A pair of paraequestrian athletes with ties to Langley are off to Rio where they will compete for Canada.
Lauren Barwick and Ashley Gowanlock are both competing in para-dressage at the Rio Games, which begin today (Sept. 7) and run until Sept. 16.
And both are veterans of the Games as Barwick is making her fourth straight Paralympic appearance while this will be Gowanlock’s third straight Games.
Barwick, who turns 39 on Sept. 12, is one of Canada’s most decorated equestrian athletes and won gold and silver medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games.
She was paralyzed from the waist down in 2000 after a large hay stack fell on her, breaking her back and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
Barwick — who was born in Langley and grew up in Aldergrove — was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame last year. She now resides primarily in Florida.
The 29-year-old Gowanlock began riding horses at the age of two after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She made her debut on the Canadian para-dressage team in 2006.
She recently published her first book, My Opportunities Just Dress Up As Obstacles, and also works as a motivational speaker.
The pair are among the 155 athletes participating in 19 sports at the Rio Paralympic Games.