Judging from the amount of local representation in Rio, Langley is living up to its title of “Horse Capital of B.C.”
Three riders either from Langley or with strong Langley connections are in Rio de Janeiro, representing Canada in equine events at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
They include show jumping rider Tiffany Foster, Paralympic dressage rider Lauren Barwick, and Mark Laskin, Canada’s Chef d’Équipe – show jumping.
“We feel so incredibly proud of our local Olympian Tiffany Foster, the Canadian equestrian team coach Mark Laskin and Para-Dressage rider Lauren Barwick,” Thunderbird Show Park president Jane Tidball said on Aug. 5, before the start of the games. “All three of these talented equestrians are frequent visitors to Thunderbird Show Park and from everyone here at Tbird we wish them the very best of luck in Rio.”
The jumping event ran Aug. 14 to 19; the Para-Equestrian competition in Rio is Sept. 11 to 16.
The 59-year-old Laskin, born in New York, competed in show jumping at the 1980 Alternative Olympics in Rotterdam.
A 2007 inductee to the Jump Canada Hall of Fame, Laskin is also the owner/partner of EQUIMARK, Inc., a company specializing in the training and sales of high performance competition horses.
Barwick, 39, is one of Canada’s most successful equestrian athletes and will be taking part in her fourth Paralympic Games.
She has won more medals at major games than any other Canadian rider to date and was inducted to the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2015.
Her most exceptional results came at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, where she won individual gold and silver.
She was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2015.
Barwick’s life changed drastically in 2000. While working on a ranch, she was in an accident that left her paralyzed from the hips down.
After Barwick’s accident, she didn’t want to ride.
“I did other sports at first,” she told the Langley Advance in 2010.
“It’s taken many, many years for me to learn how to ride without my legs. That’s the one thing about sports. You can always learn more and you can always get better.”
After extensive rehabilitation, she decided to return to the sport she loved.
– with files from the Canadian