We are devastated to announce Harper’s passing on August 22, 2023 following a lengthy illness.
Always ready with a smile and a laugh, and always the first to lend a hand to someone who needed it, he was so many things to so many people: Husband, father, son, partner, coach, mentor, friend. However, the role he was most proud of was devoted hockey dad.
His loss leaves a giant hole in our lives and in our hearts.
With the Pan Am Games just a few months away, followed by the Olympics in 2024, the 2023 show season is critically important for everyone hoping to qualify for Team Canada - including Esther and Hernando.
As a warm up to the CDI coming up next week, Esther and Hernando entered the Centreline Dressage Spring National Show at Saddlewood last week. Even at a brand new venue Hernando was confident and focused, finishing the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special with excellent scores.
While thrilled with Esther's results, the highlight of the Centreline show for the M2 Dressage team was the success of two of our students. Jeannette Nucifora made her first trip into the show ring aboard her lovely new horse Bugatti. This brand new partnership achieved excellent results at Third Level, and have a bright future ahead.
Isabella Bender and her Lusitano gelding Bacara de Broa, earned the qualifying score they needed in the FEI Young Rider division to secure a spot at the North American Youth Championships later this year. We are so proud of Izzy, whose dedication and work ethic led her to accomplish this major goal. Congratulations!
April is here and the M2 South humans and horses are heading back north after a fun-filled season at our winter base in Loxahatchee, Florida. What a season it was! All our students who joined us for the winter met and surpassed their goals, whether getting in the show ring, moving up a level, hacking around the beautiful White Fences property with confidence, or simply enjoying the opportunity to train every day in the Florida sun.
For Esther and Hernando, winter 2023 marked the first opportunity to enter the CDI ring sporting the Canadian flag, rather than competing for Guatemala. This new partnership continued to grow in strength and confidence, achieving a number of major goals this season.
The busy international ring at the Global Dressage Festival provided the ideal venue to gain experience performing in an intimidating environment and to build confidence in this sensitive horse. A season highlight included qualifying for the Grand Prix Special in a large and highly competitive field. Hernando really shone in the national shows, consistently achieving Grand Prix and GPS scores in the 70% range and showing so much promise for the future.
Wintering in Florida is about so much more than competition. Esther took full advantage of the opportunity to learn from the best, training with the likes of Lars Petersen and Claudio Oliviera.
With a full season of training and international competition under their belts, Esther and Hernando are ready to take on Canada's CDI season in this all important Pan Am Games qualifying year. Wish them luck!
When Esther Mortimer enters her next CDI, there will be a maple leaf on her saddle pad. After representing Guatemala since she was a teenager, Esther has officially switched her Sport Nationality to Canada.
The change of Sport Nationality comes at a critical time, with Equestrian Canada’s qualifying period for the 2023 Pan American Games set to begin on January 1. A first or second place finish at the Pan Ams would qualify a Canadian dressage team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Due to an unresolved internal dispute between the National Olympic Committee of Guatemala (NOC) and relevant Guatemalan authorities, the International Olympic Committee has suspended the NOC. The IOC suspension means Guatemala's athletes cannot represent their country at the Olympic Games and the NOC is blocked from any IOC funding.
“Guatemala gave me so many opportunities and I am so very grateful,” says Mortimer. “I’ve been proud to represent the country since I was a young rider and it has been the most incredible experience. However, I’m also a proud Canadian. My business is here, my clients are here, and I’ve chosen to raise my family here, so the idea of competing for Canada has crossed my mind over the years. With this unfortunate situation, Guatemalan athletes will be missing two Olympic cycles, so the timing seemed right to switch Sport Nationalities now. Guatemala will always be a part of me but I’m looking forward to this new chapter and the opportunity to represent Canada on the international stage.”
“I’ve had so many horses that had strengths in certain areas, but Hernando seems to be strong in them all,” says Mortimer. “I believe he has the heart and the will to go all the way. It’s absolutely incredible how much we have achieved together just in the past year and a half. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support from my family, clients, and sponsors, and I’m very excited to see what the coming season will bring.”
Dressage night at Toronto's Royal Winter Fair is always special. This year is more exciting than ever for students and friends of M2 Dressage as Esther Mortimer has been invited to take part.
Esther will join 3 other top riders on Tuesday, November 8 to perform their Grand Prix Freestyles in a gala tribute to Canadian Dressage legend Evi Pracht:
The evening performance follows the Equestrian Canada Dressage / Para Dressage Reception held at the Tanbark Club. The reception is a fundraiser in support of our 2024 Olympic teams and will include a special live auction, as well as the presentation of annual awards.
To purchase your tickets to the reception and dressage night at the Royal please send the following completed form to Christine Reupke at the Royal via email (email@example.com): bit.ly/EC-DressageReceptionTicketForm
M2 Dressage was thrilled to be chosen as the Ontario host site for Cadora's "Building a Better Dressage Horse" symposium with FEI 5* judge Stephen Clarke. We welcomed more than 100 spectators at the farm for two exciting days of lessons and learning featuring horses from Training Level to Grand Prix.
Three M2 pairs were selected to ride in the clinic: Megan Kinsella and Viva's Ravenno at PSG, Isabella Bender and Bacara da Broa riding the U25 Grand Prix, and Esther Mortimer and Hernando at Grand Prix. What a privilege for these talented riders to learn from one of the top dressage judges in the world!
Everyone is complaining about the heat and humidity right now but don't be fooled; winter is coming! How do you want to spend it? You could be battling icy paddocks, frozen water buckets and snow sliding off the arena roof, or you could be training in the Florida sun at M2 South.
A limited number of training stalls are available at our beautiful winter base in the White Fences Equestrian Center. Enjoy an airy barn with climate controlled tack room and laundry on site, multiple rings with top-notch footing, a competitive show series held on the property, miles of safe hacking, and a convenient location just a short drive from Wellington and the Global Dressage Festival.
To reserve your stall please contact Esther or Harper as soon as possible.
What a thrilling weekend at the Caledon CDI2* Dressage at Angelstone! Esther and Hernando made their CDI Grand Prix debut and did not disappoint, earning a win for Guatemala on a total score of 69.384%. Hopes are high this is just the first of many international wins for this pair as they begin their journey towards the PanAm Games and the Olympics.
Another exciting CDI debut for the M2 Dressage team was 16-year-old Isabella Bender and her partner Bacara de Broa. The pair made their first CDI appearance in the U25 division, competing in the Intermediate II and Grand Prix. What a bright future for this talented teenager!
Would you and your horse like to winter in pony paradise? Book now to secure your stall for winter 2023 at M2 South in Loxahatchee, Florida. Our winter base is conveniently located in the gated White Fences equestrian community and offers:
- Multiple all-weather rings with GGT sand footing
- Bright and airy barn with spacious stalls
- Climate controlled tack room
- Ample turnout
- Miles of hacking
- Competitive show series held on site
- Short drive to Wellington and the Global Dressage Festival
Come train in the sun with us! Contact Esther for more information and to book your stall.
We're so happy to be here! All the M2 Dressage horses travelled well and are happily settled in at our beautiful M2 South facility at the White Fences Equestrian Centre. We're all looking forward to an exciting season of training, learning, and competing in the Florida sun. We're pleased to be offering schoolmaster lessons this season on our Grand Prix professor Westeross - please contact Esther if you'd like to ride with us this winter.