Ben Harper and Maggie work with Catherine Haddad Staller. Photos by Lindsay McCall.
Lyman, Maine – May 30, 2013 – The 2013 Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium kicked off on May 29th with a “Train the Trainer” program and “SmartPak Coaches Forum”. Trainers, riders, and auditors were enlightened on Para-Dressage topics including the use of compensating aids, the classification process, and collaborative coaching techniques. FEI “O” Judge and Olympic Technical Delegate Hanneke Gerritsen, National Classifier Tina Wentz, USPEA President Hope Hand, and Former USEF High Performance Dressage Director Gil Merrick discussed each of these topics in a formal atmosphere at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine. Riders then headed to the Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports in Lyman, Maine for their first lessons with Clive Milkins. Clive Milkins coached the 2012 gold medal winning Great Britain Para-Dressage Team. On the following day, May 30th, equestrians put on their tall boots, stepped into their stirrups and participated in a demonstration ride with Hanneke Gerritsen and lessons with Clive Milkins and Catherine Haddad Staller. The 2013 Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium is the first in a series of educational events across the United States. Carlisle has partnered with the United States Equestrian Federation, United States Para-Equestrian Association, and SmartPak to make the symposium an educational package.
Throughout the day riders were treated to exceptional trainers present in the world of Dressage. United States Para-Dressage equestrians included current high-performances riders and horses in addition to a few green Para-Equestrians. Many riders did not bring their own horses due to logistics creating exciting opportunities for the rider. Clive Milkins enjoyed each aspect of the symposium weekend. He noted, “It’s fantastic to see a group of like-minded people all pulling together, in the vastness of this country, to help disabled riders become proper athletes and sportsman.”
When Clive Milkins received the phone call that he was requested in the U.S. a day before the European National Selection Trials, he was game.
“I was really excited,” expressed Milkins. “My main belief in life is to help anybody that thinks they want my help or my input. The experience I have gained over the last 20 years of doing well in Great Britain is invaluable. I will help anyone who wants help. Anybody that wants me and feels I can make a difference to their riding or their horses, I am there.”
After a full weekend of viewing the United States Para-Dressage riders, Clive Milkins was impressed. He stated, “Give yourself some more experience, work on the small items, especially what everyone is developing over the last few days. It will not be much longer until the U.S. sees another medal.”
Para-Equestrian Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, MI, is looking towards the next medal opportunity, which is the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. This symposium is inserted within the high-performance schedule to help benefit each rider. With the logistics involved, not every rider could transport their horses to Maine for the symposium.
Para-Equestrian Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, MI, brought her own horse Wentworth to the symposium. She commented, “It’s so valuable to get the trainers feedback with you and your own horses. When you borrow a horse, you are getting feedback on you and on a horse you may not have ever ridden before. It may not translate back to your own horses. I was excited to bring Wentworth this year. I like seeing what the other trainers feel about him and what they think we can do to improve our partnership. It is invaluable to be able to have both of us here at the same time.”
She continued, “It’s also crucial to have my very gracious coach Wes Dunham on the grounds to gain feedback from the symposium. I want to thank Wes, my parents, and Carlisle Academy for hosting this amazing event.”
Ben Harper of Virginia experienced this one of a kind educational event and was thrilled with the outcome. He explained, “This is a special event and a great team building symposium.”
Ben Harper is relatively new to the sport of Para-Dressage and found himself enjoying the opportunity to ride in front of the internationally acclaimed panel. For new riders like Harper, the experience of having trainers in one location beside educators, professionals, and fellow teammates is essential.
For veteran Para-Dressage, riders the ability to work on specific tasks and sharpen techniques could change the outcome at the next international competition.
The 2013 Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium continues May 31 – June 1, 2013 with the accomplished trainer Catherine Haddad Staller, clinician Gil Merrick, and expert judge Hanneke Gerritsen.
Equestrians, trainers and coaches who have questions and who would like more information on the symposium can contact Carlisle’s Training & Leadership Program Director Joyce Brown at email@example.com, or at 207.985.0374. Questions can also be directed to USPEA President Hope Hand at Hope@uspea.org.
Written by: Lindsay Y McCall
To view an online version of this press release with more photos, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.
About United States Para-Equestrian Association:
The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.
The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.
Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.
In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).