Jacqueline Brooks of Cedar Valley, ON, is currently the top placed member of the Canadian Olympic Team for Dressage following the first day of competition on Thursday, August 2, at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

As the third competitor into the stadium at the Olympic equestrian venue in Greenwich Park, Brooks, 44, of Cedar Valley, ON, earned a score of 68.52 percent.  She is currently ranked 18th in the individual standings with D Niro.

“He did everything I asked for out there,” said Brooks of D Niro, a 13-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Brookhaven Dressage, Inc.  “He was so rideable and everything felt easy.  I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Brooks made history at the 2012 London Olympics by being the first competitor to wear a helmet instead of the usual top hat historically worn by dressage competitors.

“I am very proud to be the first Olympic dressage rider to compete in a helmet,” said Brooks of her decision to choose safety over tradition.  “It’s the way the sport is going.”

Competing during a heavy downpour of rain, David Marcus, 31, of Campbellville, ON, was mid-way through his test when his mount, Capital, spooked and went off course.  Marcus was not able to regain his horse’s attention within the 10 seconds allowed, and was eliminated from competition by the head of the ground jury, Stephen Clarke of Great Britain.

“He was trying so hard in the first half of the test but, at that moment, something triggered him,” said Marcus of Capital, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood owned by Deborah Miculinic.  “I don’t blame him at all.  It is just an unfortunate circumstance, and it is unfortunate that it was here at the Olympics.  I feel terrible for Canada, for my team, and for everyone who has been so supportive of me.  This is life with horses, and we can put it all in perspective by knowing that both Capital and I are going home healthy.  He is going to have a long career ahead of him.”

Canada’s third team member for Dressage, Ashley Holzer of Toronto, ON, riding Breaking Dawn, owned by Ashley Holzer and P.J. Rizvi, will compete in the Grand Prix at 12:42 p.m. on the second day of individual and team qualifying competition.

With the elimination of Marcus, the Canadian Olympic Team for Dressage is also eliminated from competition.  Brooks and Holzer are eligible to continue as individuals, if qualified, in the Grand Prix Special on Tuesday, August 7.

“Jacquie rode D Niro through a clean test today and made an excellent first impression for our team,” said chef d’équipe Gina Smith, 1988 Olympic team bronze medalist.  “Both Jacquie and D Niro were relaxed but had such positive expression in their performance.  Canada can be very proud of this combination!”

She continued, “David warmed up beautifully in spite of the torrential rain showers.  Capital was really on and unfazed by the weather.  In the test, unfortunately something caught Capital’s eye and David did his best to convince him that there was nothing to worry about.  It took too long for Capital to come back to David and they were eliminated.  David and Capital are young and will be strong contenders for Canada in future competitions.”

Following the Grand Prix Special, the top 18 individual competitors will contest the individual medals in the Grand Prix Freestyle on Thursday, August 9.  The individual medals in Dressage will be the final equestrian sport medals to be awarded at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Dressage is supported by Chef d’équipe Gina Smith; Veterinarian Dr. Geoff Vernon; Technical Leader Markus Gribbe; Team Manager Christine Peters and Personal Athlete Coach Robert Dover.  Grooms include Lindsay Kellock (Holzer); Eleanor Anne McFee (Brooks); Alexandra Reid (Marcus); and Christine Bacher (Diane Creech-reserve).  Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader.

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.