For the top Canadian Dressage riders there is an annual migration to Wellington Florida. They go as the climate is much more conducive to training through the winter than the climate in most parts of Canada. But there is more to it than that. These riders get a chance to compete alongside other top international riders and be judged by top international judges. There is also the opportunity to get qualifying scores for the major championships such as the Pan American Games , the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics.
But what about this year? The Pandemic has put the kibosh on the plans of many athletes and the Dressage riders are among them. I am following up on the riders I interviewed last winter when life was still normal and they were all competing with the hopes of achieving scores to qualify for the Canadian Dressage Team for Tokyo 2020. Those Olympics were postponed and they may, or may not, go ahead in 2021. So what are the riders plans? I asked three questions. 1. Will you be going to Florida to compete this winter? 2. How did you arrive at that decision? 3. Do you have any concerns about going or not going? Here is the response from Tina and Jaimey Irwin.
JAIMEY AND TINA IRWIN
We are not going to Florida this winter due to the severity of the coronavirus in Florida. We had to consider the safety, health and well being of our entire team. We basically pick up our whole life and business and move it to Wellington for the winter and with twenty horses, four staff members, our clients, kids and family it was a clear decision that we would stay put for the winter. We haven’t stayed home for a Canadian winter since our youngest child was born, seven years ago! It will be a cold winter to stay training, but we used to do it all of the time, so I’m sure we will survive! It’s called long underwear and layers. We will miss the weather and competitions of Wellington, but the risk far outweighs the benefits for us. We also plan to make the most of our winter and take the kids skiing and enjoy some of the best winter sports that they haven’t had a chance to take part in. They are looking forward to it!
My next post will be about Olympian Belinda Trusell’s answer to my Florida questions.