New Glasgow native a Pan Am and Olympic hopeful
NEW GLASGOW – Brittany Fraser has always been competitive and wanted to be the best dressage competitor she can be.
It has taken a lot of time and dedication since she started when she was five-years-old, but Fraser continues to near her goals of representing Canada at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France, the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and eventually qualify for the next Summer Olympics.
“I was always very competitive, even at a young age and was on the North American junior/young rider team in 2007, which was a lot of fun,” she said. “I loved being on that team because I met so many people and so many long-term friends. I feel like it’s something that if you want to do it all the way you need to have a lot of commitment and dedication because it is a lot of work and a lot of time being away from your friends and family.”
Recently CIBC’s Team Next identified Fraser as an up-and-coming athlete. The program covers 67 athletes in the 51 sports and disciplines that will be in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, which CIBC is also a lead partner of. The bottom line for her being a part of Team Next is that she receives $15,000 in funding for her training and other expenses involved with her improving as a dressage competitor. She also received financial literacy, media, sport leadership and life skills training.
“The financial help they’re giving us is amazing,” said Fraser. “There is no other program out there like it and for them to pick 67 athletes and give us that opportunity is really incredible. Every cent counts, so $15,000 is going to go a long way.”
The sport has never been a cheap or easy endeavor for the New Glasgow-native and her family, but especially during high school it was tough, as she had to travel to Ottawa on a regular basis to ride with her trainer. After graduating from North Nova she moved to Ontario to keep working with her trainer and competing as much as possible.
She began travelling to Wellington, Florida during the winter months six years ago to keep up her training at a high level and now spends a lot of time in New York City training when she isn’t in Ottawa.
“It’s a lot of hard work and hoping your partnership with your horse stays positive,” she said. “It’s also going to the right competitions and getting the scores that you need. There is a lot that goes into it and you’re dealing with an animal and you’re hoping that when you’re going down the centre line to compete that your horse is ready to compete also.”
Fraser believes she has a great partnership with her horse All In, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. She said that in order for her to be successful as a rider that they need to work well together.
“I work with my horse on a day-to-day basis and I’ve had him since he was five-years-old, so I feel like we have a really good partnership right now,” said Fraser. “I started competing with him at the lowest level there is and now I have him up to about the second highest level in dressage right now. The partnership to be able to do that has to be pretty strong.”
He was also with her in April when she competed with Canada’s A Team at the Nation’s Cup in Wellington, Florida where the team won bronze. Fraser said that experiences at events like that will help her prepare for her shot at making it to things like the Pan Am Games and the Olympics.
She also recently purchased an 11-year-old Grand Prix mare, Countess, to compete with at the highest level of dressage until All In is ready. With him being just below the Grand Prix level it will allow him to work into it at his own pace, while also allowing her to learn with a horse that is already trained for it.
Fraser said aside from all her trainers and coaches that she couldn’t thank her father Craig Fraser enough for everything he has done for her.
“I wouldn’t be where I was without him,” she said. “He’s very supportive and is always at all the competitions. I can’t thank him enough for all the support.”
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