Unlimited access >

Canadian team selection controversy

Curious what is going on here. “The dressage team has not yet been announced.” So was the team announced and then that is changing after this appeal and the final decision is yet to come?


Canada’s choice of its Olympic dressage team has become embroiled in controversy after at least one selector was removed over a conflict of interest.

It seems that the Canadian team selection, in this or that discipline, is often embroiled in controversy over the years.


Yes, my immediate thought was “what, again?”


wow so the team hasn’t even been announced and they’ve said who was picked in this article. Pretty wild.


Along with that is the mention of fitness of the horses involved, what is that about?

1 Like

As I read it, the implication is that when the team is officially re-announced with Ariana Chia replacing one of the original four, it will be evident then which rider was bounced over the conflict of interest. Looks like DN didn’t know that (or wouldn’t say) at the time they wrote & published this.

1 Like

Same bad planning leading to “emergency” BS as ever. Every. Single. Dang. Time. It’s embarrassing.


It’s surprising that the family connection between the selector and the prospective rider wasn’t noticed until this late date.


I wonder if the fitness statement has less to do with physical fitness and more to do with being fit to compete at that Olympic level. Canadian dressage trainer Liz Steacie has been quite vocal on Facebook about tracking the scores of the Canadian riders attempting to qualify for the Olympics, and how none met the minimum 70% requirement, leading to questions about whether we should be sending a team at all.


excellent point and I do love Liz!

1 Like

From what I witnessed at the Royal this past winter, there was a horse that was in the demo and it looked absolutely out of shape.

Turns out, it was pulled out of a field just a few weeks before to do the demo. Like, what? Why? It was so obvious.

1 Like

The dressage team has been officially announced, and it appears that the original lineup has been maintained, with no mention of Ariana Chia.


Correct. She won the appeal, then replaced the two individuals, and re-voted on the same team. Ariana posted on Facebook congratulating them, and reiterating her reasons for the appeal.


The FB post and comments on the link here are worth reading, I’m copying and posting the post below the link:
Ariana’s Facebook post about the selections

A heartfelt congratulations to my fellow Canadian riders selected to represent Canada at the Paris Olympics :canada:

This year, I had the pleasure of campaigning Guateque IV owned by Coves Darden Farm. We broke personal bests, demonstrated consistency, and continued to trend upwards with our scores, right down to our last competition during the qualifying period. I couldn’t be more proud of this horse and how much heart he gave me throughout the season; always happy, relaxed, and enthusiastic about being in the ring.

There has been a lot of speculations, media, and press that has come out surrounding my appeal with Equine Canada- some truths, and as always with hearsay, some inconsistencies of the truth. I truly am thrilled for the riders selected to go to Paris. I think everyone loves the idea of a feud, and nothing fuels that fire more than gossip, but a feud between us riders is never what my issue was about, or something that I wanted to start.

The crux of my concern was the inclusion of competing athletes and their spouses in the nomination and selection process—a situation most would find questionable. This was the basis of my appeal, which we won, leading the arbitrator to order a removal of Lisa Von Martels and Denielle Gallagher from the High Performance Advisory Group (“HPAG”), and a reevaluation of the original nominations. Let me clarify; I respect these individuals and have no personal grievances against them or any team members. My grievance was with EC and their failure to comply with the terms of the selection process and criteria as determined by the arbitrator.

When I brought these potential issues up with EC’s Senior Manager, Christine Peters, she dismissed these conflicts as “reasonable and non-issues,” and I unfortunately had to take legal action to assert the importance of an unbiased and conflict-free High Performance Advisory Group and selection panel. I believe our athletes deserve a panel that supports and safeguards their interests without bias.

Additionally, EC had previously assured my team in writing and over the phone that in the event we were named as the second alternate, we would be fully funded to attend the staging camp. However, on the day the original nominations were announced and I was named as the second alternate, Lisa Von Martels informed me that funding for the second alternate was no longer available.

Remarkably, less than 24 hours after I filed my appeal and formal complaint, EC contacted me to say they had “found” enough funding to partially cover the expenses for the second alternate. This situation exemplifies EC’s persistent issues with transparency and decision-making that significantly affect the athletes and their horses.

I am genuinely thrilled for those heading to Paris. The narrative of a feud among riders is merely fueled by gossip, not by personal disputes. Could a more transparent, educated, and unbiased selection panel have altered the outcomes? Maybe. Moving forward, I hope EC will embrace greater transparency and proactively address potential conflicts within the selection panel, in the interest of fairness for all riders in the future.


I don’t know enough about the insiders to know why this goes on and on with the Canadian team, event after event, year after year. These suspicions and curious decisions have been trending for well over 10 years. I’m not sure it is still the same decision-makers, although I don’t know.

Canada is not the only equestrian team with these team selection dramas. I’m waiting to hear the usual meltdowns from, well, maybe at least a couple of other national teams. Or more.

How do these team selection processes become so broken and suss?


Is it possibly because we don’t have enough depth at the upper levels, so the only people on the committees are people that are invested in the upper level athletes? This is purely speculation.


Yes, I was thinking very small world, too.