Team Canada announced and top rider appealing being left off


Team Canada announced and top rider appealing being left off

Well Horse Canada finally went ahead and published what everyone has “reportedly” known for a week. From what I understand, Equine Canada could not officially publish the teams ahead of the Canadian Olympic Committee so that is why the official announcement has been delayed.

Apparently, from all accounts and I have received tips from many different sources, the team is:

  • Rebecca Howard & Riddle Master
  • Selena O’Hanlon & Foxwood High
  • Colleen Loach & Qorry Blue d’Argouges
  • Kathryn Robinson & Let It Bee

Jessica Phoenix is not on the list with any of her Olympic qualified mounts:

  • A Little Romance
  • Bentley’s Best
  • Pavarotti
  • Abbey GS

Unofficially, Jessica has been named as a reserve along with Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac and she has reportedly launched an appeal which will be decided on Wednesday. For a complete review of Canadian rider results, check out Who will Canada send to Rio? Here are the stats and facts for each pair.

FEI results during the qualifying period at the three-star and four-star level. (Jan. 2015 – Jun. 20, 2016)

Rio 2016 Can nom riders


I checked out the past appeals and ironically the last time an Event rider appealed a team decision, was Penny Rowland for the 2007 Pan Am Games also in Rio. If Jessica Phoenix is appealing the decision of the selectors, we will get to see the official documentation and grounds for the appeal at a later date. In the meantime, the four riders who were celebrating their Olympic selection, will be on pins and needles to see the outcome. If Jessie wins her appeal, it is not clear which pair will be replaced or what the process is for removing a rider. By looking at the Penny Rowland case, it appears that the riders and Equine Canada were both put in a position to defend the appeal.

If the appeal is won, this will be ‘three for three’ in this cycle of games for Canadian Eventing Team management and selectors making questionable decisions and playing with riders’ lives. If you don’t recall, let me remind you:

2014 WEG: Kathryn Robinson was chosen and publicly announced as a team member before the powers at be realized that she did not have her declaration in by the deadline and therefore was ineligible for consideration. Whoops!

2015 Pan Games: Kyle Carter and Lesley Law, both based in Florida, did not attend Bromont which was never published as a must attend selection trial. However, they were both passed over by selectors despite having considerably better results than Stuart Black who was chosen as the alternate but did attend Bromont. During training camp, Stuart was replaced by Selena O’Hanon. It was announced that Stuart withdrew for health reasons but during the training camp he was also charged with domestic assault. On a side note, that charge has been withdrawn.

For Kyle Carter and Lesley Law, not running Bromont was rumoured to weigh heavily against them in team selection. Jessica Phoenix did not run at Bromont last year for 2015 Pan Am team selection either, as she was recovering from surgery from a fall at Jersey Fresh the month before. However, she was the defending 2011 Pan Am gold medalist and was chosen for the 2015 Pan Am team. With Pavorotti, she went on to win an individual silver medal last summer at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

2016 Olympics: What complicates things a little this time, is that Clayton Fredericks, the team coach, was added as a selector last fall. Coaches have not been selectors in the past and this is not standard practice in other nations. If you were at Bromont and I was, you heard about the drama with the selectors and Jessica Phoenix surrounding her decision to withdraw her horses from cross-country after dressage. Bentley’s Best and Pavarotti, both owned by Don Goode, were withdrawn. Jess was intending to run Abbey GS and A Little Romance, however, after a rotational fall on Abbey GS, she withdrew A Little Romance also.

So now, Jessica may be appealing the team selection. If she wins her appeal, how does that play out with a coach that maybe didn’t choose her. Does anyone else see the problem here?

Equine Canada needs to ‘publish’ a selection process and criteria that clearly states mandatory selection trials. Without transparency, we end up with riders pitting against each other for that fourth spot on the team. This is wrong for team morale, wrong for owners, wrong for up and coming riders and wrong for selectors.

What a mess.

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