Lexington, KY – The U.S. Para-Equestrian Team continued to make strides in qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games by winning Team Gold at the 2011 Melbourne CPEDI3* held in conjunction with the Saddle World Dressage Festival. The U.S. was represented by Donna Ponessa, Becca Hart, Erin Alberda, and Mary Jordan all riding borrowed horses at the competition held December 8-11 at the National Equestrian Centre in Werribee, Victoria. The team win came in spectacular fashion as the four riders earned the highest overall team score that the U.S. has ever produced. Australia place second with New Zealand and Japan placing third and fourth, respectively.
The winning was not limited to the team competition – U.S. riders finished no lower than second in any of the tests they rode. In Grade 1a competition, Ponessa (New Windsor, NY) produced three winning efforts riding Miike Setsuko’s Don Armani to scores of 70.588%, 69.5% and 68.5% in the Team Test, Individual Test and Freestyle, respectively. Alberda of Woodinville, WA, also had a clean sweep of her Grade III division tests scoring 66.913% in the Team Test, 65.556% for the Individual Test and earning a 71.5% Freestyle score with Adele Plumbridge’s Southern Cross Tamaris. Grade IV rider, Jordan (Wells, ME) produced second-place efforts in the Team Test, Individual Test and Freestyle riding Elainie Castiellini’s Northern Charmer to scores of 64.271%, 65.161% and 68%, respectively.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – December 16, 2011 – When the United States Para-Equestrian Team flew Down Under for the 2011 Melbourne CPEDI3* (held at Werribee Park National Equestrian Center), they were prepared to give it their all. This competition was not just about top scores but it was an opportunity to earn team spots for the 2012 Paralympics held in London, England. With outstanding performances each day, the United States Para-Equestrian Dressage Team captured their third Team Gold within a four-month period. The impressive Gold Para-Equestrian Dressage Team consisted of Donna Ponessa for Grade Ia (New Windsor, NY), Rebecca Hart for Grade II (Unionville, PA), Erin Alberda for Grade III (Woodinville, WA), Mary Jordan for Grade IV (Wells, ME), and Chef d’equipe Missy Ransehousen. From December 9-11, 2011 teams from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the United States challenged themselves under F.E.I. international judges Mr. Kjell Myhre (NOR), Dr. Ulf Wilken (SWE), Ms. Jan Geary (AUS), Ms. Sue Cunningham (AUS), and Ms. Wendy Barker (AUS).
Lausanne (SUI), 2 December 2011 – Sales of Paralympic Equestrian tickets for the London 2012 Paralympic Games have broken records, with more than 40,000 tickets already sold. And there is a further opportunity for spectator numbers to increase with remaining tickets going on sale on 2 December.
The number of tickets sold to date for the 11 Paralympic Equestrian events taking place in Greenwich Park next year (30 August – 4 September) has already overtaken the previous record of 33,000 spectators that watched the Beijing 2008 Paralympic equestrian events in Hong Kong.
In total over one million tickets have already been purchased for the 20 sports at the London 2012 Paralympic Games since they went on sale this year.
“We have six days of Paralympic Equestrian competition in Greenwich Park, in a country where Para-Equestrian Dressage was pretty much born,” said Tim Hadaway, Equestrian Competition Manager at Greenwich Park, venue for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Thousand Oaks, CA – December 1, 2011 – With a Team Gold under their belt earned at the 2011 CPEDI3* in Mexico City, the United States Para-Equestrian Team takes to the air headed to beautiful Melbourne, Australia. The 2011 CPEDI3* in Werribee, Victoria, Australia begins Thursday, December 8th with a horse inspection, followed by the Team Test on Friday, Individual Test on Saturday, and finally the Freestyle competition on Sunday, December 11, 2011. This international competition will be held in conjunction with the Saddle World Dressage Festival held at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Center located southwest of Melbourne, Australia. The United States Para-Equestrian Team consists of Donna Ponessa from New Windsor, NY for Grade Ia, Rebecca Hart of Unionville, PA for Grade II, Erin Alberda of Woodinville, WA for Grade III, and Mary Jordan from Wells, ME representing Grade IV. Each rider will compete throughout the weekend against Para-Equestrian team members from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. This competition is one more stride on the road to the 2012 Paralympics held in London, England.
Mexico City, Mexico – November 15, 2011 – Sitting aboard a horse with unbelievable mountain views from all angles in a brand new facility was what eighteen para-equestrians experienced at the most recent CPEDI3* event. The red carpet was rolled out for United States Para-Equestrian Team at the 2011 CPEDI3* in Mexico City, Mexico at Rancho San Juan. Eighteen Para-Equestrians competed under five stringent judges for their respective country November 10-12, 2011. The five countries represented were Mexico, United States, Venezuela, Norway, and Argentina. The United States Team included Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt, Para-Equestrian Donna Ponessa (Grade Ia), Jonathan Wentz (Grade Ib), and Dale Dedrick (Grade III) who gave flawless interpretations of their tests to take home the Team Gold for the United States.
This competition was unique because they did not ride their own mounts, each of the para-equestrians rode a horse that was graciously donated by The Mexico Para-Equestrian Team. The United States Para-Equestrian Team rode horses donated by The Baitenmanns (Erica Baitenmann is a Mexico Para-Equestrian rider). Besides earning the Team Gold the United States Para-Equestrians excelled individually as well. Donna Ponessa of New Windsor, NY captured gold medals in Grade Ia Freestyle, Individual, and Team competition while riding Gecko, USEF 2011 Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion Jonathan Wentz from Tyler, TX also earned three gold medals in each Grade Ib test aboard Ariello, Grade II rider, Dale Dedrick from Ann Arbor, MI earned the Silver Medal on Bruno in Mexico City rounding out a spectacular weekend for the United States.
Wellington, FL – November 15, 2011 – Premiering Tuesday, November 15, 2011, on Dover’s World will be the United States Para-Equestrian Team. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. two hours will be devoted to discussing the eighth international equestrian discipline, Para-Dressage. Anyone interested in calling in to the broadcast may call 561-844-6167 or 800-889-0267.
Three important Para-Equestrian organizers and one Para-Dressage rider will be on hand to answer questions and to discuss the sport of Para-Dressage. Those four include USEF Director of Para-Equestrian Pam Lane, Chef d’Equipe of the 2010 Para-Dressage Team Missy Ransehousen, the President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, Hope Hand, and Donna Ponessa who is a Grade Ia Para-Dressage equestrian. Donna has had an exciting year with top results in California, New York, and recently she earned Gold in all three tests in Mexico City at the CPEDI3*. Donna was also part of the United States Team alongside Jonathan Wentz and Dale Dedrick who recently won a Team Gold in Mexico City on November 12.
Listeners may call in around 7:20 p.m. to speak with Rober Dover, Pam, Missy, Hope, or Donna about the future of Para-Dressage.
Tucson, AZ – November 3, 2011 – Warm winters, kind equestrians and the west coast competitions and clinics are what first attracted trainer Sabine Rijssenbeek to Tucson, Arizona. In 2006 Sabine landed in Phoenix, Arizona to give a clinic at a Dutch breeding facility. Her impressive background as a rider, manager, and trainer in Holland attracted many competitive equestrians to her clinic. Three months later Sabine was asked back for her second clinic where she met a rider looking for a horse from The Netherlands. It would not be long before Sabine landed in the United States with a horse in hand from the Netherlands and a suitcase to stay for three months in Tucson, Arizona. Sabine became popular for her training skills not only in Arizona but all over the United States including California, Texas, and Minnesota. Since graduating with a Master’s degree from Deurne University in the Netherlands in 1975, Sabine has worked hard managing and training over 400 horses in Great Britain, Holland, and the United States. Her unique skills in both dressage and show jumping have created exciting professional paths for her including teaching a Para-Equestrian Dressage competitor in FEI events.
“What started as three weeks to help train this horse I brought to Arizona from The Netherlands, turned into a three month stay. I loved Arizona, I was captivated by the equestrians, and I could not resist the horses; Of course I wanted to stay,” noted Sabine.
Fort Worth, TX – October 14, 2011 – In 2010 the Para-Equestrian discipline debuted at their first World Equestrian Games, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Games launched the Para-Equestrian sport and Para-Equestrians into household names. The recognition let people know that Para-Dressage, like all equestrian disciplines, requires strength, drive, FEI level horses, and experienced athletes. As like all equestrian sports it also requires strong support. The 2011 International Andalusian Lusitano Horse Show Association (IALHA) decided their 2011 IALHA National Championship and Charity Horse Show would benefit the United States Para-Equestiran Association (USPEA). This is the biggest show of the year for the IALHA which is held October 11-16, 2011 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Ft. Worth Texas. The IALHA and the United States Equestrian Federation present the National Championship.
“I brought the idea to our committee of having our last big show of the year benefit the USPEA and it was unanimous that it would happen,” smiled 2011 IALHA Show Chair Christina Cardenas. Christina became captivated by the Para-Equestrians while in Lexington at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. She noted, “When I saw these riders dancing with their horses and making it look so effortless I knew in that moment I wanted to have a fundraiser for the cause.” Over the course of this week, the IALHA horse show holds a silent auction and has a clothing drive to add to their fundraiser. It will be support of the patrons, the sponsors, exhibitors, IALHA members, and spectators who will contribute to supporting the USPEA. As part of the fundraiser the USPEA will receive 50% of all profits.
Saugerties, NY – September 18, 2011 – Intensity, impulsion, power are three words that defined Sunday’s Para-Equestrian Individual Test competition at the 2011 NEDA Fall Festival of Dressage. Sunday was the last day of the CPEDI 3* and it was the championship day for the 2011 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship. After Saturday’s Freestyle only a tenth of a point separated Jonathan Wentz and Dale Dedrick for the National Championship. Following an exceptional day of tests Wentz earned the scores he needed to earn the national championship. Only .308 behind Wentz was Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius who garnered the highest score of the day from Judge E, Anne Prain of France, a 75%. Dedrick’s percentage secured the reserve championship accolade. In the CPEDI3* Team competition Para-Equestrians from USA, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, and Bermuda competed in Grades Ia-IV under judges Anne Prain of France, Kjell Myhre of Norway, and Carlos Lopes of Portugal. The USA achieved the top ranking with team members Jonathan Wentz, Mary Jordan, Wendy Fryke, and Rebecca Hart.
Hart was the third place finisher in the 2011 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in addition to supporting the USA Team competition. After three days of tests Hart was delighted with Lord Ludger. She noted, “I was really happy with LoLu; this was his first major competition where he had to be on it three days in a row. He handled the pressure and he even stepped up to the plate for me.”
Saugerties, NY – September 16, 2011 – At 7:30 a.m. Friday morning it was a brisk but beautiful 46 degrees at the 2011 NEDA Fall Festival of Dressage and 2011 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. Twenty-four Para-Equestrians competed in the CPEDI3* with riders from U.S.A., Ireland, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda. Grade Ia, Ib, II, and III were dominated by United States riders. James Dwyer of Ireland and his horse Orlando earned the Grade IV win. With the tough competition of the CPEDI3* and the National Championships hanging over the United States Para-Equestrians, the U.S.A still excelled over the rest. It may be September, but these riders are preparing and building their team for 2012 when London hosts the 2012 Paralympics.
Friday’s competition for the CPEDI3* consisted of the same scoring style as the Paralympics, the Team and Individual score of each team rider will be combined and averaged. The lowest averaged number will be dropped from each team’s score and a final tally will be conducted. The 2011 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship scores are calculated with the team competition representing 40% of the total score, Saturday’s Freestyle representing 20% followed by Sunday’s Individual classes earning the last 40%. For many equestrians, this is a weekend not about scores but about first time rides, first time shows, and first time travels.
Dale Dedrick a retired Orthopedic Surgeon from Ann Arbor, Michigan is a brand new rider to Para-Equestrian Dressage. In Friday’s Team competition she earned the top score of 70.079% in Grade II. Dedrick was happy with Bonifatius’ progress and performance for his first day out. She noted, “Bonifatius is a great horse and he has phenomenal gates. The test today was not my best test but it was a good test.” Since being introduced to the Para-Equestrian world Dedrick has utilized a training program that fits her inability to tolerate a lot of activity for a duration of time. She explained, “Since I have a pacemaker, I can’t tolerate a lot of activity. Therefore, I ride in short bursts and walk for a length of time. Those long walks on the bit have increased my horse’s back strength, endurance, and it has overall helped both of us.”