Lauren Barwick Earns Sixth in Freestyle to Close Out

September 16, 2016

Sept. 16, 2016, Rio de Janeiro, BRA – Canada’s Lauren Barwick closed out the para-dressage competition with a sixth place finish in the Grade II Freestyle on Sept. 16 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, BRA.

Barwick’s Freestyle performance proved her experience, strength and determination. Upon entering the stadium, her partner Onyx, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding sired by Wolkentanz and owned by Equestrian Canada, found the atmosphere of the busy stadium and the cooler, windy weather a bit overwhelming. However, Barwick calmly carried on and opted to move forward into competition

“It wasn’t a tough decision to keep going, that’s why I’m a rider,” explained Barwick, a four-time Paralympian with gold and bronze medals from Beijing 2008. “Rio has been a big change for Onyx. He’s never experienced anything like this (atmosphere). So considering, I think he’s been trying really hard.”

After stepping into the ring, Barwick and Onyx settled into their custom Freestyle pattern, choreographed to music that included instrumental samples from the Gladiator soundtrack, to earn a score of 70.450% from the judges.

“I had to play it really conservative,” said Barwick, 39, who is originally from Langley, BC but currently lives and trains in Reddick, FL. “I knew if I’d asked him to be exuberant and expressive, the kind of expression that I didn’t want might come out. I had to play it super safe so I could get in there and get the test done. Onyx is smart, but he’s had to learn something brand new. Finding the magic equation has been the big thing, and we’re still sorting that out. But he’s tried very hard.” 

The gold medal in the Grade II Freestyle Test was awarded to Natasha Baker from Great Britain, who scored 77.850% with Cabral. Rixt van der Horst and Caraat from The Netherlands took silver with 76.250%, and bronze went to Steffen Zeibig and Feel Good 4 from Germany on 74.350%.

The Canadian Para-Dressage Team, comprised of Barwick, along with teammates Robyn Andrews of St. John’s N.L., Ashley Gowanlock of Surrey, B.C., and Roberta Sheffield from Lincolnshire, GBR, finished 13th overall in Rio.

For more information on para-dressage at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, including full results, please visit Further information on the Canadian Equestrian Team can be found at


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For more information:

Jessie Christie

Media attaché, para-equestrian

Cell: 1-613-619-9049 (WhatsApp)