While the Wellington CDIO3*leg does not award FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ points, it’s a great start to the team campaign, and Australia, Canada, Spain and the USA will each put teams forward this week.
Last year the victorious Canadian team – who won the Wellington team event for the first time - was composed of Large Tour competitors Megan Lane and her own Caravella, a 2001 Dutch Warmblood mare, along with Jill Irving, Tina and Jaimey Irwin.
It was certainly an event to remember for Lane, who had taken part in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro just six months before, and believes team events offer Dressage riders something special.
“It is always an honour to be named to Team Canada,” Megan said. “The Nations Cup is one event that gives the equestrian community an opportunity to come together and see their horses and riders compete in an exciting competition!
“With Dressage being an individual sport, I find it to be a refreshing change when competing in a team event.”
Lane served as the anchor rider for the team and rode to a 70 176% in the FEI Grand Prix Special, while Irving trailed just behind with a score of 69 588% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*.
After success with her teammates a year ago, she is targeting further success this time around with Irving, Diane Creech and Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu.
“My fondest memory at last year’s Nations Cup was celebrating the win with my fellow teammates,” she said.
“Our goals this year will be to put forth accurate and expressive rides. We have a very experienced team of riders which gives us a great opportunity to finish on top once again.”
Lane is already looking ahead to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September, and keen to make sure that her three horses, Caravella, Zodiac MW and San D'Or, seal qualification.
Speaking about her horses she said: “Zodiac, who I have been working with for over five years, and San D'Or, who I started when he was just three, are both very special horses, and both owned by Deer Ridge Equestrian.
“I am so privileged to work with these two horses, their talented and uncanny desire to work makes training them a joy every single day. A solid foundation is always needed to build future success on and Deer Ridge provides the horses and myself the foundation to achieve that success.”
She added: “Caravella and I have grown together with over the past 10 years and she is one of those rare horses that I share a special connection with. The experiences we have endured together will be an asset for the Nations Cup this year.”
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Text by Richard Mulligan
Images by Susan J Stickle / Tony Gentile