Seven Reasons Canadian Para-Dressage Athletes Were in Seventh Heaven at the Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CPEDI 3*

Seven Canadian para-dressage athletes had an outstanding weekend at the Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CPEDI 3* in Mill Spring, NC, held Sept. 13-15, 2019.
L to R: Sharon Buffitt, Winona Hartvikson, Gina Smith, Clive Milkins, Jody Schloss, Lee Garrod, Lauren Barwick, Sarah Cummings, Jason Surnoski
Photo Credit: ©EC/Jamie-Ann Goodfellow

The athletes responsible for Canada’s winning weekend were:

  • Canadian Paralympian Lauren Barwick of Reddick, FL;
  • Sharon Buffitt of Pointe Claire, QC;
  • Sarah Cummings of Uxbridge, ON;
  • Lee Garrod of Kensington, NH;
  • Winona Hartvikson of Langley, BC;
  • Canadian Paralympian Jody Schloss of Toronto, ON; and,
  • Jason Surnoski of Whitby, ON.

Check out some of the milestones reached below, with commentary from EC Para-Dressage High Performance Program Technical Leader, Clive Milkins:

1. Lee led the way with a hat trick in the Grade V division. She won all three classes aboard her 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Question (Quaterback x Le Figaro): the Team Test on Sept. 13 (69.225%), the Individual Test on Sept. 14 (69.421%), and the Freestyle on Sept. 15 (69.542%). Clive commented, “Lee winning all three of her classes in her first season of international competition with a lovely horse bodes really well for the future.”

Seven Reasons Canadian Para-Dressage Athletes Were in Seventh Heaven at the Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CPEDI 3*Lee Garrod and Question
Photo Credit: Susan J. Stickle

2. The Team Test also spelled personal bests for Jason and Lauren. Jason earned a personal best Team Test score of 69.192% in Grade II riding Cynthia Nugent’s 20-year-old Westphalian gelding sired by Postdam, Phoenix, while Lauren earned a personal best with Engelbrecht (Vivaldi x Rimini 41), the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that she co-owns with Brenda Ladd, of 70.098% in Grade III. Both scores placed the athletes second in their respective divisions.

3. Speaking of Lauren, she also celebrated her 42nd birthday in North Carolina on Sept. 12. Happy birthday, Lauren!

4. Every athlete made it to the Freestyle. To qualify for the Freestyle on Sept. 15, athletes had to first place in the top third in their grade and earn a minimum score of 60% as an average following the Team and Individual Tests. “I think it’s important to note that it’s the first time ever that all seven Canadian athletes got through to the freestyle, and that’s really important. Every single athlete delivered the best performance they possibly could.”

Seven Reasons Canadian Para-Dressage Athletes Were in Seventh Heaven at the Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CPEDI 3*

Sarah Cummings and L.Dorado
Photo Credit: Susan J. Stickle

5. Sharon won the Grade II Freestyle with 69.667% riding Elektra II (Radjah Z x Rastar). The 2018 Para-Dressage Development Athlete of the Year has placed top two in nearly 90% of competitions with her 14-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare – who was her partner at in the very same ring at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) – since the combination’s international debut in 2017. Jason and Phoenix followed second in the Grade II Freestyle with a score of 69.056%.

6. Winona posted excellent scores with a new horse under saddle. The last time she was on the Tryon grounds was for WEG 2018 riding Ultimo, but Winona returned in 2019 to debut a new mount, Onyx (sired by Wolkentanz), whom she co-owns with Jane Macdonald. The 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding was Lauren’s partner at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, but the Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CPEDI 3* represented his first appearance in the international ring since then. “A few teething problems on the first day meant a lower score than we were expecting, but by the second day with some good coaching interventions and a little bit of help, the horse went up to a 71.190% test [in the Grade I Individual], including 75.536% from one judge.”

Seven Reasons Canadian Para-Dressage Athletes Were in Seventh Heaven at the Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CPEDI 3*

Winona Hartvikson and Onyx
Photo Credit: Susan J. Stickle

7. Canada upped its chances for qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. “As far as the push for Tokyo is concerned, we had our highest-ever team score of 416.079, which has put us just two points behind Brazil in the hunt for Tokyo qualification. If we deliver consistent results in the next two internationals, we have a chance of qualifying.”

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