Monday, May 31, 2010

Canadian Paralympians Lauren Barwick and Ashley Gowanlock Complete Hat Trick Victories

The WindReach International Para-Dressage CPEDI3* competition came to an end May 30 with riders performing their Freestyle Tests—always a crowd favourite which incorporates music and technical skill.

Both Lauren Barwick of Aldergrove, BC, and Ashley Gowanlock of Langley, BC won all of their respective classes over the three-day competition, including today’s Freestyle Tests—a respectable feat when competing against some of the world’s best.

Lauren Barwick rode her Paralympic horse Maile in the Grade 2 Freestyle Test to an impressive score of 78.750%, which was the highest score achieved by any rider during the competition.

“I performed the same Freestyle test that I rode with Maile at the 2008 Paralympic Games to win the gold medal,” said Lauren Barwick.  “It was the best that she has performed, and it would not have been possible without the fantastic support of my grooms, personal assistant, Equine Canada and my sponsor, Parelli Natural Horsemanship.”

The WindReach Para-Dressage International CPEDI3* was host to 39 international riders from Australia, Bermuda, Chinese Taipei, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the United States and Canada, becoming the largest FEI Para-Equestrian event ever held in North America.
The top three results from each class were as follows:

Grade 1a Freestyle Test:

1st-     Laura Goldman (USA) riding Carlingfurd JD owned by Trudy Phillips with 75.000%
2nd-     Tara Kowalski (Vancouver, BC, CAN) riding MJ Fatal Attraction owned by Philippa Keegan and Rachael Tipper with 66.083%
3rd-     Kim Decker of (USA) riding Dashers Destiny owned by Paul Decker with 63.583%

Grade 1b Freestyle Test:
1st-     Ashley Gowanlock (Langley, BC, CAN) riding Donneymaskell owned by Sandy (Alexander) Mitchell with 64.250%
2nd-     Judi Island (Caledon, ON, CAN) riding Wouldja Believe it owned by C.A.R.D. with 63.167%
3rd -    Rosie Fahey (AUS) riding Narhan’s Gift owned by Laura Austin with 62.500%

Grade 2 Freestyle Test:
1st-     Lauren Barwick (Aldergrove, BC, CAN) riding Maile owned by Lauren Barwick with 78.750%
2nd-     Rebecca Hart (USA) riding Kazan owned by Kerri Sowers with 75.417%
3rd-     Lauren Barwick (Aldergrove, BC, CAN) riding L’Amistad 22 owned by Lori Garlough with 72.750%

Grade 3 Freestyle Test:
1st-     Erin Alberda (USA) riding Collo 5 owned by Peter Gray with 65.667%
2nd-     Yu-Jen Sun (Chinese Taipei) riding Legacy owned by Jacqueline Norman with 56.333%
3rd-     Beth Levine (USA) riding Cinnamon Girl owned by Lauren Adam with 55.917%

Grade 4 Freestyle Test:
1st-     James Dwyer (IRE) riding Orlando owned by James Dwyer with 76.167%
2nd-    Jennifer Baker (USA) riding Duel owned by University of Findlay with 73.667%
3rd-     Eleonore Elstone (Langley, BC, CAN) riding Why Not G owned by Kelleigh Kulscar with 67.917%

The competition organizers would like to extend their utmost appreciation to the volunteers and supporters who helped make the event a great success and to Sandy (Alexander) Mitchell and WindReach Farm for their generosity and hospitality over the past year.  They also wish the best of luck to each of the international riders who will now be pursuing their goal of competing at the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

About WindReach Farm
Located at 312 Townline Road in Ashburn, Ontario, Canada, WindReach Farm is a fully wheelchair accessible working farm and registered charity. 

For the past twenty years, WindReach Farm has welcomed more than 20,000 visitors with physical and/or intellectual disabilities annually and continues to work with nearly 350 community organizations that include group homes, hospitals, schools and rest homes.  Since 1992, WindReach Farm has offered three main programs: the Visitors program, the Work Experience program, and the Accommodation program. 

In 2003, WindReach Farm’s founder, Mr. Mitchell, constructed a fully accessible stable and riding arena, with the objective of providing recreational riding opportunities for individuals with a disability, as well as the ability to host Para-Equestrian competitions.

In 2004, WindReach Farm hosted the first Canadian Open Paralympic Qualifier for Para-Dressage with resounding success, providing many Canadian riders with the opportunity to qualify for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

In 2005, a therapeutic riding program was introduced at WindReach Farm, enabling individuals with disabilities from the Durham region and surrounding areas to do something that many able-bodied children will never have the opportunity to experience - learn to ride, care for, and develop a bond with a horse. www.windreachfarm.org .

About Para-Equestrian Canada
Para-Equestrian Canada is the Equine Canada committee responsible for developing programs for athletes with a physical disability, and implementing the Para-Dressage high performance program. Para-Equestrian is one of Canada’s most successful international disciplines, achieving an individual gold medal and an individual silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games, as well as two individual bronze medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games.

About Para-Equestrian Sport
Para-Equestrian sport provides riders with a physical disability the opportunity to compete against other riders with similar abilities. Riders are given a “Grade” based on their functional ability, and are judged on their riding skill against other athletes of the same Grade.  There are five grades of competitions in dressage, with Grade IA representing the more severely impaired riders, and Grade IV representing the least severely impaired riders. Many Para-Equestrian athletes also compete alongside able-bodied competitors in Equine Canada competitions. At the grass roots level, Para-Equestrian encompasses a number of different disciplines, while the international stream focuses only on Para-Dressage.  For more information, please visit www.equinecanada.ca/para-equestrian .

About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism.  A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry.  Equine Canada is recognised by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organisation representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca .