Sports

Elstone ready for her second shot at Games

Eleonore Elstone is representing Canada for a second straight Paralympic Games. - Matt NUTTALL photography
Eleonore Elstone is representing Canada for a second straight Paralympic Games.
— image credit: Matt NUTTALL photography

There was no sick horse to deal with this time.

Prior to the 2008 Paralympic Games, Langley’s Eleonore Elstone was faced with that problem when her horse became ill on the flight overseas to Hong Kong, site of the Games.

“I felt quite challenged,” said Elstone in an email interview with The Times, referring to the lead-up to the 2008 Games.

Elstone departed with the rest of the Canadian para-dressage team nearly three weeks ago in preparation for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

“That experience taught me to plan better for possible scenarios,” she said.

“But in the end, horses are not machines and anything can happen.”

The 60-year-old Elstone began riding ponies in her native Germany when she was seven. Within five years, she was riding competitively in all three Olympic disciplines — dressage, eventing and show jumping — in the German young rider championships.

She emigrated to Canada in 1974 and continued pursuing her competitive riding dreams. But a riding accident five years later left her with a compound fracture that destroyed her ankle.

Following the accident, she shifted her focus entirely to dressage.

Elstone, who eventually settled in Langley after first living in the Interior, began in para-dressage in 2006.

She won each of her classes at that competition and represented Canada the following year at the world para-dressage championships.

The successes also qualified her for the 2008 Paralympics, thus achieving a lifelong dream.

“I made up my mind that I wanted to ride in the Olympic Games a long time ago and that dream came true in 2008,” she said.

“I am very excited and feel honoured to be part of the Canadian team in the 2012 Paralympic Games.”

Elstone was seventh in both the individual and team competition and 12th in the freestyle.

She said the goal for London is to perform to the best of her capabilities.

Elstone will compete on Zareno, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Elisabeth Posmus-Penterman and Why Not G, a 2003 brown Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quite Easy, co-owned by Elstone and Kelleigh Kulcsar.

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