The Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) Canadian Para-Dressage Team of Lauren Barwick of Aldergrove, BC, Winona Hartvikson of Langley, BC, Jody Schloss of Toronto, ON, and Roberta Sheffield, who resides in Lincolnshire, GBR, has reunited to pick up the mantle at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan.

Para-equestrian dressage competition, which is divided into five Grades based on functional ability, begins at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park on Aug. 26, 2021, with the Individual Test for Grades II, IV and V. Canada’s Paralympians, who are in Grades I and III, will take on the Individual Test and the first chance for a medal on August 27. Three combinations will then compete for the maple leaf in the Team Test on August 28, with team medals decided after all Grades have performed the following day. Finally, the top eight combinations per Grade will move on to the Individual Freestyle on August 30 for their last shot at an individual medal.

Before para-dressage competition gets underway, 76 horses from 27 countries passed the official horse inspection on August 25 – including the four Canadian entries.

Four-time Paralympian Barwick, 43, is heading into the Games sitting 33rd on the FEI Para Dressage World Individual Ranking and seventh in the ranking for Grade III. Her impressive standings are due to her partnership with Lee Garrod’s Sandrino (sired by Spirit of Westfalia), a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding with whom Barwick has had explosive results since the combination burst on the scene in January 2020. They have never placed outside of the top three in 14 competitions together and most recently, Barwick and Sandrino won the 2021 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI 3* Grade III Freestyle with a personal best of 77.656%.

“As my fifth Paralympics, I feel like this has been one of the best,” said Barwick, who is the owner of gold and silver medals from the Beijing 2008. “We have come together as a team and united. I’m really looking forward to going down the centreline and supporting the rest of the riders.”

Hartvikson, 62, will be bringing over 30 years of dressage riding, coaching and judging experience to her first Paralympic appearance. Her wealth of experience has recently been on display in Grade I competition with Onyx, who was previously campaigned by Barwick at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. The 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding has continued to achieve success at the FEI level in Hartvikson’s hands and in partnership with her co-owner, Jane Macdonald. Most recently, the pair posted a commendable score of 75.856% at the 2020 AGDF CPEDI 3*.

Schloss, 48, made her Paralympic debut at London 2012 riding Inspector Rebus before partnering with Lieutenant Lobin (Lobster x Fanal Prydsholm) in 2014. Together, Schloss and her 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding have been a constant presence on the Grade I leaderboard, recording over 20 top-three finishes at the CPEDI 3* level and earning top-10 team and individual finishes at WEG 2018.

(L-r) Courtney Palleson with Onyx (Winona Hartvikson); Karis Van Essen jogs Lieutenant Lobin (Jody Schloss); Richard Neale and Fairuza (Roberta Sheffield). (Jon Stroud Media)


Rounding out the Canadian Para-Dressage Team is 40-year-old Sheffield, who has demonstrated incredible skill with different horses at major games (Bindro T at the Caen 2014 WEG; Double Agent at the Rio 2016 Paralympics; and Bailaor at WEG 2018). Now, Sheffield is ready to show off her self-professed “heart horse”, Fairuza, on the world stage. Together, she and her 12-year-old mare have collected many international top-three finishes since 2018, including wins at the 2018 Bishop Burton CPEDI 3* and 2019 Chi Al Shaqab and back-to-back second place finishes at the 2021 NAF Five Star Hartpury Festival of Dressage.

“It is absolutely an honour to be here,” commented Sheffield. “It is the most beautiful venue, extraordinarily decorated and just a beautiful, culturally gorgeous space to compete in and represent Canada. To wear the maple leaf is always wonderful but this is super special.”

The Canadian Para-Dressage Team is supported at the Games by: Chef d’Équipe, Clive Milkins; Para-Dressage Veterinarian, Alan Manning; Grooms, Lillie Durbin, Courtney Palleson, Karis Van Essen and Richard Neale; Athlete Personal Supports, Shannon Dueck, Jane Macdonald and Melinda Castillo; and Equestrian Team Lead, James Hood.

For more information on equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including the full schedule of equestrian competition and results, please click here. Further information on the Canadian Equestrian Team can be found at on the Equestrian Canada #RidetoTokyo webpage.