Final World Cup eventing round in Canada

August 4, 2009

This weekend Wits End Farm in Mansfield, Ontario hosts the only Canadian stop in the series of HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing Qualifiers.

Top ranked riders from around the world will compete in dressage, jumping and cross-country at the event, from August 6 to 9. The event will also feature a CCI* competition for up and coming riders and horses.

Located near Alliston, Ontario, Wits End Farm is hosting the prestigious event, the last stop in the World Cup series. More than 2000 people are expected to attend the four-day competition, which is the last chance for riders to earn points towards qualifying for the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing Final held August 21-23 in Strzegom, Poland.

"From the beginning Bill McKeen and I had the goal of creating an internationally recognized eventing facility," said Jo Young, co-owner of Wits End Farm. "The dream is now a reality and we're absolutely thrilled that the FEI has included us on the international circuit."

More entries than ever before have been received for this year's event, including top ranked riders such as Olympic and World Champion Philip Dutton (ranked 11th in the world), Bruce Davidson Jr., from the United States (18th), Boyd Martin from Australia (66th), and Canadian stars Kyle Carter, Carl Slezak (206th) and 2008 Wits End winner Corinne Ashton.

The competition gets under way on Wednesday August 5 with the Canadian Young Event Horse competition. Thursday sees the start of dressage, which will run through to Friday evening. Saturday is the exciting cross-country day where spectators will see the riders tackle the 4km course featuring banks, ditches, water and extremely challenging fences. Sunday - the culmination of the competition - features show jumping, where riders compete in reverse order of standing. The prize ceremony will take place at about 3.30pm. More than $40,000 in prize money will be up for grabs, as well as a host of prizes.

Global support for the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing series comes from title sponsor HSBC Bank plc.

"The HSBC FEI World Cup is an integral part of our sponsorship," said Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship, HSBC Holdings, plc. "It offers a truly global circuit with the nine qualifying events being held in many of our key markets. Through this partnership we have been able to engage with our customers at a regional and local level. Throughout the qualifying events we have seen some fantastic competition."

Wits End is the first eventing competition to receive support from Sport Canada's International Hosting Program. Generous support has also been received from dozens of local sponsors.

In addition to the marquis events of dressage, jumping and cross-country, visitors to Wits End will also host a number of other shows and demonstrations, including a Birds of Prey demonstration by Master Falconer Matt Lieberknecht from Wye Marsh, and The Hoof Beat Outriders Drill Team, a western precision drill team from Orillia.