The #RoadToParis2018 is officially on and as more fresh faces join the ranks of those capturing coveted World Cup points, there’s plenty of buzz surrounding one campaigner in particular.
Canada’s Isabelle Lapierre is now two-for-two in World Cup qualifier victories. A break-out moment with first place honors in Bromont, Canada in August, Lapierre followed up that victory with a first-place finish in Calgary at The Royal West on Saturday, October 28, making Lapierre the first rider to earn multiple wins in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League.
Aboard her own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare and only FEI-level mount, Cescha M, Lapierre was one of only three riders to advance to the second round. But much to everyone’s surprise, not one combination could duplicate their faultless trip in the jump-off. The fastest of the four-faulters, Lapierre couldn’t contain her wide smile: her time of 50.16 seconds meant that despite dropping a rail, she’d claimed victory once more.
The momentum Lapierre has so far acquired was unexpected, to say the least. The Canadian rider executed a very conscious plan to ensure that Cescha M would have the experience to be a top contender at Bromont, but being in the World Cup mix wasn’t initially on her radar. One horse, one win, would’ve made the pair the underdogs, but two wins has officially changed the game.
Now, this red-hot horse and rider combination is shifting gears to give qualifying for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris in April 2018 a real shot.
Can’t wait to cheer them on? Us too! Here are eight things you didn’t know about Isabelle Lapierre, the woman on fire:
- Lapierre began riding at age four. Her first competition was a year later, when she rode her mother’s horse, Bonaparte.
- In 1997, Lapierre moved to France to train for three months with World Champion Éric Levallois.
- After establishing Écuries de la Chaudière in Quebec in 1998 at the start of her professional career, Isabelle returned to France for another four months of training.
- Lapierre has also trained with current World No. 9-ranked rider and Olympic medalist, Eric Lamaze, riding under his tutelage for three years beginning in 2002.
- Lapierre’s win at the league’s season opener in Bromont in August was Cescha M’s World Cup qualifier debut.
- Lapierre’s father, who rarely attends her competitions, was there to support his daughter during her win at Bromont–one of the most important days of her career!
- Lapierre has now won an event in each of the competition’s sub-leagues: Bromont is part of the East Coast sub-league, while Calgary is in the West Coast sub-league.
- With Cescha M as her sole grand prix horse, Lapierre’s strategy moving forward toward the 2018 World Cup Finals is to keep her mare fit and healthy. “Paris is still a long way off, so we’ll keep her sound and fresh, and maybe we’ll get to fly over the ocean!” Isabelle said.
Photography by ©Amanda Ubell