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Eric Lamaze welcomes Hayley Barnhill and Chris Surbey to Team Torrey Pines

Monday, 03 February 2020

Photo © Starting Gate Communications Canadian Equestrian Team veteran Chris Surbey, pictured on Torrey Pines Stable’s Generously Paid For, is the newest member of Eric Lamaze’s team. Photo © Starting Gate Communications.


Press release from Starting Gate Communications



Hayley Barnhill and Chris Surbey have joined Canadian Olympic show jumping champion Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable. Barnhill and Surbey are both full-time riders and trainers for the large international show jumping operation with bases in Wellington, Florida, and Brussels, Belgium.

Barnhill of Collierville, TN, began working for Torrey Pines Stable in October. The 26-year-old enjoyed a successful junior career, winning both the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal and the ASPCA Maclay National Championships in 2010. She also represented Zone 4 at the 2010 and 2011 North American Youth Championships, helping Zone 4 to claim its first team gold medal in her second appearance.

“Working with Eric is a dream come true, it’s basically what every kid in our sport grows up dreaming of being able to do,” said Barnhill, who was recommended for the job by her former coach and employer, Tom Wright. “I’m lucky to be a part of it and able to learn from him. I have a lot of nice horses to show, and I’m very excited!”

“Coming up in the American system, the equitation training has served her well,” commented Lamaze of Barnhill’s skills. “Hayley is a hard-worker, can ride many different types of horses, and is dedicated to wanting to be someone in the sport. She has a bright future in front of her.”

Surbey is a more recent addition, having joined the team in January after Torrey Pines Stable made its annual migration to Wellington, FL, for the winter competition season.

“I wanted to hire a Canadian because I like to support them and bring them along and produce more riders for the Canadian team,” explained Lamaze of his decision. “Chris is an excellent rider. I came to know him from riding the Spruce Meadows horses which he did a fantastic job with. I’ve watched him in the ring and he’s a real competitor.

“I was really impressed with his riding and so when the job came up, I gave him a call and he was available,” continued Lamaze. “Chris will be riding himself, helping other people on the ground, and he’ll also be a good asset when we’re in Europe looking at horses.”

A former professional rider for Spruce Meadows in his hometown of Calgary, AB, Surbey made his Nations’ Cup debut in 2016 before representing Canada at the 2017 World Cup Final.

“It’s very exciting, especially being a fellow Canadian, to get to work with someone like Eric,” said Surbey. “He’s done a tremendous amount for our sport within Canada. For me, being part of the Torrey Pines team is an exciting opportunity. Everyone has welcomed me and there are a lot of really nice horses to work with, including great sales horses and some nice young ones to bring along.”

Fellow Canadian Kara Chad, also of Calgary, AB, recently departed after working full-time for Torrey Pines since 2015. Under Lamaze’s tutelage, the now 24-year-old athlete was named the traveling alternate for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games before riding as a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games held in Tryon, NC. Chad has also made 16 Nations’ Cup appearances for Canada to date.

“Kara was a huge asset to Torrey Pines Stable,” said Lamaze of his former employee and pupil. “She is one of the hardest workers that I know; she was there from dawn until the day was done. She loved her horses and always did her best. Within a short year working with her, she ended up being reserve for the Olympic Games and on the team for the World Equestrian Games as well as making numerous Nations’ Cup appearances. At a very young age, she got experience with us that most people would take years, if not decades, to develop.

“I truly enjoyed working with her and teaching her, and hopefully she can say that she learned her trade from being with us,” continued Lamaze. “We wish her all the luck in her new venture.”

Lamaze and the Torrey Pines team will be competing in Wellington, FL, for the remainder of the winter season before relocating back to their European base outside Brussels, Belgium. In addition to coaching and training students and horses, Lamaze has a large sales horse business that sees numerous quality sport horses offered for sale to the international market.

“We want to keep growing Torrey Pines and I thought Chris would be a great addition to our riders, along with Hayley and Spencer Smith,” said Lamaze, who is focused on competing at the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. “We have a great group of people who form a large team at Torrey Pines. That’s what it takes to make it all work, and I look forward to the future with all of them.”

Lamaze claimed the individual gold medal as well as team silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics riding the legendary Hickstead. He won an individual bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics riding Fine Lady 5 and led the Canadian team to a fourth-place finish following a jump-off with Germany for the bronze medal. He also won an individual bronze medal at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and has team gold and bronze medals from the 2015 and 1999 Pan American Games respectively. He is the only Canadian show jumping athlete to ever reach number one in the modern-day world rankings.


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