Canada’s Lauren Barwick has topped the rankings to become the number one para-equestrian rider in the world.
The 2008 Paralympic Gold and silver medalist and three-time Canadian Paralympian has 1264 points in the FEI Para-Equestrian Riders’ World Ranking List, which includes results from January 1 to April 30, 2014.
US rider Margaret McIntosh is second in the rankings, with 999 points, while Barwick’s teammates on the tour hold the next two places. Jody Schloss of Toronto, Ontario, is currently in third with 953, while Robyn Andrews of St. Johns, Newfoundland, is fourth with 941.
As a member of the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team, Barwick, of Aldergrove, BC, has just completed a four-country tour in preparation for the 2014 Alltect FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held in Normandy, France, later in the summer.
Starting with wins in all her Grade II tests at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI 3* in March, Barwick continued to top her classes in Europe with wins in Germany at CPEDI 3* Mannheim and in Belgium at CPEDI 3* Moorsele with her two horses, Equine Canada’s 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, Off to Paris, and her own mare Ferdonia 2, a 15-year-old Oldenburg.
“I love what I do with my horses, and as long as I feel I am going into the arena with integrity and a willing partner, I will keep seeking equestrian excellence,” said Barwick, who is also a four star Parelli Professional.
“The ranking is a moment in time. What is important is that my horses know they are number one to me. I believe when they know I am putting our relationship in the forefront, and they in turn go the distance for me.
“This accomplishment could not have even come close to happening without the sponsors, funding partners, endless volunteers, friends and family that go beyond the limit to help me get in the arena. I look at being an international athlete as spending each day earning the right to be Canada’s first choice as a representative who is honoured to wear the maple leaf,” Barwick added.
Andrea Taylor, Canadian Para-Equestrian team coach, said it was fantastic to a Canadian athlete at the top of the rankings. “Lauren has dedicated herself to this sport, and has put in countless hours of hard work to make this happen. We are all very proud of her.”
Mary Longden, Canadian Para-Equestrian team coach agreed, and said she was proud of Barwick’s achievements. “I have never had any doubt that she is capable of being the best.”
As a result of a successful spring competition season in North America and Europe, Canada also holds top spot in the FEI world para-dressage team rankings.
The Canadian riders’ participation in these competitions has been made possible through the Own the Podium program, a national sport technical initiative designed to help Canada’s summer and winter athletes achieve podium success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.