I love the Olympic Games—Summer and Winter. I love the coverage of the different countries that play host, the backstories of the athletes and the excitement of the sports covered. This month our athletes are headed to Rio to compete in the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. While at press time the teams had not yet been announced, we have a rough idea of whom we might see there, including our cover girl—Canadian Paralympian Lauren Barwick and her partner, Onyx.
A former event rider, Barwick was paralyzed from the waist down in 2000 when a 100-pound bale of hay fell from 10 feet, breaking her back. In the struggle to find her new normal, Barwick discovered her passion and talent for dressage. More determined than ever, she turned to Natural Horsemanship to develop a partnership with her horses—one that she thinks helps them to be calm, connected and responsive. Today, Barwick—a gold and silver Paralympic medalist—believes that being challenged to overcome or compensate for a disability while riding is actually a gift: one that allows her to bring new insights to her training. Read “Inspiration in the Face of Challenge” on p. 34.
Continuing our Olympic focus, we meet U.S. Olympic hopeful Allison “Ali” Brock and her partner, Rosevelt, owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun. We’ve compiled a list of 15 things you might not have known about this fun pair, including the fact that Rosevelt, or “Rosie,” is a “total guy” but is also incredibly sweet. “[Rosie] would be that guy who is good in sports and smart and plays in the band and gets along with everybody,” says Brock. Read more on p. 50.
Also in this issue is a Rio outlook piece that gives some insight into how the teams were looking at press time. Photojournalist Nancy Jaffer reports: With just a few weeks to go, technical advisor/chef d’equipe Robert Dover thinks the high-performance pool is at a level reminiscent of 2004, when he last rode on an Olympic team with Debbie McDonald, Guenter Seidel and Lisa Wilcox. “We knew we were going to have a medal; just not sure what color,” recalled Dover. But he won’t speculate as to who the medal contenders might be. Instead he said, “I’m not even concerning myself with the other nations. I am putting all my energy into our own athletes and their horses.” You can read Jaffer’s story on p. 42.
This month we also say farewell to dressage enthusiast, author and USDF Hall of Fame inductee Max Gahwyler, PhD. DTs Technical Editor Beth Baumert pens a thoughtful remembrance piece that highlights the many things Dr. Max brought to our sport (p. 24). While I did not know him, my guess is that he would have watched Rio with great enthusiasm.
Until next time...