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The Horse Heroines of Canada

Canadian women are on top of the world in show jumping right now.

Specifically, Tiffany Foster, who is now the leading lady rider on the Longines World Ranking List after June calculations. Foster is the second Canadian rider to hold the title in recent months, following on the heels of Erynn Ballard, who was a leading lady debutant in November of 2021.

Foster currently holds the 33rd spot, followed by Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) in 34th place, and Ballard remains close behind in 36th.

Foster and Ballard might be the ones currently playing top rider tag, but it’s the Canadian female crew in its entirety that’s a true marvel *wink*.

Canada and the U.S. have more female national team riders than any other country in the world and lay claim to three of the four lady riders currently ranked in the international boys club that is the World Top 50. (USA’s Laura Kraut is the fourth at No. 39).

It’s real estate Team Canada looks to be developing though.

Chef d’équipe Eric Lamaze has nominated an all female team in Erynn Ballard, Tiffany Foster, Amy Millar and Beth Underhill for the upcoming ECCO Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Championships August 6–14 in Herning, Denmark. It’s the same four riders who took second in the CSIO4* Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida in March. Mario Deslauriers will travel to Denmark with Bardolina as reserve rider.

“Our Canadian show jumping combinations have been performing very well in FEI competitions across North America and Europe, working together both on their individual combinations, but also as a group to improve all of the team,” said director, high performance James Hood. 

So, their odds look pretty good. Let’s break down Canada’s picks.

Tiffany Foster

Apart from her leading lady distinction, Foster has continuously landed top ten results in the past few months. Her strength is in her consistency. Foster has competed on every Nations Cup team this season, delivering clear rounds in every appearance with Figor.

Foster and 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding put in a double clear effort in the CSIO4* Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida in March, where Canada finished second. The pair went on to deliver a clear first round in the CSIO5* Coupe des Nations Ville de La Baule, France and galloped around CSIO5* Nations Cup at the Piazza di Sienna in Rome on a 0/4 in May.

Beth Underhill

Slated to campaign nine-year-old BWP mare Nikka VD Bisschop, Underhill is riding a new wave of success after being handed the reins to Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines string. The 59-year-old team veteran climbed nearly 400 spots up the World Ranking in June, jumping from 632nd to 268th.

Like Foster, she’s ridden for Canada on five Nations Cup teams this year, highlighted by a double clear performance in La Baule and a single time fault in Rome. Underhill’s win in the prestigious CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule 1.60m with Dieu Merci Van T & L in May is all the assurance needed that she’s on top of her game.

Amy Millar

Millar will be in the saddle of her veteran tried and Truman, the 13-year-old Selle Français gelding who most recently placed top ten in the CSI5* 1.60 One Jump off in Calgary at Spruce Meadows. Millar and Truman were also part of the silver medal team in the CSIO4* Nations Cup in Wellington, finishing on a respectable 0/4 score. The pair put in a clear second round in the CSIO5* Nations Cup in La Baule and a 4/1 in the CSIO5* Nations Cup of Rome.

Erynn Ballard

Taking 11-year-old KWPN gelding Gakhir to Denmark, Ballard has made only one Nations Cup appearance in 2022 and has posted mixed results at the European shows. She was part of the silver medal team for the CSIO4* Nations Cup of Wellington in March but on a 5/15. The same week, the pair jumped to a fifth place finish in the CSIO4* Grand Prix.

Their recent performances at Spruce Meadows in Calgary tell a more promising story. Ballard and Gakhir collected third and fourth place finishes in the CSI5* 1.60m and 1.55m Jump Off classes, respectively, executing double clear rounds in each. She previously held the title of leading lady rider for four consecutive months.

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