Olympic Fo­cus

Dressage Today - - Inside Dt -

Ilove the Olympic Games—Sum­mer and Win­ter. I love the cov­er­age of the dif­fer­ent coun­tries that play host, the back­sto­ries of the ath­letes and the ex­cite­ment of the sports cov­ered. This month our ath­letes are headed to Rio to com­pete in the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. While at press time the teams had not yet been an­nounced, we have a rough idea of whom we might see there, in­clud­ing our cover girl—Cana­dian Par­a­lympian Lau­ren Bar­wick and her part­ner, Onyx.

A for­mer event rider, Bar­wick was par­a­lyzed from the waist down in 2000 when a 100-pound bale of hay fell from 10 feet, break­ing her back. In the strug­gle to find her new nor­mal, Bar­wick dis­cov­ered her pas­sion and tal­ent for dres­sage. More deter­mined than ever, she turned to Nat­u­ral Horse­man­ship to de­velop a part­ner­ship with her horses—one that she thinks helps them to be calm, con­nected and re­spon­sive. To­day, Bar­wick—a gold and sil­ver Par­a­lympic medal­ist— be­lieves that be­ing chal­lenged to over­come or com­pen­sate for a dis­abil­ity while rid­ing is ac­tu­ally a gift: one that al­lows her to bring new in­sights to her train­ing. Read “Inspiration in the Face of Chal­lenge” on p. 34.

Con­tin­u­ing our Olympic fo­cus, we meet U.S. Olympic hope­ful Al­li­son “Ali” Brock and her part­ner, Ro­sevelt, owned by Clau­dine and Fritz Kun­drun. We’ve compiled a list of 15 things you might not have known about this fun pair, in­clud­ing the fact that Ro­sevelt, or “Rosie,” is a “to­tal guy” but is also in­cred­i­bly sweet. “[Rosie] would be that guy who is good in sports and smart and plays in the band and gets along with ev­ery­body,” says Brock. Read more on p. 50.

Also in this issue is a Rio out­look piece that gives some in­sight into how the teams were look­ing at press time. Pho­to­jour­nal­ist Nancy Jaf­fer reports: With just a few weeks to go, tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor/ chef d’equipe Robert Dover thinks the high-per­for­mance pool is at a level rem­i­nis­cent of 2004, when he last rode on an Olympic team with Deb­bie McDon­ald, Guenter Sei­del and Lisa Wil­cox. “We knew we were go­ing to have a medal; just not sure what color,” re­called Dover. But he won’t spec­u­late as to who the medal con­tenders might be. In­stead he said, “I’m not even con­cern­ing my­self with the other na­tions. I am putting all my en­ergy into our own ath­letes and their horses.” You can read Jaf­fer’s story on p. 42.

This month we also say farewell to dres­sage en­thu­si­ast, author and USDF Hall of Fame in­ductee Max Gah­wyler, PhD. DTs Tech­ni­cal Editor Beth Baumert pens a thought­ful re­mem­brance piece that high­lights the many things Dr. Max brought to our sport (p. 24). While I did not know him, my guess is that he would have watched Rio with great en­thu­si­asm.

Un­til next time,

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