Deauville, FRA, April 4, 2022 – Canada’s Roberta Sheffield embarked on a European tour with the first stop being the 10th annual CPEDI 3* Deauville, France, held from April 1 to 3, 2022.

Sheffield, who is based in Lincolnshire, England, and her mount, Fairuza, finished runner-up on all three days of competition in northern France. Competing in the Grade III division, Sheffield earned scores of 68.147% and 70.294% in the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Team and FEI Individual tests, respectively. In Sunday’s FEI Freestyle competition, the pair executed required movements choreographed to music by Avery Maude Dressage for a score of 72.127%. Dutch competitor Lotte Krijnsen won all three tests riding Rosenstolz.

Canadian Paralympian Roberta Sheffield Embarks on European Tour

Two-time Canadian Paralympian Roberta Sheffield riding Fairuza has embarked on a European tour beginning at CPEDI3* Deauville, France.
Photo Credit: Astrid Ringot

Originally scheduled to be held outdoors, cold and windy weather necessitated that the three-day international competition be moved to the facility’s indoor arena at Pôle International du Cheval Longines – Deauville. Horses were hand-walked in the arena on Friday morning, allowing them time to become familiar with their surroundings before the competition began. In addition to Rich Neale, her groom since 2018, Sheffield was accompanied to the event by Equestrian Canada’s Para-Dressage High Performance Program Technical Leader, Clive Milkins.

“Unfortunately, many horses found the transition inside to be rather stressful and it showed in their performances,” said Sheffield of the opening day of competition. “Fairuza started out a little tense and some mistakes crept in, but her test got better as it went on. I tried to give her as much confidence and support as I could, and her relaxation grew in the spooking setting. I was actually very pleased with our score. To finish second with that performance in such experienced company is really quite exciting.”

Canadian Paralympian Roberta Sheffield Embarks on European Tour

Roberta Sheffield and Fairuza earned a score of 70.294% in the FEI Individual Grade III test.
Photo Credit: Astrid Ringot

Saturday’s FEI Individual test saw a marked improvement in their score, with Sheffield commenting, “Fairuza grew in confidence from her experience yesterday and gave me a wonderful test with the judges commenting on the harmony between us. We scored over the “magic” 70% and earned another second-place ribbon. We are focusing on developing the kind of relaxation in the ring that enables Fairuza to be her wonderfully expressive self in a controlled, predictable, and repeatable way.”

By Sunday’s Freestyle, Sheffield and Fairuza, her 13-year-old bay Gelderlander mare, had grown comfortable with the indoor environment, which was reflected in their score.

“Fairuza and I danced to the ‘Suns and Stars’ music arranged by Avery Maude Dressage,” said Sheffield, 41, who purchased Fairuza in 2015 as an unhandled six-year-old. “Fairuza really rose to the occasion, giving me a fantastic feeling that the panel of five international judges appreciated. They awarded us a score of 72.129% to place second in our grade. I couldn’t have asked much more of Fairuza during this competition; she has improved each day growing in confidence and power.

“It was incredibly beneficial to have Clive Milkins in attendance for his words of wisdom and unwavering support,” concluded Sheffield. “It has been a great start to this European adventure!”

The competition in Deauville marked Sheffield and Fairuza’s second international appearance since representing Canada at last summer’s Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan. Following Deauville, Sheffield travels to Cologne, Germany, where she and Fairuza will spend three weeks training with Volker Eubel. Then it’s on to CPEDI3* Waregem, Belgium, from April 22 to 24, 2022, before wrapping up their European tour at CPEDI3* Mannheim, Germany, from May 2 to 5, 2022.

The ultimate goal for Sheffield is to represent Canada at her third consecutive World Championships in Herning, Denmark, from August 6 to 14, 2022. A two-time Paralympian, Sheffield has previously represented Canada at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, and the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, United States.

For full results from the CPEDI3* Deauville, France, visit www.handiequicompet.fr/en/109/deauville-cpedi***-2022

For high resolution photographs, please e-mail communications@equestrian.ca.

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