Three Canadian Para-Equestrians Carry 2010 Paralympic Flame

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ottawa, ON - Paralympians Lauren Barwick of Aldergrove, BC, Karen Brain of Saanichton, BC, and Jennifer McKenzie of Maple Ridge were selected as torchbearers for the 2010 Paralympic Games.

The 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay, presented by the Government of Canada, was a 10-day celebration highlighting and sharing the stories of inspirational individuals: their achievements, their passions and their courage.  The 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay began in Ottawa on March 3rd, 2010 and concluded at the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver to signal the start of the Paralympic Winter Games on March 12th, 2010.

"The torch relay was completely amazing! The high energy, crowd enthusiasm and community appreciation for both the Paralympic Torch relay and each of the torch bearers themselves was electric. The experience easily compared to my first Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in Athens when I first walked into the stadium; an over whelming sense of pride to be Canadian and to be a fellow Paralympic athlete filled me completely,” said Brain, who won a bronze medal in para-dressage at the 2004 Paralympic in Athens, GRE. “I am grateful to have been given this opportunity! It was a fabulous reminder of the Paralympic spirit!"

“It's incredible to have been selected to carry the Olympic and Paralympic torch in my home country,” said Barwick, who was the city of Langley’s torch bearer for the 2010 Olympic Games on February 8. “It was once in a life time experience.”

All three athletes were members of the Canadian Equestrian Team at the 2008 Paralympics in Hong Kong in para-dressage, where Barwick was a double medalist—individual gold and silver. Both Barwick and Brain also represented Canada at the 2004 Paralympic in Athens, Greece.

As official sponsor of the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team, Viterra Inc, a global food ingredients company headquartered in Canada, is proud to recognize these Paralympians.  Viterra operates grain handling and marketing, agri-products and processing businesses, including custom mills and operations throughout Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand that provide premium quality feed products and nutritional advice to the equine industry.

Viterra Inc. provides premium quality ingredients to leading global food manufacturers. Headquartered in Canada, the global agribusiness has extensive operations across Western Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with Adelaide, Australia as the base for Viterra’s Southeast Asian operations. The company’s growing international presence also extends to operations in the United States, and offices in Japan, Singapore, China, India and Switzerland. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit Viterra operates in five interrelated business areas: grain handling and marketing, agri-products, food processing, feed products and financial services. Viterra’s expertise, close relationships with producers, and superior logistical assets allow the company to consistently meet the needs of the most discerning end-use customers, helping to fulfill the nutritional needs of people around the world.

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: Jennifer McKenzie of Maple Ridge was selected as  a torchbearer for the 2010 Paralympic Games. Photo Credit: Jimmy McAree