Despite very wet and rainy conditions, Roberta Sheffield and Ashley Gowanlock rode their Team Tests during the first day of para-dressage competition on Monday, August 25, at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014.

As the third competitor into the stadium for the Grade III Team Test at the para-dressage venue at La Prairie Racecourse, Sheffield, who resides in Bourne, Lincolnshire, UK, rode Evelyn Little’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Bindro T, and earned a score of 67.184%, which gave the pair an eighth place finish out of 19.

“I am so pleased with how my test went today,” said Sheffield, who executed lovely canter work and extensions during her Team Test. “It was my first test at a major games for Canada, and I am so pleased with how my horse stayed with me and how we both looked after each other throughout the ride.”

Gowanlock of Surrey, BC, rode Ferdonia 2, Lauren Barwick’s 15-year-old Oldenburg mare, to a score of 65.520% for 14th place out of 25 riders in the Grade Ib Team Test.

“Now I know what the feel of the ring is, so I will be even more comfortable the next time I go in to compete,” said Gowanlock, who was a member of the Canadian Team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics. “I will build on this experience today for my next ride.”

August 26 will be the second day of the Team Test competition. Canada’s other team members, Lauren Barwick of Langley, BC, who won individual gold and silver at the 2008 Paralympics, will ride Equine Canada’s 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, Off to Paris, in the Grade II Team test. Robyn Andrews of St Johns, NL, will make her Games debut riding her horse Fancianna, a 13-year-old Friesian Andalusian cross in the Grade 1a Team test.

The second phase of team competition, the Individual Championship test, will take place on August 27 and 28. The scores from the Team and Individual Championship tests will be combined to determine the overall team results and medals. Medals will also be awarded for the Individual Championship test.

The competition wraps up with the Freestyle Tests for all Grades, taking place on August 29.

Leading the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team at the Games is Amie O’Shaughnessy, Director of Para-Equestrian; Mary Longden, team coach; Andrea Taylor, team coach; and Elizabeth Quigg, chef d’√©quipe. The full team complement also includes Kerry-Anne Bourne, Lauren Massey and Emma Hale as grooms; Diana Andrews, Laura Dixon and¬†Justine Bowers as athlete support; Sue McTavish as coach/groom; Caroline Archambault as RMT; and Anna Johnson, Para-Equestrian Coordinator.

For a complete schedule of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014, as well as full information and results, visit www.normandy2014.com.

For a full list of Canadians competing at the Games, rider bios and more, visit www.equinecanada.ca/cet.

Live broadcasts of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 will be available for viewing at through FEI TV.

The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years, in the middle of the Olympic cycle. The inaugural Games were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then, the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, Aachen (GER) in 2006 and Lexington (USA) in 2010.