Category Archives: Para-Equestrian

Great Britain Takes Command of Para-Equestrian Team Competition

Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen and Athene Lindebjerg (Jon Stround/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 12 September 2016 – Great Britain took control of the team competition at the Rio 2016 para-dressage on Monday, with London 2012 double gold medallist Sophie Christiansen winning the grade Ia team test with a massive 77.522%. Riding Athene Lindebjerg, Christiansen scored the highest marks of the entire competition so far to beat team mate Anne Dunham into second place, with Germany’s Elke Philip in third.

“For her to go in that loud, atmospheric arena I was over the moon with her,” Christiansen said after her test. “And I’ve got a really bad cold today so I had to contend with that as well.

“It felt a bit tentative and it’s nice getting that score knowing that there’s more to come.”

Belgium’s Michèle George won the grade IV team test in the morning, setting out her stall for the defence of her two individual London 2012 titles in the process.

Riding FBW Rainman, the current world champion scored 75.286% to finish just over half a percentage point ahead of Great Britain’s Sophie Wells. Frank Hosmar of The Netherlands was third.

“It felt great,” said George after her test. “I was very happy with my horse. When I came in he was a little bit under because there were a lot of things to see and he’s very sensitive to that, but I think the warmth was in my favour today.

“He was at 99.9% and not over the top and I really enjoyed my ride.”

Wells’ solid performance opened the scoring for Great Britain in the team competition in the best way possible. “He went in and listened to what he had to do,” she said. “He was a little nervous which is understandable as he’s not been to a Paralympics before, but he came back to me and concentrated and did what he needed to do.”

Following the day’s tests Great Britain currently lead the team competition, ahead of Belgium and Germany. The competition is still not half-way through, however, as the results of Tuesday’s (13 September) grade II team test, and then the five individual tests which follow, will also be counted.

One of the more emotional moments of Monday’s competition came when Uruguay’s Alfonsina Maldonado, riding Da Vinci, competed her test. Maldonado’s debut marks the first time Uruguay has entered the para-dressage competition and it appeared that the nerves and pressure of the event may have affected her. She finished at the bottom of the nine-rider field and left the arena in tears. “I always dreamed to be a champion,” she said afterwards. “The horse was really good but I was really nervous and emotional because it was the first time my family was here to see me and I couldn’t control my hands and legs. I hope that my country feels proud. I did my best.”

By Rob Howell

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 787 506 142

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
+41 79 314 24 38

Lubbe and Pearson Lead on Day One of Para-Equestrian

Ann Cathrin Lubbe and Donatello (Jon Stroud/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 11 September 2016 – On a sweltering day in Deodoro, Norway’s Ann Cathrin Lubbe was the first to take the lead in the Rio 2016 para-equestrian dressage competition on Sunday (11 September), earning the top spot in the grade III team test. Riding Donatello at the Olympic Equestrian Centre, the double Athens 2004 gold medallist scored 72.237% to finish ahead of The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets in second, and Denmark’s Susanne Sunesen in third.

Lubbe’s victory was made even more impressive as it occurred during a period of competition which was regularly interrupted by bursts of fireworks from the neighbouring town.

“I had a marvellous ride what with the noise and everything,” she said. “My trainer had told me to ignore everything and just ride, so I just rode. But he’s a very good horse too.”

Lubbe is appearing in her fourth Games, having first ridden in Sydney 2000. She didn’t ride in London 2012 and added: “It’s good to be back.”

Reigning grade III world freestyle champion Voets was just two percentage points behind Lubbe. “I’m really happy with that,” she said. “I was hoping for a little more but for now the feeling and the test and the way my horse reacted to everything it was good. He did everything I asked and that’s the maximum we can get.”

The afternoon’s grade Ib test was won by Great Britain’s 10-time Paralympic champion Lee Pearson, riding Zion and scoring 75.280%. Pearson’s score, however, will not count towards the British Team’s competition as he was not selected to ride for the team.

In second place, and winning the team aspect of the contest, was Austria’s Pepo Puch with 74.000%. Germany’s Alina Rosenberg, at her first Games, was third.

“That horse gave me everything he could possibly give me at his age, his education and his strength,” said Pearson. “I love him to bits. I do care about the results but I don’t care what the judges think because he was brilliant, amazing. I think it’s the best test he’s ever done.

“The win doesn’t make me complacent for two days’ time but I think the warm up plan worked with him being relaxed in the arena.”

For Puch this was his first ride at a major international on his new horse, Fontainenoir. “I’m happy. It was not a bad start,” he said. “He’s a really nice hard working guy, with lots of thinking.”

Puch, Brazil’s Rodolfo Riskalla and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup had to contend with the added stress of not knowing whether or not they would be able to competition Sunday as their horses were held overnight following Saturday’s (10 September) horse inspection. Kaastrup, who missed out on a place at London 2012 after her previous horse died, came fourth in the grade Ib and described the wait as “the worst night of my life”.

For Italy’s world number two and reigning grade Ia freestyle champion, however, there was not such fortune. Her horse, Royal Delight, was also held for re-inspection and was not passed as fit for competition, knocking a devastated Morganti out of the Games completely.

The team competition continues on Monday (12 September) at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro with the grades IV and Ia competition.

By Rob Howells

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 787 506 142

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
+41 79 314 24 38

Strong Start for US Equestrian Team at the Rio Paralympic Games

Angela Peavy and Lancelot Warrior (Liz Gregg/FEI)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Para-equestrian dressage competition got underway Sunday at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Twenty-seven Grade III and Ib competitors representing 24 countries took to the main arena at the Deodoro Equestrian Center to perform the Team test, the first of two tests in team competition. Angela Peavy (Grade III) and Sydney Collier (Grade Ib) got the U.S. team off to a solid start, putting the U.S. provisionally into third place among the 14 nations, following day one of team competition. Five nations turned in one of their four Team test scores, while another three will not see their first athletes until Monday. Leading the team standings currently is France, while Denmark sits in second place. Both countries posted three of their four Team test scores.

U.S. Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt is pleased with how well the team is coming together, “We have an excellent team of strong riders here in Rio. We have some very young riders who started in this sport a few years ago, and they have been growing together, working and supporting each other. They are all at a good place mentally and are showcasing good readiness for this level of competition. We will see what the next couple of days brings. These are the best horses and riders in the world and the competition is going to be tough. We have an outstanding support team behind these riders that has been working tirelessly to take care of us and the horses. We are very grateful to the Team USA sponsors who have made all of this possible and to the organizing committee and officials – this is a superb venue.”

The Grade III Team test commenced the competition in the morning session with 16 athletes representing 13 nations. Pathfinding for the U.S. was first-time Paralympian Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.) riding Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding. The pair produced a notably consistent and accurate test that featured a fluid and precise canter tour to earn a score of 68.974%, placing them sixth in the class.

“I was very pleased with my ride,” said Peavy. “My horse really poured his heart out – he was focused on his job and I felt like we had great connection. It was such an incredible atmosphere to be in with so many spectators.”

Looking forward to the Individual test on Tuesday, Peavy said she plans to, “Keep doing what I’ve been doing. Today we came out and put our all into it and that’s what we want to do again – ride another smooth and accurate test.”

Speaking to her first-time Paralympic experience thus far, she commented “It’s been a great experience. We have a very close team and are all very supportive of each other. All of the accommodations for the athletes in the village and the horses at the venue are very nice. It is a nerve racking and exciting event to be at, but when I got on Lance today and it was just me and him, I was able to totally focus on him and our performance. I am so thankful to everyone who has been supporting me, especially my parents, trainer Heather, and groom Alex.”

The afternoon session saw 11 athletes from 11 nations in the Grade Ib Team test. Representing the U.S. was the youngest athlete in the field, Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), competing in her first Paralympics with Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare Western Rose. In the impressive atmosphere and heat of the afternoon, Collier was able to deliver a clean test, scoring 66.440% and placing ninth in the class.

“I was really happy with the test,” said Collier. “For this being my first time riding in the Paralympics, it was really great. Rosie was such a good horse and we really nailed our geometry today. I am really looking forward to what the future holds [this week]. I am so lucky to be with amazing teammates; I couldn’t make it without them. They really are my rock and we are a super strong team.”

Team tests will continue on Monday with Grades Ia and IV. Riding in Grade Ia, Margaret McIntosh will compete for the U.S. Team, while Roxanne Trunnell will represent the country as an individual.

Live and detailed scores

From the USEF Communications Department

US Paralympic Equestrian Team Fit and Ready for Competition in Rio

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Equestrian competition at the Rio Paralympic Games got underway at the Deodoro Equestrian Center Saturday with the horse inspection. A total of 76 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 29 countries, including 14 in the team competition, are set to compete over the course of the week for Paralympic medals and national pride. The U.S. will be represented by the team of Sydney Collier, Rebecca Hart, Margaret McIntosh, and Angela Peavy. Roxanne Trunnell will represent the U.S. in Individual competition. The U.S. squad is led by U.S. Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt.

The U.S. athletes will compete as follows:

Sunday, September 11

Pathfinding for the U.S. will be Grade III athlete and first-time Paralympian Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.) riding Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding. Peavy was the 2016 and 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division Reserve National Champion. She and Lancelot Warrior were Team Gold medalists and Grade III Individual Champions at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January.

Grade Ib athletes will perform their Team tests Sunday afternoon. Representing the U.S. will be the youngest athlete in the field, Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), competing in her first Paralympics with Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare, Western Rose. The pair began the year with strong placings at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and went on to become the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Champions in June.

Monday, September 12

In Grade Ia, the U.S. team will see Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh (Reading, Pa.) and her longtime partner, Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare. Though Rio will mark the pair’s first team appearance in a Paralympic Games or World Championships, they have had consistent top results over the past three years. During this year’s winter season in Wellington, Fla., they posted five wins in Grade Ia CPEDI3* competition, including as members of the Gold medal-winning U.S. Team.

Also riding in the Grade Ia will be individual Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) in her Paralympic debut, aboard Royal Dancer, Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding. The pair has been competing at the international level together since early 2015 and have always placed within the top four. They were a part of the U.S. Team that clinched the Team Gold medal at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January.

Tuesday, September 13

Anchoring the U.S. Team will be two-time Paralympian Hart (Wellington, Fla,) with her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare. Competing as a Grade II athlete, Hart won in all of her outings with Schroeters Romani during the winter season, also contributing to the Gold medal-win for the U.S. Team at the Wellington CPEDI3*.

Team medals will be awarded on Friday based on the top three scores from each team in both the Team and Individual tests. Individual tests begin on Tuesday with Grade III on Tuesday and continue Wednesday with Grades IV and Ib, and Thursday with Grades II and Ia. Medals will be awarded for the Individual tests. Freestyle tests take place on Friday with another set of medals being awarded to each grade.

From the USEF Communications Department

Para-Equestrians from 29 Nations across the Globe Prepare to Do Battle for Paralympic Medals

London 2012 Team podium: Great Britain in gold, Germany in silver and Ireland in bronze (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Lausanne (SUI), 5 September 2016 – With just two days to go until the Opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on 7 September, Para-Equestrian athletes from 29* nations are preparing to compete on the world’s biggest stage in a bid for the most coveted medals in the sport. The list of definite entries is published here by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

The unbeaten Team GB will be looking to retain their Team gold once again, and both the nations’ reigning Paralympic Champions return to Rio – Sophie Christiansen (GBR), individual and Freestyle Grade 1a, and Natasha Baker (GBR), individual and Freestyle Grade II – bidding to retain their individual crowns.

Also returning are Michèle George (BEL), individual and Freestyle Grade IV champion and Pepo Puch (AUT), Freestyle Grade 1b champion. Absent from this year’s entries are both Joann Formosa (AUS), winner of individual Grade 1b and Hannelore Brenner (GER), individual and Freestyle Grade III winner, who sadly withdrew only a few days ago due to an injury to her horse.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will see Para-Equestrian sport celebrate 20 years in the Paralympic movement, with 14 countries fielding teams and a further 15 nations lining out with individuals at the Deodoro Equestrian Centre when Para-Equestrian Dressage gets underway on Sunday 11 September.

A new addition to the Paralympic Para-Equestrian family for 2016, Uruguay is sending its first para-equestrian athlete to the Paralympic Games, with Alfonsina Maldonado competing in Grade IV with her horse Da Vinci.

An exciting list of debutants includes Rixt van der Hoorst (NED) who scooped both the individual titles at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FEA), 2014 before doing the same again at 2015’s FEI European Para-Equestrian Dressage championships in Deauville (FRA) and, making his Paralympic Games debut for the home nation, 31-year-old Rodolpho Riskalla. Rodolpho represented Brazil in Dressage at international level for a number of years before stepping back from the sport in 2014. However, a bout of meningitis left him with disabilities and he has now returned to the sport in its Paralympic format.

The debutants combine with some of the best known names in the sport, including World Number 2, Sara Morganti from Italy, Grade Ia silver and gold medalist at the FEI World Equestrian Games 2014™, and Ireland’s Helen Kearney, who could both provide strong competition for the medals, as could the on-form Rebecca Hart from the USA. Great Britain’s Lee Pearson will be looking to add to his medal tally of 12 (including 10 golds), the highest of any Paralympic Equestrian.

“It is really exciting to see so many nations once again competing in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “and the list of definite entries includes some great names out to retain their titles, as well as many new riders making their Paralympic debuts. We’re also very proud to welcome Uruguay to the family as they field a Para-Equestrian athlete for the first time.

“We’re also delighted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Para-Equestrian at the Games this year, and that again competing this year are Anne Dunham (GBR), Jose Letartre (FRA) and Jens Lasse Dokkan (NOR). All three were at the first Para-Equestrian competition in Atlanta 1996, with Jens having competed at every Paralympic Games since.

“We’ve seen from a very exciting Rio 2016 Olympics that the Deodoro Equestrian Park provides first class facilities for this top level of competition and will once again serve to host a great six days of equestrian action. With riders ranging in age from 16 to 67 we will be able to witness the full universality of the sport at its best.”

*There were 30 nations on the nominated entry list as Russia had also qualified three athletes, but the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee by the IPC on 7 August 2016 means that no Russian athletes are competing at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

Daily reports and press releases from the Rio 2016 Paralympics will be available here.

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FEI Media Contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
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US Paralympic Equestrian Athletes Head to Florida for Mock Competition

Left to Right – Rebecca Hart, Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt, Sydney Collier, Margaret McIntosh, Annie Peavy, and Roxanne Trunnell. Photo courtesy Tina Wentz.

Weirsdale, FL – August 31, 2016 – In preparation for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, the United States Paralympic Equestrian squad has headed to the Grand Oaks Resort and Museum located in Weirsdale, FL for a mock competition. The Team includes Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt; Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Grade Ib, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose, a 2003 Oldenburg mare; Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade II, and her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare; Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.), Grade Ia, and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare; Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, and Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding; and competing as an individual, Grade Ia rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding Royal Dancer. These five outstanding athletes will showcase their talented horses on September 1, with their Test of Choice, beginning at 10 AM in front of 5* Judge Natalie Lamping.

Following the mock competition, riders and their team of veterinarians, grooms, parents, volunteers, and supporters will prepare to fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Paralympics. Equestrian will make their way to the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center where they will compete September 11-16.

For more information about the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team, please visit United States Equestrian Federation at, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation at, or Team USA at

For more information about the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian competition, please visit

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

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

Brazilian-Bred Zizifo Interagro to Make Paralympic Debut in 2016 Rio Games

Zizifo Interagro, ridden by Patricio Guglialmelli, compete in Paradressage at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. (Photo courtesy of Scoopdyga/Pierre Costabadie)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 28, 2016) – All eyes are on Brazil as the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games make their South American debut in Rio de Janeiro, and one equine will be making the most of his home field advantage. Zizifo Interagro (Profano Interagro x Meiga (MAC)), a bay stallion born and bred at Interagro Lusitanos of Sao Paulo, Brazil has been named, along with his rider Pautricio Gugliamelli, to compete for Argentina in the Paralympic dressage competition. As one of just a few Brazilian bred horses competing in the Games, Zizifo and Guglialmelli will enjoy a large cheering section as they vie for a medal against the best Paralympic competitors in the world.

The pair aren’t strangers to international success, having represented Argentina in numerous Paralympic competitions, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Zizifo was purchased from Interagro in 2012 by Gia Einaudi, who was looking for an international caliber dressage horse with the temperament, gaits, and rideability to be successful on the world stage in paradressage. Einaudi exported Zizifo to Italy, where he was paired with Guglialmelli. It became immediately apparent that Zizifo was the perfect match, and they soon began to build an impressive resume.

In the hands of trainer Alessandro Benedetti, who also shows the horse competitively at 3rd and 4th level, Zizifo and Gugialmelli recently put in top performances at the Sommacampagna CPEDI3* in Verona, Italy. Einaudi attributes Zizifo’s exceptional success to his extraordinary character and talent, which is a reflection of over 40 years of careful breeding at Interagro. With a focus on athleticism, movement, temperament, and intelligence, Interagro has succeeded in preserving some of the purest and most sought after lineages of the Lusitano, while simultaneously developing a horse with the raw talent, versatility, and character to succeed in the FEI disciplines.

Zizifo’s Paralympic debut will stand as living proof of Interagro’s legacy, as he and Guglialmelli trot into the Olympic stadium in Rio. “It is Zizifo’s willingness to please and charisma that sets him apart,” said Einaudi. “He requires us to be very precise and correct in training and during competition, which keeps him relaxed and open-minded even in the stress of major international events. Alessandro [Benedetti] has been instrumental in the Zizifo and Patricio’s success, and despite having the demeanor and poise to compete paradressage, under Alessandro Zizifo easily switches gears to the power and elegance of upper level dressage.”

In fact, Benedetti and Zizifo recently debuted at the D1 Level in Italy, comparable to 4th Level in the United States, and won a national competition in Tuscany. Utilizing a careful balance of training in both paradressage and dressage, Einaudi team continues to build Zizifo’s strength and form for Rio. Once they reached the FEI world ranking and competed at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in 2014, the pair began qualifying for the Paralympics. Three CPEDI competitions yielded the required scores to qualify them for the Games, and in June it was officially announced that Guglialmelli and Zizifo Interagro would compete for Argentina in Rio. With regular training under Benedetti and sessions with Olympian Morten Thompson, in addition to conditioning, a strict diet, and the care of numerous equestrian industry professionals, Zizifo is well on his way to Rio, and the journey brings him closer to his first home in Sao Paulo.

“Needless to say Zizifo means the world to us,” said Einaudi. “He has opened up a world of possibilities, and thanks to him we have achieved more than we ever thought possible in dressage and paradressage. We believe that Zizifo is a once in a lifetime horse!”

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website at To organize a trip to Brazil or for any questions regarding sales or the logistics of importing horses to the US, contact their US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst, at 817 368 9447.

Young Para-Equestrians Excel at 2016 United States Pony Club Qualifying Tetrathlon Rally

Photo: Andie Sue.

Livermore, Calif. – August 26, 2016 – Equestrians Andie Sue and Kaysie Li Roth from the Middle California Region in the Irons Pony Club in Livermore, Calif. excelled at the 2016 United States Pony Club Qualifying Tetrathlon Rally June 17-19, at the Graham Hill Showgrounds in Santa Cruz, Calif.  Andie Sue, born in Guangzhou, China, and adopted at 15 months old, had her leg amputated below the knee due to birth defects at two years of age, she is now 11. Kaysie Li was born in Suzhou, China, and adopted at nearly 6 years old; she is now 9. Kaysie Li had her left leg amputated below the knee. Both girls competed over the Rally weekend finishing with top results. The Tetrathlon Rally includes multiple phases of running, swimming, jumping, and shooting.

Andie Sue and horse Tam O’Shanter (Indiana Hoolihan x Moonrise Kee Ranchera), owned by Karen Davison and Sally Coleman, competed in the Pre-Novice group even though she is actually a 10U.  She achieved a perfect ride score of 1100 and earned a third place in the swim section for a final place of second overall for her age group. The Pre-Novice division is for 13 years and under and the rider must be a D-1 or above.  The four sections include a run, swim, jump, and shooting. The length of the run shall be 500 meters. The length of the swim shall be 50 yards/meters. The jumping height will be 2’3″ maximum. The shooting is 20 shots. Competitors must be standing and may shoot with two hands. Andie Sue joined Pony Club as an eight year old in 2013.  She has earned her D1, D2 and D3 traditional (Flat, cross country and show jumping) certifications and is studying to take her C1 traditional in October.  She also has earned her D1, D2 and D3 certifications in Western.

Kaysie Li rode Glitter Shadow (Townsend Triton X Fanny), owned by Karen Davison, in the 10 years and under age group. For this group the rider must be a D-1 or above. Kaysie Li has earned her D1 rating in English and Western and took her D2 test for Dressage in July. In the four phases Kaysie Li completed her first ever 50 yard swim, earned 3rd place in the ride phase and came in 4th place in her age group in the personal horse management inspection. The phases include a run of 500 meters, a swim of 50 yards, jumping height of 18 inches, and shooting 10 shots.

This rally followed the Pony Club rules and guidelines including no assistance during the rally. Their mom Barbara Roth noted, “The kids come away with such a sense of accomplishment knowing that they understand the right steps to take care of their own mount.”

Kaysie Li noted, “Last year I needed so much help. I couldn’t bridle or saddle or do anything. This year I was able to do all those things by myself.”

Both girls have come a long way in their riding. Barbara Roth explained, “Andie Sue started riding when she was 3 but she started riding independently at 5.  She had been amputated at 2.  After I could see that she was interested in riding I took her and her saddle with a saddle tree up to Shriners at Sacramento and asked her prosthetist to measure angles and fit until we came up with a riding prosthetic that would work for her.  Andie Sue was the one who figured out how to make the ankle work for her and her awesome prosthetist built it. Kaysie Li was adopted at 6 and had never seen an animal before.  The first time she saw our horses she was pretty surprised that we actually wanted her to get on that beast. She watched her sister for a while and we didn’t push it.  She had several surgeries so her riding was not consistent at first but she really liked it and I could see that everything about her changed when she was in the saddle.  She was confident and was building muscle and strength.  She literally felt like mush when we adopted her, no muscle tone at all, and now she is competently riding a 1000 pound horse in the show ring and smiling from ear to ear.”

Both girls will continue to train through the fall and compete at several shows. Andie Sue hopes to be eventing at the Novice level soon and Kaysie Li would like to compete in her first Dressage shows in the coming years.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

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

Stefanie Putnam Earns Fifth at 2016 FEI World Para-Driving Championships

Photo by Katrin Doerr.

Lafayette, California, August 24, 2016 – The 2016 FEI World Para-Driving Championships took place August 3-6, 2016, in Beesd, The Netherlands. Stefanie Putnam made her international debut as the sole Para-Driver representing the United States of America. Putnam drove her horse Bethesda after Dark, a 1993 Morgan gelding, to a remarkable individual fifth place in Grade I against 13 seasoned competitors, also earning a third in Cones. She was supported by U.S. coach Scott Monroe and chef d’equipe Marcie Quist, as well as Marie de Ronde-Oudemans from Holland who graciously hosted and assisted the team. Seven nations competed in the championships with drivers from Latvia to Ireland. Putnam and Bethesda after Dark have been working towards accomplishing their international dreams for five years and on August 6, Putnam did just that.

Putnam grew up competing hunters and jumpers and was also the captain of the Cal Poly Tech polo team. She suffered a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the chest down in 2009. In 2011 she discovered the sport of driving and competed in her first competition the very same year. In 2015 Putnam and Bethesda after Dark claimed top honors in the Preliminary Single Horse division at the Shady Oaks CDE, as well as earning the prestigious Charles Kellogg American Driving Society North American Preliminary Horse Champion and West Coast Triple Crown Preliminary Single Horse co-Champion titles. This season (2016) the duo took the Reserve Championship in the Intermediate Single Horse division at the Summer Festival CDE.

The 2016 FEI World Para-Driving Championships gave Stefanie an opportunity to compete at the FEI level for the first time (this is not an option for Para-Drivers in the U.S., as it is for Para-Dressage riders).  The World’s enabled Stefanie to experience the thrill and challenges of international competition and to get to know the Para-Equestrian Drivers from other countries.  Being selected to represent her country on behalf of USEF was especially exciting and meaningful.  While there are no carriage driving events in the Olympics and thus the Paralympics, this competition is considered to be the equivalent in the equestrian driving world.

Stefanie stated, “I have been deeply honored and indelibly touched by this incredible, inspiring opportunity.  It has taken an army of people to help me reach this goal, and I want to extend my utmost gratitude and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported me in this amazing journey. Against the backdrop of Rio, it was a proud and unforgettable feeling flying the American flag from the back of a beautiful horse drawn carriage.”

Results from the 2016 FEI World Para-Driving Championships:

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

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

USA Para Reining Event at 50th Annual All American Quarter Horse Congress Seeks Participants

Frederick Win participating at a Para Reining event at the AQHA World Championship Show. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Columbus, Ohio – August 21, 2016 – USA Para Reining event is looking for Para-Equestrians to participate in the USA Para Reining show at the 2016 All American Quarter Horse Congress October 9. In particular, the Para Reining event is looking for Grade Ia and Grade Ib Para Dressage riders who want to try their hand at reining, but if you are interested and are of any Grade please contact Frederick Win at or call 609-992-5283. The horses are provided to participants along with coaches and support.  The 2016 All American Quarter Horse Congress is scheduled for October 6-30, at Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. Para Reining will include four classes held in the Celeste center starting at 7 AM, October 9. The 50th Annual All American Quarter Horse Congress is run by the Ohio Quarter Horse Association. For more information, please visit or visit the Ohio Quarter Horse Association at

Para Reining made its debut during the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, and interest in the sport continues to grow, including a class at the 2014 World Show, a class at the Kentucky Reining Cup and the one at the NRHA Futurity.

For 2014, AQHA adopted para-reining rules in collaboration with USA Reining and NRHA. Those rules will be revised with the goal of making para-reining a nationally recognized sport in the future.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

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