Lexington, KY — The Canadian Para-Dressage Team competed in the first round of the Team competition, the Team test, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) held in Lexington, KY October 5–9, 2010. Riding Maile, her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Lauren Barwick scored 69.143%, which was good for fourth place, in the Grade 2 Team test.
“My mare has had a difficult five weeks and has only been back under saddle for the past week and a half since she injured herself, so I decided to go for a solid but conservative test,” said Barwick, who won an individual gold and silver medal in Para-Dressage at 2008 Paralympic Games in Hong Kong. “I hope some of the other sports take advantage of us being here to come and watch Para-Dressage, so they will have a clear understanding of what it is. There are a lot of misconceptions about our abilities to ride, the quality of horses that we have and what we are doing.”
“It is also great for us to go out and watch the best in the world compete, which inspires us to what the possibilities are,” added Barwick of Aldergrove, BC.
Also competing in the Grade II Team test today was Jennifer McKenzie. A resident of Maple Ridge, BC, McKenzie and Sunbury Lodge Voodoo, Violet McKenzie’s 15-year-old Warmblood gelding, finished in 11th place with 63.714%.
“My horse was really great today. He is a new a new horse for me, and I have only had him a short while, but he did really well,” said McKenzie. “Our support team here has been wonderful, and I would like to give a special thank you to Andrea Taylor and Mary Longdon.”
In the Grade 1B Team Test, Ashley Gowanlock of Vancouver, BC, and Alexander (Sandy) Mitchell’s Donnymaskell, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, received a score of 66.182% for seventh place. “My horse was amazing for the first ride. That was the best first test we have ever had,” said Gowanlock. “I have a great team behind me, and it is definitely a team effort.” “It has just been fantastic being here at WEG. The cheers from the main stadium are amazing. I know that I have arrived as a rider,” added Gowanlock.
“I am very proud and very impressed with Ashley’s ride today,” said Mitchell, who has leased Donnymaskell to Gowanlock for the past year and a half.
Eleonore Elstone of Langley, BC, rode Why Not G, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Elstone and Kelleigh Kulscar, to a ninth place finish with a score of 63.750% in the Grade 4 Team Test. “I was happy with my test. He was nice and forward and gave me a medium canter on the 20 metre circles,” said Elstone. “I am pleased that he was not spooky, and he was on the job.”
The Para-Dressage Team competition continues on October 6th and 7th when all the riders will ride their Individual Championship Test. The combined scores from the Team Test and the Individual Championship Test will determine the Team medals.
“We are very happy with the scores of all four team members today, which gives us a strong position to finish well after tomorrow’s competitions,” said Elizabeth Quigg-Robinson, chef d’equipe of the Canadian Para-Dressage Team.
Canadian riders competing as individuals—Sharon Buffitt of Pointe-Claire, QC, Tara Kowalski of Chilliwack, BC and Madison Lawson of Bonfield, ON—will also compete with all the team members in the Individual Championship Test and the Freestyle Test on October 8th and 9th.
Complete details about WEG Para-Dressage maybe found at www.alltechfeigames.com.
About Para-Equestrian Canada
Para-Equestrian Canada is the Equine Canada committee responsible for developing programs for athletes with a physical disability, and implementing the Para-Dressage high performance program. Para-Equestrian is one of Canada’s most successful international disciplines, achieving an individual gold medal and an individual silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games, as well as two individual bronze medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games.
About Para-Equestrian Sport
Para-Equestrian sport provides riders with a physical disability the opportunity to compete against other riders with similar abilities. Riders are given a “Grade” based on their functional ability, and are judged on their riding skill against other athletes of the same Grade. There are five grades of competitions in dressage, with Grade 1A representing the more severely impaired riders, and Grade 4 representing the least severely impaired riders. Many Para-Equestrian athletes also compete alongside able-bodied competitors in Equine Canada competitions. At the grass roots level, Para-Equestrian encompasses a number of different disciplines, while the international stream focuses only on Para-Dressage. For more information, please visit www.equinecanada.ca/para-equestrian.
About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism. A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry. Equine Canada is recognised by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organisation representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca.
Photos: Lauren Barwick, Jennifer Mckenzie and Ashley Gowanlock
Photo Credit — Robin Duncan Photography, www.robinduncanphotography.ca