Sydney Collier and Willi Wesley at the June 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage WEG Selection Trials and National Championships. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com.
Wylie, TX – July 31, 2014 – Horse Radio Network’s once-a-month Para-Equestrian Show featured U.S. World Equestrian Games (WEG) Athlete Sydney Collier and her WEG groom Amy McIlwham.
Lindsay McCall from the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) hosted the show with co-host Ellie Brimmer. To listen to episode #270, please visit: http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2014/07/31/dressage-radio-episode-270-para-dressage-preview-weg-2014/.
About Sydney Collier: Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will represent Grade Ib for the USA at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This will be her first World Equestrian Games. Collier will be riding Victoria Dugan’s Willi Wesley, a 2000 Warmblood gelding. At age seven Sydney was diagnosed with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome after she began having blurry vision. Wyburn-Mason Syndrome is a rare, congenital disorder characterized by arteriovenous malformations in the central nervous system and retina. It affects only .14% of the world’s population and can cause brain hemorrhaging, stroke, paralysis, or death. In 2010 at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, Sydney and her family ran across young para-equestrian Jonathan Wentz. Wentz introduced Collier to trainer Kai Handt and veteran Paralympian Hope Hand who is President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association. Not long after the 2010 World Equestrian Games Collier began training as a Para-Dressage rider eventually pairing up with Paralympic Dressage coach Wes Dunham of Millbrook, NY. In 2012, young rider Collier had not yet reached her 16th birthday before the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials but she did earn the opportunity to compete at the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. The valuable experience of showing at the National Championships that year gave her the verification she needed to know that she was ready to aim for the 2014 WEG. Collier and her coach Wes Dunham have been working together over the past two years creating the perfect partnerships with multiple mounts. Collier began riding Wentworth (owned previously by Amy McIlwham) in 2013 and competed internationally with her horse that same year. In 2014 Collier added two new mounts to her line-up scoring top rankings in Grade Ib. This will be Collier’s first overseas trip for Para-Dressage and a dream come true for the young athlete.
About Amy McIlwham: McIlwham began riding at the age of 7, at a stable close to her house in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In 2000, she began training with Ruth Koch out of Oxford Ridge Stables in Kemptville, Ontario. Ruth generously loaned McIlwham her Grand Prix horse Favorit, and she successfully competed him at the FEI Junior level for several years.
Not long after, McIlwham was offered the ride on Marzipan, a Hanoverian stallion owned by one of Ruth’s clients. She competed him for 5 years taking him to Dressage at Devon at the FEI Junior level in 2004, and to the NAJYRC twice at the FEI Young Rider level in 2005 and 2006. “I was so lucky to have such generous people around me, and such wonderful horses to teach me so much through my Junior and Young Rider years,” said McIlwham.
After graduating from the Young Rider ranks, she purchased Wentworth, a 4 year old Hanoverian gelding, from Germany. The pair worked alongside Ruth and her other coach, Albrecht Heidemann, to develop Wentworth through the levels. He competed through second level with scores consistently in the high 60s-70s, before becoming a new partner for Sydney in the Fall of 2012.
McIlwham has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy Management and a Master’s degree in Conflict and International Security. Currently, she works full time for the Canadian government as an Analyst for Aviation Security, and she still rides as often as she can.
-Top Canadian (7th) and Team Bronze medalist at the 2001 North American Junior Dressage Championships (with Favorit)
-Individual and Team Gold Medalist at the 2002 FEI Championship of the Americas (Favorit)
-FEI Junior Champion at Dressage at Devon in 2004
-Member of the 2005 and 2006 NAJYRC Canadian Young Rider team (with Marzipan)
Once a month, the Dressage Radio Show becomes the Para-Equestrian Show Hosted by Lindsay McCall, of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, focusing on international FEI discipline Para-Dressage. Although Para-Dressage is the main event, listeners have the opportunity to learn more about the skillful U.S. Para-Driving Team, the Para-Reining discipline, Para-Vaulting, and the future of Para-Jumping. The para-equestrian dressage show will feature a line-up of guests including Olympians, Paralympians, trainers, coaches, professionals, amateur riders, young riders, and equine enthusiasts. The intention of the radio show is to educate, inform, and entertain listeners on the para-equestrian Dressage discipline.
To learn more about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or e-mail President Hope Hand at email@example.com. You may also e-mail the host of the para-equestrian segment Lindsay McCall at Lindsay@uspea.org.
About the Horse Radio Network:
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To view an online version of this press release, 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).