Canada names 39 athletes to world equestrian games team

Canada will be well represented at the world equestrian games (WEG) when the prestigious event unfolds in Mill Spring, N.C., from Sept. 11-23. 

One of the biggest events on the equestrian calendar, WEG is held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle. It also represents the world championships for the seven FEI disciplines of dressage, endurance, eventing, jumping, para-dressage, reining and vaulting.

Canada's 39-member team was revealed on Saturday and includes veteran show jumper Eric Lamaze, who has Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals to his credit.

The 50-year-old from Schomberg, Ont., is currently No. 3 among riders in the FEI's world rankings and is the all-time leader in prize money won at Spruce Meadows at over $ 3 million.

Lamaze also has a bronze medal from the WEG event in Lexington, Ky. in 2010. He will be atop 12-year-old chestnut gelding Chacco Kid, which he began riding in 2016, for the championship.

"We are taking a young horse and giving him a chance," he said.

"He's a horse that I am very excited about and hope we will see great things from in the future."

Fine Lady staying home

The move will see him leave his mount Fine Lady at home.

"Fine Lady had her championships at the Olympics in Rio. I think the world championships would be too much for her at this stage in her career," said Lamaze.

"She is 15 years old this year and we carefully select our events in order to keep her fit and healthy. It was a tough choice, but the best interest of the horse is our No. 1 priority."

During WEG, the Canadian equestrian team will compete against more than 70 countries in front of 500,000 spectators, vying not just for glory, but in some cases, for Olympic and Paralympic qualification.

Historically, Canada has achieved impressive results at WEG, garnering nine medals since the inception of the Games in 1990.

Equestrian Canada Director of Sport and Canadian Equestrian Team Chef de Mission Jon Garner made the announcement and said he is proud of all the athletes, who will compete at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. 

"It is a privilege to work with such a strong, hard-working and dedicated team, and I look forward to celebrating their success [at] Tryon." said Garner.

Canadian roster at WEG

Dressage

  • Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (Saint Bruno, Que.)
  • Jill Irving (Moncton, N.B.)
  • Megan Lane (Loretto, Ont.)
  • Belinda Trussell (Stouffville, Ont.)
  • Diane Creech (reserve) (Caistor Centre, Ont.)

Endurance

  • Colleen DeVry (Bruderheim, Alta.)
  • Robert Gielen (Flesherton, Ont.)
  • Wendy MacCoubrey (St. Justine de Newton, Que.)
  • Kimberley Woolley (Finch, Ont.)
  • Tracy Vollman (reserve) (Regina)

Eventing

  • ​Hawley Bennett-Awad (Aldergrove, B.C.)
  • Lisa Marie Fergusson (Langley, B.C.)
  • Colleen Loach (Dunham, Que.)
  • Selena O'Hanlon (Kingston, Ont.)
  • Jessica Phoenix (Cannington, Ont.)

Jumping

  • Erynn Ballard (Tottenham, Ont.)
  • Kara Chad (Millarville, Alta.)
  • Mario Deslauriers (New York)
  • Eric Lamaze (Wellington, Fla.)
  • Lisa Carlsen (reserve) (Okotoks, Alta.)

Para-Dressage

  • Lauren Barwick (Reddick, Fla.)
  • Winona Hartvikson (Langley, B.C.)
  • Jody Schloss (Toronto)
  • Roberta Sheffield (Lincolnshire, Great Britain)

Reining

  • Dean Brown (Campbell Hall, N.Y.)
  • Lisa Coulter (Prosper, Texas)
  • Austin Seelhof (Cochrane, Alta.)

Vaulting

  • Jessica Bentzen (Parksville, B.C.)
  • Jeanine van der Sluijs (Olds, Alta.)
  • Todd Griffiths (Magrath, Alta.)
  • Dallyn Shields (Didsbury, Alta.)
  • Alisa Schmidt (Chilliwack, B.C.)
  • Cassie Sponchia (Delta, B.C.)
  • Alexandra Ballance (Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
  • Jaydee Fluet (Sundre, B.C.)
  • Kate Thomas (Lantzville, B.C.)
  • Korynn Weber (Nelson, B.C.)
  • Averill Saunders (reserve) (Sundre, B.C.)
  • Abigale Wynberg (reserve) (Maple Ridge, B.C.)

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