Tuesday, September 14, 2010

[G]O Canada!

Yesterday, the Canadians announced their eventing team members for the World Equestrian Games which start later this month in Lexington, KY. I have been very impressed with the Canadian eventers for the past year or so, and even moreso since attending the Kyle Carter clinic in Alabama earlier this year. The Canadians are on-the-scene, strong and talented, and ready to BRING IT in Kentucky. For a while now, American eventers have been....how should I say this....."disenchanted" with the Chef D'Equip of the U.S. eventing team. It is a long-suffering relationship with CMP that has really, in my opinion, spiraled out of control and -- unfortunately -- it has taken the international team aspect of American eventing downward. Whereas the Canadians have been building, dreaming, training, growing, and (recently) exploding onto the international radar, the Americans have fizzled, dried-up, faltered, stumbled, and all but dissolved as a world 3-day team power. We joked this past weekend that we really wish our "team" could consist simply of Philip Dutton and 4 of his horses. Philip Dutton on 4 horses is the best chance the U.S. has to go neck-and-neck with the Europeans in a team competition. And, sadly, we are only lucky enough to count Philip as an "American" rider due to his defection from Australia (an eventing team powerhouse) to the U.S. and his switch to American citizenship in just the past 3 years. Lucky us....thank goodness! Same thing goes for former Australian eventer, Boyd Martin. Thank God he decided to take U.S. citizenship! Our strongest chance for a true American is Buck Davidson.

But, this isn't about the woes of the Americans...sorry for the digression. This is about the Canadians. I think they have an excellent chance at a medal in Lexington. And, I'm pulling for them, no doubt. Officially, their team consists of Hawley Bennett-Awad with Gin & Juice; Kyle Carter with Madison Park; Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master; Selena O’Hanlon with Colombo; Jessica Phoenix with Exponential; Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch and Port Authority. Alternates include (in alphabetical order): Diana Burnett with Manny, and Ian Roberts with Napalm.

I saw all of those team riders and their horses compete this weekend at AECs and they look ready and capable. Plus, I've got to give props to Rebecca Howard for making such an inspiring comeback to not just competition form, but international competition form (making the team for WEG!), after her terrible fall at Pine Top earlier this year. Good for Rebecca, her horse, her owners, her sponsors, and her friends for not giving up. I'll be keeping an eye on her in Lexington and cheering her to a safe and successful WEG appearance!

Whether they have high hopes of winning a gold or not, I think the Canadians have a great chance at a medal...any medal....and I'll be rooting for them. It is now officially football season (both college and pro) and upsets have been running rife the past 2 weeks. I say that we keep the trend alive and that the Canadians show up, surprise everybody, and kick some butt that first weekend of October. Go Canada! "With glowing hearts we see thee rise...."

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