Category Archives: USPEA

Support the Future of Para Equestrian Sport

Photo (c) United States Para-Equestrian Association.

United States Para-Equestrian Association Mission Statement  

To Help Develop, Promote, Support, and Sustain all USA Para Equestrian Athletes for Regional, National, and International Competition with a focus on Paralympic Equestrian Sport.

United States Para-Equestrian Association Vision Statement  

The vision of the United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America for athletes with an eligible physical impairment, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Paralympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national Para Equestrian Association in the world.

About USPEA

The United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) includes every recognized equestrian discipline that is practiced by athletes with an eligible physical impairment with a focus on Paralympic Equestrian Sports. The USPEA is a network of current and past athletes, owners, officials, event organizers, and equestrian enthusiasts. The Association assists athletes to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Disciplines of Para-Equestrian.

USPEA was created to fill a need to assist Para Equestrian disciplines when they came under the governance of the FEI. While Para Equestrian disciplines were originally segregated, they now are integrated in international sport. As each individual Para Equestrian discipline develops, it is USPEA’s mission to always serve as an advisory resource with the ultimate goal that the established able-bodied discipline affiliate will integrate within their organization.

In 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status and became a recognized International affiliate association of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) working together to grow the FEI recognized disciplines by helping to provide press, educational information, symposiums, and competition opportunities for athletes with eligible physical impairments.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

The USPEA is a USEF Recognized National Affiliate. The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members. For more information please visit US Equestrian at https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/para-equestrian.

Apply Now for the USPEA Jonathan Wentz Memorial Grants

The Jonathan Wentz Memorial (JWM) Competition Grants were established to continue the dream of Paralympian Jonathan Wentz; to advance Para Dressage in the USA by supporting and encouraging Para Dressage Youth, Adult & Veteran athletes to set the goal of National and International competition.

At age 13 Jonathan set the goal of riding for the USA in the Paralympics. At age 16 he established a plan and budget to achieve his dream. In 2012, at the age of 21, Jonathan was able to achieve his dream of riding for Team USA in the 2012 London Paralympics, earning the highest placing of all U.S. equestrians that competed in London.

Jonathan saw the need to develop a pathway for Para Dressage Emerging athletes in order to help grow and improve Para Dressage in the USA. The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Grants were developed to help offset the expense of participating in National and International competitions to encourage the growth of USA Para Dressage. Download the grant application here.

Grant #1 The JWM Emerging Athlete National Competition Grant

The JMW Emerging Athlete National Grant is intended for Emerging Para Dressage Youth, Adult & Veteran athletes, ages 12 within the competition year through adults who are actively competing in National Para Dressage competitions at USDF/USEF Licensed competitions.

The JMW Emerging Athlete National Grant is intended to be used to help offset the expense of participating in National competitions. Grant reimbursement may include entry and stabling fees, trainer fees, and/or horse transportation,

Grants of $250 may be awarded for up to two USDF/USEF competition per calendar year, showing in FEI Para Dressage Test of Choice classes. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and availability of funding.

Guidelines for Application of The JWM Emerging Athlete National Competition Grant:

  1. Athletes must be an active member of USPEA.
  2. Must have a current USEF National Classification with a confirmed Grade or Review Set Date Status.
  3. Athletes must be age 12 or older within the competition year.
  4. Grant is to offset expense of entering and competing in a USDF/USEF Licensed competition in FEI Para Dressage TEST OF CHOICE classes.
  5. Athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Competition Grant Application (page 1) with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices, and/or receipts for consideration of grants. Grants are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or horse transport only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9 and will be subject to approval.
  6. Athlete may only apply for one grant at a time (maximum two (2) Grant #1 per calendar year, six grants maximum lifetime).

Note: Athletes may only receive this grant a maximum of six times. Athletes who have achieved a 62% or higher in the Team, Individual, or Freestyle test at a CPEDI3* are not eligible for Grant #1.

Grant #2 The JMW Young Athletes International Competition Grant

The JMW Young Athletes International Competition Grant is intended for assisting USA Para Dressage Young Athletes (ages 16-21 within the competition year), who are eligible to compete in CPEDI 1-3* International Para Dressage competitions and have not yet achieved a 62% or above in the Team or Individual FEI Para Dressage tests at a CPEDI3*.

The JWM Young Athletes International Competition Grant is intended to be used to help offset the expense of participating in International (CPEDI) competitions. Grant reimbursement may include entry and stabling fees, trainer fees, and/or horse transportation.

Grants may be awarded up to $1,000.00 for the athletes competing in a CPEDI competition. Grant amount will be based on horse transport mileage. (> 500 miles = $500.00; > 750 miles = $750.00; > 1,000 miles = $1,000.00 max. Miles noted are based on one way.)

Grants may be awarded for a maximum of one CPEDI event per competition year with a maximum of $1,000.00 awarded per competition. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and availability of funding.

Guidelines for Application of The JWM Young Athletes International Competition Grant:

  1. Athletes must be an active member of USPEA (membership at uspea.org).
  2. Athletes must be 16-21 years old within the competition year.
  3. Athletes must have a USEF National Classification or FEI International Classification with an assigned Grade with the status of Confirmed or Review Set Date. A FEI Classification is mandatory for participation in a FEI CPEDI.
  4. Athlete must have received a minimum score of 64% in the past 6 months at a USDF/USEF Licensed show or through USPEA Video Judging in the Novice A & B test for a CPEDI 1 & 2*; and in the Team, Individual, and Freestyle test for a CPEDI3*. Tests must be in the athlete’s classified grade.
  5. Grant is intended to offset the expense of entering and competing in an FEI CPEDI.
  6. Athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Competition Grant Application (page 1) with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices, and/or receipts for consideration of grants. Grants are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or horse transport only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9 and will be subject to approval.
  7. Athlete may only apply for one grant at a time (maximum one (1) Grant #2 per calendar year, 2 grants maximum lifetime).

Note: Athletes may only receive this grant a maximum of two times. Athletes who have achieved a 62% or higher in the Team, Individual, or Freestyle test at a CPEDI3* are not eligible for Grant #2.

Both Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and the availability of funds. Athletes may only apply for one Grant at a time.

Download the grant application here.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Announcing the Para Dressage Virtual National Judging Program

USPEA is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 virtual Para Dressage Judging Program. To kick off the pilot program, one FEI Para 3* International Judge, Adrienne Pot, has graciously agreed to view video submissions and provide official score sheets for each test entered.

The Para Dressage Virtual judging program is the first step in tackling the huge geographical challenge in the US. It takes ongoing monitoring and regular assessment to improve performance in any sport, and we trust this great opportunity provided to you by USPEA will encourage you to pursue the sport of Para Dressage and allow you to achieve your goals, whether it be competition or just for the pure joy the horse can contribute to your well-being.

The Emerging National Virtual Judging Program is being offered to the riders as a first step into competition with an emphasis on using the Introductory Tests to work up the levels of their Classified Grade.

Eligibility

Athlete

  • All athletes, 12 years old and over, with a permanent, measurable, physical disability are welcome to enter a FEI Para Dressage Test of Choice (Introductory, Novice, Team, Individual, Freestyle) in their Classified Grade.
  • Riders must either have a National or FEI Classification riding at their grade level to participate in the program.
  • This Program is only for the Emerging Para Dressage Athlete for Classified Grade athletes wishing to compete at the National level. The National Program is to compliment the USEF Developing/Elite Program and not to replace or compete with the International Program.

Horse

Horses must be a minimum of six (6) years of age. The age is counted from the 1st January of the year of birth. Recommend horse be braided.

Dress

  1. All Athletes must be neatly and correctly dressed at all times.
  2. Protective Headgear must be worn by Athletes at all times when mounted.
  3. Black or brown boots or stout riding shoes with heels must be worn. Plain black or brown half-chaps or gaiters to the knee may be used.
  4. For On-Line Video Competitions, breeches shall be worn; jackets are optional, but recommended.
  5. Stock or tie: optional, but recommended. White, off-white, or same color as coat.
  6. Gloves: white, off-white, or same color as coat.
  7. Riding boots: black or same color as coat.
  8. Safety vests (including inflatable) are permitted.
  9. Spurs are optional. Spurs must be made of metal. The shank must be either curved or straight, pointing directly back from the center of the spur when on the Athlete’s boot. Spurs must not be offset, unless allowed as a compensating aid and noted on the FEI Classification Master List. The arm of the spur must be smooth and blunt. If rowels are used, they must be blunt, smooth, and free to rotate. Metal spurs with round hard plastic knobs (‘Impulse’ spurs) or “Dummy” spurs with no shank are allowed.

Saddlery

FEI Rules can be found here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/regulations/para_dressage.

FEI Dressage Tests

FEI Para Dressage Tests may be found here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/organisers/p-e-dressage/tests.

Gr. I, II, III must ride in 40 x 20 meter arena.

Gr. IV, V must ride in 60 x 20 meter arena.

Video Procedure

The camera must be placed at “C” (far end of ring/arena). If the zoom feature is used, the horse may be no larger than ¼ of the screen. The recording should start approximately 5 seconds before the rider enters the arena. In an indoor arena, the rider may already be in the arena, and the recording will start 5 seconds before the judging of the class begins. The recording should finish approximately 5 seconds after the class ends or after the final salute at the end of the test.

  • It is recommended that you film with your back to the sun.
  • Make sure the camera is steady and the horse in the center of the frame.
  • Use highest quality setting on camera.
  • Set the zoom before you start and do not alter it once you have started filming.
  • Ensure the light setting is correct for the time of day.
  • Stand at C either with your back to C or behind C facing A and do not move from that spot.
  • Make sure you video from the start of the test as you turn on center line and keep videoing until after the final halt so we can see some walk work as you leave the arena (1/2 dozen steps or so).
  1. Make sure that a well-lighted ring/arena is used.
  2. Riders entering the FEI Freestyle to music test must ensure that the sound on the video recording device is switched on and that the music can be clearly heard in the video.
  3. The name of the video file should include the rider’s last name, horse name, date, Grade, and test being submitted.
  4. Videos may include more than one test providing there is a five second pause between tests, and are clearly marked with the test, date, rider’s last name, and horse name.

Please Note: If athlete submits video from competition, then athlete will not receive scores from the Virtual Judging Panel. Only comments.

How to Create a YouTube Account

Go to YouTube.com and create an account. To do this, click on the “Sign Up” button at the top of the screen. Fill out all of the requested information. An e-mail will be sent to you to confirm your e-mail address. Clink the link in the e-mail to confirm.

Customize Your YouTube Profile

You can customize your profile by clicking on your username at the top of the screen. You can choose to add a photo, video logs, favorite videos, subscribers, and friends.

Fill In the Video Upload Information

To upload a video, go to the upload page by clicking on “upload” in the upper right corner of the homepage. On this page, fill out your video information, including title, description, and tags. Tags are key words used to describe your video, i.e. Gr. Test.

Upload the Video to YouTube

The next step is to upload your video onto YouTube from your computer. Click on “Upload Video” to find the video file on your computer. Next, click the browse button to search for the file you want to upload. Double click on the file and it will appear in the text box. Click on “Upload Video”.

Please be aware that posting videos on YouTube without security settings will allow outside individuals to view your video. It is highly recommended that users set the YouTube security setting to “unlisted” (meaning only those who have been provided the link can view the video).

Video Entry Process and Checklist

Entry Due Date: 25th of each month.

Once riders have a video of themselves performing a specific test, send the YouTube video link to Hope Hand, President of The United States Para-Equestrian Association, at wheeler966@aol.com along with the trainer name, trainer email, trainer phone. If no trainer, use rider info, rider name, horse name, grade, test, and detail on rider classification (non-classified, classified National, or International). When you are uploading your video, please ensure your video and entry meets the following requirements.

  • Have you previewed your video to ensure that it is clear and meets the entry requirements?
  • Is your video in one of the following file formats: avi (audio video interleave), mov (QuickTime-Apple), wmv (winder media video), or flv (flash)?
  • Is your video less than 2 GB?
  • Is your video file name properly saved (i.e. rider last name and test entered)?
  • “Unlisted” YouTube link (only those who have been provided the link can view the video).
  • Once your submission is completed, USPEA will forward the YouTube Video link to the International Judge for her review.

Cost

Each Test will cost the rider $15.00 paid through Athlete’s Venmo Account to be paid on the date Video is submitted for review. Athlete will then forward the Venmo Receipt and YouTube Video to USPEA at Wheeler966@aol.com.

Prior to submitting the test for judging, payment must be made.

Results

The results of each test submitted will be completed by the International Para Dressage judge and returned to the USPEA, who will forward the score sheets directly to the athlete and trainer, along with any comments made by Emerging Athlete Trainers.

Other Rules

  • The Judges’ decisions are final.
  • No communication or discussion will be entered into with the judges involved.
  • Videos of tests must not have been recorded at any official competition. Any video which is suspected of having been filmed during a competition will not be accepted.
  • If the quality of a video is considered too poor to be judged, the competitor will be given the opportunity to submit a further video.
  • Athletes may only submit 2 individual tests of choice and 1 Freestyle Test per month (maximum 3 tests monthly), as described above under Costs.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Adequan US Para-Dressage Team and US Athletes Dominate in Florida

Photo by: Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – February 6, 2020 – Twenty-two horse and rider combinations competed at the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival 3 CPEDI3*, January 21-24. Para-Dressage riders from Canada, Mexico, Republic of South Africa, and USA rode to top placings in the International Ring at the Global Dressage Festival in beautiful Wellington, Florida. In the Team competition, the Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, earned the championship over Canada. The U.S. Team included Beatrice de Lavalette (Lake Worth Beach, Fla.) in Grade II riding Duna, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare she co-owns with Elizabeth de Lavalette and Nicolas de Lavalette; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), in Grade III, with El Corona Texel, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley; Marie Vonderheyden (Wellington, Fla.) in Grade I and London Swing, an 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Eleanor Brimmer and Liza MacMillan; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) in Grade I and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Trunnell also earned the individual championship with her 77.738% in the FEI Grade I Team Test, 78.572% in the FEI Grade I Individual Test, and the highest score of the show, a 81.878% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle Test, resulting in an overall of 77.699%. This was Trunnell’s second consecutive championship at the Global Dressage Festival in 2020. During the January 8-11, CPEDI3* Trunnell earned multiple scores over 81%. Taking home the reserve championship was Sydney Collier and the Hanoverian All in One, owned by Going for Gold LLC. Collier, also in Grade I, averaged a score of 73.384%. The US Para-Dressage riders have an intense year ahead as they prepare for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo August 27-31.

Champion Para-Dressage athlete Roxanne Trunnell noted, “Karin Flint’s Dolton was such a superstar at the ADGF 3 CPEDI3*. I was a little worried how he would handle another CPEDI so soon after the last one, but he handled it like a champ. On the first day we started off with another solid test, but I had gotten so excited about it while going down the final centerline that I was not as strong with my aids for the final halt, resulting in the halt not being square. The second day I could feel that the back to back shows were catching up to him and I just didn’t have as much horse under me as I usually do. I had to use a lot of leg during that ride, but it was once again a wonderful test and we nailed that final halt.”

She recalled her freestyle under the lights. “I love our freestyle and I think Dolton does too, so my only concern was that he didn’t get startled by the scoreboard like he did during the first CPEDI. He didn’t even give it any attention, so I was very very pleased with, since this was only the second time he’s showed under the lights.”

During the next few months building up to the Tryon CPEDI3* in June, Trunnell and Dolton will continue to show at the Global Dressage Festival National shows while training at Helgstrand Dressage.

Reserve champion rider Sydney Collier will also be attending the National Shows in Wellington following her successful CPEDI3* with All in One, owned by Going for Gold LLC. Collier expressed, “We were in the zone more than ever at this CPEDI3*. I am so proud of Alle for going into the ring at global and owning it. He is such a special horse in that he really takes any situation in stride and loves showing. I am so lucky to have found him and have had an opportunity to get him because of Georgina (Bloomberg, owner Going for Gold LLC). I don’t even have words to explain how grateful I am for all for these opportunities in Wellington that have opened up since all of these people have joined my team.”

Collier continued, “I had so much fun at this show. Honestly anytime I get to show any horse it is a blast but even more so with Alle because he is so special. He really looks forward to going into the ring. My trainer Katie Robicheaux and I have been working to master my geometry which was something I struggled with for years due to my vision. At this show my geometry was one of my stronger points but there is further room for improvement. I was also proud of our halts since in a walk test there are three of them and they weigh heavily on the total score. Alle is a great horse and I love his walk quality. A great walk was one gait that we searched hard for in each horse until we found him. It is a beautiful walk to ride in and out of the show ring. Horses are either born with a walk or they aren’t. It’s not a gait you can fix or create.”

Collier like Roxanne Trunnell is on her way as she aims at the Tokyo Paralympics. Collier added, “As Alle and I move along this pathway to Tokyo I remain dedicated to my goal of helping the US Team win the gold medal for America. Bringing this medal back to the USA would proudly represent every person who has stood behind the three horses and riders on their way to the podium. From the farrier, veterinarians, grooms, sponsors, support staff, to our Federation, the teams that stand behind each horse and rider are the dedicated individuals who make success possible for our country at the Games.”

Following the national shows at Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, Collier will head North to prepare for the summer.

Collier acknowledged, “I would like to thank Georgina Bloomberg for giving me the opportunity to ride, my sponsors Kastel Denmark, TheraPlate, Evermore Pet Foods, Dressage Sport Boots, Romitelli Boots, Equicizer, NupaFeed, Respond systems, OnTyte, Sport Horse Saddlery, Massage Sport Boots, Stacey Bradley Designs, Mastermind Equestrian, Flex Sticks, Eco Vet, and everyone who is a part of our team.”

Trunnell, Collier, and all of the U.S. international para-dressage riders aiming at the Tokyo Paralympics are looking forward to the next few months before selection of the U.S. Team and heading down centerline in Tokyo scheduled August 2020.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Grants Awarded to Two Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders

Meghan Benge – photo by Nicole McNally.

January 8, 2020 – The Dressage Foundation is pleased to announce that $1,000 grants from its Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund have been awarded to Meghan Benge (SC) and Erika Wager (NY).

Meghan began riding when she was six years old and has trained in hunters, para-driving (she was the 2008 Para Driving World Championships gold medalist), and now para-dressage. She has been named to the US Equestrian Para Dressage Development Athlete list and will use her $1,000 grant to train and compete in Wellington with her trainer, Melissa Vaughn. Meghan said, “My ponies, Trip and Zoey, and I are very thankful to receive this grant. It will allow us to obtain additional training prior to and in between our shows during the spring season. It will help put us one step closer to achieving our goals.”

Erika began riding at the age of 5 and has been focused on para-dressage for the past year. She has recently been named to the US Equestrian Para Dressage Emerging Athlete list and will use her $1,000 grant to train with Susanne Hamilton and attend USEF/USPEA clinics. Erika said, “I’m so grateful to be selected as a grant recipient! The funds will go towards continuing my education as a Para-Dressage rider with my horse, Clifton Zander, and are a tremendous help.”

The purpose of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund, seeded by a gift from the Lowell Boomer Family Charitable Remainder Unitrust, is to provide financial support for para-dressage riders to attend educational events that will enable them to receive training to help them reach their riding and competition goals.

For more information about applying for a grant from TDF’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund or to make a donation, contact TDF at (402) 434-8585 or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610) 356-6481.

Article courtesy of The Dressage Foundation

US Para-Dressage Secure Top Scores at Hartpury Festival of Dressage

Kate Shoemaker, Michel Assouline, and Rebecca Hart. Photo courtesy of Michel Assouline.

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom – July 9, 2019 – International athletes Rebecca Hart and Kate Shoemaker of the United States competed at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage CPEDI3*, located at Hartpury University in Gloucestershire, July 3-7, 2019. Hart, a three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and three-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014, 2018), rode her horses El Corona Texel and Fortune 500, both owned by Rowan O’Riley. Hart earned top placings with both horses including a second place in the Grade III Freestyle with Fortune 500 earning a 73.113 and a second place with El Corona Texel in the Team Test. Kate Shoemaker, a 2018 World Equestrian Games medalist and Grade IV para-dressage athlete, earned a Freestyle score of 74.080 and top Team Test score garnering her two second places on her horse Solitaer 40. The U.S. riders were led by USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

US Para-Dressage Athletes Showcase Talent at Burlington Capital International Omaha

The team of Karen Pavicic, Kate Shoemaker, and Tillie Jones (c)Lili Weik Photography.

Omaha, Nebraska – April 19, 2019 – Four U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, to compete in the $50,000 Dressage Team Challenge at the 2019 Burlington Capital International Omaha April 4-7, 2019. Those riders included Kate Shoemaker (Grade IV), Deborah Stanitski (Grade I), and Emerging Athletes Laurietta Oakleaf (Grade I) and Cindy Screnci (Grade V). USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline was also on location to support this collaboration. The $50,000 Dressage Team Challenge featured teams comprising a Senior or Amateur rider paired with a Youth (Junior or Young Rider) and a para-dressage rider. Each of the three teams aimed to capture the title in the CHI Health Center arena with scores remaining close until the end. Each team rode their team and freestyle test. The freestyle on Saturday, April 6, was Presented by Rowan O’Riley and Mission Control. Earning the overall title was the team of Senior Rider Karen Pavicic, para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker, and Young Rider Tillie Jones.

Following the competition, the three riders announced they would donate a portion of their winnings to Nebraska flood relief. Take pride in a unique gift. The Team Challenge was an opportunity for para-dressage to showcase the international and national talent the discipline contains. It was also an exciting collaboration between able-bodied and para-equestrian sports.

For Kate Shoemaker, a 2018 World Equestrian Games medalist and Grade IV para-dressage athlete, this trip was a 60 hour drive over 3200 miles with her horse Solitaer 40. Shoemaker commented, “The Dressage Team Challenge at the Omaha International led the way for para-dressage inclusion by combining FEI competitors from both dressage and para-dressage. This event brought our sport to the community of Omaha and beyond in a way I’ve never seen before. I enjoyed the warm up in the center of the trade fair and the interaction with spectators after riding. It was a wonderful way to show people firsthand the love and joy that our sport brings. On a personal note, I was very proud of my horse Soli for handling the unique and very busy environment extremely well. It demonstrated just how strong his trust in me has become over the last five years. Soli’s favorite part of the show was interacting with spectators. He loved the extra pets and posed for every photo with a fan. Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity we had in Omaha and especially grateful for International Omaha Dressage Manager, Thomas Baur and Dressage Team Challenge sponsors, Rowan O’Riley of Fair Sky Farm, Becky Reno of Mission Control, and Lisa Roskens. It was an irreplaceable amazing experience.”

Deborah Stanitski, a Grade I para-dressage rider, flew out to Omaha and borrowed horse Staccato de Gervalto to compete with teammates Senior rider Gracia Huenefeld and Junior rider Raegan Lingenfelter, both of Lincoln, Nebraska. The team came in second place with Stanitski and horse Staccato de Gervalto earning the High Point award. Stanitski noted, “My horse Staccato de Gervalto (Billy) was absolutely awesome. There were lots of people there, lots of clapping, and lots of cheering. I enjoyed the experience and borrowing a horse from Jonis Agee turned out great. It was a really beautiful facility and the show was well run and organized. It was nice to work with our para-dressage and able-bodied riders and to have our coach Michel Assouline on hand. I am so thankful to all the generous owners that allowed us to use their horses for this showcase and for the incredible help of Gracia Huenefeld and her industrious team.”

Laurietta Oakleaf, Grade I para-dressage Emerging Athlete, rode Indigo, owned by Carole Kryska, and her team came in third in the Team Challenge. Oakleaf recalled, “I was very honored that Carole trusted me to ride such a talented and good-hearted horse and trusted me to ride him. Omaha was a wonderful experience as a rider and I very much enjoyed the show, facility, and especially the staff. They went above and beyond to make us all feel welcome. The facility is a top-notch facility that takes you to a whole new level out there.”

Brand new Grade V para-dressage Emerging Athlete Cindy Screnci rode horse Win Some Chauffeur (James), owned by Rebecca Mouras. Screnci stated, “The Omaha International was an amazing opportunity for me. It was the first chance I’ve had as a para-dressage equestrian to ride in such an incredible venue. I catch rode James. Riding a borrowed horse can be challenging but the support of not only the Omaha officials to allow us ample time to school, but the support of my teammates, other para-dressage riders, and even the crowd was inspirational. I love this sport and look forward to competing in Omaha next year.”

The 2019 Burlington Capital International Omaha, the ‘Midwest’s Largest Horse Event,’ took place at the CHI Health Center arena in Omaha, Nebraska, home of the highly successful 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals. Now in its seventh year, the Burlington Capital International Omaha hosts everything under one roof – stabling, warm-up, competition arena, educational and exhibit area, demonstrations, dining venues, and shopping for both the horse aficionado or anyone just looking for a unique gift.

Further information is available at www.internationalomaha.com.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

FEI World Ranked Para-Dressage Rider Katie Jackson Earns Top Accolades in 2017

Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer. Photo by Susan J Stickle.

Austin, TX – November 13, 2017 – International Para-Dressage athlete Katie Jackson from Austin, Texas has been working hard in 2017 topping Grade V Para-Dressage with scores in the mid 70’s and recently earning her USDF Silver Medal and High Point Award in the Fourth Level Open Division in able-bodied Dressage. Only two years ago Jackson was just out of surgery and barely even walking after she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of soft tissue cancer. Amputation of her right leg, above her knee, was the only option to make sure all of the cancer was removed from the area. Jackson made a commitment to herself to continue to do the sport she loved and aim for the world stage. With talent, hard work, and a strong support system Jackson and Royal Dancer, now owned by Jackson and her husband Yancy thanks to the generosity of Rachel and Julia Handt, have become a top duo on the Para-Dressage stage. Jackson’s list of accomplishments in two years include earning the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Lloyd Kramer Annual Sportsmanship Trophy, United Stated Dressage Federation (USDF) Grade IV Para Equestrian National Champion Number One Rider of the Year, helping to win four gold medals at each Nation’s Cup for Team USA in Florida and California, Awarded Women’s Sports Foundation 2017 Travel & Training Grant, and currently she is the third ranked FEI World Para-Dressage Grade V athlete. In September, Jackson topped Grade V at the US Equestrian 2017 Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and CPEDI3* in Tryon, NC. In October 2017, Jackson rode at the GAIG/USDF Region 9 Championships, Southwest Dressage Championships and Houston Dressage Society Autumn Classic where she earned her USDF Silver Medal and High Point Award in the 4th Level Open Division. Finishing off the year, Jackson was presented the Grade V 2017 Adequan®/USDF Para-Dressage Grade V Rider of the Year in addition to the All Breeds Para-Dressage Rider of the Year from the Westfalen Horse Association, for her accomplishments with Royal Dancer.

In Summer 2015, Jackson could only imagine where she would be weeks, months, and years down the road. In 2016, she was a brand new Para-Dressage rider and one year amputee competing at her first international Dressage competition. Jackson stated, “It has been an incredible year and I am so thankful to be able to be on this journey.  I have learned so much about myself, my riding, and what it takes to be a top competitor.  It is very rewarding to challenge my body and my mind to see what I can accomplish, especially now, as an amputee.”

Jackson has been a horse woman and athlete since she began riding at six years of age focusing on Dressage. She continued her riding even after graduating from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor in Arts and then from the UCLA School of Dentistry, beginning her dental practice in Austin, TX in 2007. She noted, “Earning my silver medal has been on my bucket list of goals. Even as a little girl I always dreamed about getting to wear the pretty shadbelly coat and riding at the FEI level.  I just never imagined I would be earning it so soon.  Earning this medal now, as a para-equestrian, makes it even more meaningful and special for me.”

Jackson is thankful to all of her support including her husband Yancy. She is also thankful to Austin Prosthetic Center who has helped to tell her story and keep her mobile so Jackson can continue living a life without limits. Jackson added, “I am extremely grateful to Kai Handt of North Texas Equestrian Center as well for believing in me and challenging me to ride at this level.   Kai’s support and coaching have aligned me for these successes and I am very thankful to be able to ride under someone with his knowledge and experience.”

Jackson is now aiming at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina and the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

For more about Jackson’s story, please visit https://www.austinprostheticcenter.com/single-post/2017/10/21/Riding-toward-the-2020-Paralympics.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

To view an online version of this press release, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.

Kristi Wysocki Earns FEI Five Star Para-Dressage Judge Promotion

Thousand Oaks, California – July 8, 2017 – Kristi Wysocki, of the United States, was recently promoted as a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) 5* Para-Dressage judge. A 5* accreditation is the highest rank given to international judges. Wysocki is the only US FEI 5* Para-Dressage judge joining only a handful of experts in the world with this level of expertise.

Wysocki was first introduced to the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2008 Unites States Equestrian Federation Para-Equestrian Dressage Selection Trials for the 2008 Paralympic Team. Her next exposure to the sport was at the CPEDI3* held at N.E.D.A. Fall Show in 2009. Watching the athletes and horses and speaking with the international panels of judges during these competitions drew her attention to the value of the sport. She recognized the minimal funding the Para-Dressage riders had so in the spring of 2010, Wysocki organized a fundraising event for the U.S. Para-Dressage riders in Loxahatchee, Florida. She also attended the U.S. Para-Dressage training camp for the 2010 World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Kentucky. Each of these experiences made Wysocki more interested in becoming further actively involved in the sport. In 2011 Wysocki became a FEI 3* Para-Dressage judge. In 2012 she served on the Selection Committee for the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team. She was promoted to an FEI 4* Para-Dressage judge in July 2013 and obtained her Technical Delegate status in the spring of 2014. She has served on the U. S. Equestrian Para-Dressage Committee since the spring of 2011 and currently serves as the chair of that committee. She now sits on the U.S. Equestrian International Disciplines Council as a representative for the Para-Dressage sport.

Wysocki is a lifelong horsewoman in addition to her past career as an engineer. Her engineering background and degree in Metallurgical Engineering has always given her a keen interest in both horse and rider biomechanics. Wysocki noted, “It was not until she became involved in the Para-Dressage branch of Dressage that she really started to see just how much the two can become one, despite many physical hurdles.” Wysocki feels her experience in this division has helped her learn so much more about this most important aspect of riding. She stated, “Para-Dressage has only enhanced my life-long love and bond to the horse. I really feel my experiences in Para-Dressage have made me more aware of the relationship between the two athletes (horse and rider).  I truly believe it has made me not only a worthy Para-Dressage judge but also a much better Dressage judge, trainer and rider than I would have been without.”

Hope Hand, President of the USPEA, noted, “The US is extremely proud of Kristi’s accomplishments and her dedication and commitment to the Para-Dressage Program.”

Wysocki concluded, “I am honored and humbled to be promoted to an FEI 5* Para-Dressage judge.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Riders Have Successful Symposium with Para-Dressage Coach Michel Assouline

Assouline speaks to symposium attendees.

Wellington, FL – March 22, 2017 – Team Great Britain Para Equestrian Dressage Coach Michel Assouline flew to Wellington, FL to conduct a Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14, 2017. The symposium followed the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. For United States Para-Dressage riders this was a unique opportunity to work on the new FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Tests following an international competition. Both Assouline and U.S Para-Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt worked with each athlete and their home coaches in the Van Kampen Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The focus of the symposium was finding the appropriate competitive horse for each athlete’s Grade and working on what the judges are looking for in the new Tests.

Michel Assouline noted, “I had the pleasure to work with riders and coaches at the Wellington International Equestrian Center, during the USEF Para-Equestrian Symposium. Horses had quality and true potential to progress with the aim to gain consistent marks in competition. It was a question of seeing what they can be rather than what they were, repeating good habits in their training routine which will be more easily replicated in competition. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Training sessions were fragmented in building blocks to identify blockers in detail, which were then shared with coaches, as attention to detail is everything in any winning culture. A really exciting pool of good rider-horse combinations.”

Para-Dressage rider Katie Jackson took part in the symposium with Assouline. She expressed, “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from Michel Assouline.  The symposium was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to learn from one of the best in our sport.  On the first day Michel shared valuable insight about developing the para-dressage athlete, giving us his perspective on how to grow as individual riders and as a team.  He also spoke on the key areas that have created the success of Team Great Britain, including having a strong foundation for riders, coaches, and their support teams to grow and develop from.  During my rides I appreciated Michel’s attention to detail. I especially liked his patience and focus on correct basics such as straightness and connection to improve the horses’ gaits.  He gave helpful suggestions on how Royal and I can improve as a team and I felt that we made some big improvements over the two days of riding.  A big thank you to USEF/USPEA and our sponsors for making this symposium possible.”

For more information about future U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposiums, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email: lkjohnson@usef.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.