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Equestrian Canada – Aug. 1, 2019, Lima, PER – The Canadian Eventing Team, comprised of Dana Cooke of Merritt, BC, Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC, Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON and Karl Slezak of Tottenham, ON are through the first horse inspection and ready to take on the competition at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games in Peru.

The first official horse inspection on Aug. 1 had 47 entries from 12 countries in total, and saw all four Canadians cleared for the eventing competition, which begins with the dressage portion on Aug. 2. The fan-favourite cross-country phase will follow on Aug. 3, before team and individual medals are decided in the final jumping phase on Aug. 4.

The team will be anchored by Canada’s most decorated Pan Am horse-rider combination, Phoenix, 35, and Pavarotti (Pavarotti van de Helle x Foxiland), her 17-year-old Westphalian gelding. Together they brought home individual gold and team silver from Guadalajara, MEX in 2011, and earned individual silver and team bronze in front of the home crowd in Toronto in 2015. Having also competed with a different mount at the 2007 edition in Rio de Janeiro, BRA, Lima brings her Pan Am career total to four. In addition, she is a two-time Olympian, attending London 2012 and Rio 2016, and has competed at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), three times, taking team silver in Lexington, KY in 2010.

 

Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti
Photo Credit: © Cealy Tetley – www.tetleyphoto.com

Loach, 36, has become a fixture on the Canadian Eventing Team, first competing on the world stage at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. From there, she went on to join Phoenix at the Rio 2016 Olympics and WEG 2018. In Lima, she will be paired with FE Golden Eye (Goldfever x Contendro I), a seven-year-old Hanoverian she co-owns with Amanda Bernhard. Since adding FE Golden Eye to her string in 2018, Loach has piloted the up-and-coming gelding to top 10 finishes at prestigious North American events in both the CCI 3*-S and 3*-L divisions.

 
 

Colleen Loach and FE Golden Eye
Photo Credit: © Cealy Tetley – www.tetleyphoto.com

Cooke, 31, will be making her major games debut in Lima aboard Mississippi (Cassini II x Legaat), a nine-year-old Württemberger mare owned by the FE Mississippi Syndicate LLC. After holding a working student position for Canadian Olympian Rebecca Howard, and having the chance to peek behind the major games curtain at the 2011 Pan Am Games and 2012 Olympics, Cooke shifted focus to her own competitive career in 2014. She made her international debut just two years later with Mississippi, and has been steadily climbing the levels ever since. This season, the duo scored their first FEI win against 50 entries in the CCI 3*-S division at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event in Allentown, NJ.

 
 

Dana Cooke and Mississippi
Photo Credit: © Cealy Tetley – www.tetleyphoto.com

Interestingly, Slezak, 37, a long-time staple on the Canadian Eventing Team short list who is well known for his ability to bring young horses up the levels, is the athlete who introduced Phoenix’s partner, Pavarotti to international-level competition back in 2008. For his inaugural major games in Lima, he will be partnered with another horse he’s been piloting up the levels since 2015, Fernhill Wishes (Chacoa x Gildawn Diamond), a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding he co-owns with Kirk Hoppner. In their last pre-Games outing, the duo earned a top-five finish in the CCI 4*-L division at the prestigious Bromont International Three-Day Event in Quebec.

 
 

Karl Slezak and Fernhill Wishes
Photo Credit: © Cealy Tetley – www.tetleyphoto.com

“We’re very proud to be here in Lima representing Canada,” said Rob Stevenson, Canadian Eventing Team Chef d’Équipe for Lima 2019. “Our athletes and horses have travelled well and have been enjoying the lovely facilities here at the equestrian venue. The rings are excellent and the cross-country course has been meticulously prepared.”

Stevenson continued, “We’re excited to get started and we feel that the team we have here is very well suited for the competition. We are grateful for the tremendous support staff that we have working behind the scenes. Thank you to Equestrian Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canada for making this possible!”

 
 

The Canadian Eventing Team for the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games. Left to right: Colleen Loach, Karl Slezak, Dana Cooke, Jessica Phoenix, Rob Stevenson..
Photo Credit: © Cealy Tetley – www.tetleyphoto.com

A total of 10 teams are expected to compete in eventing at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, not only for medals, but also for Toyko 2020 Olympic Games qualification, with berths given to the top two teams.

For more information on equestrian events at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, including the full schedule of equestrian competition, entries and results, please visit www.lima2019.pe/en. Live scoring for equestrian can be found here.

To follow the CET’s #RideToLima through results coverage, behind-the-scenes content and breaking news, visit www.equestrian.ca/events-results/games/ridetolima and be sure to check out EC’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for unique content, including a daily photo album.

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Photographs may be used one time only with this press release and must include photo credit.
For high resolution photographs, please e-mail jchristie@equestrian.ca.


EC Media Contact / Personne-ressource de CE pour les médias : Jessie Christie
jchristie@equestrian.ca