star Power, Baranus and Dixson are the horses Millar will be riding, and it would not be surprising to see him add another prestigious victory to his already stout resume in front of a favorable crowd.
Note: Athlete profiles and other information are courtesy of SpruceMeadows.com.
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