Megan Lane of Loretto, ON, and the 15-year-old KWPN mare Caravella were the first of two Canadians competing as individuals in dressage in Rio. The pair put in a lovely test, scoring 71.286%. “It felt amazing!” said Lane, 25. “Maybe the halt/reinback was a little bit quicker than ideal, but that’s the biggest criticism I have out of this test.”

She continued, “Today, I couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere, better weather, so it’s a recipe for perfection. This is my personal best score [compared to 71.060%]. We’ve done a lot of preparing and I’m grateful to everyone who’s helped me along the journey.”

This is Lane’s first Olympic Games, and the path here included coming up through the juniors and young rider ranks, and appearances in the 2014 WEG and 2015 Pan Am Games. Caravella has a different back story than most dressage horses. “It’s been an absolutely incredible journey with this horse. I bought her as a hunter [in Uxbridge, bred by Jill Irving] and turned her into a dressage horse. I fell in love with her; when I saw her I wasn’t looking for a horse and when I bought her I didn’t really have any plans – I just knew that I loved her. It turned out that we really clicked and the rest is history.”

She describes what traits attracted her to the mare. “She’s feisty; she’s got that fire in her. We get along really well – she doesn’t like everybody – it’s a mare [thing]. She tries that extra bit more than she’s capable of, and that’s what I find really special about her.”

Another reason was her athleticism. “She can jump the moon,” said Lane. “At my mom’s barn when we first bought her, we had different horses in different paddocks and she would just jump from one paddock to another. We’d be watching from the window and say, ‘Oh my God, there she goes!’ I’ve never jumped her, but she can do everything.”

Lane said that their long partnership was a big advantage to her in this highly-charged Olympic atmosphere. “I’ve had her for eight years now, so we’ve essentially grown up together. We know each other inside and out. It’s amazing to go through all these new experiences with someone you trust, so you really don’t feel alone when you’re in these big competitions and high-stress situations.”