Category Archives: Para-Equestrian

Adequan U.S. Para-Dressage Team Dominates at Paralympic Qualifier in Florida

Roxanne Trunnell, Grade I, and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2020 – Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team rode into the new decade dominating the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*. This first show of the Paralympic calendar year took place January 8-11, in Wellington, Florida, at the beautiful grounds of the Global Dressage Festival. The Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, included David Botana (Portland, Maine), Grade I, and Lord Locksley, a 19-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by Margaret Stevens and Susanne Hamilton; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Grade III, and El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.), Grade IV, and Solitaer 40, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate Shoemaker, Craig Shoemaker, and Deena Shoemaker; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.), Grade I, and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Equestrians rode over three days for both team and individual accolades. Champion of the CPEDI3* was USA rider Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton scoring an average of 81.871. Reserve Champion was Marie Vonderheyden and London Swing. This was the first look of the year with only seven months before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1* was not only the place for each duo to finesse their tests in this Paralympic qualifier but it was also where riders with new horses like Beatrice DeLavalette and Ellie Brimmer were able to get into the international ring in front of top judges.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline was excited for the U.S. riders. He noted, “Our riders have risen above all expectations showing great dedication and competence while maintaining U.S. Para Dressage in top FEI ranking position with a team average of 75.55%, our highest to date. Roxanne Trunnell’s progression seems unstoppable and Karin Flint’s Dolton is moving into FEI world number one position on the current ranking list with record breaking U.S. scores. Also very exciting is the broadening of our athlete base getting high scores in the 70% range. We have a great team of riders, owners and support staff working in strong unity; their endeavor continues.”

President of the USPEA Hope Hand added, “The weather was challenging due to gale force winds that seem to grace us in January every year, but the skies were clear and the temperature was just about perfect. The first show of the season is always exciting to see all the new combinations. It was also fun watching our WEG medalists who draw a crowd with their celebrity status setting the stage for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. We were confident in our team to do well but still on edge since every competition going forward is an important Paralympic qualifier. Over the last year, the Elite riders ramped up their fitness and riding programs to prepare for the January early start. Hard work does pay off big time. Roxanne Trunnell stole the limelight with her personal best scores each day exceeding 80% pushing her to the top of the World Individual Ranking List. She certainly rocked it and raised the bar for the other riders. Canada and Mexico followed the lead and also performed well, earning individual first places. The 2020 race to Tokyo undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the greatest athletic contests of strength and determination.”

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.

Steffen Peters Aces the Grand Prix Special in Week One of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – USA Olympic team medallist Steffen Peters stamped his authority on the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by MTICA Farm, in the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Peters and Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh gelding Suppenkasper pulled off a fault-free performance and were rewarded with 76.149% — including a high score of 78.404% from the Colombian judge at H, Cesar Torrente. This is the horse’s first visit to AGDF and he and Peters will remain in Wellington until the CDI5* show in week seven (February 19-23).

California-based 55-year-old Peters said: “That was really fun. He has endless energy; he’s a dream. If any rider would get on this horse they would say that this is the ultimate feeling.”

Peters attributed his almost 6% improvement from the Grand Prix to an altered warm-up routine for the big-framed but light-footed Spielberg x Krack C 12-year-old: “He’s such a firecracker, like he was in the grand prix. My dream is always to keep the feeling from the warm-up into the ring, and that worked out perfectly today.

“I walked him this morning and then I worked him for half an hour at lunch time, then I put him away and let him completely settle down, then I did another 20 minutes before the test. That’s what I used to do with Legolas and maybe this might be the new recipe for ‘Mopsie’.”

Peters has the World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas in mid-April and the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July in his crosshairs.

“Mopsie is sometimes a bit tricky in the arena, and we still have a huge hurdle to go with the freestyle, as it’s quite a different atmosphere and it’s still a bit about desensitizing, but hopefully with one more good freestyle score, we will head to Vegas,” added Peters, who picked up nines for the extended canter, pirouettes and for his riding.

“Since Tryon, where he got extremely excited, he’s been getting better and better. I’m one of those extremely lucky guys who gets to ride a horse like that and I think there’s an 80% in there; so many times we’ve been close, but I rate him as my big hero, as my best friend. He’s one of those horses that can easily make you shed happy tears.”

Of the 15 starters, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape who was once again the bridesmaid. She rode Harmony Sporthorses’ 11-year-old Zenon stallion Harmony’s Eclectisch to second place with a shade under 70% after mistakes in the one-time changes pulled their score down. The USA’s Anna Marek filled third with the charming bay mare Dee Clair. Diane Morrison’s 12-year-old Sir Sinclair daughter scored 68.851%.

Having finished second in the week’s earlier Prix St Georges CDI1*, Swedish rider Carline Darcourt went one better, riding Bon Coeur 1389 to a 71.882% victory in the competitive Intermediate I CDI1* class.

The sporty black eight-year-old is a well-known breeding stallion in Europe, having already produced more than a dozen licensed sons. He is owned by Lövsta Stuteri who also own his sire, Benetton Dream. This is his first ever international show. The previous day’s winners, Susan Pape (GBR) and Bourani, had to settle for third place, with home rider Katie Johnson riding Paxton finishing second. All three scored over 70%.

Canada’s Ariana Chia once again topped the leaderboard at small tour, winning the Intermediate I CDI3* on Fiderflame with 69.5%. This marks their second win of the week, and Chia will be bidding to make it three out of three when she contests Sunday’s Intermediate I CDI3* freestyle class with the 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz.

In the FEI para classes, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) held her lead in the Grade I after scoring a career-high of 83.167%. Trunnell piloted Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, to the overall champion award.

“It feels really good; we’re training a lot at home and it’s all coming together,” Trunnell commented, adding that it was Dolton’s first time competing under lights, resulting in a touch of tension.

Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) dominated the Grade II para division after receiving her highest score of the week. She earned 73.667% aboard Nicolas De Lavalette’s Duna, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) came a close second with 72% aboard his own Phoenix.

The Grade III para division saw Rebecca Hart top the leaderboard after scoring an impressive 72.644% on Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune 500, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

“It was really a good experience and I had a nice easy start to the season. The next qualifier is in week three, so we’re hoping to up our scores and represent really well,” concluded Hart, who has her eyes set on Tokyo 2020.

Lee Garrod of Canada improved her score again, scoring a 71.833% in the freestyle to win the Grade V para division on Question, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Quaterback.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Grants Awarded to Two Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders

Meghan Benge – photo by Nicole McNally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article courtesy of The Dressage Foundation

Cynthia Screnci’s Journey from Jumpers to USA Para-Dressage

Cynthia Screnci and Erago VF at the 2019 Tryon Fall Dressage CPEDI3*. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – December 11, 2019 – The love for horses has no boundaries. That is what makes the Para-Equestrian discipline so important. It gives riders with physical disabilities (whether they were born with them, occurred over time, or were the result of an injury) a place to compete with the highest goal of becoming a Paralympian and showing at the Paralympics. Cindy Screnci of Wellington, Florida exemplifies an athlete that has not let an injury stop her from achieving international aspirations on the animal she loves.

When Screnci was a child, her mom, a single parent, scraped together $800 to buy her first horse. Screnci and her horse competed in Gymkhana including barrel racing and pole bending. Screnci took a break from riding to do “life” and when her daughter was eight years old, she started riding in the hunter and jumper divisions alongside her daughter. Living in South Florida, Screnci enjoyed competing at a high level with her jumper Kasimir. The pair accumulated top accolades including several year-end awards, a Silver Stirrup Award, finished first in the North American League Jumpers, and many other top honors. In 2015, Screnci sold Kasimir and she was in between horses. Screnci recalled, “I was honestly just playing around in the low adult jumper ring on a friend’s horse for the weekend.  We had won the speed class the day before and went clear again moving us on to the jump-off.  This horse was a small, speedy guy and in the jump-off, we had done a few tidy tight turns so we were ahead by more than four seconds.  The second to the last line was a one stride, then five strides to a decent sized oxer, followed by a quick turn to the last line.  We went over the oxer and my horse spooked at a jump that was not part of the course but was set a bit close to our line. When he jogged left, I went right. I landed on my feet and twisted, breaking my ankle pretty severely. This type of injury would have been a normal 8-12 week recovery; unfortunately I contracted Osteomylitis, a severe bone infection, resulting in 25 surgeries over the next three years and a permanent disability in my left ankle.” Screnci wasn’t sure where her riding was at this point but with a purchase of Sally L from Murray Kessler, her next chapter began. Screnci explained, “Sally had been quite a successful jumper and had a lot of dressage training in her past. My friend Natalie Liebowitz, who sold the mare to me, told me that Robert Dover had wanted Sally for the Para-Dressage program because he loved her so much. With a great horse and my permanent disability, I thought I could be classified as a para-dressage rider, and the rest is history.  I started riding with David Marcus and lessoning on Sally L and absolutely fell in love with para-dressage. Going from the jumper ring to dressage has been great. I have had to change my seat completely and have learned essentially eight years of dressage in what will be a year in December, but I train six days a week and have dedicated myself to becoming a successful Grade V para-dressage athlete.”

Screnci’s success in a short amount of time includes training with Marco Bernal. She stated, “Marco has been the other piece of this crazy puzzle. He is an internationally successful Grand Prix rider who is referred to as an ‘Icon in the dressage world’ by everyone I meet. I am very fortunate and blessed to have Marco and his team on my side.  Every single person in his barn is supportive, excited, and a constant inspiration to me.” Outside the barn, Screnci’s husband Stephen and her children Lia and Bradley are key people in her village of support. Screnci recalled, “When I sat down and told them about my dreams and ambitions regarding para-dressage and competing Internationally with the big goal being Tokyo 2020, they were all in.  Finding Eragon VF (with the help of international para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker), training six days a week, competing on a regular basis, and now with the purchase of a new edition to the family, Ricci, my superstar school master, they have been with me all the way.”

Not only is Screnci putting in the hours in the ring to reaching her goal of the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, but she is putting in the time with watching and researching the top athletes in Grade V. Screnci explained, “In a short amount of time I have learned that para-dressage is every bit as competitive as able bodied dressage.  The level of competition internationally even more so.  In my grade (Grade V) there are para-dressage riders that compete able bodied Grand Prix such as the United Kingdom’s Sophie Wells who has competed and won against such riders as Charlotte Dujardin.  I study all of the International riders regularly so I can be a prepared as possible when we eventually meet.”

With the discipline crossover from the hunter jumpers to para-dressage Screnci has noticed that there is a negative connotation with being seen as a para-dressage rider among equestrians. Screnci said, “Para-dressage is so much more than people in the United States seem to understand.  I am hoping to help change that and open doors for the US Para-Dressage program. I don’t want to see new potential riders shy away from para-dressage, especially in the higher grades of four and five.”

Screnci is enjoying helping to educate while doing the sport she loves. Screnci concluded, “Riding is more than my passion; it saved my life.  I grew up riding and owning horses and they are an intrinsic part of me. I wouldn’t be me without horses in my life the way they are. It’s very hard to explain to people who are not horsemen.  When I broke my leg, many doctors and much of my family not only asked but insisted I give up horses and riding.  Not my husband, or my children, but others in my family and of course friends. Three years of surgeries, external fixators, bone graphs, skin grafts, weeks of IVs, physical therapy and pain – what kept me going was knowing that at some point I would find my way back to these amazing creatures and would feel whole once again.”

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.

Paralympian Sophie Wells and Judge Stephen Clarke to Join ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ at Olympia

Following the announcement of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which takes place at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, Paralympic champion Sophie Wells MBE and renowned dressage judge Stephen Clarke are the latest stars to be unveiled to take part.

Sophie and Stephen will join other celebrated dressage personalities, including Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison as they unwrap the secrets of the discipline of dressage. The brand-new ninety-minute session will take place at 4pm on the opening day of the Show and provide a unique insight into the sport, from training and producing dressage horses to competing on the world stage.

Sophie Wells MBE, a double Paralympic gold medalist as well as multiple World and European champion, will be taking to the saddle to demonstrate various dressage elements, from the basic movements to the more complex components of championship tests. Sophie will be joined in the arena by Stephen Clarke, widely regarded as one of the best international dressage judges on the circuit, as he talks the audience through what he is looking for from horse and rider during a test and the main considerations when scoring each of the movements.

Stephen’s experience in this field is second-to-none, with previous roles including President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympic Games and FEI Dressage Judge General, which involves creating and coordinating discussion among international judges to ensure equality and uniformity across the sport.

This unique insight will complement previously announced components of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which include appearances by Performance Manager to Britain’s Senior Eventing Team, Richard Waygood, and one of Britain’s best loved eventers, Olympic, World, and European medalist Pippa Funnell.

Olympia Show Director, Simon-Brooks Ward, said: “We’re delighted that Sophie and Stephen will be joining the high-profile team set to be part of Dressage Unwrapped. Their experience and talent are world-renowned, and their participation will significantly enhance the programme, providing an unprecedented insight into competitive dressage.”

Dressage Unwrapped is part of the evening performance at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, which also features the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix, as well as numerous international display acts, including The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry and spellbinding horseman Jean-François Pignon.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Wheatland Farm and Marie Vonderheyden Named as Finalists for FEI Awards 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland – The Fédération Équestre International (FEI) has released the list of finalists for the FEI Awards 2019, which includes United States Equestrian Federation/U.S. Para-Equestrian Association Para-Dressage Center of Excellence Wheatland Farm in the FEI Solidarity category and U.S. para-dressage rider Marie Vonderheyden in the FEI Against All Odds category. Public voting to help determine the winners closes Monday, October 7. Category winners will be honored at the FEI Awards Gala on November 19, hosted during the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.

Public voting will count towards 50% of the overall selection for each category. Click here to VOTE NOW.

Wheatland Farm, founded by Mark and Muriel Forrest, is one of only nine USEF/USPEA Para-Dressage Centers of Excellence and is a leading member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), providing therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities and therapeutic programs. As a Center of Excellence, Wheatland Farm is instrumental in providing educational and developmental opportunities for para-dressage athletes and coaches in the United States, offering services which include classification, trainer/coach identification, and sport opportunities, as well as programs in both human and equine sports science and medicine. Wheatland Farm has remained heavily involved with the U.S. Para-Dressage Program and serves as an important touch point between the Developing and High Performance teams and the therapeutic riding community.

“We are honored and humbled to be shortlisted for such a wonderful award. Wheatland Farm’s mission is to provide healing and hope through an excellent, world-class adaptive sport program that is inclusive of all equestrians,” said Muriel Forrest, co-founder of Wheatland Farm. “We are grateful for the support of US Equestrian, who together with the United States Para-Equestrian Association, are providing amazing support for para-equestrian sport, and we are honored to be a Center of Excellence for them in that capacity. We believe that this nomination will help to raise national and global awareness of para-equestrian sport in general and para-dressage, in particular. Thank you to the FEI for considering Wheatland Farm, and we humbly ask our friends in the equestrian community and the general public to lift up para-equestrians by voting for Wheatland Farm.”

Marie Vonderheyden, the only U.S. athlete nominated for this year’s awards, suffered a devastating riding accident in 2015, which led to medical professionals placing her in a medically induced coma for seven weeks. When she awoke, her family was informed that the regulatory part of her brain controlling personality and speech was irreparably damaged and her chances of walking again were slim. She showed tremendous perseverance throughout the recovery process, in which she re-learned how to swallow, the alphabet, colors, emotions, and balance. She reconnected with horses through therapeutic riding rehabilitation and progressed from there, ultimately learning how to ride again without assistance. She competed in her first para-dressage competition in 2019 and has intentions of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Marie’s commitment and determination to return to the saddle is truly inspiring.

“A friend of ours submitted Marie’s story. We’re just amazed and so thrilled. We’re very humbled. We have so much thanks and appreciation for the people supporting and promoting Marie,” said Cecile Vonderheyden, Marie’s mother. “This is going to help us tremendously in our quest for Marie to go further in this sport and to help her accomplish her goal of competing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

About the FEI Awards
Launched in 2009, the FEI Awards have celebrated the champions of the sport both on and off the field, inspiring individuals and organizations from all over the world. The nominated categories presented at the FEI Awards Gala are the Longines FEI Rising Star, Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete, Cavalor FEI Best Groom, FEI Against All Odds, and the FEI Solidarity award.

More about the FEI Awards here: https://www.fei.org/awards/about.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Roxanne Trunnell Tops USEF Para Dressage National Championship with Dolton

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 15, 2019 – Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3* and CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan® concluded Sunday at Tryon International Equestrian Center, wrapping up three days of international and national Dressage competition at the venue that simultaneously hosted the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship. In CDI 3* competition, Karen Lipp (USA) rode to a win in Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* with Whitney, while Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar claimed their second FEI CDI 3* win Sunday with a 70.341% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*. Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton secured the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship title with a final cumulative score of 75.247%, and David Botana was named National Reserve Champion following his efforts riding Lord Locksley to a cumulative score of 74.318%.

“It feels really good [to win a National Championship], Trunnell shared. “I haven’t been with Dolton for very long. [Our] partnership is really forming.” Trunnell also relayed that one of the highlights of her tests with Dolton was “just how consistent he was. Always marching!”

Trunnell scored a 79.333% in the FEI CPEDI 3* Freestyle Grade I, earning the highest score of the weekend with the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Unknown) owned by Flintwood Farm LLC. “Our Freestyle music is from ‘Forrest Gump’ – it’s adorable!”

While Trunnell is hoping to be named to Team USA for the Tokyo Paralympics, she reflected that accuracy is a big focus, and that gaining experience at TIEC is a great environment to prepare for atmosphere and stiff competition going forward. “[Going forward we’ll do] just a lot of training, and working on accuracy with geometry. I think the bigger venue and more competition is more realistic of what we’ll get [in Tokyo], so it helps us mentally.”

Botana shared that his weekend with the 2001 Trakehner stallion (Unkenruf x Lida x Enrico Caruso) owned by Margaret L. Stevens, Lord Locksley, had been an “amazing” culmination of hard work over the summer: “We’ve worked all summer and learned a lot. We practiced the halt, bending, and improving precision, plus overall harmony. I think it all really came together this weekend. I think we were able to pull off some really improved balance in our turns, and stayed constant throughout the weekend with high scores. It’s been amazing; everything kind of came together, from working with my trainer and meeting to go over our test before each ride, and taking the judges’ comments and what I felt during each ride to transition on to the next test. [That 75] was amazing. We had a perfect ride, and it all came together.”

Botana and the big grey stallion have made strides towards harmony and Lord Locksley knows his job well despite a serious career change, Botana explained. “It’s a big transition from being a Grand Prix International stallion to being in Para Dressage Grade I, and he’s taken beautifully to it. It took us a while to get into a groove,” Botana recalled, “but now we’re in a perfect balance. He knows that as soon as I put my foot in the stirrup, we’re going to walk, and that’s it. There can be a million things going on, and he won’t bat an eye. But the second I get off and step a foot away, he’ll be back to his regular big stallion self!”

Katherine Bateson Chandler Wins FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*

Bateson Chandler and the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cantango x Polina x Ferro) owned by Jane Forbes Clark repeated their Friday win in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* with the top score in Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, but Alcazar was “a bit more with me today,” she explained. “I’m a little happier with this ride, because he’s another two days down the road of being in the heat, and sort of it’s been a little tough for him. He came off a lot of atmosphere in Europe, so now he’s a little like, ‘what happened to everybody?’ This has been an amazing show and he felt a bit more with me today.”

The pair has had a busy summer and Alcazar is ready for a break, Bateson Chandler relayed, but spent their last competition before a holiday making the most of their stay. “It’s an amazing venue. This is truly a world-class venue with beautiful stabling, which always really matters to us. We’ve got fans in the stalls, which really helps with the heat.”

Karen Lipp and Whitney Win the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*

Karen Lipp and Whitney travelled down centerline to win the blue rosette in Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* with a score of 61.185%. Lipp shared that she has been working with Whitney, a 2005 Hanoverian mare (White Star x Hauptstutbuch Grace) owned by Kathleen Oldford, since she was four years old and has brought her through all of the young horse programs: “We did the four, five, and six-year-old programs. Her owner rode her a little bit and then decided to sell her, and then she didn’t like that idea, so she said, ‘You keep her and ride her.’ I’ve been showing her in the Grand Prix now for about two and a half years.

“I didn’t really have a quality horse to show in CDI for a year, so it’s been nice to have Whitney go the CDI ring because it was a long break for me out of the ring, and it’s a lot different than riding in normal shows.”

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

USEF Para Dressage National Championship Results in Win for Team USA

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2019 – Day Two of the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship saw a win for Team USA at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort, consisting of Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Sydney Collier combining efforts for a total score of 439.585. In second, Team Canada, including Lauren Barwick, Lee Garrod, Jody Schloss, and Winona Hartvikson, finished on a score of 416.079. David Botana and Lord Locksley currently lead in the Individual competition, with Trunnell just behind heading into the final day of competition.

Hart and “Tex” claimed a win in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade III on a score of 73.775%, but Hart revealed that the weekend was about much more than the current competition for her just a year following her double-medal achievements at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) hosted at the venue last September.

“This arena has so many emotions for me. I’ve had some monumental moments – the epitome of my riding career here. I rolled in to the venue on Monday and all the emotions came back,” she recalled. “And I was having the memory of meeting up with my parents – because my parents don’t get to come to shows that often, and my dad was here – and I was telling myself, ‘don’t get weepy, you just got in the driveway!’

“But revisiting the place where I saw my dad, and where I was waiting in the chute for the final rides when we realized I had gotten the bronze and the first medal ever for US Para Equestrian in a WEG, was just fantastic,” Hart continued. “To have Tex here again with me, and to have him perform so well for me again in this arena… Tryon has such a special place in my heart.”

Hart is now focused on 2020, and admitted, “We’re Dressage riders – we always want more and want to get that extra little tenth of a point that we can get anywhere! Heading into next year we’ve got a lot of little things to work on.”

But it was a significant change in routine that has helped deepen Hart and her mount’s connection, she detailed: “We had actually changed up our routine coming into this event, which was a little intimidating, because changing anything before a big championship can go one of two ways, but it has really worked for us. I now do all the warm-up myself with Tex, which has made for a much more symbiotic relationship with my horse.”

Hart elaborated, “Before, I had my trainer doing the warm-up, because I don’t post, so I liked to give him a bit of a warm-up with an able-bodied rider to get his back moving, but I always felt like there was a bit of translation period from the two rides, and I would basically have to re-warm him up all over again. And then, any issue they had would translate into my ride as well, so me handling him from the start myself makes it my own ride, and it gives us a lot more confidence in the ring.”

Trunnell and Dolton, the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Unknown) owned by Flintwood Farm LLC, claimed second behind Botana in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade I test Saturday, scoring a 73.571%. “It was a wonderful weekend,” Trunnell said after the Team USA win. “We really have been working on solidifying them [our tests]. It feels like they’re really coming together. I love how he just kept marching.  We’re hoping to make it to Tokyo, so that’s what we’ll be working on.”

Collier and All In One grabbed third place in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade I Competition to help earn the win for Team USA, and shared that she was impressed with her mount’s reliability in their first CPEDI competition together: “For this weekend, we wanted to come out, be consistent, and I personally wanted to work on my geometry. With him being as great of a horse as he is, I have to step up to his amount of talent! Being a visually-impaired rider, geometry can be one of the most difficult things to nail, so I’ve really been working at home on perfecting my step counts, because that’s how I do my geometry.”

Collier continued of the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin) owned by Going For Gold LLC, “Being here in the big ring with different lighting and situations, I was very impressed with how ‘Alle’ stepped up his game. He was like, I’ve got your back! Really, we had no idea what to anticipate going into our first CPEDI.”

Working towards Tokyo 2020 and hoping to be named to next year’s team, Collier emphasized that competing at TIEC has been a valuable learning experience for such a new combination. “[Going forward] I just want to work on fine-tuning the little things we’ve observed here. It’s been an amazing learning experience for us, and for only having him since mid-June, I think there is so much room to improve on so many things, which is just – I keep using the word exciting, but I don’t think it really sums up the feeling that I feel about our partnership. We connected so quickly, and I can’t wait for the future with him,” Collier concluded.

Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 presented solo once again in the CPEDI 3* Grade IV Individual competition, scoring a 73.049% and putting in what she felt were “personal bests” for her team this weekend regardless of scores: “I think this was really the best work we’ve gotten in the arena – we’ve been together for five years now, and every show has been a step in the right direction: we get it at home, then we get it in the warm-up, then we get it around the arena, and then we get it in [the arena], so I felt like we had some really amazing moments in the arena this week. So, that’s what I’m really excited about, and regardless of the scores, they were personal bests.”

“I just want to keep adding more cadence, self-carriage and balance into the work, so we can show the expressiveness that he has,” Shoemaker said of the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sandro hit x Dynastie x De niro). “There’s so much in there, and he’s just waiting for me to tap into it.”

The Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Katherine Bateson and Alcazar Kick Off Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3* with a Win

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2019 – Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3*/CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan® and the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) kicked off Friday when Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) piloted Alcazar down centerline to win the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* after capturing a total score of 69.196%. Michael Pineo (USA) and his own 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz x Belalussi x Samba Hit), Farrington, were awarded second place in the class with a score of 63.63%. Third-place honors were then awarded to Julio Cesar Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Aileen Daly’s Rosali, a 2005 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanov x Mosegardens Ratina x Ragazzo), with a score of 63.587%.

Chandler explained that she and the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cantango x Polina x Ferro) owned by Jane Forbes Clark have been working together for seven and a half years now, during which they have had to face many challenges: “It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but he’s a horse that we’ve always believed in and I’m excited for him to start to come into his own.

“We’ve just come off a European tour with a lot of atmosphere, and a lot of big shows. We were on the Aachen Nations Cup Team and he was really super there. He actually is one of those horses that the bigger the environment and the bigger the show the better he gets and sort of rises to the occasion,” Chandler continued, “I’m super happy with him [today]. He was so honest and made no mistakes — I couldn’t be happier with him!”

Chandler, who competed in the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG), but missed coming to Tryon in 2018, is aiming at Tokyo in 2020 and enjoyed a Grand Prix win on her first-ever trip to the venue, she detailed: “Our next goal is Tokyo, so that’s why we’re here. To qualify we have to do four Grands Prix, and I wanted to get one in, so I didn’t have all the pressure of getting them all during Florida, and to get one score under my belt. My goals [for this weekend] are to get in the ring and get experience, and to get my scores as high as I can before going into the Florida season. I’ve never actually been here before; I’m so impressed, and it’s a beautiful facility.” Chandler concluded, “After this show, I’ll go back to Wellington where we’re based, and then in January, the circuit starts!”

USEF Para Dressage National Championship Team Competition Sees Tight Competition between the USA and Canada

After the first half of Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship Team competition, the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team, consisting of Roxanne Trunnell, who currently leads Individual competition, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Sydney Collier headed into Individual Tests on Saturday in Tryon Stadium. Team Canada, consisting of Lauren Barwick, Lee Garrod, Jody Schloss, and Winona Hartvikson, are close behind with a chance to make up the difference in day two of competition.

Rebecca Hart (USA) and El Corona Texel topped Grade III Team Test competition on a score of 71.226%, while Canada claimed second via Lauren Barwick and Engelbrecht, her own 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Regina x Rimini), scoring 70.098%. USA also claimed third, with Meghan Benge and Worth the Trip, the 1998 Welsh Cross gelding by Anjershaf rocky, bringing home a score of 68.137%.

“This is kind of our first technical qualifying event for Tokyo. He felt amazing today,” Hart said of the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel x Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Riley. “We had created a plan leading up to this event on how we wanted everything to go, and so far the plan has worked accordingly and we’ve been able to do everything that we wanted to.”

While she’s “actively campaigning for Tokyo,” Hart explained, for now the plan is to continue their progress this weekend: “I just want to continue with the progress we have made. I hope he has very confident and encouraging rides moving forward so that we can build and bring in the dynamic and expressiveness that I know we can. We’ve got two more events in January in Wellington, and then a final observation event after that.”

Hart is no stranger to the venue, as just a year ago she made history as the first U.S. Para Dressage athlete to claim a medal at WEG, later securing a second medal in the team competition. “I love showing at Tryon,” Hart emphasized. “The arena we are competing in this weekend has special memories for me, as it’s where we received our medals from the Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games last year, so it’s always nice to come here. It’s a great feeling and it has a nice vibe to it.”

CPEDI 3* Grade I Team competition saw the day’s high score as Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton, received a 74.881% to dominate the field. David Botana (USA) and Lord Locksley, the 2001 Trakehner stallion (Unkenruf x Lida x Enrico Caruso) owned by Margaret Stevens, scored a 73.274% to claim second, while Sydney Collier (USA) and All In One, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin) owned by Going For Gold LLC, scored an even 71.000% to achieve third.

“Dolton is a seven-year-old; he’s just a little baby,” said Trunnell. “He felt really good today! I love showing here at Tryon! It is so pretty and I love the mountains. We hope to continue to have great rides and help build his confidence even more this weekend. We’re hoping to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade V results saw Canada top the podium, with Lee Garrod (CAN) taking top honors on a score of 69.225% with Question, the 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Quaterback x Evita) owned by Lee Garrod. Cayla van der Walt (RSA) and Daturo II, her own 2006 Andalusian gelding (Merlito XI x Daturna x Pestillo), scored a 68.217% for second, while Cynthia Screnci (USA) and her own Eragon VF, the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Don romantic x Ujinja), landed in third with a 63.101% score.

In CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade II competition, Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) claimed first on a score of 69.495% with Duna, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Vivaldi x Nicola x Amethist) owned by Nicolas De Lavalette, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) rode Phoenix, a 1999 Westphalian gelding owned by Cynthia Nugent, to a score of 69.192% and second place. Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) and El Paso, her own 2004 Dutch Riding Pony gelding (Elegant x Karin x Carl), earned third with a total score of 67.778%.

CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade IV competition saw Kate Shoemaker (USA) present solo for a score of 73.083%, riding her own Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro hit x Dynastie x De niro).

CPEDI 1* Para Novice Test A Grade IV saw Emma Jameson (USA) make her FEI debut aboard Cortesana La, a 2007 PRE mare owned by Misha Marshall, to score a 50.052%.

The Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Double Double Dutch and Britain’s Wilson Stuns in Championship Debut

Georgia Wilson (GBR) Grade II, Jens-Lasse Dokkan (NOR) Grade I gold, and Tobias Thorning Joergensen (DEN) Grade III. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Great Britain’s Georgia Wilson topped off a stellar introduction to major international competition taking gold in the Freestyle at the Longines FEI Para Dressage European Championships in Rotterdam (NED). The win comes after her silver medal in the Grade II individual test.

Riding Midnight she scored 78.187% to take the win ahead of Austria’s individual champion Pepo Puch and The Netherlands Nicole den Dulk. Puch, riding Sailor’s Blue, scored 77.220% for the silver with den Dulk on Wallace N.O.P. taking bronze with 74.313%.

An emotional and elated Wilson said: “The silver medal hasn’t even come into my head yet I don’t know if I’ll cry at my medal ceremony, but I hope not. I’ve not had the easiest time in riding with different horses but basically you have to keep going and get the right coach.

Denmark’s Tobias Thorning Joergensen added a second gold to his tally by winning the Grade III freestyle. Riding Jolene Hill, the 19-year old scored 79.093%, with The Netherlands’ Rixt van der Horst second, on Findsley N.O.P. with 77.327%.  A second bronze of the week went to the side-saddle rider Barbara Minecci from Belgium. She rode Stuart and scored 73.127%

It wasn’t just a day for the newbies. A member of the sport’s older guard continued his spectacular come back in the shape of Norway’s Jens-Lasse Dokkan. He added the Grade I freestyle title to the individual he picked up earlier in the week scoring 80.193% on Aladdin (the highest score of the week). Italy’s Sara Morganti and Royal Delight were second with 79.273%. In a repeat of the individual test’s running order, Latvia Rihards Snikus claimed his second bronze medal on King of the Dance, with 77.387%.

Dokkans, who hasn’t won a major medal since 2010’s FEI World Equestrian Games™, and who has appeared at every Paralympic Games since the sport debuted in 1996, said: “We’ll have a big celebration dinner but first I have to fly home and then have a long drive. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed though and dreaming about this week.”

Picking up his third gold of the week, the Grade V freestyle, The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar joked: “Now I know how it feels to be British.” Riding Alphaville N.O.P. (in their eighth consecutive European, World, or Paralympic championships) he scored 79.900%, leaving Great Britain’s Sophie Wells and C Fatal Attraction in second place again with 78.375%. In another repeat of the individual competition, Belgium’s Michele George picked up bronze on Best of 8 with 74.720%.

Final honours of the day went to The Netherlands again, when Sanne Voets won the Grade IV freestyle on Demantur Rs2 N.O.P. scoring 79.720%. Sweden’s Louise Etzner Jakobsson improved on her individual bronze by taking silver on Zernard with 73.775%, swapping places with Belgium’s Manon Claeys. Riding San Dior; she scored 73.355% for the bronze.

Voets’ win, on the back of her three golds at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™, makes her a member of a unique para dressage club, the owner of a double set of consecutive triple gold medals from major championships. Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen was the last person to achieve that feat after the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2013 Europeans in Herning (DEN). “I’m happy,” Voets said. “It’s hard to be the favourite and the hardest part is the pressure you put on yourself. I was amazed by the atmosphere. It’s been an amazing week and I’m going to enjoy every second of the medal ceremony.”

At the end of an enthralling para dressage competition the Dutch topped the medal table with five golds, two silvers, and two bronzes. Denmark took the second spot with two golds and a bronze, with Norway close behind with two golds. Great Britain were fourth with their gold, and four silvers.

With exactly one year to go to the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the week will be remembered most of all though for the incredible performances by the home squad, the emergency of some new para dressage stars, and the return of one of the greats.

Click here for the full results.

By Rob Howell

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4