Susan Treabess and Kamiakin. Photos by Lindsay McCall.
Winters, CA – November 27, 2013 – The terms camaraderie, team, collaboration, and community were continuously noted throughout the 2013 U.S. National Para-Dressage Training Symposium West Coast. Scheduled November 20-23, 2013, trainers, riders, and auditors had an opportunity to dive into the world of para-equestrian dressage, build upon fundamentals, develop themselves and their horses, and move to the next level. Between the “Train the Trainer” session and the “Rider Symposium” attendees were educated within the classroom and interactive demonstrations. Equestrians rode their own or borrowed first-class horses in individual and collaborative coaching sessions with gold medal para-dressage coach from Great Britain, Clive Milkins, and high-performance U.S. Grand Prix rider Dennis Callin, who is currently competing in Europe. Educational instructors besides Milkins and Callin included David Schmutz, FEI 4* Para-Equestrian Judge and USEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge; Gil Merrick, Former High-Performance Dressage Director; Hope Hand, Paralympian and United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) President; Mike Tomlinson, DVM, MBA, FEI 5* Veterinarian; Tina Wentz, Physical Therapist and Para-Equestrian Classifier; Joann Benjamin, Physical Therapist and Para-Equestrian Classifier; and Lindsay McCall, who is the Public Relations Manager for the USPEA and other equestrian clientele. The 2013 Para-Dressage Symposium took place at Somerset Farm in Winters, CA. The four-day event was organized by Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports (the education partner of the USPEA) and sponsored by the USPEA and United States Equestrian Federation.
FEI Para-Dressage equestrian Susan Treabess, who was also a 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games rider, took part in the rider symposium with her own Kamiakin. He is a 2005 PRE Stallion, owned by Susan Treabess in partnership with Katie and Scott Hill of the Netherlands. Treabess commented, “This event was inspirational. As a rider I really felt the camaraderie, the sense of community and the feeling that we are all in this together. All of the trainers that accompanied their riders felt welcome and there was a lot of back and forth between clinician and trainer. It was truly about the riders. In addition, the coach collaboration sessions were exactly what we needed for our U.S. athletes. It was great to have a top-shelf grand prix rider who is competing in Europe (Dennis Callin) and a top-shelf British para-dressage coach (Clive Milkins) training gold medal riders, working together with all of the different grades. There were riders that want to be Paralympians in 10 years and there were riders trying for the World Equestrian Games in 2014. The collaboration between the two was a balance that I could not have imagined. It’s really inspiring! Some of the borrowed horse owners were watching their horses during the symposium and they were blown away with what was being done. If something like this was available when I started six years ago, I would have had a very different impression about para-dressage. When I began this sport, I had to learn all of the information provided over the week on my own. This was like law school in four days for para-dressage riders. We are fast tracking people but providing them the tools they need to succeed in the correct environment.”
For 22-year-old Ashleigh Flores-Simmons of Elk Grove, CA the symposium was beneficial for her and her mount Verite, owned by Dana Williams. Flores-Simmons explained, “Clive and Dennis were great to ride with. Each sees things that the other one may or may not have seen. This was beneficial because I got great feedback on my riding. With Clive we worked on getting the quality to come out of our gaits. We even worked on simple things like my breathing while I was riding. It was really cool because it doesn’t occur to you as a rider to use your breath as a tool but it works. Clive is very knowledgeable and it was nice to have someone like that around to pick his brain. I really enjoyed working with him.”
She continued, “Dennis was good because he pushes me and my horse to see how much we can do. Each coach had really valuable things to take away. I am excited for the future and thankful to Dennis, Verite’s owner Dana Williams and Susan (Treabess). I couldn’t have done this clinic without each person. Having someone like Susan there to support and help me is phenomenal. Dana is also supportive and so wiling to give up her horse for me to ride. She is there with me one-hundred percent.”
Flores-Simmons is aiming to qualify for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Her long-term goal is to represent the U.S.A. at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
A new para-dressage equestrian that is on a fast track to a hopeful qualification for the 2014 World Equestrian Games is 26-year-old Cambry Kaylor of Lehi, Utah. Kaylor rode Martinelli, owned by Julie Young, during the symposium due to her horse being unavailable that same week. Kaylor noted, “I was hesitant and nervous coming out, especially since my own horse couldn’t come out. After meeting everyone and being at the clinic I felt completely different; I am really happy I attended and I have learned so much. Everyone was welcoming and the symposium felt like it built camaraderie between athletes. That camaraderie will make the competitive edge within the U.S. better, elevating the U.S. Para-Dressage Team.”
Paralyzed 8 years ago, Kaylor, a past top vaulter, is enjoying the high-performance para-dressage journey. Kaylor came to the symposium wanting to attain tools to take back to her trainer David MacMillan. Kaylor explained, “When you are paralyzed, you have to have trust in your partner. Just by spending that time with Clive, learning the horse’s buttons and what to do to gain the control and trust quickly is crucial.”
Kaylor headed back to Utah after the symposium where she is studying to be an Occupational Therapist at the University of Utah, while working with her brand new international para-dressage horse.
“Thank you to Julie Young, my parents, my trainer, and everybody that put the symposium on,” said Kaylor. “I was not able to attend the one in Maine and I was fortunate to attend this one on the west coast with Dennis and Clive.”
U.S. Grand Prix equestrian Dennis Callin was impressed with the symposium he explained, “I thought this event was a very good idea and a well-executed format. I was not sure about working with Clive and it worked out better than I ever thought it could have. We complement each other really well. I learned from him and hopefully he learned from me. It was easy and fun and we produced a lot of successful moments. The horses were brilliant, the riders learned so much, and we did a lot of hard work without stressing anyone out. It raised the bar for everyone, was educational, and humbling for me. If the able-bodied U.S. Dressage Team does this with Robert Dover, then they will win gold medals.”
Clive Milkins, Great Britain para-dressage gold medal coach, agreed. “I hadn’t realized Dennis was as apprehensive as I was working with a stranger. I am surprised how easily we dovetailed into each other. It could have very easily gone horrible wrong. This was phenomenal and interesting as an auditor, coach, and rider.”
Milkins continued, “With two coaches the riders learned so much and the audience did not get left out. There were times where I could do some work with the rider and Dennis could talk to the audience about his philosophy. We would then swap over and everybody from the outside learned far more than just a lesson. That worked really great.”
Milkins, coach of multiple gold medal para-dressage rider Sophie Christansen, has seen the United States Para-Dressage Team over the past years. He believes, “All though there have been some challenges in the past for the U.S. Team I think they are on the right track. The riders must be the center of what we are doing. The rest of us need to push and help the riders in their achievements.”
Susan Treabess agreed. “We have new riders that are going to be future stars. I am really motivated by what we did at this symposium. It makes me happy to have hosted this event and I feel proud to have given the environment to produce this amazing experience. I think a symposium like this is critical to all riders as long as we can reproduce it again and again.”
During the four-day event riders enjoyed the collaborative coaching sessions between Dennis and Clive. Clive Milkins also gave the riders and auditors important educational lectures. Those sessions included talking about three main riding techniques: rhythm, straightness, and shoulders. Those three points were emphasized throughout the week. Milkins also discussed his five stages of training which takes a rider from a beginning para-dressage rider to a high-performance international athlete.
For Nathan Asby of Portland, Oregon, the symposium was his chance to learn about the discipline of para-dressage and showcase his skills in front of both coaches. Asby rode Luke Skywalker, owned by Gundi Younger, during the experience. “I had a great time riding,” exclaimed Asby. “At first I was a little nervous but as I became more relaxed I could concentrate on my riding. I enjoyed working with Clive on my seat and establishing control. I wish he was my regular trainer at home. I want to thank everyone for putting on this symposium. I really enjoyed it.”
This was Lara Oles’ third para-dressage symposium. “The connections and education you make at these symposiums are amazing,” stated Oles. “You get to talk to other people and find out how they have done things in the past, you learn about compensatory aids, you hear how other people found their horses, and you make new friends. We are a community and when you attend a symposium you know it is about the team. I attend these to improve myself but it is also fun to get validated by people that know the sport.”
Lara Oles received rave reviews about her partner American Quarter Horse Slater (AQHA registered name CD Request). Oles is looking forward to continuing her training with Annie Sweet at home in Utah. She is also hoping to qualify for the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
For beginning para-equestrian Emily Sheffield of Utah, the symposium was a chance to jump-start herself as an amateur rider. “I have enjoyed the experience and I have learned a lot about how my riding,” noted Sheffield. “I have learned how to move forward in my riding and the next stepping stone on that path. I enjoyed riding with both coaches and liked their various styles. I thought each had different personalities and unique ways of training, and I loved that. I also enjoyed riding Seth, owned by Jan Oakes. I wanted to thank her for allowing me to ride her adorable yet experienced horse.”
“I also want to thank the owner of George, who is Debbie Ross,” added rider Pam Hardin of Evans, Georgia. “George was an excellent ride and I could not have done this clinic without Debbie. I was overwhelmed when I first arrived at this symposium and I didn’t know what to expect. I was so blown away by the sport and coaches Clive and Dennis. I look forward to my future within the discipline.”
The 2013 U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium West Coast was hosted by Somerset Farm in Winters, CA. Attributions to “Train the Trainer” included Hanneke Gerritsen 5* ‘O’ Judge 5 * PE technical delegate 3* PE steward.
The event was organized by Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports and Sponsored by USPEA & USEF. For more information about Para-Dressage, please visit www.USPEA.org. Select riders attended the clinic on behalf of the USPEA and the Carlisle Charitable Foundation.
About Carlisle Charitable Foundation:
The mission of the Carlisle Charitable Foundation is to raise scholarships for students with disabilities who participate at Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports. Additionally, the Foundation supports ongoing research, promotion of medical reimbursement, and professional education in the field of equine-assisted therapy.
The Foundation is able to fulfill this mission through donations from individuals, foundations, corporations and the building of its endowment fund. Carlisle Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Maine. All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. For more information, please visit www.carlislecharitablefoundation.org.
About Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports:
Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports is a comprehensive organization offering our hallmark equestrian hippotherapy and adaptive programs, new offerings of Para-Equestrian sport, and traditional equestrian training opportunities for educators, practitioners and riders alike. The mission of Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy and Sports is to transform lives through horses through its distinctive services – rehabilitative through recreational – within an inclusive environment that fosters learning, growth and overall well-being. For more information, please visit www.carlisleacademymaine.com, call 207-985-0374, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out on Facebook.
Carlisle Academy’s charitable partner, the Carlisle Charitable Foundation, is enabling athlete participation via scholarships. For more information on scholarships, contact Deb Whitney at 207.467.3242, email@example.com, or visit their website at: http://www.carlislecharitablefoundation.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).