Andrea & the Canadian Para Equestrian Team
As the Canadian Para Equestrian National Team Coach I have had the opportunity to work with an extremely competitive group of riders whom I would not normally have. Through my own horse Dior becoming the mount for Beijing Gold and Silver medalist, Lauren Barwick, I was made aware of another branch of our sport of Dressage.
As a coach I fumbled around at first thinking I was doing the right thing saying “good” to circles that weren’t round enough or free walks that lacked impulsion and stretch. It wasn’t until a Grade 1a rider snapped back at me “no it wasn’t, it was terrible” that I realized this group of riders require me to coach them as I would any other!
If I don’t keep the bar high and my expectation of any movement to be scored a “10”, I am not doing anybody any favours!
My role as National Coach required me to keep focused on those horse/rider combinations who are the high on the Ranking list and who are aiming to represent Canada Internationally.
Para riders are divided into 5 Grades; 1,2,3,4 and 5 with Grade 5 riders being the least physically disabled. There can still be quite a range within each Grade. Please refer to the Para Equestrian Canada website for any information on Classification, contact people, our video competitions, ranking and updates on Team riders who are competing.
The last point I’d like to mention is the need for great coaches and qualified judges! If you have any interest in coming to watch me coach a Para rider or watch them compete locally or Internationally, don’t hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to show you what it’s all about! WE NEED ENTHUSIASTIC COACHES who are ready, willing and able to challenge themselves, think outside the box and LEARN.