Let’s send a Dressage team to Santiago! The EC High Performance Advisory Group (HPAG), Dressage, is thrilled to announce a fundraising campaign that aims to get a team to the Pan American Games this October. In addition to $25,000 already committed from several dedicated donors, Dressage Committee chair Wendy Christoff’s Family Foundation has committed a matching donation of $20,000 for new donations raised towards the urgent appeal of $60,000 needed to get to Santiago.

When it became known to the Dressage Committee and the HPAG that funds were needed, they immediately stepped into action. Due to their unwavering dedication to dressage in Canada, as well as an understanding of the financial constraints facing sport in our country, they began seeking support. Now, they’re asking the community to join their cause.

“I want to see the Canadian team at international competitions, and I know others do too,” Christoff said. “As a group of dedicated volunteers, we believe in our athletes and our program. I want to encourage everyone who can to join me with matching dollars to boost the campaign,” she continued. “To send our athletes to the Pan American Games in Chile, we need to raise sixty thousand dollars. If our community can match the twenty, we’ll be there!”

Although EC spends 34% of its annual budget on high-performance programs and athlete support, there simply is not enough funding to cover all athlete and horse costs to campaign at the international level, such as horse transport and travel. EC’s total Dressage budget for the Pan Am Games is $332,500 of which $272,500 is funded. Without closing this current funding gap, Canada will be unable to send a full team to the Games. The Pan Ams are important as they also provide an opportunity for Canada to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Pan American Games are a continental multi-sport event in the Americas featuring summer sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The competition is held among athletes from nations of the Americas, every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games.

Equestrian has been part of the Pan American Games since 1951, and Canadian dressage has been on the podium every year dating back to 1987, including most recently, a team silver (Brittany Fraser, Chris von Martels, Belinda Trussell and Megan Lane) medal on home soil in 2015 in Toronto, ON, and team gold (Jill Irving, Tina Irwin, Lindsay Kellock and Naïma Moreira-Laliberté) in 2019 in Lima, Peru.

Donations up to the $60,000 initial goal will go towards sending a Canadian dressage team to Santiago, Chile from Oct. 20 – Nov. 5. Any additional funds raised over and above that goal will be put towards the team’s Olympic pursuits for Paris 2024.

“We are so thankful to the HPAG and our Dressage Committee for stepping up to meet this challenge and we believe the community will join them,” said Christine Peters, Senior Manager, Dressage Olympic/Paralympic Program. “We are grateful for Wendy’s leadership, for the generosity of the donors who’ve already come forward and for those who are considering donating to the campaign. With increasing financial pressures, sadly it means there remains a funding shortfall across all national sports where everyone is having to do more with less due to economic and environmental factors out of their control.”

“The need for additional funding is critical for the future success of Canadian Dressage athletes and the team,” said Christoff. “We appreciate everyone’s support and active engagement in this essential fundraising initiative.”

There are many ways to donate including online, in person or contacting Christine Peters directly (cpeters@equestrian.ca). Secure donations can be made through the website. To donate, click on the Donation Link.