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Posts tagged ‘Eventing’

What a Day! Olympic Cross Country

Holy smokes what a day it was today! Olympic Eventing cross country took centre stage, and it was really great to see lots of people out on course watching compared to the lacklustre audiences for the 2 dressage days.

As predicted by many, the course really shuffled up the leaderboard. While I’m by no means an Eventing expert, watching today reminded me of the  types of courses you would see back in the 80’s and 90’s. Both horse and rider had to be very fit, very brave and very determined.

It was incredible to see many very seasoned riders and horses run into trouble. Who would have thought that the likes of Tim Price, Montgomery Clark and Karin Donckers wouldn’t finish.

Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance were again the trailblazers. At the best of times it’s a very challenging position to be in, but at an Olympic Games over a course like this make it even more so. Jessica didn’t have the advantage to see how the course was riding in order to make adjustments to her plan. Instead, she went out there and attacked it with Don  Leschied’s dynamo mare. Talk about true grit and fierce determination. It was obvious watching these two over the course that nothing was going to stop them for attacking and eating up this Rio course.

Although they did pick up 40 jump penalties and 35.60 time, they showed their teammates that the course was conquerable, and brought home valuable information to help Kathryn, Colleen and Rebecca refine their strategies.

Last minute adjustments before heading into the start box


True grit and determination…this is what sets the good eventers from the great


Kathryn Robinson

It was certainly a bummer for Kathryn Robinson and Let it Bee, who were eliminated on course. They looked great at the start, but it wasn’t meant to be their day today. Thankfully both of them are healthy and will fight another day.

Flying out of the start box


Bummer to be eliminated, but we can’t wait to see you again Kathryn!

Colleen Loach

Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue d’Argrouges looked like cross-country machines. Although they also incurred 40 jump penalties and 45.20 time, that really betrays how good they looked every time I could see them. And I loved how even at the end of the course, Qorry’s ears were pricked way forward almost as if he was saying “Ok, what else Mom?”

It was really hard to believe that this was the first 4* experience for this duo. The future is blindingly bright!



Jumping all stylish like a hunter!

Those ears though!



Rebecca Howard

I can’t imagine the pressure that Rebecca Howard was feeling as she headed towards the start box, knowing that with Kathryn’s out of the game, she had to make sure that they completed the course in order to keep a team result for Canada. Even more so when her Olympic debut in London 2012 was cut short due to a fall on course.

That’s one of the biggest differences when riding at an Olympic Games…. it’s not just about your individual performance, it’s about making decisions in the best interest of the team.

If Rebecca was feeling pressure, she sure didn’t show it. Her and “Rupert” tackled the course like the pros they are.  They added only 12.4 time penalties and jumped up to 15th position heading into the final day.

Heading out of the start box.

The look of pure concentration and focus.

On the way home!


I’d be celebrating too after successfully taking on the most difficult Olympic course in recent history!

Video of Rebecca’s last few fences on course courtesy of CBC

Showjumping Day

The final day of Eventing Competition takes place tomorrow morning starting at 10am Rio time (9:00am EST).

Follow the live results at:

And watch the lifestream on

Go Canada!!

Shout Outs

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures, but I had to give a shout out to 2 combinations.

  1. Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa and The Duke of Cavan: If look up the word “relentless” and “determination”, you’ll see this guy’s picture. No was never an option for him going over this course. Even if the distance or angle was awkward, he just kicked on and let his horse do the rest. And his horse rose to the occasion every. single. time. It was quite something to see
  2. Chile’s Carlos Lobos Munoz and Ranco: If I had this horse during my Eventing days, things may have turned out a lot differently (ie. I wouldn’t have switched to Dressage). Not only does Ranco have the cutest face ever, but he looks like the most honest horse around who loves his job.

The Cooling Stations


The Legend

I couldn’t end this blog without a pic of my Eventing hero – New Zealand’s Mark Todd. He truly gave a masterclass in riding over the course. The man’s leg never EVER changes position. Perfectly balanced at all times.




Event Dressage Day 1 at Rio 2016

After an amazing opening ceremonies last night (more on that later), competition officially kicked off today with Day 1 of Eventing Dressage.

Calm Before the Storm

Canadian FEI Steward Jan Stephens caught this incredible sunrise shot at the venue.


Unfortunately the spectator stands were quite empty, and while not unusual for Eventing Dressage it’s still disappointing. Having said that, less people typically means less noise & distraction…and when you’re sitting on top of a finely tuned cross-country machine that is not necessarily a bad thing!

Jessica Phoenix and Donald Leschied’s A Little Romance had the honour of making the very first hoof prints in the Olympic competition arena.

They laid down a very steady test, and were rewarded with one of their best dressage scores to date: 52.0. This is a terrific start for Canada given the toughness of this Olympic’s cross-country course.

Maple Leaf Proud! 

photo Sandra Andresen

Heading down to the main competition arena

2016-08-06-JPhoenix-Dressage2photo Sandra Andresen




That’s an OLYMPIC smile after achieving your personal best! 



Next Canadian in the ring today was Kathryn Robinson and Let it Bee.
Kathryn put in an extremely flowing and harmonious test – and they looked both very focused AND relaxed at the same time, a hard thing to achieve!


Game Face On – Check!

It’s Go Time!


Dancing with the Olympic Stars

Hugging the stuffing out of your horse after having the ride of your life in the biggest sandbox in the world 🙂

…and those in the Kiss & Cry Box look pretty happy too!

Off to see the Stewards after a very successful ride


It’s worth noting it’s a super hot day today at the Deodoro venue with temperatures hitting 33 Celsius and 28% humidity – ouch!


It was interesting to see a lot of families in the audience today. It was apparent that for most, this was their first introduction to equestrian events as they would cheer and clap while horses were in the ring. Great to see the enthusiasm, but definitely a challenge for some horses and riders.


Hats off to the first Brazilian rider down the centreline, Marcio Appel. As soon as he set foot into the main stadium the crowd erupted! And when he rode up to do his first salute down centreline, they erupted again with cheers and applause. Thankfully his horse didn’t bat an eye but instead seemed to soak it all in.

It was also great to see Canada’s Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon come out to cheer on Jessica and Kathryn today.

And folks from the Canadian Olympic Committee also came out to meet the athletes and the grooms. Thanks for the love COC!

Multiple Olympic medal-winning short track speedskater Tania Vicent with Lynsey Rowan and Anton

Full Results

Check them out at

Day 2 – Eventing Dressage & How to Watch Online

On deck tomorrow are Colleen Loach (10:16am) and Rebecca Howard (1:54pm) local times.

If you’re in Canada, is live streaming ALL of the equestrian events.

Go to:

The Olympic Organizers are also doing a fantabulous job of getting scores up immediately following the riders.






Ain’t Nothing But a Gold Digger

With all the controversy going on right now about Kanye West playing at the closing ceremonies, I thought this would make for the perfect title for today’s posting after Day 1 of Eventing. Because there a BIG race on for Team Gold!

It was a bit on the cool & rainy side today, which led to some “frisky” rides in the sandbox.

Waylon Roberts was first in the ring for Canada with his & Kelly Plitz’s Bill Owen. This is actually the 2nd Pan Ams for Waylon, who won a Team Silver in Rio 2007 riding Paleface.

Kathryn Robinson & Let it Bee – top placed Canadians in 2nd

Jessica Phoenix & Don Good’s Pavarotti – defending Pan Am Champions

Colleen Loach & Peter Barry’s Qorry Blue d’Argouges

Jessica Phoenix gets a visit from some die-hard fans!

At the end of Dressage day,  the top 3 teams are separated by only 3.7 penalty points. And only 2 seconds on cross country separates Canada and the US. So not only will jumping efforts play a role tomorrow, but time will play a BIG factor!

2015 Pan American Games Eventing Individual after Dressage

2015 Pan American Games Eventing Team after DressageMark Todd!!

Highest place US rider Marilyn Little & RF Scandulous

It will be a long night as everyone gets all essentials packed up and ready for the transfer of 43 horses to the cross-country venue tomorrow morning 20 miles away at Will O’Wind Farm. It will be a very early morning with 6 tractor trailers leaving with a police escort by 6:15am in order for the first horse to hit the cross country course at 11am. Then at 5pm everyone loads back to return to Caledon Equestrian Park. A big operation for sure, but one that most of the Eventers are used to as quite often the cross-country venue is at a satellite location (think 2011 Guadalajara Pan Ams and 2008 Beijing Olympics to name just 2).

This sums up the situation going into cross-country perfectly:

Looking forward to Saturday’s cross-country phase, Phoenix remarked, “Cross-country looks like it should be a blast!  The jumps are beautifully constructed, and I think the course flows really well.  Everyone is really excited to get out there.”

Colleen Loach, who although it’s her major games debut actually took part in the London2012 Olympics as Eventing team member Peter Barry’s groom, plans to take all of the direct routes, shared, “I think it looks great, I’m really excited to get out there.  For sure you have to be on your game, there are some questions out there.  I think the water would be a good question, but it all looks very doable, and nicely presented and kind for the horses.”

Comments on the course refer to it being plenty difficult enough and a definite Championship test where the rider needs to stay focused throughout to handle a number of technical questions – particularly towards the last 2 minutes.

Hopefully the weather reports of 40 degree humidex won’t actually materialize, but the organizers are prepared for the heat with 4,000 kg of ice  being delivered to the site.

I’m totally stoked for cross-country tomorrow, and hope to be able to post some exciting coverage here.

For a terrific fence-by-fence virtual tour of the cross country course, visit

Here’s a little taste of the “Canadian” features found throughout the course. (photos by Christy Baxter – Facebook)

2015 Pan American Games Cross Country Course

2015 Pan American Games Cross Country Course

2015 Pan American Games Cross Country Course

The finish line!!! And a salute to Lima Peru, host of the 2019 Pan American Games

2015 Pan American Games Cross Country Course

Full times (and results) can be found on the TO2015 website.

Canadians go at:
11:12 – Waylon Roberts
11:52 – Colleen Loach
12:44 – Kathryn Robinson
13:28 – Jessica Phoenix

And in the words of Team Canada Eventing Coach Clayton Fredericks….

Go Canada!!

Toronto 2015 Pan American Games Well Underway

I’m a bit late in starting this Pan American blog – and there’s been much Canadian success already!

In broader terms, Canada has already amassed more Gold Medals in the first few days of these Games than the entire 2011 Guadalajara Games.

At the time of writing, Canada is at the top of the medal table for both Gold (38) and total (97).

And 2 of those medals are thanks to Canada’s Dressage Team! (Team Silver, and of course Chris von Martels’ individual Bronze).

I will make a separate post later devoted to the Dressage Team’s fantastic performance, but right now I’ll start off with the Eventers.

After holding their training camp just minutes away from the venue (at Jorge & Amanda Bernhard’s facility), the Eventers moved into Caledon Equestrian Park on July 15th.

The jog was held today (16th), and after a few tense moments for Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue D’Argouges (owned by WEG2014 & London2012 Team member Peter Barry), everyone passed the inspection.

Team Canada Stables – looking fancy!

Group Shot before the jog

Waylon Roberts & Waylon”s and Kelly Plitz’s Bill Owen

Jessica Phoenix & Don Good’s Pavarotti

Kathryn Robinson & her Let it Bee

Colleen Loach & Peter Barry’s Qorry Blue D’Argouges

Selena O’Hanlon & John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High

Eventing competition gets underway tomorrow (July 17) with Dressage.

Waylon Roberts & Bill Owen – 9:22
Colleen Loach & Qorry Blue D’Argouges – 10:47
Kathryn Robinson & Let It Bee – 13:35
Jessica Phoenix & Pavarotti – 15:17



Members of our Canadian Eventing Team!

2 blog posts in less than 24 hours…I better pace myself! 🙂

But I wanted to make sure everyone sees these great video interviews with Canadian Olympic Team Members Jessica Phoenix, Michelle Mueller, Hawley Bennett-Awad and Shandiss Wewiora from their training camp location in England.

Many thanks to who continue to provide such fantastic coverage of the sport.

Hawley Bennett-Awad

Jessica Phoenix

Michelle Mueller

Shandiss Wewiora


The Canadian Eventing Team in England! (on their way to a Team gallop)
photo: Phoenix Equestrian Team

2012 Canadian Eventing Team


Jessica Phoenix and “Tucker” looking sharp
photo: Phoenix Equestrian Team

Jessica Phoenix & Exponential

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