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June 21, 2012

An Interview With Eric Lamaze, Part 1

Eric Lamaze rode Coriana van Klapscheut in the 2012 Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final to get her more mileage in international competition. The pair finished 12th. Photo by Molly Sorge.

Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze is preparing for the 2012 London Olympic Games, and he's agreed to a series of interviews and updates. Read about how his season has gone so far and what a typical day is like for him.

What was the highlight of 2012 so far?

Overall, I’ve had a great year, and the highlight was without doubt at the FEI Nations Cup in Florida in February, where I rode 9-year-old mare, Derly Chin de Muze. She jumped a double clear, and is one of my options for the London Olympics. I wasn’t expecting such a great result so I’m extremely fortunate to have her as part of the Torrey Pines stables. 

What’s a typical day in the life of Eric Lamaze?

I typically spend the winter at my home in Wellington, Fla., where we train young horses and riders, before heading back to Antwerp, Belgium, around mid-April where we now have a stable, which holds more than 40 horses. When I’m in Europe, my daily routine consists of going to the gym in Brussels in the morning, before making my way to the stables where I ride my usual horses. I also train the people who work for me and some of the students, and then I move on to look at some horses in the afternoon.

What’s going on at Torrey Pines Stable?

My training is going well. I have several new horses, so a lot of time is dedicated to getting used to them and also showing them at new venues. This year is different to previous years, as I’m left with a lot of horses that lack experience, so I want to get used to them and give them some challenges. I also have to decide which horse to pick for which show, so we’re juggling a lot of things that are unknown to us. There are of course a lot of surprises, but most of these are very pleasant! We have fantastic staff who are very confident in what they do; they oversee everything, which makes it much easier for me to concentrate on riding.

How did you feel about your performance at the Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final?

I was very happy with the way the World Cup Final went. I took Coriana van Klapscheut, a horse with very little mileage, who I have only ever ridden at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in Paris; a grand prix in Paris; and a grand prix in Florida. I mostly use Coriana in speed competitions, but I felt she needed a bigger show before the season started, and the World Cup Final seemed right for her. I didn’t expect to win it, but I thought it would do the horse some good later on in the year, and in the end she performed brilliantly.

Are you taking Verdi to the CHIO Aachen in Germany?

I took my 10-year-old gelding, Verdi, to the five-star show in Madrid to compete in the grand prix, and I was thrilled with his third-placed result. I also took him to Spruce Meadows (Alberta), where he placed fourth in the Spectra Energy Cup on June 7, so we shall see how he goes from there. As far as Aachen is concerned, I am still unsure as to which horse I will be taking, so we will aim to use as much of the deadline as we can before we make that decision!

How do you stay organized?

I am not very involved with the organization of my schedule because I have great staff who do it for me. Marie Fraisse does all of the coordinating in terms of my agenda and getting the horses from one place to another. I just tell Marie in advance where I’m going and everything is arranged for me. I’m a very lucky guy!

How will you prepare for the Olympic Games?

My schedule is basically the same as every year. However, after the CSIO***** in Rome I took a week’s break to play golf in Wellington. Then I headed to Spruce Meadows for the summer series, which involves four major competitions, and then Aachen. Unfortunately, this year Aachen runs at the same time as the final week of Spruce Meadows, but I am going to try to fit in both somehow. The grand prix in Calgary is on Saturday, July 7, while the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen is on Sunday, July 8, so it will depend on the horsepower that I have. We then go to San Patrignano in Italy from July 20-22, which will most likely be the last show before the Olympics in London.

Eric Lamaze, 44, has represented Canada at five FEI World Equestrian Games, four Pan American Games and the 2008 Olympic Games, where he won individual gold aboard Hickstead, the small but mighty stallion. He is a Rolex equestrian sports Testimonee and has topped the Rolex World Rider Rankings numerous times since 2008.