The Ottawa National Horse Show opened on Wednesday, July 12, at Wesley Clover Parks, kicking off two weeks of top-level equestrian competition in the heart of the nation’s capital.
The Ottawa National Horse Show continues through Sunday, July 16, and is followed by the CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Show, running July 19-23, attracting top athletes and their horses from around the world.
The third edition of the Ottawa Horse Show since the Wesley Clover Foundation took over the management of Wesley Clover Parks (formerly known as the Nepean National Equestrian Center), is now a two-week event, having grown from its initial one-week offering in 2015. Embraced by competitors and the local community alike, the event continues to grow with greater rider, spectator, and sponsor participation each year.
“The horse shows have proven to have a very big economic upside for the surrounding community,” said Terry Matthews, founder of the Wesley Clover Corporation. “We know for a fact that the current economic impact is between $8.6 million and $8.7 million each week, and at the rate that the horse shows continue to grow, we think next year that number will surpass $10 million a week.”
In addition to the considerable economic impact, the horse shows and Wesley Clover Parks offer local residents a beautiful, well-maintained green space and that is easy to access and has something for the entire family to enjoy.
“This is great fun for the whole area and for the country,” Matthews said. “It’s a positive thing for the whole region, and the location – right on the 416 and 417 junction – couldn’t be better.”
Among those attracted to Wesley Clover Parks for this year’s competition are Francois Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, who won Wednesday’s 1.35m jumping competition with a jump-off time of 34.43 seconds riding Vigo Massuere. Hot on his heels was Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, with a jump-off time of 34.62 seconds aboard Bella Donna. Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON, took third riding Granturo in a time of 36.73 while Canadian Olympic silver medalist Mac Cone of King City, ON, took fourth with Amor van de Rostal. Local competitor Kelley Robinson of Russell, ON, was the only other rider to jump double-clear over the track set by 2016 Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil to finish in fifth place.
Competition highlights at the Ottawa National Horse Show include Friday’s $20,000 Wellings of Stittsville Open Welcome at 12 p.m. followed by the $10,000 Canadian Hunter Derby at 4 p.m. Saturday will feature the $2,500 Royal LePage Team Realty Canine Equine Relay beginning at 1 p.m., immediately followed by the $7,500 Lynn Millar Memorial Speed Derby. The first week of competition culminates with the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 16.
Amber Marshall will be making a special guest appearance at the Ottawa National Horse Show on Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16. The star of star of CBC’s award-winning Heartland, Marshall will emcee festivities on Wesley Clover Parks’ expansive grass grand prix field.
Family-friendly ‘Celebration of the Horse’ activities take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 14, 15 and 16 and July 21, 22 and 23, offering a kids’ zone with bouncy castles and slides, face painting, balloon and glitter artists, children’s jumps, demonstrations, and many more activities.
Admission to the Ottawa National and CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows is $5 a day at the gate, with weekly admission passes available for $20. Children aged three and under are admitted free.
For more information on the Ottawa National and CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows, visit www.wesleycloverparks.com. Be sure to keep up with all the action by following Wesley Clover Parks on Facebook here.
The Government of Ontario has generously provided funding support for the Ottawa National and CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows.