Athletes of Kingston: Selena O’Hanlon

By Ian MacAlpine

One could say the sport of Equestrian eventing is in Selena O’Hanlon’s blood.

Born in the United Kingdom, O’Hanlon moved to Kingston with her family when she was just a toddler.

Her mother, Morag O’Hanlon, an accomplished international eventing coach and former competitor, had her daughter riding at an early age and by nine-years-old O’Hanlon started her eventing career with her horse Toby.

O’Hanlon, who is based at the Balsam Hall Equestrian Centre on Gore Road in Kingston’s east end where she and her mother conduct lessons, clinics, training and boarding.

O’Hanlon is currently in the United Kingdom preparing for prestigious the 2019 Badminton Horse Trials on the grounds of the Badminton Estate in South Gloucestershire from May 1-5. Before that, she spent three months this past winter in Ocala, Florida training as a prerequisite to stay with the Canadian Equestrian team.

O’Hanlon has represented Canada at the Olympics, World Equestrian games and Pan Am Games.

She said the sport of eventing has a great sense of camaraderie and everyone involved in the competition has a deep love of horses.

“My fellow competitors, team mates, sponsors, support staff, coaches basically everyone associated with the sport of eventing are always there to lend a hand, share their knowledge or just say the right thing at the right time.”

O’Hanlon was first named to the Canadian Eventing Team in 2007 with her horse Colombo. A year later the pair competed in the Beijing Olympics. O’Hanlon and Columbo placed 20th in the dressage phase of the Olympic competition before finishing 45th overall in individual eventing.

In 2010 O’Hanlon and Colombo paired up again at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky where they won Canada’s first silver medal in eventing in 32 years.

In 2011 O’Hanlon and Colombo competed at the Badminton Horse Trials in England. She then headed to the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara with a new horse, Foxwood High, to help Canada capture another team silver medal.

After not being selected to the 2012 Olympic team, Colombo was retired.

In 2014 she returned to the World Equestrian Games in Normandy with Foxwood High as Canada finished sixth in the team event to qualify for Rio 2016.

But O’Hanlon and Foxwood High were unable to compete at the 2016 Olympics.

At this point, she’s hoping to compete in the 2020 Toyko Summer Olympics.

“My current upper-level horse Foxwood High will be 17-years-old by then,” O’Hanlon said.

She added that “Woody” is currently her only horse at that level and said she has other coming up through the levels.

She has lots to do when she comes home to Kingston in addition to training, coaching and conducting clinics.

“I enjoy swimming, dancing, live music and eating at some of our fabulous restaurants.”

For more information on O’Hanlon go to