The 2014 season has commenced in a winning way for the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team with great scores on the opening day of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI3*. The first day of competition resulted in victories in Grades Ib and II, and Canada is currently leading in the team competition at the FEI competition which is being held at the lovely Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, March 14-16, in Wellington, FL.
Riding Collegiate Sweet Leilani, M. Kendalyne Overway’s 13-year-old Morgan mare, Ashley Gowanlock, of Surrey, BC gave the Canadian Team its first win of the day. The pair earned the top score of 71.333% in the Grade Ib Team Test during their international debut together.
“I am super excited about my ride today and very grateful to my whole team of supporters who have been really helpful,” said Gowanlock. “I am very proud of Leilani and how she dealt with the atmosphere in the ring today, and I can’t wait to see how our partnership progresses over the next few months. I am really grateful to Leilani’s owner, M. Kendalyne Overway, for giving me this fabulous opportunity with her horse. I am so thrilled to be a part of this team, as always.”
Team veteran Lauren Barwick of Aldergrove, BC had two horses in the Grade II Team Test-Equine Canada’s 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, Off to Paris, and her own mare Ferdonia 2, a 15-year-old Oldenburg. With Ferdonia 2, Berwick was victorious with a score of 70.000%, and finished in second with Off to Paris, with 69.755%.
“It was a great experience to ride both Fergie and Paris in the international ring,” said Barwick who is three-time Paralympian and a 2008 Paralympic gold and silver medalist. “Tomorrow, I am going to work on making what was good even better and what was already great, the best.”
In the Grade Ia Team Test, Jody Schloss of Toronto, ON finished in second place riding Inspector Rebus, her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. The pair received 67.609%. Teammate Robyn Andrews of St. Johns, NL was third, with 64.348%,in Grade Ia, riding her horse Fancianna, a 13-year-old Friesian Andalusian cross mare.
Lynne Poole of Schomberg, ON finished in second place with 63.492%, riding Vasco E, her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, and third, with a score of 61.984%, aboard Cruiser, her 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding in Grade IV.
“I am very proud of each of the athletes in how they prepared for the competition and performed in the ring today,” said team coach Mary Longden. “They were true professionals in their whole approach and it was a fantastic team experience.”
The competition continues tomorrow with the Individual Tests followed by the always thrilling musical Freestyle competition on March 16. Using the combined scores from today’s Team Test and the Individual Test tomorrow, Andrews, Barwick, Gowanlock and Schloss will contest the overall team award. Canada won the competition in 2013.
The ground jury members for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI3* are Kjell Myhre (NOR), Marc Urban (BEL) and Kristi Wysocki (USA). For complete competition results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
Supporting the team at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI3* is Elizabeth Quigg, chef d’équipe; Mary Longden, team coach; Amie O’Shaughnessy, director of Para-Equestrian Canada; Dr. Jennifer Miller, team veterinarian; and Caroline Archambault, human/horse Registered Massage Therapist.
This competition in Florida was 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.
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.