Barriere equestrian Darcey Woods made the trip back to Bromont, Quebec, last September as part of Team BC to compete in the Canadian Equestrian Championships.
This first time event for the Canadian horse world presented three days of intense competition in show jumping, reining and dressage at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park, where the eventual winner was Quebec. A gold medal recipient in the three disciplines, Team Quebec was elected Champion with a total of 215 points. Saskatchewan finished second with 162 points, followed by Nova Scotia with 120 points, and British Columbia coming in fourth.
In the first edition of this interprovincial battle, riders were allowed to compete both as Individuals and as a Team. Six provinces, namely British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Quebec, gathered points in the disciplines of dressage, show jumping and reining (the latter being the only western saddle discipline recognized by the FEI). Although Quebec had a great showing in this competition, Team Saskatchewan was very competitive as well, earning silver medals in show jumping, dressage and reining. Representatives of British Columbia took the bronze in dressage, while Team Nova Scotia gathered bronze medals in reining and show jumping.
In the Individual category, six Quebec riders garnered gold medals in the three featured disciplines. Riders from the other provinces, particularly those mounting loaned horses from Quebec owners, also deserve great praise. Of the 12 members of Team Saskatchewan’s delegation, seven rode loaned horses. All of Team British Columbia’s riders, as well as the lone participant from Newfoundland and Labrador, performed on horses which were not their own.
Rachel Blackmon from Team BC took home the bronze for the seniors in dressage.
Darcey Woods says, ““I was fifth on the second day of competition, over-spun to zero a good score on the first day (would have been individual bronze if I would not have zeroed!) We had Individual bronze in senior dressage, and team bronze in dressage. Our lone junior jumper had two good go rounds, placing in the top 10 on day two, and just out of the ribbons on day three.”
Such performances are all the more worthy considering the short amount of preparation these riders had with their horses. Competitors who had brought their own horses also had issues to overcome, namely those of transport fatigue and getting used to a new environment.
“I want to congratulate Team Quebec, particularly the Gold medal recipients Béatrice Boucher (Junior) and Maude Joannette (Senior) in Dressage, as well as Alexandre Gonzalez in Show Jumping, Vicky Tzournavelis and Stephanie Briggs ex-aequo in Reining, and Silver medal winners Camille Carier-Bergeron in Dressage et Tamara Ducatel in Show Jumping”, stated Gisèle Pagé, chef d’equipe for Team Quebec. “But I also want to underline the excellent participation of all the riders. There was a healthy competition spirit and a great atmosphere throughout the event”.
This great happening was a stunning success, and all the more proof that organizing an equestrian Championship between provinces in different disciplines is highly feasible. Organizers and representatives of the different provinces unanimously agree that this first edition of the Canadian Equestrian Championships was a great success. All participants hope to reconvene in 2012.