Category Archives: Para-Equestrian

Gold Rush for GB and Dutch as Para Dressage Starts with a Flourish

Photo: Pepo Puch (Europeans/ Claes Jakobsson)

Great Britain and the Netherlands flexed their considerable muscles and claimed two gold medals apiece in the Para-Equestrian Dressage on a glorious, sun-drenched first day of the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

Julie Payne (GBR) led the charge in Grade I, posting a huge 77.642% score to leave the competition trailing far behind.

“That is one of the best feelings I have ever had. It’s the best test I have done on her; she was just so in my hand; if I asked her to correct she was just answering.” — Julie Payne (GBR)

The 55-year-old was riding Athene Lindebjerg, the mare who won triple gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with former rider Sophie Christiansen (GBR). Remarkably, Payne and her new mount have only been together for three months, with the newly-crowned European champion grateful that they “just clicked”.

Grade I is for the most severely impaired athletes, with Payne describing her multiple system atrophy (MSA) as like combining motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic fatigue syndrome into one.

German Elke Philipp was delighted to take silver with 73.428%, while Rihards Snikus (LAT) held off the challenge of current freestyle world champion Sara Morganti (ITA) to snatch bronze.

Great Britain’s Suzanna Hext, a debutant on the team like compatriot Payne, edged a tight battle for Grade III glory with a score of 71.588%. She was “over the moon” with her horse Abira’s performance.

“He loves a party, loves to show off and that’s exactly what he did today. He is a horse of a lifetime.” — Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Claudia Schmidt (GER) won a second silver for Germany, with a score of 70.617% placing her just ahead of Hext’s teammate, Erin Orford (GBR).

In Grade V, defending European individual champion Frank Hosmar (NED) pushed his long-time rival Sophie Wells (GBR) into silver.

“To beat them is always what gets me out of bed,” said Hosmar of his battles with Wells and Rio 2016 freestyle gold medal winner Michele George (BEL), who finished a surprising fifth.

“We see each other in the stables, say hello and kiss-kiss; it’s not like we hate each other, but it’s fun to beat each other.” — Frank Hosmar (NED)

Compatriot Sanne Voets (NED) revealed some timely pre-competition motivation made all the difference for her gold medal-winning routine in Grade IV.

“Yesterday in the familiarisation he got really tense and today in the warm-up he was a little tense too, but I said to him ‘c’mon boy, we can do this’ and I’m really, really proud of the way he handled everything,” Voets said after scoring 72.353%.

Belgium’s Manon Claeys claimed silver with a mark of 71.560% and Louise Etzner Jakobsson (SWE) delighted the home crowd by claiming bronze.

“I am proud to be a Swede in the Championships here,” Jakobsson said. “I always try to ride like I am home, wherever I am.”

Veteran Pepo Puch (AUT), a former international three-day eventer, defended his European title in Grade II, triumphing with 73.382%, ahead of Nicole de Dulk (NED) and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
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US Para-Dressage Athletes Continue Successful Summer 2017

Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Thousand Oaks, California – July 22, 2017 – Summer 2017 began with an impressive international showcase from the United States Para-Dressage riders. The United States Para-Dressage Team dominated at the Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3* held at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, Calif. June 15-18. The Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3* was followed by an exciting Para-Dressage Symposium with Michel Assouline and US Equestrian Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt, all sponsored by US Equestrian. Across the pond, 2016 Paralympian (USA) and 2014 World Equestrian Games athlete Annie Peavy headed to Europe this summer riding at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage July 5-9, located at the Hartpury College in Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England. Peavy rode her Paralympic mount Lancelot Warrior and her new mount Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy and her 2008 Oldenburg mare, Royal Dark Chocolate, owned by Rebecca Reno, scored a 72.425% in the Grade IV Freestyle competition. Their outstanding first show has prepared them for their next journey to the Bishop Burton CPEDI3* July 25-29, held at Bishop Burton College in Bishop Burton, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Fellow Paralympic teammate Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh (USA) will join Peavy at Bishop Burton with her new partner, 13 year old Danish Warmblood mare, Heros. Finally, United States riders in both National and International will close out the summer competition at the USEF Para Equestrian Dressage National Championship Sponsored by Deloitte, September 14-17, held at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games competition.

The Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3*, held at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, Calif. June 15-18, showcased veteran para-dressage riders and many new horse and rider combinations. The U.S. Team led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt included Katie Jackson and NTEC Royal Dancer (Grade V); Roxanne Trunnell with NTEC Daytona Beach (Grade I), Michele Bandinu with Soulman 13 (Grade IV); and Kate Shoemaker and Solitaire 40 (Grade IV). World Equestrian Games (2014) and Paralympian (2016) Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Daytona Beach topped Grade I over the three days. “The first day was wonderful,” said Trunnell. “She pranced to a 69.571% the highest score of the day. Since Daytona is a big girl it takes her a little bit longer to get her back supple for that nice, swingy, forward walk that the judges want to see in the Grade I tests compared to the more compact horses. So to aid with this situation I did a lot of lateral work with her. Even with 100 degree temperatures Daytona was a soldier. Since Daytona has a long giraffe neck I’ve been playing around with her frame. She starts to get tense in the back when I have her really up in the bridle but when I warm her up where she is reaching for the bit and let her frame become more relaxed and natural to her, she rounds up nicely in her back and gets a relaxed swingy forward walk. I was happy how consistent she was that whole weekend.”

Trunnell added, “My coach and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt has been helpful for not only the U.S. Team but for Daytona and me as a pair. An example of this is how Kai speaks about keeping a horse forward. He said, ‘a horse is like a Porsche: the engine is in the back. You ride a horse from the back first.’ Daytona is a horse that needs to be ridden from behind and that requires a tremendous amount of half-halts. Knowing that she is trained this way has helped me keep her responsive and pretty in the show ring by giving her little ‘wake-up calls’ in the form of half-halts from my seat during a test.”

Other notable rides at the CPEDI3* included new para-equestrian partnership Alanna Flax-Clark and Real Erbeo in Grade II; Ashleigh Flores-Simmons and Binero in Grade III; new rider Michele Bandinu and Soulman 13 in Grade IV; and Katie Jackson and NTEC Royal Dancer in Grade V.

Equestrians were able to move from the CPEDI3* to the US Equestrian Para-Dressage Symposium with Michel Assouline and US Equestrian Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt that same week.  Michel Assouline was recently named the US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs. This symposium opportunity included lectures, collaborative coaching, and intensive work on what the judges are looking for in the new FEI Para-Dressage Tests.

Michel Assouline commented, “I was pleasantly surprised to find an overall good standard of riders and horses. The facilities were really stunning and well organized in Rancho Murieta. I liked the concept of mixing para-dressage and able-bodied dressage competitions which generates broader crossway interest. The horse and rider combinations looked good indeed with room for improvement. I felt the riders and their coaches all had the ability to enhance the skill sets needed to develop their horses’ performance. Everyone was so keen to learn.”

Assouline and Handt conducted this similar symposium on the East Coast just months prior. Assouline said, “I am happy to say there are equally good quality riding and horses on both sides. The depth on the East coast is obviously greater. In California we worked on Improving their horses’ way of going including throughness, connection, contact and activity. We also worked on test presentation and outline awareness; accuracy. In addition to picking up marks where it’s easy.”

Assouline concluded, “I enjoyed working with Kai very much. I was able to bring different approaches and structures to the established system which Kai seemed to have embraced. Riders benefited from a daily test review with video analysis which is an important step forward and aid in the way we should up our game. I also included videos of recent top European riders in action to create an awareness of where riders are at present, and where they have to go and surpass themselves eventually. In the US, para-dressage riders tend to compare themselves against one another because it’s the only option with the lack of international competitors, so we need to offer them European exposure in the form of videos for the moment, being the cheapest option. I intend to monitor progress through an online competition system too which is being set up by Laureen Johnson and the USEF IT Team. In the meantime several riders have been regularly sending video links for advice.”

Understanding what each athlete’s counterparts are showcasing in the international arena may be the key to the US riders earning medals at the world championships. Each year a handful of US Para-Dressage riders head overseas to immerse themselves within European competition. Annie Peavy headed to the Hartpury Festival of Dressage July 5-9, with Lancelot Warrior and Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy explained, “Hartpury was great exposure with my new horse Cocoa. We learned a lot as a team; the more I get to know her, the more I love riding her. Both Cocoa and Lance traveled to England well; I am grateful to have two strong competitors. Our plans are to stay in England the rest of July and compete at Bishop Burton. I am thankful for my parents endless support along with my groom, Alex Philpin, and trainer, Heather Blitz.”

2016 Paralympian Margaret McIntosh will join Peavy in Bishop Burton this July. Along her side will be Michel Assouline’s wife and classical dressage trainer Mette. McIntosh said, “After hearing a resounding endorsement of her horse-hunting talent (she found both British Grade I team horses), I asked Mette Assouline to help me find a Grade I horse. Missy (Ransehousen) and I met her in Denmark in May, where we found Heros, a 13 year old, 16.1, dark brown Danish Warmblood mare. I am training with Mette at her farm in Colne Engaine, Essex, U.K. for the month of July with the CPEDI3* at Bishop Burton and Tryon in September as our goals. My regular coach Missy Ransehousen will be here at the end of July to help me at the show. I am so excited to have the opportunity to ride and train in Great Britain, the Mecca of Para Equestrian Dressage. Many thanks to my great support group, including Missy and Jessica Ransehousen, my family, especially Brian, and Assouline Dressage for helping me make this incredible journey happen.”

US Para-Dressage athletes will finish the summer off with the USEF Para Equestrian Dressage National Championship Sponsored by Deloitte in Tryon, NC. The Para-Dressage show is scheduled for September 14-17, 2017.

The United States Para-Equestrian Association would also like to mention four para-dressage horses that have passed this year. Rider Lara Oles lost her Bella earlier in the year, Katie Jackson lost her horse Wembley in April, Elle Faulkner lost Flash Dance in June, and Ashleigh Flores-Simmons lost Binero in July. The USPEA would like to express their sincere sympathy for each of these riders.

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.

Kristi Wysocki Earns FEI Five Star Para-Dressage Judge Promotion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hanneke Gerritsen Para Dressage/Dressage Symposium and Schooling Show June 2-4

Lyman, Maine – May 22, 2017 – Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, recognized as a USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Center of Excellence, will host a Para Dressage/Dressage Symposium and Evaluation Ride Schooling Show June 2-4, with Hanneke Gerritsen. Hanneke Gerritsen is a FEI 5* Paralympic Dressage Judge and Deputy Chair of the FEI Technical Committee. Gerritsen will offer an educational and interactive symposium packed with information and training for riders and coaches. The symposium will be held at the Carlisle Academy located in Lyman, Maine. Friday & Saturday, June 2-3, 2017, includes the Dressage & Para-Dressage Symposium, followed by Sunday, June 4, Dressage & Para-Dressage Schooling Show. Para-dressage athletes, dressage riders, and interested veterans are encouraged to attend. For more information about dates, activities, or biographies, please visit http://carlisleacademymaine.com/programs/sports-education/para-dressage-education-training/ or contact Sarah Armentrout, Head of School, at sarmentrout@carlisleacademymaine.com or 207-985-0374.

This will be Hanneke Gerritsen’s fifth visit to Carlisle Academy. During the symposium riders will have 45-minute private mounted sessions each day along with lecture-based education. Trained program horses are available. PATH Instructors and Dressage Coaches are encouraged to audit lessons and participate in coach development sessions. A USEF National Classifier will be available for classification. A Sports Medicine Veterinarian will lecture and utilize horses for demonstrations. Veterans may participate free of charge and are encouraged to audit to learn more about the sport, in collaboration with to an Adaptive Sports Grant provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Participants will receive a bound manual on a variety of topics with accompanying lectures on Para-Dressage Classification Process, Introduction to Para-Dressage Competition, A Judge’s Perspective on Winning Rides/Video Analysis, Musical Freestyle Tips, Adaptive Equipment & Compensation Aids, Paralympic Military Program, and Common Equine Athlete Soft Tissue Injuries. Sunday’s schooling show is open to symposium participants, but is managed under a separate registration.

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

Riders Have Successful Symposium with Para-Dressage Coach Michel Assouline

Assouline speaks to symposium attendees.

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

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

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

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

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

Final CPEDI 3* of the Season Concludes at AGDF

Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele Fan Busenitz. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 12, 2017 – Week nine of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) featured CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena. Competition concluded on Sunday at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

The Para Freestyle Test Grade II – CPEDI 3* was won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) and Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349) owned by Oakleaf, with a 70.833%.

Commenting on her ride, Oakleaf said, “We are improving from where we were at this point last year. We are working on stretching him more forward, and his gaits are much bigger, so we’ve got to re-do our musical freestyle to fit him better. I’m very proud of him, and I’m very proud of the direction we’re headed. We are working for a spot at the 2018 World Equestrian Games so I’m hoping we can really keep moving forward.”

Oakleaf and Niekele Fan Busenitz won all three of their classes throughout the weekend.

“He is a Friesian, and I tried to find something that would fit him,” said Oakleaf in regard to her musical freestyle. “We wanted something that represented his presence as a stallion, so I tried to find something with a good beat and something to keep him up and going with that beat.”

Second place in the Para Freestyle Test Grade II – CPEDI 3* went to Dale Dedrick (USA) and her own Bardondales Ultrasuede, a 2007 Connamera Cross gelding, with 70.056%.

Other classes of the day included the Para Freestyle Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, which was won by Robyn Andrews (CAN) and Fancianna, a 2001 Friesian x Andalusian mare owned by Andrews, with 73.500%. Charlotte Merle-Smith (USA) and Firewalker, a 2006 Westfalen gelding owned by Merle-Smith, took the winning ride in the Para Freestyle Test Grade III – CPEDI 3*, scoring 69.056%. Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Julia Handt, captured a win in the Para Freestyle Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* with a score of 74.458%.

Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quaterman x Medea ii x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, were victorious in the Para Freestyle Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 73.458%.

Placing second to Hardin in the Para Freestyle Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* were Angela Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare owned by Rebecca Reno, who scored 72.375% with their “Chocolate” themed freestyle.

Peavy and “Cocoa” were also named high point horse and rider of the weekend, with an overall score of 71.798%.

“Her canter tour is my favorite,” said Peavy of her freestyle. “She’s very elastic and flowing in the canter. We have a nice serpentine and different, exciting movements. The theme was picked to go along with her name so it suits her.”

Third place in the Para Freestyle Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* was awarded to Eleanor Brimmer (USA) and London Swing, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (Londonderry x St. Pr. St. Ribanna x Rubinstein I) owned by Martina and Kai Schneider, with a 65.958%.

Competition at AGDF will resume Wednesday, March 15, with the CDI 4* and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Havensafe Farm; CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation; and CDI 1*, presented by CaptiveOne. The week also features a National Show and the 2017 Florida International Dressage Youth Championships. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Angela Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate Achieve CPEDI 3* Victory at AGDF

Angela Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 11, 2017 – Week nine of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) features CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena.

2016 Paralympian Angela Peavy (USA) and Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare owned by Rebecca Reno, were once again victorious in the Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3*, with a score of 71.057%. The score was the second highest of the day’s competition.

Peavy has only been working with Royal Dark Chocolate, also known as “Cocoa”, for a little over a month.

“I love Cocoa,” said Peavy. “She’s very flowy and is a completely different energy level than I’m used to having, so I thought that it was a solid ride. We just need to get to know one another a little better, but she is just such a joy to ride and to be able to sit on such a quality horse makes me very happy.”

Peavy also commented on the future with her new mount. “Hopefully we make the team for the World Equestrian Games. I would also like to take her to Europe this summer, which is something we are still talking about. I’m going to show her here in the national shows in the next couple of weeks,” she said.

In regards to her time here at The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, Peavy said, “It’s so generous of everyone to sponsor these shows and for allowing us to perform in this stadium to get a more international feel so we are ready to compete at that higher level. It’s really an honor to be here.”

Placing second to Peavy in the Para Individual Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* was Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quaterman x Medea ii x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, with a score of 67.589%. Third place was awarded to Laura Hall (CAN) and Boo Sinclair, a 2006 KWPN gelding (Sir Sinclair x Onward O’Crimson) owned by Dr. Heather Boo, with a 65.203%.

Other classes of the day included the Para Individual Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, which awarded a win to Jody Schloss (CAN) and Lieutenant Lobin, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (Lobster x Farine) owned by Schloss, with a 71.250%. The Para Individual Test Grade II – CPEDI 3* was won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) and Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349) owned by Oakleaf, with a 70.784%. Charlotte Merle-Smith (USA) and Firewalker, a 2006 Westfalen gelding owned by Merle-Smith, took the winning ride in the Para Individual Test Grade III – CPEDI 3*, scoring 64.255%. Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, captured a win in the Para Individual Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* with a score of 69.921%.

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

Para Dressage CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Competition Kicks Off at AGDF

Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer. Photo Credit ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 10, 2017 – Week nine of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), features CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena. Competition started on Friday at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), in Wellington, FL.

Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, finished with a win in the Para Team Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* with a score of 67.872%.

Jackson has only been riding Royal Dancer for about two weeks. “He’s been super fun to get to know,” said Jackson. “With every ride, we are getting more comfortable with each other. He’s incredible, and I’m really lucky that I get a chance to ride him.”

In regards to the pair’s future, Jackson commented, “We’ve got lots of areas to improve on, which is exciting when we see our score continue to go up. The plan for now is that I’m going to be competing him in the region, and we are already qualified for nationals in September in Tryon.”

Jackson concluded by expressing her gratitude for her team, and all of the sponsors of this week’s CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage Competition.

Second place in the Para Team Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* went to Mary Jordan (USA) and Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe) owned by Jordan, with a 67.829%.

Angela Peavy (USA) and Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare owned by Rebecca Reno, clinched a victory in the Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3*, with a score of 72.250%.

Peavy competed at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, as well as the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.

Placing second to Peavy in the Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* was Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quaterman x Medea ii x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, with a score of 67.417%. Third place was awarded to Laura Hall (CAN) and Boo Sinclair, a 2006 KWPN gelding (Sir Sinclair x Onward O’Crimson) owned by Dr. Heather Boo, with a 65.750%.

Other classes of the day included the Para Team Test Grade II – CPEDI 3*, won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) and Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349) owned by Oakleaf, with a 67.879%. The Para Team Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, awarded a win to Jody Schloss(CAN) and Lieutenant Lobin, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (Lobster x Farine) owned by Schloss, with a 69.524%.

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

Para-Dressage Returns to Palm Beach for Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*

Kai Handt and NTEC Royal Dancer, ridden by Katie Jackson. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2017 – Para-Dressage riders returned to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival for the second international para-equestrian dressage competition in Wellington, Florida. Eleven horse and rider combinations from the United States and Canada will compete over the March 10-12 weekend at Week 9 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena. Athletes from Grade I through Grade V include multiple World Equestrian Games’ riders and Paralympians.

The CPEDI3* kicked off Thursday with the FEI Jog with Ground Jury members Carlos Lopes (POR), Adrienne Pot (USA), and Elke Ebert (GER) viewing each horse as they jogged. Dale Dedrick won the Best Dressed Award presented by Show Chic. Rides begin in The Stadium on Friday with the Team Test, followed by Saturday’s Individual Tests, and ending with the Freestyle on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Competition includes both team and individual divisions. The U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team presented by Deloitte includes Laurietta Oakleaf (Grade II), Annie Peavy (Grade IV), Katie Jackson (Grade V), and Mary Jordan (Grade V). The team is led by Chef d’Equipe and U.S. Para-Dressage Technical Advisor Kai Handt. Equine Canada Team includes Laura Hall and Boo Sinclair (Grade IV), Jody Schloss and Lieutenant Lobin (Grade I) and Robyn Andrews and Fancianna (Grade I) with Chef d’Equipe and Para Canada’s technical director Clive Milkins.

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.

Michel Assouline Conducts Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14 in Wellington

Michel Assouline (credit www.assoulinedressage.com)

Wellington, FL – February 22, 2017 – Michel Assouline will conduct a Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14, 2017, following the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in Wellington, Florida, March 9-12. The symposium will take place at the Van Kampen Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Riders will begin working with Assouline on March 12, and will continue to ride over two full days March 13 and 14. The cost of the symposium is $500 for riders and $200 for auditors. The focus of the symposium will be finding the appropriate competitive horse for each athlete’s Grade, working on what the judges are looking for in the new FEI Para-Dressage Tests. Assouline will work in collaboration with the U.S Para-Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. For more information on the details of this symposium, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email: lkjohnson@usef.org .

About Michel Assouline
(credit www.assoulinedressage.com)

Michel is a graduate of the French National Equestrian School, home of the Cadre Noir in Saumur and gained a vast international experience in the USA, France, Germany and the United Kingdom as an international dressage rider and trainer. Michel was long-listed to represent France at the Seoul Olympics and won the French National Championships in 2000.  He has also scored numerous successes at International and National level.

Michel was voted in 1995 UK Dressage Trainer of the Year, and is a member of the International Dressage Trainers Club. He is also currently on the British Dressage panel of trainers eligible to judge Potential International Dressage Horse classes and officiated several times at the Championships for four, five and six-year-old horses.

In 2005 Michel became the British Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Coach and has led Team GBR riders to win Team Gold medals at the 2005 European Championships, the 2007 World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, the 2009 European Championships, the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, the 2011 FEI Europeans, the 2012 London Paralympic Games, the 2013 FEI Europeans, the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games, the 2015 FEI Europeans and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. At the Rio Games his athletes came back with a total of four silver and seven gold medals, medaling in all their classes contested.

In March 2009 Michel was awarded the PDTT Coaching Award, and in November 2012 Michel was awarded the UK Sports Coach Medal and inducted in the Coaching Hall of Fame at the UK Coaching Awards ceremony. Later that year at the London Olympia International he received the prestigious British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour. Team GBR made the following statement at the time: ‘Michel has been the British Paralympic team coach for eight years, during which time the GB team have remained unbeaten at major team championships, amassing 85 medals in total, including the 2012 Paralympic haul of 11.

At the 2016 UK Coaching awards Michel Assouline, along with Carl Hester, Angela Weiss, Lisa Hopkins and Helen Burt, was awarded the Mussabini Medal – a sports award recognizing Coaches of British sports people and teams, and was inducted in the UK Coaching Hall of Fame.  Michel recently successfully completed the inaugural intake of UK Sport’s Elite Coaching Programme.

For more information on the details of this symposium, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email: lkjohnson@usef.org.

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