My World Equestrian Games Experience
Going to the World Equestrian Games was a huge adventure and very exciting for me. It was the first time I had been selected to represent my country, and so it was all a bit scary. Unfortunately, the best-laid plans don’t always work out, and Lance was unable to go at the last minute. He was having treatment for an eye condition and, while it was going well, we decided it would be best if he did not travel until he was fully recovered. Fortunately, my other horse was also on the short list so Ozzy Cooper stepped up to his new role and became my WEG partner. I couldn’t be more pleased with him, and the way he performed throughout the team training and in competition at La Prairie Racecourse in Caen. Before we moved into the venue in Normandy, we spent our final preparations in Aachen, Germany. This was also a fun experience, because it gave us time to get to know each other. We really bonded as a team. I made friends for life with my teammates as we became a tightly bonded family.
While we were still in Germany, Mary Wanless arrived from England to help me with my training as my regular trainer Heather Blitz had to make a quick trip home to compete in the Young Horse National Dressage Championships, which she won! Mary travelled to France and also helped at the first day of competition until Heather arrived. They were both there for me for the second test, and I was so lucky to have such amazing help. Heather and Mary have collaborated for a long time on rider biomechanics, and it’s a system that works really well for me.
Unfortunately, the weather was not great for the start of the competition, but we all cheered each other on watching each other’s rides and had a great sense of camaraderie. I really enjoyed this part of being on the squad. There are definitely things that could be improved, and Ozzy is still a very new ride for me, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. But, we are young and determined to make each ride better than the last. It was a huge learning experience that I will never forget, and there were many lessons to learn from every aspect of being part of a team and representing your country at a major championship.
I could not have done this without help from so many people, including my wonderful and generous sponsor Show Chic! I look forward to many more chances to represent my country!
* Para-dressage enables people with disabilities to compete, starting with local shows up to The World Equestrian Games and Paralympic levels. Para riders are graded based on their disability from 1a through IV. 1a is more impaired and a grade IV is the least impaired.