Bill Owen, a horse bred and raised in Arthur, helped earn the Canadian team of four the bronze medal in team eventing at the Pan Am Games last weekend.
The 12-year-old horse spent his first six and a half years with Vivianne Macdonald at Kintyre Arabians and Sport Ponies Barn in Arthur.
When he was sold Macdonald said the horse was broken for riding but hadn’t had any training in eventing.
“His rider, present owner, said that the first two or three months he had him it was just nothing but trying to get him to settle down and work and then he took him to his first event and the horse said, ‘Oh this is what you want me to do,’” Macdonald explained.
“And he just absolutely loves it.”
The team eventing competition took place on July 17 to and 19 and Bill Owen didn’t get off to a great start.
The horse and rider/owner Waylon Roberts didn’t score high in dressage, the first round of the eventing competition.
“He was too tense and he scored low,” Macdonald said.
On the second day of competition the horse and rider competed on a cross country course in Mono, where Bill Owen excelled.
“He was the second fastest horse and had no jumping faults,” Macdonald said. “We were so excited.”
In cross county the horse can gain time faults and jumping faults and if the horse falls or there are three refusals, the pair will be disqualified from the rest of the competition.
In the show jumping final the Canadian team only needed three horses to complete and Macdonald said they were considering dropping Bill Owen because of his lower dressage score.
However, another Canadian horse and rider pair fell during the cross-country portion of the competition so Bill Owen ended up on the roster for stadium jumping on the final day.
“When they went … he had one rail down and that was all and so the Canadians got third place, got a bronze medal,” Macdonald said with pride in her voice.
For Macdonald, the experience of seeing a horse she raised competing and winning a bronze medal at such an elite level was overwhelming.
“I was just crying,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I would never have thought that I would have a horse that would go that way but it shows how much talent the horse has – and his rider.”
For more information about Bill Owen, check out page two of the Equine feature included in this week’s Wellington Advertiser.