With the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro set to get underway on Friday, Salmon Arm equestrian Rebecca Howard will look to make her second Olympic games a little more memorable.
Howard made her lifelong dream and Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games alongside Riddle Master, but a slip and fall in the cross-country phase eliminated them from the individual event. In the team event, Canada finished in a respectable 13th.
Since then, Howard has competed in several prestigious competitions and established herself on the international eventing scene, with Riddle Master finishing the 2013 season in 13th place in the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Horse Rankings, her highest end of the season finish.
Also in 2013 she was named Equine Canada’s Equestrian of the Year on the strength of top 10 finishes at some of the world’s most prestigious events while Riddle Master was named Canadian-bred Horse of the Year.
In 2014, at the Badminton Horse Trials, Riddle Master suffered a season ending injury after hitting a birch rail oxer.
A year later Howard and Riddle Master were back on the circuit. They started the 2015 season in Ireland at Tattersalls, finishing 11th. The pair followed their 11th place showing with a trio of top 25 finishes in three competitions in Germany.
This year, Howard and Riddle Master competed in three events with her best finish coming at the Chatsworth Horse Trials, in north west England, finishing in sixth.
At the Luhmühlen Horse Trials, in Germany, she finished 11th, and at Barbury Castle she placed 23rd.
Howard got her introduction to riding through lessons and camps at a local stable before becoming a working student for notable eventers Joni Lynn Peters and two-time Olympian Nick Holmes-Smith.
Having steadily climbed the FEI World Rankings, Howard competed at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games where she finished 23rd in the individual event with Riddle Master.
A year later she helped Canada win team silver at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara where she finished sixth individually with Roquefort.
Joining Howard on the Canadian eventing team is Colleen Loach, Selena O’Hanlon and Jessica Phoenix. The competition will officially get underway for Howard and her teammates on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 10 a.m. starting with the two-day dressage phase taking place at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in the west neighbourhood of Deodoro.
Following the dressage phase is the cross country phase, starting on Monday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. The eventing competition will wrap up on Tuesday, Aug. 9 with the show jumping phase.
Competitions for team and individual medals will run concurrently, with riders performing a dressage test, a cross-country round and a jumping round. Team medals will then be awarded by adding together the best three scores from a country’s team, out of a maximum of five team members, from all three phases. The team with the lowest number of penalty points wins the gold. The top 25 individual scores after the first show jumping round will jump in a second round to determine the individual medals.