Gloucestershire-based eventer Kathryn Robinson will be riding at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, next month (17-19 July).
Kathryn, 29, represents Canada — her mother, Gayle, is Canadian and her two older brothers Mark and Alexander were both born there. The family moved to Britain before Kathryn was born when Kathryn’s father John inherited a farm, but she holds dual citizenship
At the start of the year Kathryn, who runs a yard with her partner, Italian eventer Giovanni Ugolotti, was planning to head to Badminton with her top horse, Let It Bee, (pictured above) who was seventh at Pau CCI4* last autumn.
“In February I broke my ankle when I was riding a baby over a cross-pole at home and he spooked,” Kathryn told H&H. “Then Giovanni, who was also heading for Badminton, broke his collarbone and we were left wondering how we were going to get the horses fit.”
|Other eventing news:|
Kathryn spoke to Clayton Fredericks, the Canadian team coach, who asked her whether she’d thought about the Pan Ams.
“I’d never been in that position where the team coach says he’d consider you — I’d always been quite off the radar doing my own thing, but I thought maybe it was fate trying to tell me not to do Badminton,” she said.
Kathryn has campaigned Let It Bee at CIC2* and CIC3* level this spring and received the call to say she had been selected last week. However, the team announcement was held back until Saturday (13 June), which was celebrated as Pan Am Day in Canada.
“I’m nervous and excited,” she said. “I’ve never done a team competition so that’s going to be a new experience for me. My main aim is the Olympics so this will be a pre-run for me and my horse to see how we cope with those pressures.”
Kathryn’s team-mates are Waylon Roberts (Bill Owen), Colleen Loach (Quorry Blue D’Argouges) and Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti). She has met Waylon before as he has spent time in Britain and they both rode at the London 2012 test event.
Kathryn and Let It Bee will fly to New York at the end of June and the horse will do his quarantine there, before heading to a training camp in Canada.
The rider had planned to take Let It Bee to Luhmühlen this week (18-21 June), but has now shelved that plan as it would be too much for the horse to do this competition a month before the trip.
“He’s 14 now so I have to pick and choose where I run him,” she said. “I have all the rest of the year to do another event and get my [individual] Olympic qualification.”
The Pan Am Games do not count as an individual qualification event as they are held at two-star level, but the best-placed team who have not already picked up their qualification for next year’s Olympics will win a spot for the Games.
The USA is favourite to take this place. Canada already has its qualification, having moved up to sixth place at last year’s World Equestrian Games when France were eliminated following the outcome of Maxime Livio’s doping case. Brazil will also field a team at the Pan Ams, but it has its qualification for Rio as host nation.