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Equestrian Canada – Ottawa, ON, Sept. 10, 2018 – Canadian Olympian Rob Stevenson of Lakeside, NB enjoyed the massive success of the 2018 Foshay International, held Aug. 29-Sept. 1 in Lower Jemseg, NB, from the unique perspective of both an organizing member and competitor.

As the first-ever FEI level eventing competition in the Maritimes, the Foshay International was put together by a dedicated team led by Stevenson. After many months of hard work, he saw the fruits of his labour alongside the Foshay International Organizing Committee come to fruition, with over 30 entries making the trip to experience Canada’s latest equestrian offering.

“There’s always that moment of awe, to see the first horse on a new course,” said Stevenson. “As an organizing committee, we were very pleased with the inaugural Foshay International. We have referred to it as our ‘test event,’ like they would have for a major games venue; it was proof of concept for us. Jay Hambly did a great thing by roping the course – it gave us a big venue feel. Geoff Morgan is a master at announcing, so the crowds felt engaged. I was quite surprised to see close to 2,000 people on the cross-country day. With the courses, the ropes and the crowds, you really felt as though you were part of a big event.”

A large draw of the Foshay International was FEI 4* Eventing Course Designer, Jay Hambly’s cross-country course, set along the picturesque St. John River.

“From the beginning, Jay had said that it would be ‘an old fashioned course with a modern feel,’” explained Stevenson of the course’s design. “Adhering to his promise and using frangible materials where possible and appropriate, I think he achieved that target. He believes that the footing is second to none (so it’s not just me saying it!), and found the natural features in relatively flat ground to ask the correct questions of the level. The riders seemed to love the courses. I think it was a great day for the sport.”

In addition to being part of the organizing committee, Stevenson also experienced his event first-hand as an athlete in the EV 1.05m Modified national division.

“I hadn’t really imagined that I would also be riding in the event,” said Stevenson. “Then we added the national EV 1.05m division to accommodate some other entries, and I had no excuse!”

Stevenson continued, “Competing in the event gave me a great perspective that I could not have had otherwise. I can say that it was amongst the top courses that I have ever ridden anywhere at any level. I could really appreciate Jay’s attention to every detail: the track, the footing, the flow, the turns, the siting of jumps, the distances in the combinations. It was outstanding.”

The Foshay International also featured two FEI divisions, with both leaderboards dominated by Holly Jacks-Smither of Hillsburgh, ON. She won the CCI 1* division on a score of 32.00 aboard her seven-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Finely Brewed (Milwaukee Brew x Conquistador Cielo). Jacks-Smither also captured first in a brand new FEI division introduced in 2018, the CCI Introductory, scoring 32.80 with Favonious Nite (Amper x Sorento), an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding she co-owns with Mark Marquis.

Having overcome the hurdle of hosting the inaugural competition, the organizing committee is feeling confident in Foshay International’s potential to be an important, permanent part of the international eventing landscape.

“W‎e now have a chance to carefully review feedback and suggestions to make the next event even better,” commented Stevenson. “There seems to be interest in a CIC 2*. As well, we would not rule out a North American Youth Championships in the future. We do hope to double or triple our entries for 2019.”

As only the second FEI level eventing competition in Canada, and with the new CCI Introductory division to help ease riders into FEI competition, the Foshay International is indeed a bright spot in the future of Canadian eventing.

“I think that Foshay will be a great annual milestone, and a great goal for younger riders to target,” concluded Stevenson. “Through the support of the Brewer Foundation, we launched the Foshay International Eventing Academy, which ran alongside the event. This was a means of engaging and entertaining kids attending the event. We incorporated the Equestrian Canada Rookie Rider program in order to draw even more kids into equestrian sport. And though we might not really feel the impact of Foshay for another five to 10 years, I do think that we’re off to a good start. So, to those that attended, please come back in 2019, and bring your friends!”

For full results from Foshay International, click here.

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