A win for Mario Deslauriers is a win for Canada.
Except for that eight-year period when he defected to Team USA and it was not (aka, the lost years.)
On July 1st, Deslauriers’ birth nation celebrated its 151st anniversaire with generous helpings of maple syrup and beer, while the Canadian-turned-American-turned-Canadian again celebrated a CSI5* victory at the iconic Canadian venue that is Spruce Meadows. (His Canadian citizenship status was made FEI official in December 2017.)
Deslauriers rode Bardolina 2 to the win in the feature event of the Pan American tournament in Calgary, AB.
The final competition of the week—the 1.60m Pan American Grand Prix, presented by Rolex—saw 42 horse/rider combinations contest the CSI5* track laid out by FEI course designer Louis Konickx (NED) in the Meadows on the Green.
Only 31 would complete the course.
Three riders were eliminated, seven failed to finish (including veteran combinations Kent Farrington and Gazelle and Allison Robitaille and Ace) and one (Daniel Coyle and Cita) opted not to start. Another 13 didn’t complete the course within the time allowed and nine collected double digit faults along the way, which is to say it was hard.
“If you can jump this (Spruce Meadows) you can jump Olympic Games, you can jump WEG (World Equestrian Games),” said Deslauriers, a rider currently trying to qualify for WEG.
A select three combinations did manage to advance to the jump off with clear rounds. Those were Deslauriers, his American daughter Lucy aboard Hester, and Canada’s Erynn Ballard with Darkos Promise.
The elder Deslauriers was first in the ring, starting the jump off with a clear round on the nine-year Holsteiner mare in a time of 39.83 seconds. Both his daughter (37.09 seconds) and Ballard (37.63 seconds) posted quicker times, but faulted at the last fence. They finished second and third, respectively.