Jonathan Wentz 1990-2012: A Young and Inspiring Para-Equestrian

Jonathan Wentz cheering on his team at the 2012 London Paralympics - photo by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Richardson, TX – October 1, 2012 – The equestrian community grieves today as we remember Jonathan Wentz who passed away over the weekend at the young age of 21. Jonathan was a delightful person and an inspiration to all. He will be greatly missed among his family and friends. Jonathan was in his final year at Southern Methodist University where he was well-respected among the staff and students.

Born with Cerebral Palsy, he began riding horses as a form of therapy at age five at Equest Therapeutic Riding Center in Wylie, TX. His mother, Christina, was a Physical Therapist and knew in a short time that this sport would be more than just therapeutic. As Jonathan progressed he began to focus on competitive Dressage.

In 2008 Jonathan and his family moved to Richardson, Texas where he began training with Kai Handt at the North Texas Equestrian Center. In six months Jonathan competed at his first CPEDI3* and USEF Para-Equestrian National Championships. That same year, he earned High Point Individual Rider at the Region 9 Junior Team Championship and qualified for the 2009 Region 9 USDF Championships. Jonathan would continue to excel as a young rider in 2009 and continuously worked towards his goal to ride at the London Paralympics in 2012.

In 2010 Jonathan Wentz and Kai Handt’s horse, NTEC Richter Scale, were members of the United States Para-Equestrian Team and earned a top finish at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2011 Jonathan and NTEC Richter Scale were the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion.

As the 2012 year progressed Jonathan continued to achieve top results with multiple horses. He even earned the accolade of being the number ten Para-Equestrian in the world on the FEI World Ranking List. At the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in Gladstone, NJ, Jonathan earned Reserve Champion with NTEC Richter Scale.

Jonathan’s dream would come true when he earned one of the four spots on the 2012 United States Paralympic Team headed to London. Jonathan took this opportunity seriously and earned the highest placing overall of any United States Equestrian that competed in London. “It was a dream come true,” Jonathan expressed after his final day of competition.

The United States Para-Equestrian Association expresses their deepest sympathy to the entire Wentz family, The Handts at North Texas Equestrian Center, and all of his close friends. We will all miss Jonathan’s big smile and great personality.

For those interested in donating to Jonathan’s memory the family has set-up a Scholarship Fund in his name at the United States Para-Equestrian Association. Jonathan was an advocate for the sport and was dedicated to helping grow the discipline as a whole.

A celebration of Jonathan’s life will be held:

Saturday, October 6, 2012
Grace Bible Church
11306 Inwood Rd.
Dallas, TX 75229

Donations in Jonathan’s honor may be mailed to:

Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund
3940 Verde Vista Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

*The USPEA is a 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax-deductible.

You may also donate through the USPEA website at by clicking the red “Donate Now” button at the bottom of the page. Or click the direct link here. Please specify that the donation is for Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund. Any questions about donating can be e-mailed to

Written by: Lindsay Y McCall

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

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).

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

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