Canadian Equestrian Team for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
Source: Equestrian Canada
Meet your Canadian Equestrian Team athletes heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, September 7 to 18. The all-female team includes two Paralympic veterans and two athletes making their debut in Rio.
At 33 years of age, Robyn Andrews is making her debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She hails from St. John’s NF, and will be competing on Fancianna.
Andrews has been competing internationally for six years, representing Canada more than ten times at the CPEDI level in the United States and Europe. Andrews’ career highlights include representing Canada at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, FRA.
Andrews has a personal story that defies the odds. While undergoing brain surgeries to remove a tumour and relieve pressure on her brain, doctors accidentally hit a main artery, causing her to have a massive stroke, resulting in paralysis. Today, Robyn not only rides, but is able to lead her own horse, and continues to amaze the medical community.
Making her Paralympic debut at the age of 35 years, Roberta Sheffield will be competing on Double Agent. Sheffield resides in Lincolnshire, England, and due to her dual Canadian/British nationality, has had the opportunity to train and compete in both Canada and Great Britain. Sheffield started her international career by representing Great Britain, but is now an integral part of the Canadian Equestrian Team.
Joining the Canadian Para-Dressage Team in 2013, Sheffield spent the next two years achieving impressive results internationally with multiple mounts, including Wonderboy, Bindro T and Double Agent. Her 2014 season culminated by representing Canada at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, FRA, where she earned top five results and helped Canada finish eighth as a team.
A dedicated athlete, Sheffield trains at a gym an average of six times per week, on top of riding, training and coaching. She also holds a Politics degree from Aston University in England.
Rio 2016 will be the third Olympic Games for 29-year-old Ashley Gowanlock of Surrey, BC. She will compete in Rio on Di Scansano.
Gowanlock began riding at the age of two, after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, in order to provide physiotherapy and help with her balance. By 2006 had made her debut on the Canadian Para-Dressage Team in Langley, BC.
Gowanlock represented Canada with top ten finishes at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She also rode for the maple leaf at the 2010 and 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games, held in Kentucky, USA and Normandy, FRA, respectively.
A talented speaker, since 2014 Gowanlock has been an ambassador for Right To Play, an organization dedicated to educating children about healthy, active living. She is also an author, publishing her first book, entitled My Opportunities Just Dress Up As Obstacles, in 2016.
A veteran of the Paralympic Games in London 2012, Beijing 2008, and Athens 2004, 39-year-old Lauren Barwick will compete in Rio on Onyx. Originally from Langley, BC, Barwick is now based in Reddick, Florida, US.
One of Canada’s most successful equestrian athletes, Barwick has won more medals at major games than any other Canadian rider to date. Her most exceptional results came at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, where she earned individual gold and silver medals. Barwick also brought home Canada’s only medals from the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games after earning individual silver and bronze. In light of her incredible success, Barwick was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2015.
Before becoming a para-dressage athlete, Barwick was a professional stuntwoman specializing in horsemanship.
Photos courtesy of Equestrian Canada.