Canadians compete for Olympic spot at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows

Show jumping season begins after winter break

Calgarian Kara Chad isn’t just horsing around on the road to the Rio summer Olympics.

At 20 years old, she’s the youngest and most inexperienced member of her show jumping team.

But she’s hungry for competition.

“I keep saying this, but I am grateful to even be considered for it at my age and experience level,” she said.

Chad has quickly jumped the bar to become one of the top show jumping riders in the world, representing Canada in five Nations Cup series teams.

Starting Wednesday, she’ll be joining riders from around the world at Spruce Meadows.

“For the Canadian athletes, the road to Rio comes through Spruce Meadows over the next four weeks, where the Olympic team will be selected,” said senior VP Ian Allison.

Kara Chad said she has five horses by her side for the competitions, which should come as no surprise given her history.

Horsepower runs in her veins.

Chad’s sister is an international rider, and both of her parents have competed in show jumping. Chad herself has been riding since the age of five, and said the lifestyle quickly became an addiction.

‘The two minutes you get in the ring, the wins you have – it’s like no other feeling,” she said. “It’s worth working so hard to achieve.”

Much like her riding, Chad’s selection of horses is based on her gut feelings.

She said it begins with going on trial runs, doing research on the horses history – and even calling references, meaning people who have worked with the horse before, to get an idea of how reliably it can perform.

“As much as you try to break it down to technicalities, how the horse moves, jumps and all that – it’s all off of a gut feeling,” she explained. “How you think you’ll bond with the horse, how you think the partnership will work.”

For the competition schedule, visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

 

Metro Calgary - Jun 7, 2016

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