The CSI2* Ottawa International I kicked off on Wednesday, July 10, at Wesley Clover Parks marking the start of two weeks of top-caliber show jumping competition in Ottawa, ON. The CSI2* Ottawa International I continues through Sunday, July 14, and is followed by the CSI3* Ottawa International II running July 17-21.
Both weeks of competition have the added distinction of being sanctioned by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), allowing riders to earn valuable world ranking points – an added draw for international competitors.
“Every year we say, ‘The horse show team really hit the ball out of the park. What more can they do?’ and every year we are pleasantly surprised by the ongoing improvements,” said 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, during an opening day press conference held on Wednesday afternoon in the Capital Tent, presented by Ottawa Tourism, at Wesley Clover Parks.
“[The Wesley Clover Foundation] has resurrected the facility and made so many new initiatives,” continued Millar. “For a young person to be able to come here and have their first riding lesson at the riding school and then some years later compete in an international event at the same venue is absolutely unique. If we wonder where our next equestrian Olympians are going to come from, with the ability to develop their skills right here at Wesley Clover and the other outstanding operations in our area, there’s a strong possibility that the future Olympic equestrians will come from the Ottawa area. That’s very much because of the facilities here.”
In addition to providing opportunities for equestrians and a unique event for the Ottawa community, the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments have a significant economic impact on the region.
“Think about the almost 700 horses that are stabled here over the next two weeks,” said Catherine Callary, Vice President of Destination Development for Ottawa Tourism. “Each horse comes with their rider, groom, coaches, families, friends, and elite athlete support – and by elite athletes, of course I mean the horses! Vets, chiropractors, all kinds of different support services. That brings with it some terrific economic impacts and spin-offs for the city that contribute to our thriving visitor economy.
“The visitor economy is vital to Ottawa,” continued Callary. “Visitors spend $2.2 billion in our city every year. Our collective economic impact for tourism is nearly $4 million every single day so when you add it all up, it’s clear that tourism means a great deal to Ottawa, and an event like the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments that brings so many visitors to our fair city is an important player. It’s a wonderful event and a truly excellent addition to Ottawa’s tourism scene.”
The event is made possible by the Wesley Clover Foundation – at the helm of which are Sir Terry Matthews and Karen Sparks – and by the support of generous sponsors such as RBC.
“We’re very, very proud to have partnered with the Wesley Clover Foundation for many, many years, and we’re partnering because Karen and Terry have turned this site into an awesome place where people come and meet, and it makes Ottawa a great place to live to work and to have fun and to play,” said Marjolaine Hudon, the Regional President of RBC. “This is why we’re so pleased to partner. We have been with you along the way, and we will continue to be.”
Sparks, the Executive Director of Wesley Clover Parks, added, “The answer to the success is the team behind us. We have a very passionate team here, whether it’s the instructors that are teaching what we call ‘up-down’ lessons, which are first-time lessons; the camp counsellors; the volunteers; the Wesley Clover Parks staff. We have a team that is so passionate about equestrian sport in this city and at this site.”
With such a strong team and great community support, the Wesley Clover Foundation looks forward to continuing to grow the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments and all of the equestrian programs offered at Wesley Clover Parks.
“Do you know what really drives me big time?” asked Matthews, the Founder and Chairman of the Wesley Clover Corporation. “A kid of 11 or 12 – and believe me it’s happened quite a few times – they say, ‘Mr. Matthews, I want you to know this was the best day of my life.’ Do you know what that emotionally does to somebody to hear that? Of course, we’ll keep growing it!”
Spectators are invited to enjoy all that the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments have to offer throughout the two weeks. Competition highlights throughout the remainder of the CSI2* Ottawa International I including Thursday’s $36,000 CSI2* Open Welcome, presented by Wellings of Stittsville, beginning at 4 p.m.; the $36,000 CSI2* Classic, presented by RBC, at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday; and the $5,000 Canine Equine Relay, presented by Royal LePage Realty and featuring dogs from Dogz Canine Sports Centre, at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information on the CSI2* and CSI3* Ottawa International, visit www.OttawaEquestrianTournaments.com. Find the latest updates including class announcements, prize lists, photos, and more by following Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments on Facebook here.
- 30 -