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Equine Canada Announces Team for 2012 Paralympic Games

Ottawa, June 20, 2012 - Equine Canada announced today that Para-Equestrian athletes Lauren Barwick, Eleonore Elstone, Ashley Gowanlock, and Jody Schloss have been nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Committee to represent Canada at the 2012 Paralympic Games, August 29-September 9 in London, England.

Barwick, Elstone, and Gowanlock are each returning Paralympians, while Schloss will be making her Paralympic debut in London, providing a combination of experience and new talent to the team.

The Canadian Para-Equestrian team riders have had remarkable success over the past 12 months, achieving podium performances at international events in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Belgium, Germany and the United States, which has put the team in fourth place in the world heading into the Games.

"I am pleased to congratulate para-equestrian athletes Lauren Barwick, Eleonore Elstone, Ashley Gowanlock, and Jody Schloss on being nominated to the 2012 Canadian Paralympic Team," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "I wish all the best to our Canadian Paralympic athletes as they prepare for the Games. I would also like to thank the coaches, family, and officials who support and encourage the athletes who will proudly represent our country."

"I feel very confident that our Team is well prepared for the Games," states National Team Coach Andrea Taylor, who will be accompanying Canada's team for a second time to the Games. "This team, from the athletes, the support personnel, to the leadership group, works tremendously well together and has a solid history of international experience. We're ready to go for it!"

The list of nominated riders and horses are:

Rider Name: Lauren Barwick
Hometown/Training Centre: Aldergrove, BC / Langley, BC
Horse(s): Off to Paris (owned by Equine Canada)
Ferdonia 2 (owned by Lauren Barwick)

Rider Name: Eleonore Elstone
Hometown/Training Centre: Langley, BC / Langley, BC
Horse(s): Zareno (owned by Elisabeth Posmus-Penterman)
Why Not G (owned by Kelleigh Kulcsar/Eleonore Elstone)

Rider Name: Ashley Gowanlock
Hometown/Training Centre: Surrey, BC / Langley, BC
Horse(s): Ferdonia 2 (owned by Lauren Barwick)
Maile (owned by Lauren Barwick)

Rider Name: Jody Schloss
Hometown/Training Centre: Toronto, ON/Kemptville, ON
Horse(s): Inspector Rebus (owned by Jody Schloss)

A strong support team will accompany the riders and horses to London, including coaches, chef d'équipe, grooms, a physiotherapist and veterinarian, working to ensure that the world-class athletes) are fully prepared to achieve greatness at the 2012 Games.

"Canada will once again field a strong equestrian team in what promises to be a memorable competition in iconic Greenwich Park," said Gaétan Tardif, Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. "I very much look forward to watching our Canadian athletes in action."

"I am very confident that we have a strong team, with some outstanding horses. We expect to be very competitive at the Games," said Elizabeth Quigg, chef d'équipe for the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team.

"We have a very talented team of athletes, horses, coaches, and team personnel who have achieved great success over the past year," said Amie O'Shaughnessy, Director of Para-Equestrian and Paralympic Team Manager at Equine Canada. "The support of Own the Podium, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Sport Canada combined with the tremendous efforts of the athletes, has ranked the Canadian team fourth in the world heading into the Games, which will make for a very exciting experience in London."

The selection process for the Canadian Paralympic riders was based on their performances at international events during the qualifying period running between January through to June 1, 2012.

At the Paralympic Games, individual medals are awarded to athletes in the individual and freestyle tests, as well as an overall team medal. Seventy-eight athletes will compete at the Paralympic Games during the 12 days of competition.

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.

Fans can follow the Team's performance during the Games online at Canadian Paralympic Committee, as well as at Equine Canada.

Equine Canada would like to acknowledge the funding contributions of the following partners-Own the Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Sport Canada.


For more information contact:
Julie Cull, EC Media Relations and Games Media Press Attaché for Para-Equestrian,
at 613 248-3433, x 136/Cell 613 858 7562/ jcull@equinecanda.ca

Read More About Our Riders
Team Personnel

Athlete Quotes for Use by the Media - Equine Canada Announces Team for 2012 Paralympic Games

Lauren Barwick
"I'm honored to be representing Canada at my third Paralympic games. I've had fantastic support from Equine Canada, Sport Canada, my sponsors Parelli Natural Horsemanship and friends and family to make this happen. The bar has been raised since Beijing and it is going to be an extremely competitive field of riders. I'm looking forward to bringing my best with my fantastic partner Off to Paris and will enjoy seeing my fellow team mate Ashley Gowanlock compete on one of my other horses Maile, a previous medal winner, or Ferdonia 2. I feel Canada has put together an excellent support system for London from our chef d'équipe to our awesome grooms. We will be a strong team."

Eleonore Elstone
"I am very excited to be representing Canada as a member of the Para-Equestrian team for London. I am grateful to all the people that have been supportive in my journey, especially my family. Zareno is a great horse with a sweet personality. He is so rewarding to ride because he always tries to please. We have had the chance to compete in three European CPEDI competitions in the past few months with good results and I am looking forward to our final training camp in August."

Ashley Gowanlock
"I am feeling very blessed, it's definitely a dream come true. London will be my second Games so I'll be striving to better my results from Beijing 2008. I can't wait to be in London and will ride for Canadian pride. It's taken a lot of hard work to get here, but it wouldn't have been possible without the amazing support of Own the Podium and my friends and family that have rallied around me."

Jody Schloss
"I am very excited about the prospect of going to London to compete in the Paralympic games. With a lot of hard work by a whole team of people, I have managed to get this far. This endeavour took a lot of hard work before it could happen. I went through rigorous training in order to learn how to ride Inspector Rebus effectibely. I am excited to be the new member to the team at this Paralympic games. The other members on the team are vetrans from whom I hope to learn."

About Para-Equestrian Canada
Para-Equestrian Canada is the Equine Canada committee responsiblefor 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 theinternational stream focuses only on Para-Dressage. For more information, please visit www.equinecanada.ca/para-equestrian.