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Artisan Farms invests in new mounts for Lamaze and Foster

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pius with Verdi in Hamburg just a couple of weeks ago. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.Artisan Farms has purchased three grand prix mounts for its riders Eric Lamaze and Tiffany Foster. Powerplay and Quelmec du Gery will be ridden by 2008 Olympic Champion Lamaze while Verdi III is for Foster, a member of Canada's fifth-placed 2012 London Olympic show jumping team.

With the support of Artisan Farms, Lamaze has been carefully rebuilding his string of show jumping mounts. Big Smile and Rosana du Park were purchased last fall as young prospects while Check Picobello Z joined the stable this winter. With Powerplay and Quelmec du Gery, Lamaze now has five world-class horses that will soon make their mark on the international stage.

"These two horses complete the creation of a new string for Eric," said Andy Ziegler who owns Artisan Farms with his wife, Carlene. Their daughter, Caitlin Ziegler, 18, is a top young rider for the United States. "After taking a break from the sport last fall, Eric sought to start over with new horses, focusing on younger horses that he can bring along himself. We wanted to support him in that. Our hope is that this new string will allow Eric to be right back at the top of the sport."

Powerplay, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Limbus), was acquired from owner and rider Pius Schwizer of Switzerland. The pair recently placed eighth overall in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at CSI5* Madrid, Spain, on May 4. Two weeks later, they were members of the second placed Swiss team in Nations' Cup competition at CSIO5* La Baule, France.

Ridden by Penelope Leprevost of France, Quelmec du Gery also enjoyed success at CSI5* Madrid, placing fourth in the €59,000 1.55m Copa del Rey Grand Prix. The nine-year-old bay selle francais gelding (Pamphile x Jasper) was owned in partnership by Leprevost and Francois Mathy of Belgium.

"I took a break from the sport a bit last year after the Olympics, which I needed to do, and in the process of that, spoke to Carlene and Andy about getting some quality young horses so that I could come back in the future with a string of horses that I made up," said Lamaze, 45, of Schomberg, Ontario, Canada. "I am thrilled to have Big Smile, Rosana du Park and Check Picobello Z, and they are right on track with where we expected and hoped that they would be. However, I did miss competing at the top level during the winter season in Florida, and I approached Carlene and Andy about supporting me in a new venture with horses that were ready to go at the highest level. As they always have, Carlene and Andy generously agreed."

In fact, while Carlene Ziegler was at CSI5* Madrid supporting her husband and Foster who were both competing, she spotted Quelmec du Gery.

"Carlene came back from Madrid and told me that Penelope had a new horse that was adorable," said Lamaze, who was preparing to compete alongside Caitlin Ziegler in Kentucky at the time. "When I got back to Europe, I called Francois Mathy and told him that I was looking for a horse like Quelmec du Gery. We confirmed that it would be a great horse for me. After watching the video from Madrid, I was sold before I even tried it. After riding the horse, I fell in love. He's very small but has lots of blood and is extremely careful. He's my kind of horse!"

As for Powerplay, Lamaze described, "We went to try Verdi III for Tiffany and we stumbled onto Powerplay. He is a proven 1.60m horse and when I tried him, it was an immediate match.

"Through the generosity of Artisan Farms, I was able to acquire both horses," continued Lamaze, noting that agent Gilbert de Roock brokered the purchases. "Both horses are nine, but with one having more mileage than the other. Both horses come from fantastic riders, and it's great to receive horses that have been so well trained by Penelope and Pius. It puts me in a fantastic position to come back in the sport with not only one, but two great horses. It's changed my summer plan completely; I'm going from bringing along young horses to being back in the international division in full force with fantastic horses. I am so grateful to Carlene and Andy Ziegler for bringing me back in the sport through their incredible and generous support."

Foster, meanwhile, will take over the ride on Schwizer's top horse, Verdi III. The pair won the €200,000 World Cup Grand Prix at CSI5*-W Lyon, France, before representing Switzerland at the 2013 World Cup Final in Goteborg, Sweden, in April. The 11-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding (Hors La Loi II x Cantus) consistently helped Schwizer maintain his top 10 position in the world rankings.

"I am extremely grateful to be the recipient of this horse," said Foster, 28, who is from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. "Andy and I signed on for the Global Champions Tour this year and realized that if we wanted to continue competing at the top level, it would be helpful for me to have one more horse that was ready to go and jump big. In speaking to Gilbert, Verdi III came up as an option. We never dreamed that a horse of his quality would be available. He is extremely scopey and well-schooled, and has all the experience we could hope for. I am ecstatic!"

In addition, Artisan Farms recently purchased Biker de Wemmel, a six-year-old chestnut Belgian Sport Horse stallion (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Jus de Pomme) that Foster will campaign before Andy Ziegler eventually takes over the reins. Biker de Wemmel joins Foster's current string which includes her 2012 Olympic mount Victor, Southwind VDL, La Toya 44, Whitney, and Verdi.

"We've supported Tiffany throughout her international career, and Verdi III comes in as one of the top horses in her string," said Andy Ziegler. "She's been gaining mileage by putting together lots of clear rounds with her current horses, and Verdi III fits perfectly into her current string. We're optimistic that together, they'll have great success."

One of North America's top up and coming professional riders, Foster made her Canadian Show Jumping Team debut in the $350,000 BMO Nations' Cup held at the 2011 Spruce Meadows "Masters" tournament riding Southwind VDL. In less than two years, she has now represented Canada in 10 Nations' Cup competitions to date including Buenos Aires, Argentina; Wellington, Florida; Lummen, Belgium; and Barcelona, Spain.

Lamaze has coached Caitlin Ziegler for the past six years, while Foster has trained Andy Ziegler for the past five.

"It's been a great partnership between Eric and Tiffany and Caitlin, Carlene and I," concluded Andy Ziegler. "We've been together for several years now, and we're really happy with the way the partnership works."

The entire Artisan Farms team will now travel to Canada for the five-week summer series at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada, which opens on June 5. Powerplay, Quelmec du Gery and Verdi III will make their competition debut for Artisan Farms under the saddles of Lamaze and Foster. Caitlin Ziegler will compete in the 1.40m, 1.45m and 1.50m divisions with her mounts VDL Groep Camara, Butragenia, Christine, and Eurocommerce Nevada while Andy Ziegler will campaign Cyber van Vryhern, Bo de Pomme, Hyo Altanero, and Gran Carthago.

Leading by example, Artisan Farms is committed to the continued improvement and promotion of competitive show jumping. Based in Wellington, FL, and Vrasene, Belgium, Artisan Farms is home to young rider Caitlin Ziegler, Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, and grand prix competitor Tiffany Foster.

Source: Press release from Artisan Farm

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