Category Archives: Para-Equestrian

Gold Coast Dressage Association’s May Dressage Show Outshines the Rain

Dancing their way to a win in the Grand Prix Freestyle, Katrin Dagge and Dream of Love. (Photo courtesy of Joanna Jodko Photography)

Wellington, FL (May 23, 2018) – Rainy days don’t get in the way of the Gold Coast Dressage Association’s show committee and competitors.  The group has been running dressage shows in Wellington, Florida, for more than 35 years. In fact, the Gold Coast Dressage Association, together with the Wellington Classic Dressage winter season shows, were the inspiration for the development of the now legendary 12-week Global Dressage Festival, hosted in Wellington each winter. With so much knowledge behind them it’s no wonder the Gold Coast Dressage Association May Show on May 19-20, held at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex, was another successful weekend of competition.

This show featured two international 4* judges, Marian Cunningham and Claudia Mesquita, and USDF “S” judge Sandi Chohany.  Chohany celebrated her birthday during the show, and the show staff got together to celebrate after the day’s work was finished.  With over 106 entries and 184 rides it comes as no surprise that big names such as Adrienne Lyle, Kelly Lane, Marco Bernal, Nicholas Fyffe, Chris Von Martles, Shannon Dueck, and Para Equestrian superstars Roxanne Trunnell, Rebecca Hart, Kate Shoemaker, and Eleanor Brimmer came to support the show.  The highest score ride of the show came from Shoemaker aboard Solitaer 40 riding in the Para Equestrian IV Individual Test, scoring a 76.829%. To see more, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXxyUOa7x_g.

Noreen O’Sullivan is the busy president of the Gold Coast Dressage Association and manager of the May Dressage show. “We have a really action-packed show, with several FEI riders coming here looking to qualify for the upcoming Central American games. GCDA Secretary Amy Swerdlin & the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex staff have done a fantastic job as our host facility, with excellent footing, a covered arena, an updated sound system for top notch freestyles and permanent stabling; it makes for fun, friendly shows year-round.” O’Sullivan says the Gold Coast Dressage Association also organizes educational events. “We are going to be doing a USDF educational session in July.” To check out the shows results or see what’s coming up, follow this link: http://www.gcdafl.org/2018_shows_may_dressage.htm.

The Gold Coast Dressage Association’s purpose is to organize and operate educational activities and to foster local and national amateur dressage competition. The Gold Coast Dressage Association continues to educate and promote good sportsmanship and high ethical and moral standards in horsemanship and the equestrian sports. To find out more about the Gold Coast Dressage Association, go to http://www.gcdafl.org.

For more information, contact:
Noreen O’Sullivan
President of the Gold Coast Dressage Association
Show Manager
nosullivan@wellingtonclassicdressage.com
(561) 714-9026

World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 Test Events Conclude

Chester Weber and team during the Cones phase. ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 23, 2018 – Chester Weber (USA) maintained his hold on the lead through the Cones phase of FEI CAI 2* Four-in-Hand competition as part of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Dressage, Driving, and Para-Dressage Test Events at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), guiding his team to victory after blazing cleanly through the Richard Nicoll (USA)-designed course. The all-American podium remained unchanged from day two: Weber landed on 159.38 points after three days, while Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) maintained second place after driving Bravour, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso to a score of 173.34 on a clean run, and James Fairclough (USA) finished in third with Bento V, Citens, Dapper and Zenden on a final penalty score of 180.21.

Weber spoke highly of his day-three team, consisting of Amadeus, Asjemenou, Gouveneur, and Ultra, and explained that he added Gouvenuer into the team after testing potential WEG contender, Reno, in his place for the Marathon phase. “I drove the Dressage team again, which was my plan from the beginning and they were really nice,” he said. “I have a sort of inexperienced seven-year-old in the group [Gouvenuer], and I wanted to know what I had in him for a Cones leader and he actually did really well. I was really pleased with him.”

As he predicted, the Cones course had the essence of designer Nicoll and suited Weber’s driving style, but remained a true precision test for competing combinations.

“I thought the course was really nice. Richard [Nicoll] always tries to have a little bit of flow to the course, which was good and I thought it was fair in that way. We measure the course typically with a GPS watch, and there’s some margin of error there. When I measured it was 840 meters and they were saying it was more like a 750 – it was pretty obvious to me we were going to have to go really, really fast. I worked on trying to figure out how to get the time as good as I could, but it was still a big challenge.”

Speaking to the emotional connection he feels to Team USA and what representing the States in the fall would mean, Weber reflected on the shared history of his and teammate Fairclough’s careers, and said, “It means a lot to me to represent the United States. Ever since I was a young guy starting Driving, I always wanted to have a blazer with a [USA] patch on it and drive on the U.S. team. I think for all of the U.S. Four in-Hand team medals, Jimmy and I have been part of those teams. I think we hope to come here in the fall and try and secure a team medal for the U.S. It would mean a lot to me.”

Wrigley-Miller maintained her podium spot with a speedy round through the Cones phase and complimented the noticeable improvement in harmony for her team. “The team is really starting to gel and come together to work as a team and that was really what I noticed. They were all balanced together. I could really drive more forward, they felt great in my hands, and the obstacles drove so well,” she emphasized. “I just feel like we’ve been a work in progress and we made huge strides yesterday. I was really pleased with our Marathon, but I went back and watched the videos and thought, ‘I can go faster!’ So, I think the horses and I have good timing going forward.”

Wrigley-Miller was eager to contest the Marathon course and had good things to report: “From what I’ve heard, there will not be a lot of change in the obstacles – I think they’re beautifully built, and Richard [Nicoll] does such a great job of flagging them. He asks the right questions of horses and drivers. I think it’s going to be really great.”

While she made adjustments to the team between Dressage and Marathon, her horses remained as consistent as their results, and she used the same pairings for the final two days of competition.

“It was a good course,” she said of the final phase. “It was what I’ve come to expect from Richard – that you drive the lines. It’s Dressage training in Cones. The horses have to be supple and flexible and move forward with nice curves – it was a nice course. It had its little pieces that made us drivers think!”

For Fairclough, this week’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Test Event was his first chance to drive obstacles and Cones since Live Oak International a month ago, and described how the weather at home had really thrown a kink in his ability to train, but had not dampened his competitiveness at TIEC.

“I didn’t spend the winter in Florida, so I went down for Live Oak International three weeks before, and Dressage was okay this week. I was pleased with the horses. It’s a long way to September before the FEI World Equestrian Games. For the Marathon yesterday, I hadn’t driven a hazard since I was at Live Oak because I went back home and had 13 days out of 27 with snow, so I wasn’t able to train that or Cones. Marathon was very nice. The horses were plenty fit, and I was happy with that. Cones today surprised me – I thought I’d be able to keep the pace up a little bit more, but I lost a lot of time at 10, 11, and 12. The footing has a [different feel] than grass, so it was difficult to make that time,” he added.

Like Weber and Wrigley-Miller, Fairclough is pleased with his experience at the venue, he said. “I think the facility is fantastic. It’s a work in progress, but it’s really nice when you get to do a Marathon on a golf course. I guess we got to use some of the hazards that will be used [in September], and the course was technical – tight if you wanted that option in a couple of them. I think the terrain may surprise some Europeans, but the valley where the obstacles are is very nice.”

Fairclough also hopes to return in the fall and emphasized the honor of representing Team USA. He said, “It’s wonderful to represent team USA and to have the Games here. The few times that we [Weber and I] have had the national anthem played for us, there’s nothing better. But, to be an ambassador for our country is really an honor. It’s a real thrill no matter what, when you do it.”

Perry-Glass Victorious in FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special

The FEI Grand Prix podium remained unchanged from Friday’s lineup, as the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special presented by Adequan®, saw Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) dance with partner Goerklintgaards Dublet to an impressive score of 75.830%, taking the victory ahead of Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Horizon who finished in second on a score of 71.660%. Belinda Trussell (CAN) rode her own Tattoo 15 to third place honors with a score of 69.319%.

Perry-Glass and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro) owned by Diane Perry put in a more relaxed effort without losing the energy of Friday’s winning ride. “My test, I felt, was a lot more thought out. After the Grand Prix, I was just really challenging myself to go in there and focus on what we do in the warm-up and get it in the show ring. That was my highlight. He’s so talented as it is, that he does everything really well, but I think the passage tour was really good, as well as his changes.”

Regarding “Dublet’s” reaction to the arena after a weekend of acclimation, she continued, “He’s still a spring chicken in there – he didn’t lose any motivation or any kind of spark. He was actually more relaxed, but with energy. That’s what all of his pre-show training was for, getting his mind really good, the aqua-tread, and all the work we do outside the arena. I feel like it’s really translated to his stamina and how he holds his energy.”

The pair is just coming back into competition after an eight-month break, and while the late start to competition schedule had Perry-Glass feeling uncertain before, she said the payoff was worth it, for both her horse and herself.

“With any athlete, I think you kind of need time to wind down to re-adjust and get your head right. I think for the last three years we’ve just been going and it was a well-needed break for us, for me too, and it just helps him come back stronger. Yeah, we’re starting our shows a little bit later than everyone else, but I think that he’s showing that he can be right up there with the others and I’m happy we did it. At some points we were questioning whether it was the right thing to do, to wait so long, but for us it really worked.”

Lyle and Elizabeth Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare (Hot Line x Don Schufro) proved their consistency with another second-place finish and for Lyle, Horizon’s consistency is especially encouraging to see. She elaborated, “I was thrilled with her and how reliable she’s getting. To have a clean test in the third Special she’s ever done in her life – one of them being a national show and with her first CDI not even two months ago, for her to come into a new venue and prove that she can put in clean and consistent performances in this environment is a big deal for her. I’m very proud of her.”

Lyle also had Harmony’s Duval, another young horse, break into Grand Prix competition, and noted that she’s thrilled to see a long-term relationship with “Duval” truly succeed. “I’m really happy with him. I’ve had him since before he was saddle broke and we’ve done everything from Training level on up with him, so it was a really fun weekend all around to have such great rides on Horizon and then be able to finally get Duval into the Grand Prix ring after years and years of work,” she said.

Trussell and her own “Tattoo,” a 2003 Westfalen gelding (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), also remained consistent to place third on a score of 69.319% despite a bobble in one of the gelding’s usual highlight movements, she explained.

“I think the biggest change I see for him [since Florida] is that he’s getting a lot stronger in his passage work; he’s such an exuberant mover and to be able to access that and put it in the right direction [is improving]. I think that this show I had the best passage work that I’ve had yet in the ring itself. His highlight is his changes and today we had a mistake in the twos, which is not good, because I need those points, but those are also becoming more reliable and consistent, so that feels great.”

As an experienced competitor at FEI World Equestrian Games™, including appearances in Jerez, Spain, Lexington, KY, and most recently in Normandy, France, Trussell described her excitement for the Games to return to North America. “This venue was just fabulous to come here for the Test Event and to experience it and be a part of this. It was such a great stepping stone for us in preparation for WEG,” she said. “It’s so nice, as a North American athlete, to have this event in North America because we almost always have to go to Europe. It’s not so far, the horses don’t have to get on an airplane, for family it’s easier to come, and to have this quality of venue in North America is huge. I am so grateful for this facility, grateful for the United States to put this together and it’s wonderful,” she concluded.

The atmosphere was exuberant at the in-gate, especially for the large support wearing red, white and blue – the American entourage was in full force and both Lyle and Perry-Glass expressed gratitude for the strength of the USA contingent.

“We have an incredible support staff from all of USEF,” said Lyle. “They’re absolutely amazing and take care of any question you may have. You can call them in the middle of the night and they’re here to help you! It really helps to have such great backing, then beyond that, we have an incredible camaraderie between us as teammates,” she continued. “Laura [Graves] is here watching and cheering on, and we’re all really good friends. We say that all the time, but it’s not just for show – we all are really good friends. It’s really exciting to see everyone be so successful. It only elevates your own riding and your own training when you can be around people like that, and I feel very blessed that we are that way.”

Perry-Glass agreed. “You look down the ranking list, and even people that are not on the ranking list or that are on the B squad, it’s amazing to see that you’re so close to them.” She also noted the importance of this strong team unit as a team sport.

“There’s only one class that’s individual. Growing up in team sports, you have to have that camaraderie and be to be a team player. I think it elevates everyone’s sportsmanship and I think it makes you perform better. Plus, you can lean on them when you have questions or concerns or ideas, and especially in stressful situations.”

FEI CPEDI 3* Freestyles Wrap Up Weekend

In the CPEDI 3* Grade I Freestyle Test, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Kate Shoemaker’s Dolton stayed perfect to finish first with a 73.278%, while Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) rode her own Niekele Fan Busenitz to second receiving a score of 69.311%, and Winona Hartvikson (CAN) and Ultimo, a 2001 gelding (Invasor III x Teodoro) owned by herself and Jane Macdonald, earned third place honors with a 68.556%.

Trunnell, who represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™, as well as at the 2016 Paralympic Games, piloted a newer mount, and the pair was awarded overall champions of the show after three successful rides for the USA.

The Grade II Freestyle saw Jason Surnoski (CAN) and Phoenix score a 66.878% overtake fellow Canadian Sharon Buffitt and her own Elektra II, who scored 66.233%.

“I was very pleased with Phoenix,” commented Surnoski. “He did everything I asked for and I was just enjoying it. We’ve been working on trying to get him more up in his frame because he tends to kind of come down on me, so all week we’ve been trying to do that. I found that in this test in particular he kept it. I just enjoyed the ride.”

Surnoski began competing in the FEI CPEDIs two years ago, but has only had this particular ride for six months. “He’s a funny character, He loves attention and he loves his treats – the more treats he gets, the more he begs – and he just enjoys his job. It’s my first CPEDI with him and he’s nineteen, so he passed everything I could ask of him. Now it’s onward and upward.”

“It’s been a very difficult transition because he has a lot of movement when he’s going properly, and I’ve ridden many horses that don’t have that particular movement. This guy has a lot when he’s going well. So, even today I had a little bit of difficulty controlling it with my body, but I think I did a good job considering I bumped up my percentage each test,” added Surnoski.

Having declared for WEG, Surnoski will travel to Ottawa next month to contest another FEI CPEDI competition. With a strong desire to make the team at the forefront of his mind, he concluded, “I love that WEG will be here because it’s close to home. I’m from Toronto, so it’s like a fourteen-hour drive, depending on traffic, so it’s doable, and I’m hoping I can qualify and be here for it!”

The Grade III Freestyle saw a change in top placing, as Lauren Barwick (CAN) and her own Engelbrecht, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Rimini 41) rode to blue and a score of 72.233%. The Grade IV Freestyle once again awarded Angela Peavy (USA) the victory, earning a score of 72.892% aboard Rebecca Reno’s 2008 Oldenburg mare (Doruto x Don Larino) Royal Dark Chocolate. Grade V Freestyle rider Katie Jackson (USA) rode her new 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II) mount Diesel to a score of 70.608%, achieving their third first place honor.

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Second Day of Official Test Event Features Team, Freestyle and Marathon Competition

Rebecca Hart and Fortune. ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 21, 2018 – Day two of FEI CPEDI 3* competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Event for Para-Dressage, Dressage, and Driving hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), saw Rebecca Hart (USA) easily best the FEI CPEDI 3* Grade III Team Test to Music, scoring a 71.569% to take home top honors aboard Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune. Lauren Barwick (CAN) achieved second place in the Grade III test aboard her own Engelbrecht, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Rimini 41), while Eleanor Brimmer (USA) and her own Argentinia, a 2002 Hanoverian mare (Acorado I x Frappant) claimed third with a score of 65.539%.

The 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Don Romantic) is a new mount for Hart and he is new to the world of Para-Dressage too. After only being partnered for a month seemed to be no hindrance for the pair’s performance, as they rode to a comfortable lead in the Team Test – as did Team USA. Hart explained that the duo was a perfect match even from the first ride thanks in part to the gelding’s easy-going, friendly disposition.

“He is just awesome. He’s the happiest soul I’ve ever met. He’s a total lap dog with just kind of an in-your-pocket personality, and a joy to be around. He’s quite green when it comes to showing and he just took all of this in stride,” she said of the exciting atmosphere at TIEC. “I didn’t quite know what his reaction to all this would be, and he was like, ‘It’s cool, it’s 30 degrees and wind is blowing – we’re fine!’ He was so great today.”

Their quick transition into competition did not show in their test, and Hart explained that it’s hard to believe her young mount is still adjusting to Para-Dressage. She commented, “There’s always that learning curve with a new Para-Dressage horse. Even from the very first ride that I sat on him, I was able to get on and he said ‘Yep, this is fine, I can do that for you. Your legs don’t work? No problem. I’m not 100 percent sure what you mean, but I’ll try for you,'” she said of the gelding’s initial response to her. “That first ride is really what drew me to him since we weren’t really looking for a second horse, but he just fell in our laps. He did all that I asked – I usually do start and stop [on a first ride]. He did all the laterals right from the beginning and he was like, ‘Yep, I’ve got you.'”

Both of Hart’s current mounts are new and both are possible contenders for WEG, depending on the selectors’ decision, said Hart. “I’ve only had El Corona Texel for six months now and Moolah we’ve had for one month. My main goal with them is they have the same job, just different sandboxes, and wherever we go they come out and work on consistency and fluidity of the tests, and just gaining exposure for them in a lot of different situations. If we’re so blessed as to look like we’re having both make the team, we would have them [the selectors] pick who they think would be most beneficial. It would really come down to the selectors in that case.”

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) once again took top honors in Grade I, executing a strong test aboard Dolton, a 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Londonderry) owned by Kate Shoemaker, to earn a 74.345%. Grade II also saw a return champion in Sharon Buffitt aboard her own Elektra II, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Radjah Z x Rastar), this time receiving a score of 65.758%. In Grade IV, Angela Peavy (USA) rose to the occasion and rode to a 71.875% aboard Rebecca Reno’s Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare (Royal Doruto x Don Larino), while Katie Jackson (USA) and her own Diesel, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II), once again dominated Grade V competition, earning a score of 68.760%.

In the Team competition, the USA took the title with winning members Katie Jackson, Rebecca Hart, Kate Shoemaker, and Roxanne Trunnell, placing ahead of Team Canada in second.

FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle Awards Blue Ribbon to USA’s Karen Lipp

After coming off of a successful winter circuit consisting of several top ten CDI placings, Karen Lipp (USA) rode Kathleen Oldford’s Whitney to the win in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Adequan® during Saturday’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Dressage Test Event. Second place was clinched by Geena S. Martin aboard Caroline Roffman’s Bon Chance, a 2005 Hanoverian gelding (Belissimo M x Weltmeyer), scoring a 66.675%, while Abraham Pugh guided Elfenperfekt, a 2006 Trakehner stallion (Peron x Zauberklang) owned by Alice Drayer, received a score of 66.615% and third place.

The partnership between Lipp and the 2005 Hanoverian mare (Whitestar x Grand Cru) has been blossoming for some time, but the pair did not contest the international ring until last fall. “We actually purchased her as a four-year-old and I competed her up through the Young Horse Program, which she did quite well in as a four, five and six-year-old,” said Lipp. “For a period her owner was going to ride her, then decided it wasn’t the right match for her, and instead of selling her she said, ‘you do well together, so go on together.’ So now I’m back riding her, and I showed her in a few CDIs, and then unfortunately when I got home she got injured, so she had a period of time off, but thank God she’s back.”

“I would like to thank Kathleen Oldford, the owner of the horse, for giving me the opportunity to ride her. It’s been a really great journey for many years and I feel really lucky and fortunate to have somebody who owns a nice horse and lets me ride it. It’s kind of a rarity.”

The Atlanta, GA, resident was grateful for the short trip up to Tryon, and credits the venue for its hospitality and welcoming feel for competitors. She elaborated, “It’s the nicest venue. I told some of my friends when I first came up here that it is like Disney World for horses and it’s really amazing. It’s amazing and we’re so fortunate to have it. What I love about it too, is that you can come and keep your horses and stay, and never get in your car and never go anywhere. There are great restaurants and it’s just really great. I love that the local community that come hang out and watch – that’s kind of exciting, too.”

After capturing fifth place in the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix presented by Adequan® on Friday, Lipp and Whitney’s efforts for the Freestyle were rewarded with a 69.765% from the judging panel and after climbing the ladder to first, Lipp is using the win as a motivator for the future. “I’m just going to keep on working at it and getting better,” she explained. “She’s a hot, fiery horse, so the big thing is getting relaxation. Yesterday I had it a little bit better and today was a little bit harder, but it’s an electric place. She tries really, hard, but she’s just a little bit of a nervous horse, so it’s keeping that balance with her.”

“I think what she’s really good at is the power stuff,” continued Lipp, who rode to an upbeat musical freestyle designed by Canadian Karen Robinson. “The extensions, the passage – I think when I come in she gets a little bit taken back, so at the beginning I felt a little stuck, but as the test went on it got better and better. She has really good changes and I made a mistake tonight that was me. Overall, I think she likes the music and likes the atmosphere, so in that way it’s fun.”

FEI CAI 2* Driving Competition Tests New White Oak Course for Marathon Phase

Twenty-three entries across five divisions were the inaugural challengers of the Richard Nicoll (USA)-designed track at the White Oak course during the day’s Marathon phase, with four in-hand competition pitting nine entries against the clock through the brand new obstacles.

Chester Weber (USA) guided his team of Amadeus, Asjemenou, Reno, and Ultra to the finish with a score of 109.08, landing in the first-place position heading into the Cones phase on a total of 150.20 penalties. Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) and team of Bravour 54, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso 85 hold the second place position after their quick Marathon run, scoring 122.06 to finish with a 162.05 before Cones, while James Fairclough (USA) sits just behind in third after finishing fast and clean on a score of 109.87 for a total of 163.26, guiding Bento V, Citens, Dapper and Zenden.

“I was really pleased with the course today,” Weber said of the newly constructed layout. “I think Richard Nicoll and the entire team at Tryon here have done a fantastic job. To drive on a track that was formerly a golf course is about like it sounds – it was fantastic. The ground was really nice and consistent and I think the course designer asked quite a few questions. It looks like of the seven obstacles today, we’ll see four or five of them at WEG, and those ones are really the caliber of obstacle necessary and fitting for WEG. I think they used some portable obstacles as they work toward September to fill in some gaps, and I think that was appropriate for today.”

Two of his four horses were just on the national championship team at Live Oak International a month ago, Weber said, so he knew they would go together very well, but this particular combination had never run Marathon together. He added in Reno for Gouveneur, his Dressage right lead, and explained the strategy behind this change:

“The right side I knew really well and then the left wheel horse, I’ve done quite a few shows with and I was really pleased with him today. He’s sort of been in my B group, but he’s looking like he’s trying to come back to Tryon in September. The left lead horse is a really wonderful horse, Ultra, that has lots of experience at championships and things like that. He was an absolute pro out there today. I put in a really nice horse, Reno, who’s sort of my Cross-Country leader that I plan to drive here in September because I wanted to see what he’s like on this track and learn a little bit about him. I took out a seven-year-old horse named Gouveneur that we’re producing kind of behind this group for a career hopefully after Tryon, but to be honest he was steady as a rock and we may even use him tomorrow in the Cones to give him a little more experience.”

Weber reflected on how he’s planning to attack the Cones phase. “I guess my plan always is to drive double clear – clear without any faults and also without any time faults – so that’s kind of my plan. I’ve seen the course a little bit from the side looking on, which is sometimes a little bit deceiving, but Richard Nicoll usually builds a course that has an element of flow, which works well with my style of driving. I like sort of one high tempo instead of a lot of speed changes and things like that. Some drivers really go forward and come back, forward and come back, but I like to maintain one even flowing speed throughout the whole course.”

It’s his first time in Tryon and his first peek at what the WEG will hold, and Weber had glowing reviews to share about the venue. “Without a doubt, the facility is bar none one of the nicest facilities I’ve been to in the world,” he began. “There’s certainly a lot of construction going on. The civil engineer and the building team here are going full speed, it seems like 24 hours a day, and I’m really impressed. But what’s completed already is really nice and super high quality, so I’m really looking forward to September and I feel like a prideful American.”

As for Weber’s plans looking at the next few months before the arrival of WEG in September, he commented on the next stop on their competition tour. “Our next event is at Royal Windsor – that’s the first weekend in May, at Windsor Castle, just outside of London, and after that we’ll likely be in Saumur, then Aachen, and then Beekbergen, and then after Beekbergen the horses will come home to Florida and acclimate a little bit to the heat and humidity, which we could have here in Tryon. We’ll do some acclimation, make sure we’re all polished up, and then we’ll come up here and hopefully we get something done!”

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

Dressage, Para-Dressage and Driving Test Events Boast Positive Response on First Day

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet. Photo Credit ©Sue Stickle Photography & ©TIEC.

TRYON, NC, USA – April 20, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Events for Dressage, Driving, and Para-Dressage disciplines began at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), and commenced with a victory for Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) aboard Diane Perry’s 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro), Goerklintgaards Dublet, who bested the FEI CDI 3* competition presented by Adequan®. Perry-Glass and “Dublet” earned a score of 73.935% from the judging panel, as they head into Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* in top form. Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Elizabeth Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hot Line x Don Schufro), captured second place with a score of 71.957%, while third place honors were awarded to Belinda Trussell (CAN) and her own 2003 Westfalen gelding, Tattoo 15 (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), receiving a 70.043%.

Perry-Glass is a first-time competitor at the venue, which will host FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 competition from September 11-23, 2018, and said she was thrilled when she first drove on property. “It’s amazing. I think this place is world-class and will be especially when it’s all done for the FEI World Equestrian Games™. I love it here. They’ve done a great job with all the stabling, the arena, and the atmosphere, so I’m excited for them to have the WEG here.”

Although the Tryon Stadium will host Para-Dressage CPEDI and the Dressage phase of the Eventing CCI come September and not Dressage competition, Perry-Glass complimented the overall venue atmosphere. “To ride in that arena [Tryon Stadium] is very inviting, and especially when it’s going to be full. It’s going to be really nice.” Dressage will be hosted in the main stadium at the venue, which will seat 20,000 spectators and will be assembled this summer, positioned adjacently to the existing Tryon Stadium.

In their second outing after an eight-month break from competition, Perry-Glass was pleased with her 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal mount. She elaborated, “He already feels better than he has ever felt. It’s just really fine-tuning the small things and getting his nerves out of the arena and focusing on me a little bit more, and the connection. Other than that he’s just a spectacular horse, so I feel very lucky to be on him. We’re hopefully shooting for a spot on the European selection squad, and then we’ll go from there and see what shows we can do in Europe.”

When reflecting on her test, Perry-Glass joked that “everything’s positive because he’s amazing,” but that some elements of their ride in particular pleased her. She commented, “His pirouettes have gotten really solid. I love those and they’re fun to ride. His changes are always really nice to ride. His piaffe passage is also great, and it’s really correct and good.”

“What I would like to nitpick on myself is just being able to ride each corner and focus on each corner. It’s so meticulous, but it’s so important, and that’s where his points are going to start coming up because he can do every movement. He’s trained and knows what he’s doing. It’s just preparing him for it and I think that’s where I have to get on myself for that.”

With experience representing the United States internationally, Perry-Glass emphasized the importance of hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games™ on home turf.

“It’s always a benefit to be on your home turf. I did the FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha, NE, and just having that support from your own country and the majority of the crowd being American is important, especially for our really amazing squad that we have coming up. I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular.”

Para-Dressage Athletes Dominate on Day One of FEI CPEDI 3* Competition

The Para-Dressage Test Event showcased athletes from Canada and the United States in the main Tryon Stadium for the first time this season to familiarize with the ring that many will be competing in this September at the WEG. Victory in the Grade I Individual Test went to Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Kate Shoemaker’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding Dolton (Danone I x Londonderry), receiving a score of 73.155%. The Grade II Individual Test was championed by Sharon Buffitt (CAN) aboard her own Elektra II, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Radjah Z x Rastar), after riding to a score of 66.716%. Rebecca Hart (USA) rode Rowan O’Riley’s 2010 Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Don Romantic), Fortune, to the blue in the Grade III Individual Test, receiving a 70.147%.

Grade IV saw Kate Shoemaker (USA) secure first place in the Individual Test on her own 2009 Hanoverian stallion Solitaer, riding to a score of 71.341%.

“I really liked how consistent he was throughout the test,” commented Shoemaker. “It was an error-free test – there was never a moment that I thought, ‘Oh gosh, that wasn’t okay,’ so it’s really good to have that kind of consistency throughout the test. He stayed with me the whole time and it produced a really good result in the end.”

Shoemaker is looking to earn her spot on the U.S. Para-Dressage Team with the stallion (Sandro Hit x De Niro), and said, “I think everybody’s goal right now is to try and make the team, so we’re just going to keep pushing towards that and hope that we continue to have a good show this weekend and show the selectors that we’ve earned our spot to be there.”

“Having the home field advantage is huge for us – the fact that we get to get our horses in the venue and they get to see this, I think is a significant advantage, so we’re just really excited to be here,” she concluded.

Grade V competitor Katie Jackson (USA) has only been with current mount Diesel, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Welt Hit II), for eight weeks, but has her eyes set on WEG as well. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” she explained. “We’ve been together with the focus of coming here for the Test Event for only a month and I’ve been riding him for about eight weeks, but Diesel is just a really incredible horse. I think the perfect analogy is from my coach, who said, ‘He fits you like a glove,’ and he really does. From the first day I rode him I asked, ‘Are you sure you’re not hiding another amputee somewhere?’ He understood my aids from the very beginning. He didn’t get nervous, he just said, ‘Okay, let’s do this.’ He’s such a hard worker and what a good boy.”

Jackson is a Clear Cell Sarcoma survivor and has been competing in the Para-Dressage discipline since 2015. Now ranked as number three on the FEI World Individual Grade V Rankings List, the Texas native has been focused on getting her new partner ready for competition.

“Until now, the focus really was getting him here and getting to bring him to his first CPEDI, so a big accomplishment for him today – but from here we’re going to go to Catherine Haddad Staller’s barn in New Jersey to continue training and potentially go to the CPEDI in Ottawa. Of course the goals for all of us right now are WEG and getting back in this arena in September.”

Jackson, who has competed at TIEC before, spoke highly of the facility, stating, “I love this venue. I think I said this last time when I was here, but it has that international feel. It is a really incredible atmosphere with excitement, but not distraction, and I really think that was it. He came in and schooled really well and was able to focus. It’s a really horse-friendly, rider-friendly venue, from the stabling to the warm-up and the arena.”

“There is a huge value to be here,” she explained. “That was one of the reasons we wanted to be able to come this week because the more times down the centerline in an international environment the better, and to be here especially – it gives the horses just a little bit more confidence in what’s going on when they come in September. It’s neat to be able to do this.”

Expressing an exorbitant amount of gratitude for her team and those who have helped make her journey possible, Jackson concluded, “I want to thank Diesel’s previous owner, Rowan O’Riley, for this opportunity and what she’s done for all of us as Para-Equestrians and for the sport as a supporter and for her generosity in making this ownership of Diesel possible. It’s just incredible, and to Catherine Haddad-Staller, my new coach – just for embracing Para-Dressage, stepping in and taking the reins. It’s been a blast. I’m grateful to both of them and to the team that’s formed around me.”

Wrigley-Miller Claims Leader Position in CAI 2* Driving Competition

Following the conclusion of the Dressage phase of FEI CAI 2* competition as part of the venue’s inaugural Driving event, Misdee Wrigley-Miller (USA) holds the lead heading into the Marathon on a score of 39.99. Chester Weber (USA) sits in second with 41.12 points, and third place is controlled by Allison Stroud (USA) after receiving a score of 49.97.

Wrigley-Miller considers herself a newcomer to the sport despite having competed at WEG in 2014, as she more recently added Driving to her lifelong experience in traditional saddle seat competition. She trains with Boyd Exell (AUS), the highest-ranked driver in the FEI World Cup™ Driving Standings, at his home base in Holland throughout the year and has gained valuable experience since 2014.

Coming to TIEC following a strong finish at the Live Oak International CAI 2*, she reflected on adjustments made to her team, composed of horses Bravour 54, Beau, Bolino D, and Calipso 85: “I’ve been playing with my leaders a little bit – I changed one of my leaders and that worked out really well for me. The horse that I drove in the lead at Live Oak wasn’t a confirmed leader and it just showed. With his inexperience, he didn’t really understand his job. I swapped him out with a horse that knew his job and he saved me a few times today,” she explained.

For the first Driving competition ever held at the venue, Wrigley-Miller said she was very impressed with the facility and looks forward to testing the Marathon track. “It’s looking like it’s going to be amazing. Number one, the barn facilities are the best I’ve ever seen at a show facility – the safety of the barns – it’s all top, top class,” she commented. “There’s no question that the venue is just absolutely gorgeous. We were going along by the creek today and it’s going to be very soothing tomorrow to hear the creek – it’ll be like a zen fountain!”

Wrigley-Miller has a busy schedule ahead of her this summer, as she plans to balance both her passion for Driving, as well as her love for competing Saddlebreds. She explained, “I’m headed to Europe from here and the horses will travel over to our base in Holland with Boyd Exell in his yard, and we’ll do Windsor to start. We’re not sure what’s after that because I’m the crazy woman that does two disciplines and my Saddlebred trainer has actually requested that I come back to the United States and do some Saddlebred shows. I’m just going to have to take a deep breath, but it might work out really well. I’ll come back to the States for a couple of weeks and do some shows and then we’ll ship everyone over here and wait for the decision of the selectors.”

Wrigley-Miller credits the expert advice of her mentor, Exell, for her increasing confidence in her abilities as a driver. She explained, “He has made me such a better horse person, overall, because he is a brilliant horseman. There is a reason he gets the results he gets. It’s because he studies horses. He knows horses. He’s the most horse-friendly trainer I’ve ever seen in my life and you never say ‘it was the horse’s fault’ – it’s never the horse’s fault. You gave the horse bad information. That’s the kind of horseman he is. His technical knowledge is so amazing that it’s no wonder he’s developed a great system on carriages.”

“He’s an engineer by training, so he’s just made such a difference. When I first started training with him I told him it was like learning how to drink water from the fire hose. Every day, even five minutes before I went in the arena today, he gave me another tool for my toolbox,” she concluded.

For more information, visit www.Tryon2018.com and www.fei.org/tryon-2018.

US Para-Dressage Displays Readiness in Wellington CPEDI3* for World Equestrian Games

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2018 – U.S. Para-Dressage had one of their most successful showcases at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). After earning the Team Gold at the AGDF Week 0 CPEDI3* (Jan 4-7), U.S. riders returned to AGDF Week 2 CPEDI3* (January 18-21) for their second win. Twenty-five horse and rider combinations from the USA and Canada competed over the second week of Para-Dressage competition including riders from Grade I-V. Riders brought forward their best tests in front of the FEI Ground Jury including Elke Ebert (GER) Kristi Wysocki (USA), and Carlos Lopes (POR). Para-Equestrians performed under unseasonable Florida weather in The Stadium attaining high scores over the three days. Team USA included Sydney Collier and Western Rose, Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer, Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate, and Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40. The USA Team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt with US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline. Securing the high score overall individual award was Rebecca Hart with her new mount El Corona Texel. Obtaining the reserve championship individual was Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate. The AGDF 2018 shows were a chance for athletes to earn their FEI certificates of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. USPEA wants to thank all of the sponsors including Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill. They would also like to acknowledge the staff and volunteers at the AGDF and US Equestrian for their hard work to create two spectacular CPEDI3*.

Hope Hand, President of the USPEA, added, “The above US Para-Dressage Team photo speaks ‘Success’ at all levels. With the support from US Equestrian and USPEA, our Team, which includes everyone involved, no matter how small a part you may have played, was a key contributor to the growth and success of the US Para-Dressage Program. Thank you all for making us proud to be a member of your Team. Keep sharing the ‘Joy’ with your wonderful horses, two hearts are unbeatable.”

Following the successful AGDF riders will prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Test events and CPEDI3* scheduled April 19-22, 2018, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina (USA). Athletes will then head to the Invitational Training Event and Mock Competition, June 28 – July 8, 2018, at Wheatland Farm in Purcellville, VA. This will prepare the U.S. Team for the final endeavor of 2018 the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon September 11-23, 2018.

About selection for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018:

Horse and rider combinations have through August 13, 2018, to secure their FEI Certificates of Capabilities and earn an FEI nominated entry.

FEI Nominated Entries will be named after the Invitational Training Event and Mock Competition but no later than August 13, 2018, and based upon the procedures set forth herein, the Selectors, in consultation with the U.S. High Performance Consultant, Chef d’Equipe and Team Veterinarian, and USEF High Performance Human Sports Science and Medicine personnel will recommend a WEG Team of at least four (4) athlete/horse combinations and up to the maximum number of horses and athletes able to be nominated under FEI Rules for the Event for the “Short List/FEI Nominated Entry” subject to recommendation of the USEF Para-Equestrian Sport Committee, and the approval of the Board of Directors or an Ad Hoc Selection Group approved by the Board of Directors. Such list will be submitted to the FEI as the Nominated Entry no later than the closing date for the Short List/FEI Nominated Entry. The Short List/FEI Nominated Entry of at least four athlete/horse combinations will be named as follows in accordance with FEI Rules for Para-Equestrian Dressage Events. Each team consists of four Athletes and four (4) Horses, or three (3) Athletes and three (3) Horses. One (1) team member must be classified Grade I, II or III. A Team may not include more than two (2) Athletes from any one (1) Grade. In a team composed of four (4) Athletes the three (3) best total scores only count for the team result.

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/.

Team USA Riders Dominate at Second AGDF Para-Equestrian CPEDI3*

Rebecca Hart with El Corona Texel. Photo credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 21, 2018 – The second and final para-equestrian dressage show (CPEDI3*) of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) concluded at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida with the USA’s riders winning every grade.

In the day’s most heavily subscribed class, the Grade I freestyle — the riders with the most severe impairments — Margaret ‘Gigi’ McIntosh improved on her second places over the previous two days to win the class with 75.287%. The judge at M, Portugal’s Carlos Lopes, awarded McIntosh and her own Heros, a 14-year-old Danish warmblood by Blue Hors Hertug, over 79%.

He said: “The degree of difficulty was high, the horse was steady and responding to her aids with good activity and showing good medium walk, which has improved over this week. The music was also very good for her and it all fitted together. It was all fluent and I gave 8.5 for the music and choreography.”

The mare was sourced by USEF Head of Para-Equestrian Coach Development and High Performance Michel Assouline’s wife Mette, and McIntosh also credits her trainer Missy Ransehousen for the giant strides taken with the horse.

“She loves the music; I think somewhere in a past life, she was an old disco diva,” said McIntosh, who suffered a broken neck in a fall in 1999, a year after riding round the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day CCI****, which left her partially paralyzed. “I am so lucky I have been able to get a lot of my function back, and to be able to continue with my riding has been priceless.”

Michel Assouline was delighted with the American riders’ progress between the boards.

“I’m on a mission to help them and I think the biggest difference we saw this week was team cohesion,” said Assouline, who is based in the UK but spends 10 days a month in the U.S. “We’ve had a strong improvement of scores from the first CPEDI, too. The scores are confirming and although we don’t yet have the depth of some of the European countries, we now have four of five combinations who are starting to be consistently in the mid-70s.”

One of those, three-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart, dominated the Grade III classes with a new horse, relegating the multi-awarded Canadian rider Lauren Barwick into second place in all three tests. Hart rode El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Riley’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding, who was formerly a Belgian young horse champion, to 74.444% in the freestyle.

The combination, who are new to each other, are unbeaten in all six of their Adequan® Global Dressage Festival starts of 2018 and were riding through their music program for only the second time.

“It was an excellent show,” beamed Hart, who was born with a rare genetic disease. “We’ve only had him for about five months, but we brought him home and he’s transitioning into his para life really nicely. He’s got a lot of passion in the ring so we’re building the trust with each other. This weekend has given us a lot of confidence for the future.”

The day’s highest score was posted in the Grade IV freestyle, with Angela ‘Annie’ Peavy logging 75.333% on Royal Dark Chocolate, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare by Royal Doruto, owned by Rebecca Reno.

“She’s been a great girl at this show,” said Peavy, who is partially paralyzed on one side due to a stroke before birth. “I’ve had ‘Coco’ for a year and at each show she feels more and more trustworthy.”

The locally-based rider trains with Heather Blitz and, like all the high-scoring winners from this show, has her sights set on the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon in September.

Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) and Captain Moonlight TG, Sara Schmitt’s 11-year-old Welsh pony, posted 67.167% to top the uncontested Grade II, while Mary Jordan (USA) led the Grade V freestyle on and Rubicon 75, a 13-year-old chestnut gelding by Royal Hit who is in Wellington for the AGDF for the third year running.

Earlier in the week, teams from the United States and Canada competed in two tests — the FEI Team Test on Friday and the FEI Individual Test on Saturday — with each counting 50% toward the overall team score. The U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team, presented by Deloitte, won with a total team score of 414.754, over Canada who scored 406.638.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Deloitte US Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Earns Gold at the AGDF CPEDI3*

Margaret McIntosh and Heros. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Margaret McIntosh and Heros Top International Para-Dressage Competition Followed by Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate

Wellington, FL – January 8, 2018 – United States Para-Dressage riders ended a fantastic weekend earning an unprecedented number of scores over 70. Top Grade I rider and 2016 Paralympian from Reading, Penn., Margaret McIntosh, rode Heros to the overall highest individual score. Equestrians from the USA and Canada competed at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI3* Week 0, January 4-7, sponsored by By Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill. It was an exciting three days in Wellington with unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds but the importance of this international show could be seen from the outstanding scores. For Para-Dressage athletes in Grade I-V, the AGDF shows (Week 2 is January 18-21) are two of only three stateside opportunities left to secure their FEI certificates of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. These shows are also a chance to showcase their rides in front of the FEI Ground Jury consisting of Dr Jan-Holger Holtschmit (GER), Kristi Wysocki (USA), and Sarah Leitch (GBR). The Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team earned Gold with USA Teammates Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell, Michele Bandinu, and Katie Jackson. The USA Team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt with US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline.

It was a weekend of record breaking with the largest amount of US Entries in a CPEDI and the greatest amount of riders earning over a 70 or even the high 70s in a CPEDI.

Kai Handt commented, “We had a very large competition and we will do it again in another week. It was a great weekend that began with some inclement weather on the first day of schooling. A lot of people got a little nervous in the beginning but our riders are used to dealing with all types of atmospheres and weather and their scores in the show ring showed that. We had some new team members this week and our system changed where our selection committee picks the team instead of the Chef.

Our team did great and overall and the competition went well. We have some top elite riders that are on the right path to superb tests, our riders scores can be seen improving from the outside resources including the online judging program and the additional Center of Excellence symposiums and Coach Development Programs. I hope we can see some more consistency at the next show and get even more athletes in the mid-70 range.”

Michel Assouline confirmed, “It’s interesting because we have the same two top riders that we had last September in Tryon at the CPEDI3*. I am seeing a great deal of improvement especially with the unprecedented amount of scores in the 70s. The riders had some challenges including the wind and distractions but the high performance riders made it work. Overall the quality of the performances is improving. I can see they are benefitting from the online judging each month helping each rider raise the bar. I have only been in this job for half the year and I already see changes. Gigi (Margaret McIntosh) has moved up by 3% and Annie Peavy has moved up by 2%. We still need more depth, more riders, and more quality horses.”

Before working for the US Equestrian Team, Assouline was with the British Team for 12 years. Assouline explained, “I love the U.S. and I love the challenge of having another project. We have good athletes and immense support but we need more horses. The structure is there and a lot of people are willing to help. America has a great culture in Equestrianism and the horses are brilliant here. But it seems that para-equestrian has been a little behind compared to the European sport. So now we need to push everyone that is on board. It’s nice to see US Equestrian, Murray Kessler, and many other individuals and organizations pushing forward and getting the wheels in motion. A para-equestrian athlete isn’t just an athlete with basic athlete requirements for their sport. A para-equestrian is not only competing and getting that opportunity but we are giving them a better life overall.”

Assouline was instrumental in 2017 with his wife Mette and Margaret McIntosh’s Coach Missy Ransehousen finding McIntosh her new horse Heros. The duo dominated the CPEDI at Global posting scores in the high 70s over the weekend solidifying their partnership for the 2018 year.

McIntosh explained, “We’ve been working really hard since Tryon so I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything we have been working on with Missy came together this weekend. It was nice having done so well in the Team Test that we could relax, concentrate, and really ride my horse for the Individual Test. Taking a step back and experimenting with the warm-up, Missy road her a little bit deeper and rounder and changed things up to the next higher level.”

McIntosh added, “When I looked at my scores I was delighted to have Sara Leitch’s judging feedback because Michele speaks very highly of her as a ground jury member. So when I was received the highest score in the individual test that was vindication that we are on the right track. I am thankful to my Coach Missy, my family and to all the US support staff for their hard work this weekend.”

McIntosh was one of the four members of the US Team which included fellow Grade I rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas). Trunnell, a 2014 WEG rider and 2016 Paralympian had a consistent week with NTEC Daytona Beach. “I am very happy with Daytona and our tests went really well,” said Trunnell. “We have been working on Daytona’s stretching to the bit and keeping her walks the same tempo. She was quite precise this weekend overall and I enjoyed being a part of the U.S. Team.”

Trunnell rides with Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt at the North Texas Equestrian Center along with Grade V top rider and U.S. teammate Katie Jackson. Only one year ago, Jackson was looking at her first CPEDI competition in The Stadium, and in October 2017 Jackson took over the ownership of this high performance horse Royal Dancer.

Jackson stated, “It’s wild in some ways because it seems like a long journey in a short amount of time. It’s exciting to be back here. It’s my favorite place to show, Royal is happy here, and the arena is great. There isn’t anywhere else I would want to show. I was really pleased with how Royal performed this weekend. He was with me and listening to me. We have been working really hard this fall and it is rewarding to see it all come together in the ring. I am thankful for Kai for helping me focus on each detail of our test. I am also thankful for the clinics with Michele (Assouline). We have plenty to improve on but I am happy with how far we have come. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to own a horse like Royal and we are getting to know each other better and better. He tries his heart out and he just wants to please. There is so much more in him that I haven’t even tapped. I get these glimpses of what the possibilities could be and it’s riveting.”

Michele Bandinu (Santa Barbara, Calif.) rounded out the team of four for the U.S. Bandinu, a grade IV rider, drove his two horses Soulman 13 and Skagen from California for the CPEDI3* shows. “It was an honor being a part of the U.S. Team. There is definitely a lot of support with Michele (Assouline) and Kai (Handt). I am also thankful to my coach Ryan Torkelli and trainer Albrecht Heidemann. As a West Coast Para-Dressage rider I wish there were a few more opportunities on the West Coast since the logistics and mileage can be hard on the horses.”

Also from the West Coast was Alanna Flax-Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.) who flew out to the East Coast to work with Sara Schmitt Dressage LLC. Flax-Clark secured the Grade II win with Captain Moonlight TG. This was her first CPEDI3* and first time in Wellington, FL.

“It was a great show,” stated Flax-Clark. “I have only been riding him a few weeks but he is fantastic. He had to learn a lot for our partnership to work and he learned quickly. He’s a smaller horse with big gates and as soon as he enters the show ring he knows to turn it on. I enjoyed the ride this weekend and I am thankful for all of the support from California, New Jersey, and here in Florida.

In Grade III Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Penn.) finished the weekend with a 74.167 in the Freestyle competition and obtained the Grade III championship. As a Three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014), Hart is comfortable with the electric atmosphere of The Stadium at AGDF. So when Hart and her new mount El Corona Texel paraded down centerline Hart showcased her horse’s power and finesse.

“He’s kind of a unicorn,” smiled Hart. “I am so blessed and I can’t thank Rowan O’Riley enough for helping me with him and backing me. It’s been a true pleasure to experience a horse of such quality and character. Without Rowan it would not have been possible. It has been an amazing four months and I am really looking forward to the future.”

Hart continued, “This weekend has been an incredible event. I have missed getting in the CDI ring and it’s been a lot of fun to go down centerline again with a new horse and new programs. Tex is an extremely talented young horse. He continued to listen, focus, and do his job even when it was windy and cold, which shows his talent as a high performance horse.”

Hart concluded, “I personally want to thank Melissa MacLaren Felix, Sara Mullins, Rowan O’Riley, and my groom Alexandra Philpin for helping us in and out of the dressage ring. I also want to thank all of the managers, sponsors and volunteers, that make Global a first-class event.”

In Grade IV Annie Peavy, 2014 WEG athlete and 2016 Paralympian, performed outstanding with Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy (Avon, Connecticut) and Royal Dark Chocolate overtook Grade IV with scores in the middle 70s. Together they were the reserve champion high point rider.

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/.

Victory for Jessica Jo Tate and Cayman V at Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W

Jessica Jo Tate and Cayman V. Photo Credit ©RichardMalmgren.

Mill Spring, NC – September 17, 2017 – Competition concluded at the Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), with a win for Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Cayman V in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Adequan®. The pair bested competition in the George Morris Arena, earning a score of 65.294%.

Tate and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Comeback II x Damgaard’s Brunetee x Lobster), owned by Joseph Tate, ended their week of competition on a high note, finishing ahead of Alexandra Duncan (CAN) and her own Vitall, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ferro x Jarelle x Aram), who earned a 60.608% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Adequan®.

“This was my first CDI with Cayman V,” said Tate. “I am just starting out with him in this kind of electric environment. On Friday I just didn’t have him quick enough and didn’t have him connected enough. The connection wasn’t as good as it can be, so, I went home and watched the video. Today I felt like we definitely improved that. He just tried his heart out for me today, so I was really thrilled.”

Tate, of Landrum, SC, purchased the horse with the idea of getting back into the Grand Prix CDI competition arena.

She continued, “It’s exciting that things are moving in the right direction with Cayman because he is still a beginner out here. We love coming to Tryon because it’s so close. It’s a great place to gain experience with an international feel. The facility is beautiful and well thought out, and footing is world-class. It’s one of the best horse show facilities I’ve ever been to.”

Tate also collected a victory in the FEI Intermediaire I presented by Adequan® piloting Summersby, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall x St. Pr. Hauptsutbuch Roxanne x Rosenthau), owned by Joseph Tate, on a score of 69.548%. Second place position went to Emily Miles (USA) and Sir Sherlock, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Shari), owned by Leslie Waterman, with a score of 64.333%.

Of Summersby, Tate commented, “Summer was tired today, but I’ve just been incredibly proud of her this weekend. She’s ten this year, and she can be pretty firey and emotional. She just showed up this week and had her game face on. I was thrilled with her consistency and her quality, as well as her complete focus on me.”

Tate will head to Dressage at Devon in two weeks to compete, and then will begin to make preparations for the winter circuit at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

Riders made their way down centerline for their FEI Para-Freestyles, the final classes of the week in the FEI CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan®, running in conjunction with the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

The Grade V Para-Freestyle was won by Mary Jordan (USA) on her own Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe), with a score of 70.458%. Second place was captured by Katie Jackson (USA) aboard Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, on a 70.167%.

Top honors in the Grade IV Para-Freestyle were earned by Angela Peavy (USA) piloting Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenberg mare, owned by Rebecca Reno, with a score of 76.458%. Second place went to Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quarterman x Medea II x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, on a score of 72.708%. The third-place position was earned by Michele Bandinu (USA) and his own Soulman 13, a 2009 Oldenburg gelding (Swarvoski x Lovestory vii) finishing with a score of 67.042%.

The Grade III Para-Freestyle saw a win for Riley Garrett (USA) and Piston, a 2003 Canadian Warmblood owned by Garrett, on a score of 69.778%. Second place was collected by Meghan Benge (USA) and Zoey, a 2007 Welsh mare (The Key x Kurbaums Future), on a 65.667%.

The Grade II Para-Freestyle was won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) aboard Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349), with a score of 71.389%. Sharon Buffitt (CAN) and Elektra II, a 2005 Canadian Warmblood gelding (Radjah z x Nikita x Rastar) owned by Buffitt, with a score of 67.556%. Third place was captured by Jason Surnoski (CAN) aboard Bella de la Noche, receiving a score of 61.500% to finish off a strong weekend of competition.

First place in the Grade I Para-Freestyle was awarded to Margaret McIntosh (USA), aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light), scoring 71.833%. Coming in second to McIntosh was Jody Schloss (CAN) and Lieutenant Lobin, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (Lobster x Farine) with a score of 71.278%. Third place was captured by Winona Hartvikson (CAN), and Ultimo, a 2007 PRE gelding (Invasor iii x Gala xxi x Teodoro), receiving a score of 70.778%.

Angela Peavy, who represented the United States at the 2017 Paralympic Games, piloted Royal Dark Chocolate to top honors, winning the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

Commenting on her week and her National Champion title, Peavy said, “I’ve been very pleased with Cocoa all weekend, but was exceptionally happy with her today. We’ve been developing our Freestyle at each competition. The music excites her and today she just felt right on with me. She’s used to this amazing arena now, so we can just go and show everyone what we can do.”

Peavy continued, “Every day she gets more comfortable with the venue. It has such an international feel, and I wasn’t nervous, but I was pretty excited to ride it today. You never know how it’s going to go until you have it down pat, and we’ve only had it for a month or so. When that music started, I just felt right on.”

The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Champion title went home with 2016 Paralympian Margaret McIntosh, aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light).

“I didn’t know what to expect here today,” said McIntosh. “I bought Heros in June and rode her for a little while in England. She was imported at the end of July and was in quarantine for three weeks. I really was not sure what to expect, but Heros improved with every test. She’s been a model of exemplary behavior. The freestyle is old. I didn’t have time to make a new one with her. It felt like putting on an old shoe and Heros just fit right into it,” she concluded.

The third-place winner of the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte was Laurietta Oakleaf piloting Niekele Fan Busenitz. “This arena and facility is amazing. We’ve had a solid week of competition and we progressed every day. He was pretty spot on. We have a couple things to work on, but I’m really happy with him,” said Oakleaf.

For a full list of results and to learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Paris and Countess Impress in Their First FEI CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle Competition at TIEC

Molly Paris and Countess.

Mill Spring, NC – September 16, 2017 – Day two of the Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W continued at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), featuring both Small Tour and Large Tour competition in the George H. Morris Arena. Molly Paris (USA) and her own Countess, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare (Don x Compeed x Solos), rose to the occasion in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Adequan®, earning a 68.375% to achieve the victory.

“This is our first CDI-W Grand Prix together and it’s been so amazing!” said an exuberant Paris. “She’s an amazing horse. She’s been great all week. It was a great place to win. We are from Charlotte, so we absolutely love competing in Tryon!”

She continued, “I’ve had Countess for about two years, and we bought her simply because I needed a horse to move up on. We’ve done the U-25 together and Chris Hickey said, ‘You have the horse, now go do the Grand Prix,’ so here we are!”

Paris, currently ranked at number 29 with Countess on the FEI Youth Dressage U25 list, is well known for her unique freestyle music, in which this edition features an alternative tune called ‘Move’ by Saint Raymond.

Moving forward the 21-year-old plans to continue competing in the Under 25 division. Paris concluded, “I eventually want to come back to the Grand Prix, but we want to end up back at the U25 Championships first.”

Second place in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W presented by Adequan® was awarded to Elizabeth Austin and Steeped In Luck, a 2003 Irish Draught stallion (Mount Diamond Flag x Steeple View) owned by Keith Douglas, with 67.350%. Third place went to Debbie Hill (USA) and Zarcita, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood mare (Parcival x Sarita x Ahoy) owned Leslie Waterman, with a score of 66.525%.

Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Summersby, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall x St. Pr. Hauptsutbuch Roxanne) owned by Joseph Tate, bested the competition in the FEI Intermediaire I presented by Adequan® with a 68.526%.

Second place went to Kelly Layne (AUS) and her own Fürst Amante, a 2006 Rhinelander gelding by Fürst Piccolo, on a score of 65.763%. Capturing third place in the FEI Intermediaire I, was Emily Miles (USA) aboard Sir Sherlock, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding owned by Leslie Waterman, earning 64.342%.

Competition at TIEC also welcomed the FEI CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan®, featuring riders from around North America and running in conjunction with the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

Top honors in the Grade V Para-Individual Test were earned by Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, on a score of 66.746%. Second place was awarded to Mary Jordan (USA) on her own Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe) scoring 65.714%.

The Grade IV Para-Individual Test was won by Angela Peavy (USA) aboard her own Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenberg mare, owned by Rebecca Reno, with a 70.122%. Peavy was also third place aboard Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (Londonderry x Waroness x Warkant) owned by Rebecca Reno, with a score of 67.480%.

Commenting on her successful rides thus far, Peavy said, “I’ve been very happy with both horses these past two days. The first day Lancelot Warrior felt so focused. He really listened to me and was so supple. He’s fifteen years old this year, so I thought that the Paralympic Games in Rio would be it for him, but he had some time off and now he’s just come back even better.”

Peavy continued, “With Cocoa, we are still getting to know each other so every experience is a learning opportunity. I can really feel our relationship getting stronger. She goes into the arena and trusts me, and today that really showed. She went from an amazing warm-up and kept that momentum up the whole time, and that’s all I can ask of her.”

This is Peavy’s first time competing at the venue and commented, “I absolutely love it here. I always thought that Global Dressage Festival was amazing, and it is, but this is just incredible. All of the shops, the restaurants, it’s all so good for the horses too because it all has such an international feel.

“The arena is wonderful and the footing is perfect. I want Cocoa to be my next FEI World Equestrian Games™ horse, so this is incredible experience for her,” concluded Peavy.

Katie Shoemaker (USA) captured second place with a 69.350% aboard her own Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sandro Hit x Dynastie x De Niro).

Rebecca Hart (USA) clinched yet another win, this time in the Grade III Para-Individual Test, riding Rowan O’Riley’s El Corona Texel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel), as the pair finished on a 68.275% for their second winning score of the week. Riley Garrett (USA) took second place with Piston, a 2003 Canadian Warmblood owned by Garrett, on a score of 66.716%. Third place was collected by Meghan Benge (USA) and Zoey, a 2007 Welsh mare (The Key x Kurbaums Future), on a 62.108%.

First place in the Grade II Para-Individual Test was Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) aboard Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349), earning a 68.529%. Coming in second to Oakleaf was Sharon Buffitt (CAN) and Elektra II, a 2005 Canadian Warmblood gelding (Radjah z x Nikita x Rastar) owned by Buffitt, with a score of 66.225%. Third place was awarded to Jason Surnoski (CAN) aboard Bella de la Noche, a Warmblood mare, receiving a score of 64.755%.

The Grade I Para-Individual Test was won by Margaret McIntosh (USA), aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light), with a score of 70.476%. Second place went to Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Daytona Beach, a 2002 Westphalian mare (Don Bedo x Weindame) with a score of 70.476%. Third place was captured by Winona Hartvikson (CAN), and Ultimo, a 2007 PRE gelding (Invasor iii x Gala xxi x Teodoro), receiving a score of 69.286%.

To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.