Para-Dressage veteran Roberta Sheffield, who is currently ranked fifth in the Grade III FEI World Rankings, made her third appearance on the World Championships stage this afternoon. Sporting her red-and-gold maple leaf cravat pin and Canadian Equestrian Team patch, she and her 13-year-old Gelderlander mare Fairuza completed their test with a notable score of 70.882% and secured a fifth-place finish.

A dual Canadian/British citizen and resident of Lincolnshire, UK, Sheffield is always very proud to represent Canada in international competition and is an integral part of the Canadian team. Fairuza, who’s barn name is Wonky, has matured a great deal since their appearance at the Tokyo Paralympics last year. Sheffield was very happy with their result today.

“I was so pleased with her in that test,” she said. “She felt fantastic. She had a really nice swing to her. Her demeanor is just so much more grown up and confirmed. I felt she gave me so much. She just felt like she was trusting me, she was really with me in the partnership. She was a different horse from Tokyo.”

Sheffield had thought that the performance might have landed the pair a better score, but it didn’t affect her experience. “It’s a touch lower than I thought it might be. But it will be interesting to see what the judges saw. It’s a judged competition, so you get that feedback from the judges and you find out what they saw, what they liked. what they were less keen on.”

Chef d’équipe Clive Milkins agreed and was very encouraged by the combination’s performance. “I was very, very impressed with their performance today from start to finish. As we know, Dressage is a subjective judged sport and looking at the final score it could be very easy to be disappointed. However, for the first time ever, Canada has qualified two athletes at a World Championship in the top eight!”

Milkins continued, “Berts’ fifth place is her highest-ever placing in this test at championship level. And sometimes there is more to be looked at than the scores. We look forward to replicating this over the next two days of team competition.”

Para-Dressage Fun Fact:

For grades I – III, the rules allow a ‘friendly horse’ to be on the field of play, outside the ring, to provide support to the horse performing the test. Like Wonky did for him during his test the previous day, Canadian teammate Winona Hartvikson’s 19-year-old Hanoverian gelding Onyx played the role of friendly horse for Wonky on Thursday.

Results here.