The Canadian Paralympic Equestrian Team, comprised of Lauren Barwick, Eleonore Elstone, Ashley Gowanlock and Jody Schloss, is ready to begin competition on August 30 at the 2012 London Paralympic Games following the mandatory horse inspection at the equestrian venue of Greenwich Park. All four horses on the Team were presented and immediately accepted by the FEI ground jury.
Barwick of Aldergrove, BC, will be riding Off to Paris, owned by Equine Canada; Elstone of Langley, BC, will be riding Zareno, owned by Franklin Posmus; Gowanlock of Surrey, BC, will be riding Maile, owned by Lauren Barwick; and Schloss of Toronto, ON, will be riding her own horse Inspector Rebus.
“I am thrilled to be competing for Canada in my third Paralympics,” said Barwick, who also represented Canada at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games. “It is also really nice to see my 2008 gold medal partner, Maile, competing with a fellow teammate here at these Games.”
“I am excited to be part of the team on London,” said Elstone. “It is really exciting to compete for Canada.”
Gowanlock added, “My horse is ready and I am ready. We have been practicing a ton, and now it is time to get the job done in the ring.”
“I know my horse and I are very capable and that we will do our best,” remarked Schloss. “I am very excited to be part of the Canadian Team at the Paralympics.”
The first of two phases of team competition, the Team Test, will take place on August 30 and 31. On August 30, Barwick, who was an individual gold and silver medalist in 2008, will be the lead-off rider for Canada competing in the Grade II Team test in the morning followed by 2008 Beijing Paralympian Gowanlock in the Grade 1b Team test in the afternoon. The following day, Elstone, who was also member of Team Canada at the 2008 Paralympics, will ride in the Grade IV Team test on August 31 in the morning. Schloss will make her Paralympic debut 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 feel that we are very well prepared,” said Andrea Taylor, National Team Coach of the Canadian Paralympic Equestrian Team. “We arrived early and attended a CPEDI2* competition at Bishop Burton College. This has allowed us to work well together as a team. I am really surprised at the wonderful atmosphere in the main stadium. Everything just feels great.”
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.