Eric Lamaze was back at Spruce Meadows on Wednesday readying for this weekend’s prized show-jumping events.
It was only weeks ago that the veteran equestrian was at odds with Equine Canada, vowing never to ride for Canada again. At the heart of the issue was Equine Canada’s lack of support for rider Tiffany Foster, whose horse, Victor, was disqualified at the London Olympics. International Equestrian officials examined Victor before the team event and determined the horse was suffering from hypersensitivity on its left front hoof and should not compete.
Not only was Foster eliminated from her first Olympics, the Canadian team had to carry on with just three riders against rival nations using four.
The Canadian team’s hopes of defending its silver medal from Beijing were effectively dashed and Lamaze was miffed when Equine Canada sent out a statement supporting the FEI decision. Faced with losing its prized rider, Equine Canada clarified its statement and made peace with Lamaze.
As he went through his Wednesday preparations for the 2012 Masters at Spruce Meadows, Lamaze admitted he was upset when he made his London remarks but did not regret them.
“I was very emotional about things and I really felt that, as Canadians, we wanted as much support behind us as we could and I didn’t feel it was given,” he explained. “I made my statements and it was turned around. A lot of things happen quickly in those situations and there are things you regret saying and there are things you don’t.
“There are not many things I regret saying on that point.”
Lamaze and the Canadian team in London viewed Victor’s hypersensitivity as “superficial” and that the horse was in no danger of injuring itself, which was why it was disqualified. That Equine Canada sided with the FEI ruffled an already angry Canadian team. Lamaze said rules may be rules but they need to be applied with a degree of sensibility.
“There are things in our sport that I’d like to see changed in the future but that’s going to be dealt within the sport,” Lamaze added. “Now I’ts within the sport to try and prevent something like that from happening again and still keep the sport fair … You’ve got to analyze every situation carefully.”
Asked if everything had been settled with Equine Canada, Lamaze replied, “Absolutely. Everything is fine.”
Lamaze, Foster, Ian Millar and Mac Cone will represent Canada in Saturday’s Nation’s Cup with all four riders competing in Sunday’s CN International Grand Prix.