Ottawa, ON, - 2008 Paralympic Gold and silver medalist and three-time Canadian Paralympian, Lauren Barwick, is currently ranked as the number one para-equestrian rider in the world. Barwick topped the recent standings, with a total of 1264. At the beginning of May, the Federation Equestre International (FEI) released the current Para-Equestrian Riders' World Ranking List, which is compiled on a monthly basis. The list includes results from including results from January 1 to April 30, 2014. As a member of the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team, Barwick, of Aldergrove, BC has just completed a four-country tour in preparation for the 2014 World Equestrian Games, which will be held in Normandy, FRA later in the summer.
Starting with wins in all her Grade II tests at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI 3* in March, Barkwick continued to top her classes in Europe with wins in Germany at CPEDI 3* Mannheim and in Belgium at CPEDI 3* Moorsele with her two horses, Equine Canada's 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, Off to Paris, and her own mare Ferdonia 2, a 15-yearold Oldenburg.
"I love what I do with my horses, and as long as I feel I am going into the arena with integrity and a willing partner, I will keep seeking equestrian excellence," said Barwick who is also a four star Parelli Professional. "The ranking is a moment in time. What is important is that my horses know they are number one to me. I believe when they know I am putting our relationship in the fore front, and they in turn go the distance for me."
"This accomplishment could not have even come close to happening without the sponsors, funding partners, endless volunteers, friends and family that go beyond the limit to help me get in the arena. I look at being an international athlete as spending each day earning the right to be Canada's first choice as a representative who is honoured to wear the maple leaf," added Barwick.
"It feels fantastic to have one of our Canadian athletes on the top of the list," Andrea Taylor, Canadian Para-Equestrian team coach. "Lauren has dedicated herself to this sport, and has put in countless hours of hard work to make this happen. We are all very proud of her."
"It is wonderful for Lauren to have reached the top spot on the FEI ranking, I am very proud of her achievements," said Mary Longden, Canadian Para-Equestrian team coach. "I have never had any doubt that she is capable of being the best."
Barwcik's teammates on the tour also hold down top spots on the ranking list. Jody Schloss of Toronto, ON is currently in third with 953, while Robyn Andrews of St. Johns, NL is fourth with 941. Two-time Canadian Paralympian Ashley Gowanlock of Surrey, BC is in seventh spot with 874. Canadian Roberta Sheffield, whose home base is in Lincolnshire, UK, is in 12th place with 688 points.
As a result of a very successful spring competition season in North America and Europe, Canada is currently sitting in top spot in the FEI world para-dressage team rankings. Both the team and individual rankings may be viewed here.
"This is a tremendous achievement for Lauren. It comes as a result of her many years of dedication to para equestrian sport," Elizabeth Quigg, Canadian Para-Equestrian Team chef d'équipe. "We are certainly proud to have such a mentor and role model representing Canada."
"Lauren is an inspirational athlete both in and out of the competition ring," said Amie O'Shaughnessy, Director of Para-Equestrian. "Lauren has been a key member of the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team for more than a decade, and over the years, Lauren's achievements have helped increase the profile and popularity of para-equestrian sport in Canada. Lauren's unwavering determination, commitment and love of her horses have been an integral part of her success, and we are very excited to have Lauren at the top of the world rankings this early in the competition season."
The Canadian riders' participation in these competitions has been made possible through the Own the Podium program, a national sport technical initiative designed to help Canada's summer and winter athletes achieve podium success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.