When Esther Mortimer enters her next CDI, there will be a maple leaf on her saddle pad. After representing Guatemala since she was a teenager, Esther has officially switched her Sport Nationality to Canada.
The change of Sport Nationality comes at a critical time, with Equestrian Canada’s qualifying period for the 2023 Pan American Games set to begin on January 1. A first or second place finish at the Pan Ams would qualify a Canadian dressage team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Due to an unresolved internal dispute between the National Olympic Committee of Guatemala (NOC) and relevant Guatemalan authorities, the International Olympic Committee has suspended the NOC. The IOC suspension means Guatemala's athletes cannot represent their country at the Olympic Games and the NOC is blocked from any IOC funding.
“Guatemala gave me so many opportunities and I am so very grateful,” says Mortimer. “I’ve been proud to represent the country since I was a young rider and it has been the most incredible experience. However, I’m also a proud Canadian. My business is here, my clients are here, and I’ve chosen to raise my family here, so the idea of competing for Canada has crossed my mind over the years. With this unfortunate situation, Guatemalan athletes will be missing two Olympic cycles, so the timing seemed right to switch Sport Nationalities now. Guatemala will always be a part of me but I’m looking forward to this new chapter and the opportunity to represent Canada on the international stage.”
“I’ve had so many horses that had strengths in certain areas, but Hernando seems to be strong in them all,” says Mortimer. “I believe he has the heart and the will to go all the way. It’s absolutely incredible how much we have achieved together just in the past year and a half. I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support from my family, clients, and sponsors, and I’m very excited to see what the coming season will bring.”