The best is yet to come at the 2013 Spruce Meadows National. This year’s event will be in full steam this weekend in Calgary, Canada, and there is plenty of exciting action left.
The competition is the kickoff event of pristine Spruce Meadows’ five-week Summer Series. At summer’s end the top jumpers from around the world will compete at the 2013 Masters at the venue.
Here’s a shot of the beautiful venue from the organization’s Twitter account:
Olympic champions headline the event, but amateurs and junior riders will also get a chance to compete at the versatile venue.
This competition remarkably features over 1,000 horses that are saddled by riders from 11 different countries. There is also more than $1.1 million Canadian dollars up for grabs during the weekend at the National.
Things are already in full swing, but the key events for equestrian enthusiasts to focus on are yet to come. Let’s take a look at who and what to watch for during these headline competitions.
CN Reliability Grand Prix
The 2013 CN Reliability Grand Prix, the early-summer competition’s premiere event, will feature the best show jumping champions from around the world.
Americans have captured victories at the National’s big event in each of the past two years. Kent Warrington of Florida knocked off Canadian Olympic Gold medalist Eric Lamaze and Ireland’s Darragh Kerins to score the second win in two seasons for the USA.
Lamaze, who won the Reliability Grand Prix in 2010 and 2008, remains the top rider to watch, despite not having won the competition since. In November 2011, Hickstead, the Canadian’s horse, died and he hasn’t returned to form since. The duo previously achieved the No. 1 ranking in the world and a Gold medal in Beijing in 2008, according to CBC Sports.
Of the money up for grabs at Spruce Meadows, a sizable $400,000 will be on the line during the competition, the most of any event at the National.
Nexen Cup Derby
If there is a secondary event at the National behind the Reliability Grand Prix it would have to be the $175,000-prize Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday. Winners of the event take home a $45,000 reward for their victory.
Last year American Richard Spooner dominated the event. Riding last he had the luxury of seeing his goal; the only thing he had to do was ride and get it done.
Fellow American Katie Prudent held the lead with nine faults and he blew her away, recording only one due to time on his route to his first derby win at Spruce Meadows.
He placed third in the event in 2011, falling after knocking down the final rail. It was an American that won then too, as Leslie Howard captured the victory.