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2002 in PORTUGAL

In September, 2002, a Team was sent to Portugal to represent Canada at the Open European Championships for Paralympic riders.  The Team consisted of Judi Island Grade I, Lauren Barwick Grade II, Jenni Rowe Grade III, and Karen Brain Grade III

All the Canadian riders were on borrowed horses from the Portuguese Military, competing against European riders on their own very good horses.

The Team placed 7th out of 12 Countries.  Karen was the highest placed Canadian rider.


European Championships
By Andrew Gebbie
From his website:

Fantastic , Brilliant – VERY WET.  In conditions that were unbelievable for September in Portugal, the first European Paralympic Dressage Championships were staged in Anadia.  It rained and it rained and just when you thought there could be no more rain left anywhere – it rained again.  The Portuguese organizers had planned for an outdoor competition in a beautiful setting.  However when the arenas were all turned into lakes with the torrential downpour they had to change to a covered arena.  There was mud everywhere.  However that did not dampen the spirits of the competitors who had a terrific competition.  This was one of the most enjoyable championships I have ever been to and I would like to thank Carlos Lopes and his team for running a really successful competition in the most difficult of conditions.


By Karen Brain

We borrowed horses from the Portugal Military and my horse, whom I wanted to bring home with me, was named Q-Karlos, a Portuguese TB X with maybe some Lusitano, that actually moved very nicely and had a great sense of character.  We placed in each of our tests with our highest placing being 5th in the Kur.  It was very impressive since the other riders in my grade were competing against able body riders in Europe at the Prix St. George level!  In fact they have to implement rules of what you cannot include in your Kur since most of the Europeans could easily throw in tempy changes, passage, piaffe… get the point!  So needless to say, it was both humbling and inspirational watching these riders perform, some with very debilitating handicaps.  There’s definitely room to improve before next years competitions that’s all I can say!

There were a few “hitches” – such as having to sleep on a mattress on the floor downstairs, because that was where the only bathroom was, and the steps upstairs were VERY steep, VERY narrow, and MANY, of them!  No one wanted me to fall down them in the middle of the night without my braces on so………..I ended up on the mattress.

There were also a few “perks” – such as being bumped up to first class on the flight home, because they had overbooked the flight!  I was exhausted but so excited to be in first class that I stayed awake to enjoy it all!  I had champagne, hors d’oeuvres, wine, salad, more wine, swordfish, port, dessert, etc. etc.  I watched two movies and they were both tearjerkers so I sat there crying and sniffing almost the whole time.  The kindly Spanish Businessman beside me patted my shoulder telling me it was ok, while I tried to explain it was the movie!


Thank you For:
Website Design: donated by: Jason Washington
Website Host: donated by: RBGRed Bay Group, LLC
Website Copyright: Karen Brain 2004