Karl Slezak and his horse jumps over an obstacle in a cross country eventMiguel Campos/SANTIAGO 2023 via PHOTOSPORT
Miguel Campos/SANTIAGO 2023 via PHOTOSPORT

Karl Slezak


Karl Slezak has competed at two editions of the Pan American Games. After winning team eventing bronze at Lima 2019 aboard Fernhill Wishes, he returned to win team eventing gold at Santiago 2023 with Hot Bobo. The latter result qualified a full eventing team for Canada for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Individually, Slezak just missed the podium in Santiago, finishing fourth.

Slezak has been hooked on eventing since he discovered the sport at the age of 15. Since that time, he has become a top trainer of young horses and has been a staple on the Canadian Eventing Team short and long lists. The first horse that Slezak developed from green to the CCI 3* level was Private Ryan, a bay gelding with whom he represented Canada at the 2002 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Slezak’s next top horse was Foxwood Spencer, and together the duo earned top-five finishes at the 2004 CIC 2* in Port Perry, ON; 2004 CIC 2* in Lexington, VA; and 2006 CIC 3* in Wayne, IL.

In 2008, Slezak skillfully rode two horses to second place finishes in Ocala, FL: Pavarotti (who would go one to become one of the most iconic partners of his eventing teammate, Jessica Phoenix) in the CCI 1* division and Braveheart in the CCI 2* division. The next year, Slezak earned his first FEI win with Charley Farley at the CCI 2* in Bromont, QC. The victories kept on coming at the 2014 CCI 1* in Lexington, KY, with Fernhill Dutch Design; 2016 Poplar Place Horse Trials CIC 2* in Hamilton, GA, with Fernhill Wishes; and 2017 Poplar Place CIC 2* with Fernhill Cascum Marco. Fernhill Wishes became Slezak’s top horse, and together they made the top five in the CCI 4*-L division of the 2019 Bromont Three-Day Event. It was with Fernhill Wishes that he debuted at the FEI World Championships in 2022.

A Little More About Karl

Getting into the sport: Began riding at seven years old… Discovered eventing at age 15…Outside Interests: Owns Wolf Run Farms in Caledon East, ON…

Palmarès international

Pan American Games: 2023 – GOLD (team eventing), 4th (individual eventing); 2019 – BRONZE (team eventing), 12th (individual eventing)

FEI World Championships: 2022 – 12th (team eventing), EL (individual eventing)