Canada Set to Host the WindReach International Para-Dressage Event May 28-30

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ottawa, ON — Para-Equestrian Canada is pleased to announce that the final stages of preparation are now underway for the upcoming WindReach International Para-Dressage CPEDI3* competition that will be hosted at WindReach Farm from May 28-30th, 2010.  As an official qualifier for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the event will not only increase public exposure to Para-Equestrian sport, but will also draw top competitors from around the world.  
Riders from Australia, Bermuda, Ireland, Japan, Venezuela, Mexico and the United States have already submitted entries to compete, and will be joined by a team of elite Para-Equestrian athletes from all across Canada, including Canadian Paralympic Gold and Silver medalist, Lauren Barwick.

The event takes its name from WindReach Farm, the 109-acre property that will host the event, located northeast of downtown Toronto in Ashburn, ON.  The Farm is the life-long dream of founder Sandy Mitchell, an equestrian enthusiast born with cerebral palsy, and is designed to cater specifically to individuals with disabilities.

In addition to attracting competitors from around the globe, the competition will also be bringing together some of the world’s top international Para-Dressage officials from Great Britain, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States.  

Key supporters of the event include: Sport Canada, Own the Podium, WindReach Farm, Para-Equestrian Canada and Equine Canada.  The competition, which supports and recognizes international high performance athletes with a disability, is only the third FEI Para-Equestrian event to ever be held in North America.   

The three-day competition is open to spectators and the media. For the safety of the riders and fellow attendees, we respectfully request that your dogs be left at home for this event.  

About WindReach Farm

Located at 312 Townline Road in Ashburn, Ontario, Canada, WindReach Farm is a fully wheelchair accessible working farm and registered charity.   

For the past twenty years, WindReach Farm has welcomed more than 20,000 visitors with physical and/or intellectual disabilities annually and continues to work with nearly 350 community organizations that include group homes, hospitals, schools and rest homes.  Since 1992, WindReach Farm has offered three main programs: the Visitors program, the Work Experience program, and the Accommodation program.  

In 2003, WindReach Farm’s founder, Mr. Mitchell, constructed a fully accessible stable and riding arena, with the objective of providing recreational riding opportunities for individuals with a disability, as well as the ability to host Para-Equestrian competitions.

In 2004, WindReach Farm hosted the first Canadian Open Paralympic Qualifier for Para-Dressage with resounding success, providing many Canadian riders with the opportunity to qualify for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

In 2005, a therapeutic riding program was introduced at WindReach Farm, enabling individuals with disabilities from the Durham region and surrounding areas to do something that many able-bodied children will never have the opportunity to experience - learn to ride, care for, and develop a bond with a horse.

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 IA representing the more severely impaired riders, and Grade IV 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

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

Photo: Canadian Paralympic Gold and Silver medalist, Lauren Barwick.