Para-Driver Stefanie Putnam Triumphs Big Time at Shady Oaks CDE

Stefanie Putnam and Bethesda after Dark (Shadow). Photo by Tom Muehleisen.

Lodi, CA – October 16, 2015 – Para-Equestrian Driver Stefanie Putnam and her horse Bethesda after Dark (Shadow) brought home a big win from Shady Oaks Combined Driving Event (CDE) in Lodi, California. This prestigious three day CDE took place September 18-20, 2015. Putnam drove over three days competing in the driven dressage test, a marathon, and the cones course. On the final day, Putnam drove an almost flawless cones round with preeminent grace and style to finish an epic and consistent summer with supreme honors. Putnam earned accolades, including Charles Kellogg ADS North American Preliminary Horse Champion, West Coast Triple Crown Preliminary Single Horse co-Champion, Shady Oaks Preliminary Single Horse Champion, and Shady Oaks Preliminary Single Horse Cones Winner.

Putnam acknowledged, “I feel very grateful and honored to be in the company of some pretty fantastic co-competitors. They have all been an incredible inspiration and ongoing, steadfast source of encouragement and sustenance to me and my very soul. I am truly blessed.”

CDEs are the carriage driving equivalent of Three Day Eventing in the riding world. They are tremendous tests of horsemanship and performance over three days which include a driven dressage test, a marathon over miles of countryside with complicated obstacles to negotiate at high velocity, and a cones course where speed, stamina, and accuracy are paramount. In the United States all drivers compete equally whether amateur, professional, male, female, youth, or disabled. With no concessions made on the playing field, Putnam, with a Grade 1 disability, took everyone’s breath away with her phenomenal and consistent achievements this summer culminating in one big moment at Shady Oaks.

Putnam competed in the preliminary division and earned the Charles Kellogg ADS North American Preliminary Horse Champion, Shady Oaks Preliminary Single Horse Champion, and Shady Oaks Preliminary Single Horse Cone. The preliminary division is the most hotly contested and competitive division with a field of around fifteen entries in Single Horse and over thirty entries in the overall division. To add fuel to the fire, the West Coast sponsored a highly sought after Triple Crown award combining scores at the Summer Festival CDE (Clay Station) in June, the Sargent Equestrian Center CDE in August, and Shady Oaks CDE in September. A few points separated each competitor coming into the final event. Putnam took home the West Coast Triple Crown Preliminary Single Horse co-Champion as well topping off one successful summer.

About Stefanie Putnam: Stefanie is dedicated and passionate about her interests, including design and advertising (she completed her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts/Advertising in December), public speaking, and competitive horse carriage driving. Following a devastating spinal cord injury in August of 2009 at the age of 24 which left her paralyzed from the chest down, Stefanie has embraced an amazing journey of self-discovery – rediscovering, reshaping, and rebuilding her dreams and her future. She has been blessed with the unbelievable support of many wonderful individuals who have embodied the magnificent power and triumph of the human spirit.

Stefanie has thrived through her involvement with carriage driving and is a spokesperson for United States Driving for the Disabled. She is also a prominent supporter and speaker for Canine Companions, has recently consulted with Google in the development of new product lines, and has worked with Ride Designs in Denver on sports seating for the disabled. She hopes to continue to broaden her scope as a motivational speaker/consultant combining her successes as a competitive horse carriage driver with her insights into the world of individuals facing extreme challenges. She looks forward with great anticipation and excitement to her continuing, incredible journey and is truly an inspiration to everyone around her.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

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.

Be Sociable - Share!

Leave a Reply