Derrick Perkins on NTEC Hans. Photo copyright Lindsay Y. McCall.
Wylie, TX – October 13, 2014 – North Texas Equestrian Center will host the 2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day October 25, 2014, at 1 PM in Wylie, Texas. Kai Handt, the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Coach and Para-Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe, will be showcasing a demonstration by U.S. Air Force Veteran and Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete Derrick Perkins. There will also be appearances from rider(s) of the 2014 U.S. World Equestrian Games Para-Dressage Team.
Also featured is an introductional seminar about the Para-Equestrian discipline. New members of the Wounded Warrior and other Disabled U.S. Veteran programs will be introduced to the exciting Paralympic Equestrian Dressage Sport. Veterans from all branches of the service are invited in addition to interested future para-dressage athletes. All are welcome to attend this free seminar including auditors.
At the inaugural U.S. Armed Forces Day in April 2014, Kai Handt explained to those in attendance what is required to be a competitive Para-Dressage rider and how veterans can qualify for the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Assistance Program for Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes. In addition to Handt’s informative presentation, Tina Wentz, FEI Classifier and USPEA Board member, explained the FEI Para-Equestrian Classification system and how to get started in Para-Dressage. Wentz will once again be on hand in Texas to discuss this topic and more.
History of the Paralympic Movement and the Dressage Sport in the Military:
The unique relationship between the military and the Paralympic sport began with Sir Ludwig Guttmann, known as the Father of the Paralympics. He used wheelchair sport as a way to physically & psychologically rehabilitate soldiers who had suffered spinal cord injuries in WWII. The first competition in 1948 started small with one sport but caught the eye of the Olympic organizers. Twelve years later in 1960, the first Paralympics were held with 9 sports and twenty-one countries participating.
Dressage roots go as far back as Xenophon (430-355 BCE) in Greece who developed a training method for complex military movements for their cavalry horses. Later in the late 18th century and early 19th century with the shift from heavy to light cavalry, dressage was developed to keep their horses fit, agile, and ready for battle.
These two movements came together in the 1970s with the development of Para-Dressage and the inclusion of this discipline into the Paralympics in 1996 in Atlanta.
2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day Fast Facts:
WHAT: 2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day
WHERE: North Texas Equestrian Center, 1765 Southview Drive, Wylie, TX, 75098
WHEN: October 25, 2014
CONTACT INFORMATION: 972-442-7544
For more information about the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Assistance Program for Para-Equestrian Dressage Athletes, please go to: https://www.usef.org/documents/highPerformance/paralympic/AthleticEligibilityRequirementsforVAFunding.pdf.
About United States Para-Equestrian Association:
The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.
The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.
Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.
In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).