When Brian Gingras and daughter Elizabeth, of Edmonton, Alta., were approached by Jill Henselwood to invest in an Olympic horse they were intrigued by the idea, and that is how they became the proud owners of George, a 10 year old chestnut, Hanoverian gelding on his way to London in a few weeks.
The Gingras family was introduced to George in Thermal, Calif., a couple of years ago and from the beginning Gingras knew the horse could jump the moon and was very athletic. The big concern was how immature and spooky he showed to be. but the Albertan saw something in it and decided to take a chance, with the 2012 Olympics in mind.
Both Brian and Elizabeth have traveled to California, Europe and Spruce Meadows to witness George and Henselwood perform and develop into a winning team.
Being the horse owner of a top elite athlete has its ups and downs.
There have been setbacks with lameness issues. Just when things were going well, George suffered a bruised hoof and was sidelined for a short period, a serious matter that mean sleepless nights when you are scheduling your training and competition around an Olympic year.
But this is nothing new for a family who has been horse owners for over 30 years. Gingras's son is a horse vet and all three of his daughters have been involved with horses. They all traveled to Mexico last fall to support George at the Pan American Games.
Both father and daughter were absolutely thrilled after hearing the news that George and Henselwood were named to the Canadian Olympic show jumping team.
The entire Gingras family will be flying to London for the event.
Elizabeth has Olympic aspirations for 2016, she is currently competing in the 1.60-metre jumper division with her horse, Avensis 4. There is some talk that she will take over the reins of George after the London Olympics. However, she mentioned she will have to measure her skills and see if their personalities are a match.
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