|Posted on December 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM||comments (0)|
It is with great saddness that we say goodbye to an amazing horsewoman.
Jacqui Oldham lost her battle with cancer this past weekend.
Our condolences to Bill and her family.
She will be greatly missed.
|Posted on October 18, 2010 at 2:18 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on September 21, 2010 at 4:22 PM||comments (0)|
Twenty years ago, she came into the world in just about the worst possible way.
Born three months premature and weighing just one pound, the expectation was that she wouldn’t live much longer than 48 hours.
Having bucked the odds for three days, Tara experienced a grade-four hemorrhage as the right side of her brain was squished against the back of her skull.
Cerebral fluid occupied the place where her brain should have been.
Again, Tara faced slim odds as doctor’s gave her a two per cent chance of survival.
Think about that for a second.
Think about how slim the odds were for this little child, lying in an incubator hooked up to various wires and tubes. Put 100 babies in that situation, and statistically, two would live.
Consider the plight of her parents as Tara’s doctor suggested they take their newborn daughter off of life support.
How on Earth could you possibly make that decision? How could you not be haunted by it for the rest of your life?
Acceding to the doctor’s decision was, technically, the easy way out.
Let this little life go and it’s quickly done with.
But then it would be over and they could get past it and get on with their lives.
It must have been tempting, particularly when they were presented with the alternative.
If this little girl somehow managed to defy the odds and make it through those frightening first days, then the uphill climb would just be beginning.
Tara would face physical and mental challenges, and she would forever be at high risk for myriad problems. Her life, and the life of her parents would never be easy.
Would you walk away?
“Our attitude was that, for some reason this had happened and we would deal with whatever the consequences were,” her mom, Denise explained.
Tara survive those harrowing first three days, and then that first week, and then that first month.
All of a sudden, this little miracle was celebrating her first birthday.
Slowly but surely she grew stronger, until survival was no longer a touch-and-go matter. She started to develop a personality — she was tenacious, intelligent, inquisitive.
“When she was little, she didn’t recognize she had a right side to her body,” Denise said of the ongoing battle they faced to help their little girl. “We had to teach her that her right side existed.”
Tara had a Ventriculoperitoneal shunt put into her head to help drain excess cerebral fluid, and that shunt broke down frequently. All too often, Tara’s parents sat outside an operating room as doctors poked around in their daughter’s head.
“There were times when she would go in for an operation, and we would sit outside the operating room fearful, praying that everything’s going to work,” Denise said.
Denise first put Tara on the back of a horse when she was two years old.
It was a Tennessee walking horse, and Tara identifies that as the moment when her love of horses began. When she was four years old, she started therapeutic riding. Tara had an aptitude for it, and eventually graduated to competitive riding, competing in para-equestrian events.
“They don’t judge me and they don’t see my wheelchair,” Tara said. “People see the chair first and not the person. They’re hesitant to talk to me. But horses don’t care if you have a disability.”
As a grade 1-A rider in para-equestrian, Tara rides three tests; individual, team and freestyle.
The designations of 1-A through 1-4 identify the level of disability, with Tara’s level being the highest.
While Tara would say it’s easy to do what she does, it is most definitely not.
She experiences significant weakness on the right side of her body, which leads to issues with balance. Some days, it’s challenging just staying on her horse.
But once she’s up there, what Tara experiences is a feeling of freedom. It is an escape from the wheelchair that she is otherwise confined to day and night, and she struggles to articulate the experience of trading in metal and plastic for a 1,000 pound living, breathing animal.
“I used to put my friends in my wheelchair for just an hour, and they would be like, ‘How do you do it?’ Tara said. “It drove them nuts. So for me, getting out of that wheelchair and onto a horse is an amazing feeling. I would be on a horse 24/7 if I could.”
Her horse is M J Fatal Atracson. She’s known as Fate, and Tara felt a deep connection the first time she laid eyes on this mild-mannered mare eight months ago.
“Fate and I were soul-sisters from the start, and when we click, it’s like we’re one out there,” Tara explained. “Most riders say it takes a year to get that rider-horse connection, but it really was instant with us.”
In less than two weeks, Tara and Fate test that connection as they tackle the challenge of a lifetime, travelling to the World Para-Equestrian Games, being held Sept. 25 to Oct. 10 in Lexington, Kentucky.
The event represents a dream come true for the 20-year-old Greendale native.
Seven years ago Tara met Canadian national rider Lauren Barwick, and from that moment on she was intent on qualifying for these games.
She’s had plenty of help along the way. Doctor Philippa and Rachael Keegan of Calgary own Fate and are solidly in her corner. Tara trains at White Dove Stables in Chilliwack (owned by Val Jackson), guided by her coach and mentor Tom Berry.
Jackson and Berry have been particularly instrumental in helping Tara achieve her dream.
With this stellar support system, and the faith Equine Canada has shown in her, Tara feels good about her chances.
Drawing a parallel to figure skating, Tara and Fate will go through their three tests, performing a number of compulsory movements; eight and 10 metre circles, serpentines, free walks and figure-eights.
Scores are based on how accurate they are in the completion of the movements, and a judge’s perception of how smooth Tara and Fate look as they go through their routine.
Tara hopes for a first place finish, but knows the competition will be insanely tough. The experience will be the key, and she can rest easy knowing that, win or lose, people who love her will be cheering her on.
“I thank God every day that we made the decision to not pull her off life support, and there are times when I think about parents who are in the same position I was 20 years ago,” Denise said. “I wish they could see Tara, and know that sometimes when you take that two per cent chance, things aren’t as bad as the statistics tell you.”
— Tara is hosting a fundraiser event tonight at 7 p.m. at Characters Pub in Chilliwack.
For $10, attendees get their choice of four different dinners along with a beverage.
There will be a 50/50 draw, silent auction and live band.
If you can’t attend the fundraiser, Tara has a bank account set up at the Bank of Montreal, under Dreams to Reality.
The trip will cost in the neighborhood of $5,000. Get more information from Denise at 604-803-8507.
|Posted on September 14, 2010 at 3:39 PM||comments (0)|
The Circle F Horse Society - a horse rescue in the valley - is hosting its first ever Poker Ride out at Campbell Valley and everyones support is needed.
|Posted on September 13, 2010 at 1:26 PM||comments (0)|
3 of the 6 members selected for Eventing Team Canada for the WEG come from BC!!!!!
And ALL OF THEM RODE AT ISLAND 22 Many many times on their journey through the ranks.
The team (in no particular order):
Selena O'Hanlon and Colombo
Steph Rhodes-Bosch and Port Authority - YAAAAAAAAAAAA
Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master - YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Kyle Carter and Madison Park
Jessica Phoenix and Exponential
Hawley Bennet-Awad and Gin & Juice - YAAAAAAAAAAA
|Posted on August 12, 2010 at 4:20 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 2:48 PM||comments (0)|
There is nothing better then going on the Eventing USA Blog and finding pictures of some of our local riders.
Here is what I found!! There are tons more photos of everyone over there. Go and check them out!
The AMAZING Lynne Larsen on her winning horse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Look at this smile!!!!!
And of course Sabrina Glaser- Levere
And we can never forget Hawley!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There were quite a few Canadians at Rebecca Farms this year and every one of them made us proud!
|Posted on May 31, 2010 at 4:11 PM||comments (0)|
Both Lauren Barwick of Aldergrove, BC, and Ashley Gowanlock of Langley, BC won all of their respective classes over the three-day competition, including today’s Freestyle Tests—a respectable feat when competing against some of the world’s best.
Other top Canadian scores included a win from Ashley Gowanlock of Langley, BC in the Grade 1b class with a score of 63.333% on Donnymaskell, owned by Sandy (Alexander) Mitchell; a second place finish from Tara Kowalski of Vancouver, BC in the Grade 1b class with a score of 64.510% riding MJ Fatal Attraction owned by Philippa Keegan and Rachael Tipper; a second place finish from Judi Island of Caledon, ON riding Wouldja Believe It owned by C.A.R.D. with a score of 60.455%; and a second place finish from Eleonore Elstone of Langley, BC riding Why Not G owned by Kelleigh Kulcsar.
|Posted on May 3, 2010 at 3:26 PM||comments (0)|
Leahona Rowland finished as the top Canadian rider inboth of the international divisions at CCI Florida International ThreeDay Event, held at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, FL, on April 15 –18, 2010.
Rowland, 26, originally of Kelowna, BC, took second place in the CCI 2*division riding Lorenzo III, Jessica DiGenova’s 11-year-old DutchWarmblood gelding. Sitting in second with a dressage score of 46.40,Rowland maintained her placing throughout the competition with faultfree cross country and show jumping rounds, to finish on her dressagescore. The same duo won the CCI 1* division at the CCI FloridaInternational last year.
Riding her second horse, Lambrusco, her own eight-year-old Oldenburggelding, Rowland was in fourth following dressage with a score of48.80. The pair added only four jumping faults to finish in fifth placewith 52.80.
Olympian Kyle Carter, originally of Calgary, AB, and now residing inSparr, FL, rode Final Watch, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare owned byBillie Sue Jensen, to ninth place. Carter was 17th after a dressagescore of 58.60 and moved up to 12th after a fault free cross countryround. Four faults in show jumping gave them a final score of 62.60.Rounding out the Canadian entries in the CCI 2* division was SamElsenaar, 21, of Brooklin, ON and her 12-year-old Thoroughbred crossgelding Armon who finished in 23rd place.
The top score of the day in the CCI 2* division went to Tiffani Loudon-Metze riding Lo Fino, with a score of 43.50.
In the CCI 1* division, Rowland once again finished on her dressagescore partnered with El Paso, DiGenova’s eight-year-old Canadian-bredTrakehner gelding. They sat third after dressage on a score of 45.90penalties. Posting clean cross country and show jumping rides moved thepair up one spot to finish in second place.
Lisa Marie Fergusson, 27, of Langley, BC, was tied for first-placefollowing dressage with 42.50 riding Smart Move, her own six-year-oldWelsh Sport Horse gelding. Adding 12 jumping faults, Fergusson finishedin ninth place overall with 54.50. Katelyn Ziegler, 19, of Beiseker,AB, riding Peninsula Lion, her own eight-year-old Irish Warmbloodgelding, also finished on their dressage score of 63.10 for 15th spot.Finishing in 17th place with a score of 67.90 was Christian Bennett,18, of Sutton, ON, and her own Rolex, an 11-year-old Thoroughbredgelding. In 23rd place was Claire Roper, 25, of Vancouver, BC andMullentine, her nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.
American Hannah Burnett won CCI 1* division riding Harbour Pilot with a score of 43.50.
In Elkon, Maryland at the April edition of the Fair Hill InternationalHorse Trials, held April 16–18, Canadian Eventing 2009 AthleteDevelopment Scholarship winner Emily Daigneault, 20, of Gatineau, QC,finished in 13th place in the CIC 2* division aboard Misty ValeBacardi, her 15-year-old Morgan gelding. The pair added 16.40 crosscountry time penalties to their dressage score of 64.40 to finish on afinal score of 80.80.
American Jennifer Brannigan and Cambalda won the CIC 2* division with a score of 46.30.
In the CIC 1* division Veronique St-Maurice, 20, and her 16-year-oldThoroughbred gelding Majestic Bear finished in fifth place. The pairfinished on their dressage with a score of 66.50. Stephanie Castonguay,17, of Vaudreuil, QC, finished in sixth place with Tyne Be Merry, hernine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, on a score of 68.20.
The winner of the CIC 1* division was Claire Kelley of the United States riding Clifton Peekachu with a score of 46.60.