Welcome to the Lima Lowdown! To introduce myself, I’m Jessie Christie, the Media Attaché for the Canadian Equestrian Team in Lima. I’m proud and honoured to be part of the ‘team behind the team’ – and each day of the Games, I’ll be bringing you exclusive stories and photos from our Canadian athletes, grooms, owners, and team personnel here in Lima.


Pressure.

You know when you hear or say a word so many times that it doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore? That’s happening to me right now with the word ‘pressure.’

It came up a lot in the mixed zone during athlete interviews over the past two weeks, because all of the Canadian Equestrian Team athletes in Lima were facing quite a lot of it, with Tokyo qualification on the line.

Pressure. It’s a simple word, but as a feeling, it can be rather more complicated. However, in the case of the CET athletes, they’ve dealt with it beautifully.

Keep reading for valuable insight on how CET athletes tackle that pesky little word, pressure.

P.S. – you’re welcome for getting the Queen (and David Bowie, of course) song stuck in your head…

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

You have to try to be able to separate it (the Olympic qualification) and just ride for that moment. What happened yesterday doesn’t matter, what happens in the next round doesn’t matter. I just really had to focus on him and the course and me, and I think I was able to do that. I would say, you would hope the second round gets easier, but it’s not an easy sport. So I kind of have to take the first round out of my head and start all over again – ride it like a brand new day, brand new class, brand new situation.

– Erynn Ballard – Jumping

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

The key is to stay focused, keep with my routine and not change anything, and just do what I’m doing and give it my best. I can’t coast; I can’t relax. I think I really need to bring my ‘A’ game and show the best that we can be. So I’m going to have to push it to the max to really show off what we’re capable of.

– Tina Irwin – Dressage

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

I spoke to David O’Connor before I went out (on cross-country) and he said that with the way the course has been riding today, it’s so challenging and everything that could happen has happened, so just be smart out there – and if he’s feeling unrideable do the long ways because we have to have a clear round for the team. (Editors’s note – she did!) To deal with pressure, you just have to stay very focused and have tunnel vision.

– Jessica Phoenix – Eventing

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

I just think one day at a time, one stride at a time, I haven’t thought about tomorrow. I’ll think about tomorrow tonight.

– Jill Irving – Dressage

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

That’s the beauty of a very complicated sport – we’re drawn to it because of its complexity and because of that partnership with the horse. And then you go to the course and it either happens the way that you planned or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t happen the way you planned, you do everything you can to salvage the moment.

– Rob Stevenson – Canadian Eventing Team Chef d’Équipe

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

When you go at the beginning, you want to start strong for your team, and if you go towards the end and your teammates are doing well, you know the pressure is on. So I think it’s equal both ways. I try not to think about the pressure, and just think about what I’m going to do when I go in there.

– Lindsay Kellock – Dressage

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

Normally, I don’t feel pressure once I’m in the ring. Once I start, then it’s just me and my horse out there trying to do our best. For sure, beforehand, you feel the pressure but not during the actual competition.

– Lisa Carlsen – Jumping

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

Today I felt no pressure. Once I realized, this is a big venue, but really it’s another sandbox that just happens to be here at the Games. I just focused on riding like I usually do, and that took my pressure away.

– Naima Moreira Laliberté – Dressage

CET on the Go | Under Pressure (cue the Queen song)

There is lots of pressure the first day. We’ve been gearing up for this for more than a year, really a lifetime if you add up all the hours of practice. For me, I don’t get so nervous, but I just really wanted it to go well, and I was very disciplined and focused leading up to it. Now I’m happy, I’ll get to breathe for a little bit and then tomorrow, it will be the same feeling again.

– Nicole Walker – Jumping

All Photo Credits: Cealy Tetley

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