Lauren Barwick and Ashley Gowanlock rode their freestyle tests in front of packed stands, completing their Paralympic journey, during equestrian competition on Monday, September 3, at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

The equestrian venue in Greenwich Park, Barwick, of Aldergrove, BC, rode Off to Paris, owned by Equine Canada, to a score of 71.500%, for eighth place out of 23, in her Grade II Freestyle test.

“Our Freestyle was emotional and fantastic,” said Barwick of her ride with Off to Paris. “It was all I could ask for and expect from my mare at this stage. This level of international competition is still new for her, and she is really coming along. As our training progresses, everything will come together as it should.”

Gowanlock of Surrey, BC, was awarded a sixth place finish, with a score of 68.800%, in her Grade 1B Freestyle Test riding Maile, Barwick’s individual gold and silver medal partner at the 2008 Paralympic Games.

“Maile was very relaxed in the ring today,” said Gowanlock, who was also a member of the Canadian Team at the 2008 Paralympics. “You have to have fun in the freestyle-that is the point of the test. It was so amazing to ride in front of 10,000 people. I will remember this competition for the rest of my life.”

September 4th, is the last day of equestrian competition at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Canada’s other team members, Eleonore Elstone of Langley, BC, will ride Zareno, owned by Franklin Posmus, in the Grade IV Freestyle test in the morning, and Jody Schloss of Toronto, ON, will ride her own horse, Inspector Rebus, in the Grade 1a Freestyle in the afternoon.

“Lauren’s Freestyle was absolutely beautiful,” said Andrea Taylor, National Team Coach of the Canadian Paralympic Equestrian Team. “It was unfortunate that her mare got a little startled when she started her canter work right by the speaker, but her compulsories were absolutely perfect. I am so proud of how well she rode.”

“I am really pleased with Ashley’s consistency riding Maile,” continued Taylor. “In the Freestyle, there were a few little inaccuracies which brought her score down a bit, but considering this was also this mare’s last big international competition, I think Ashley did Maile justice by showing her off in the ring. I think they are a fabulous pair together.”

A strong support team has accompanied the riders and horses to England, including: Andrea Taylor (National Team Coach), Mary Longden (Assistant Team Coach), Elizabeth Quigg (Chef d’√©quipe), Amie O’Shaughnessy (Team Leader), Dr. Jennifer Miller (Team Veterinarian), Alice Beatty (Stable Manager), Ozzie Sawicki (Performance Consultant), Caroline Archambault (Human/Equine Massage Therapist), and Julie Cull (Media Attache). Grooms include Anne Van Silfhout, Zoe Boyles, Tori Murray-Elley, and Kerry-Anne Bourne. Personal team support personnel include Caroline Samson, Suzie Brown, and Vanessa Lurie. Off-site support is also provided by Jamie-Ann Goodfellow and Ashley Raaymakers (Equine Canada Para-Equestrian Department) as well as April Clay (Sport Psychologist).

For candid team shots, updates, and stories, be sure to check out the Canadian Paralympic Equestrian Team blog at: http://canadianparalympicequestrianteam.wordpress.com

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Paralympic Games website at www.london2012.com/paralympics/equestrian