There is simply no downplaying the amount of equestrian knowledge that local rider and coach Cathy Inch possesses. But even Inch, who was inducted into the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year, knows there are times to reach out for a little help.
Just a few weeks back, Inch welcomed four-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Yann Candele to Foothills Farms in Chelmsford, providing a unique opportunity for local riders to tap in to some of the experience garnered by the man who teamed with Eric Lamaze, Ian Millar and Tiffany Foster to claim gold for Canada at the Pan American Games this past summer.
"Cathy Inch is amazing, and is very current with the sport, because she does compete all around Canada," noted the native of Normandy (France), who moved to Canada on a full-time basis back in 1999.
"This is really just to bring new ideas. When you do a clinic like today, you don't try and change everything, maybe just give riders one idea," added Candele. "We always look at fellow competitors and see what they do, and maybe try and steal ideas."
"At the level we are at now, it's just detail." Having represented both Canada and France, at various times in international competitions, Candele owes his start in the sport to his first riding lessons at the age of ten.
While he enjoyed success at various levels, it was a partnership formed with his current horse, Showgirl, in the fall of 2013, that has allowed Candele to take another step forward on the equestrian circuit, highlighted by the first place team finish and Olympic qualification in July on their home turf.
"I live about 25 minutes from Caledon Horse Park (site of the Pan Am Games), and that was unbelievable, to have that much support from everybody," said Candele. "The preparation is the same, it doesn't matter whether you're doing the Pan Ams, the Olympics, a big show, or you're training at home."
"You're back to the basics and the routine, trying to make sure the horse is comfortable, and that you control the anxiety. We prepared ourselves very well." Inch and a couple of her riders will now be busy attending the season-ending Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, which runs from November 6th to the 15th.