London, England - Despite a rainy start to the day, Lauren Barwick and Ashley Gowanlock had a little sun and a lot of wind during their Team Tests at first day of Para-Dressage competition on Thursday, August 30, at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. As the third to last competitor into the stadium for the Grade II Team Tests at the equestrian venue in Greenwich Park, Barwick, of Aldergrove, BC, riding Off to Paris owned by Equine Canada, earned a score of 72.095 %, which gave the pair a third place finish out of 23. "It is incredible, this time, at these Paralympics to have lots of supporters in the crowd and seeing so many people here watching," said Barwick of her experience thus far at the Games. "The ring had a lot of energy, but given the circumstances, my horse went really well today."
"I was really thrilled with my halts today," added Barwick. "I was so pleased with my mare. She settled to the best of her ability with the audience in the ring, and she did her job. It was also great that I was able to leave the arena on a long rein."
Gowanlock of Surrey, BC, rode Maile, Barwick's individual gold and silver medal partner at the 2008 Paralympic Games, to a score of 67.955 % for eighth place out of 15 riders in the Grade 1B Team Test.
"My partnership with Maile has only been together since June, and I am proud of how we did together in the ring today," said Gowanlock, who was also a member of the Canadian Team at the 2008 Paralympics. "Today's test had no major mistakes in it, and now I know how to ride in the ring with all that atmosphere. Now we can make some adjustments for the next test."
Tomorrow, August 31, will wrap-up the Team Test competition. Canada's other team members, Eleonore Elstone of Langley, BC, who was also member of Team Canada at the 2008 Paralympics, will ride Zareno, owned by Franklin Posmus, in the Grade IV Team test in the morning, and Jody Schloss of Toronto, ON, will make her Paralympic debut riding her own horse Inspector Rebus in the afternoon in the Grade 1a Team test.
The second phase of team competition, the Individual Championship test will take place on September 1 and 2. The scores from the Team and Individual Championship tests will be combined to determine the overall team results and medals. Individual medals will also be awarded for Individual Championship test.
The Individual Freestyle Tests for Grades 1b and II will take place on September 3, while the final days of competition will wrap-up with the Grade 1a, III and IV Individual Freestyle tests on September 4.
"I'm really pleased with how the riders are showing their skill," said Andrea Taylor, National Team Coach of the Canadian Paralympic Equestrian Team. "Lauren dealt very well with Paris' nerves in the ring, and Ashley handled Maile's extra energy. On we go to day two."
A strong support team has accompanied the riders and horses to England, including: Andrea Taylor (National Team Coach), Mary Longden (Assistant Team Coach), Elizabeth Quigg (Chef d'équipe), Amie O'Shaughnessy (Team Leader), Dr. Jennifer Miller (Team Veterinarian), Alice Beatty (Stable Manager), Ozzie Sawicki (Performance Consultant), Caroline Archambault (Human/Equine Massage Therapist), and Julie Cull (Media Attache). Grooms include Anne Van Silfhout, Zoe Boyles, Tori Elley-Murray, and Kerry-Anne Bourne. Personal team support personnel include Caroline Samson, Suzie Brown, and Vanessa Lurie. Off-site support is also provided by Jamie-Ann Goodfellow and Ashley Raaymakers (Equine Canada Para-Equestrian Department) as well as April Clay (Sport Psychologist).
Daily Games television highlights will be broadcast from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST showcasing the day's performances, medal winners, athlete interviews and event features. Complete coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will also be available on several networks including TSN2, Sportsnet One, RDS, and RDS2. The Games will kick-off with a two-hour Opening Ceremony extravaganza on August 29, which will be carried live on RDS2 beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST (plus an encore presentation on RDS on August 30 at 6:30am EST), and later in the day at 9 p.m. EST on TSN2 and on AMI with described video. CTV will also air the Opening Ceremony on Saturday, September 1 at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. in Saskatchewan).
For the first time in history, Canadians can watch live multiple online streams of Paralympic Summer Games throughout the 12 days of competition. Five digital streams will offer a total of 580 hours of live coverage. Three feeds will offer daily uninterrupted coverage of swimming, wheelchair basketball and athletics, while two additional channels will cover a range of sports and a will show a "best of" coverage from the day. All digital channels can be accessed from www.CTVParalympics.ca and www.RDSparalympiques.ca.
For candid team shots, updates, and stories, be sure to check out the Canadian Paralympic Equestrian Team blog at: http://canadianparalympicequestrianteam.wordpress.com.
For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Paralympic Games website at www.london2012.com/paralympics/equestrian.