17 year-old April Simmonds Named Alternate to Pan Am Eventing Team Uxbridge “Quest for Gold” recipient readies 2 horses for Toronto and Kentucky
For Immediate Release
Uxbridge, Ontario, June 23, 2015: April Simmonds, an Equestrian athlete in the discipline of Eventing, and her mount “Quebec NZPH” have been selected as an alternate pair for the 4 person Eventing Team to compete for Canada in the Pan American Games to be held in Toronto (Caledon) July 16-19. As an alternate, she is one of several riders that could be suddenly called into service in the event of an injury to one of the horses or a rider being unable to compete for any reason in the days leading up to the event.
April is also the only Ontario rider qualified for the North American Young Riders International 2-star level competition to be held at the famous Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky the same week. As the bronze medal winner in 2014, the Canadian high performance committee has encouraged April to be prepared for Kentucky if she is not required for the Pan Am games. This means keeping both of her 2-star horses in top form until the last possible moment.
“Three years ago, I set a goal to try and be part of the Pan Am Team knowing how special it would be to compete when the games were right here where we live,” says Simmonds. “It would have been really cool to be on the same team as my coach Jessica Phoenix who is also from Uxbridge,” she continued. “I feel I gave my best in the process and now my focus is cheering our Canadian team on to the gold medal.”
Both Jessica Phoenix, the defending gold medal champion from the last Pan Am games, and Port Perry native Waylon Roberts, have been selected to the Canadian team.
In her 18 th year, April is the youngest rider that can be selected for the Pan Ams but she can still compete in the North American Young Rider competition until she is 21 years old. She has two qualified horses for both events that are almost equally matched. “Impressively Done” (whose barn name is Preston) is a 10-year- old thoroughbred gelding that she has owned for 4 years.
“Quebec” (barn name Rex) is a 12-year- old New Zealand Performance Horse gelding that April acquired last September.
Internationally ranked 8 th in Canada, April is a “Quest for Gold” recipient in the Ontario Athlete Assistance Program through the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport. The program contributed $5,000 for her training and competitions. In early June, April competed both horses at the Jaguar Land Rover Horse Trials at Bromont Horse Park in Quebec, a well known equestrian venue made famous during the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She and her “boys” as she likes to call them, finished 6 th and 8 th in a quality class of competitors from North and Central America.
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About Three Day Eventing:
“Eventing” is the equine equivalent of the triathlon — which combines the disciplines of dressage, show jumping and cross-country. Eventing is perhaps the most dangerous sport in the Summer Olympics—where Eventing has claimed a spot since 1912. The Dressage phase begins every eventing competition. Originally designed to show the horse’s ability to perform intricate movements on the parade involved with reviewing troops, today the dressage test comprises a set series of movements performed in an enclosed arena. Precision, smoothness, suppleness and complete obedience show off the horse’s responsiveness. The Cross-Country test takes place on the second day of competition. The object of this test is to prove the partnership of the horse and rider, and the horse’s courage, speed, endurance, and
jumping ability over varied terrain, through water and over obstacles such as logs, stone walls or hedges.
This is gruelling as they gallop to complete the course in a required time. The third and final test takes place in the show jumping arena. A show jumping course comprises a series of coloured fences made up of rails that are easily knocked down. This final phase tests the stamina and recovery of the horse after the Cross Country phase and shows the precision and jumping ability of the partnership.