It has been a whirlwind two months for veteran Canadian dressage rider Karen Pavicic. The Surrey, BC native hopped across the pond in early May to test her mettle against the world’s top riders at some of Europe’s most prestigious competitions.

One very long plane ride, three international competitions, four top-10 finishes and a whole lot of smiles sums up her very successful adventure.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said the 2007 Pan American Games team silver medalist. “Although it’s highly competitive, there’s also a lot of camaraderie among the riders and I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way.”

Pavicic kicked off her European excursion at the CDI 4* in Wiesbaden, Germany, May 22-25. Aboard her 2014 World Equestrian Games partner, Don Daiquiri (Don Cardinale x Rubinstein I), she earned a 16th place in the Grand Prix with a score of 67.46% and finished 13th in the Grand Prix Special on a score of 66.843%.

Continuing to shake off the jetlag, they then travelled to the CDI 4* in Mallorca, Spain, June 12-14, where they would earn a pair of impressive sixth-place finishes in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle, with scores of 69.40% and 71.75%, respectively. Two weeks later at the CD I4* Fritzens-Schindlhof, Austria, June 26-28, Pavicic and Don Daiquiri would again earn two more impressive top-10 results. They wrapped up their European tour by taking home eighth in the Grand Prix with their score of 67.20% and ninth in the Grand Prix Freestyle (68.80%).

“Don Daiquiri has been feeling very good overall,” said Pavicic of the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding she co-owns with Jayne Essig. “Fortunately, he’s a well-seasoned and very good traveller.”

The pair enjoys a special bond that clearly translates into a successful partnership.

“I always travel with him (on the plane too!) to ensure his well-being and comfort. I had some friends in Europe who helped me out at the shows on my ride days, but I’m also Don Daiquiri’s personal groom. We have a very close relationship and he is truly a horse of a lifetime.”

“I am both honoured and grateful to have been able to participate in these highly prestigious and very competitive tournaments,” Pavicic said about her time in Europe. “Having the opportunity to compete alongside many of the best riders in the world is inspiring and a wonderful learning experience. I’m extremely proud of our accomplishments and happy to say we were the top placed North American in each of the competitions we attended.

A huge thank you to the many family members, friends, sponsors and supporters who have followed our journey and made it possible for Don Daiquiri and me to pursue our dream of representing Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games.”

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