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Partnership Helps Make Canadian History


55-rider individual competition. She also teamed with Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch of Summerland, B.C., Hawley Bennett-Awad of Langley, B.C., and Kyle Carter of Calgary to claim the team silver medal just behind Great Britain in the three-day team competition. The team and individual results were a big


improvement from the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, where Selena and Colombo finished 45th individually and the Canadian team finished 9th overall. For Selena the WEG team experience was as much


fun as it was rewarding. “I have ridden on a team before with Kyle Carter and knew the team would be entertained by his antics for the entire time,” she laughs, adding more seriously, “I feel lucky to have been chosen for the team because without them I wouldn’t have a medal. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, from when we all competed at the American Eventing Championships at Chattahoochee Hills in Georgia, through the team training camp and up until I had to pack up and say my goodbyes.” Looking forward, Selena would like to compete in


England in the spring of 2011, with the 2012 Olympic Games in London as her next major goal. “I would hope to keep Colombo improving till 2012,” she says. “I also plan to enjoy every minute I get to spend with him in and out of the saddle.”


HOW THEY MET Colombo is a 16-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Eighty Eight Keys out of Colette, by Concarneau, a Swedish Warmblood. Eighty Eight Keys was a Swedish- approved Thoroughbred that stood at the now privately run Swedish National Stud in Flyinge, Sweden. He produced numerous quality dressage and event horses until his death in early 2010. The sire of Eighty Eight Keys is Fappiano, who was also the USEF Leading Sire of Event Horses in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. “I feel Warmbloods are seen more often at the top


in my sport now that it’s short format,” contemplates Selena. “Colombo also has a good amount of Thoroughbred in him which is good for the cross- country as well as stamina on show jump day. His best Warmblood attribute is his movement and mind for the dressage. Having said that, he was so fit to run at WEG that he was quite the ticking time bomb! I hope he goes back to his usual very rideable self!” Colombo was originally purchased by Elaine


and Michael Davies of Elgin, Ontario, sight unseen from England for a promising young rider they were


sponsoring. But Colombo underwent two surgeries: the first and more serious surgery was performed in 2003 on his right hind annular ligament in his fetlock joint. The second more common surgery was in 2005 to remove a damaged splint bone in his right front leg. The vet who was involved in both surgeries is the Canadian Olympic team vet, Dr. Christiana Ober. After the two operations Colombo was placed with


Selena and her mother Morag O’Hanlon at Hawkridge for recuperation and then to be sold as a lower-level event horse. Hawkridge is a 285-hectare farm (about 700 acres) and equestrian training center located southwest of the capitol city of Ottawa that they leased from the Davies. But things don’t always work out as planned. Once Colombo was back in work, it quickly became evident that he and Selena were forming a successful partnership. Morag was born in Scotland and is a former eventing


competitor who has ridden and trained horses and riders for most of her life. Morag was one qualifying competition away from having a chance at making Canada’s eventing team for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics


The Canadian duo Selena and Colombo competing at the World Equestrian Games. They placed 12th individually. All photos by Amber Heintzberger


Warmbloods Today 17


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