Tag Archives: Hope Hand

United States Para-Equestrian Association Remembers Organization President Hope Hand

Hope Hand at the Tryon CPEDI3* in Mill Spring, NC. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Newtown, Pennsylvania – June 29, 2022 – Hope Hand, USPEA President, passed peacefully surrounded by family at age 73 on June 12, 2022. Surviving is her husband, Stanley Hand, daughter Amy Cappozzoli and son in law Eric and their children, Parker and Lincoln, a brother, Charlie Kean and sister-in-law Pamela Kean, and her westie, Finley.

Sleep may be the only thing Hope Hand did not do well, and it would be no wonder since she gave 110% of her boundless energy and time to Para Equestrian Sport and Para Dressage. Constantly promoting, recruiting, educating, and encouraging everyone she met as she traveled at her own expense to all US International and National Championship competitions and to numerous Para Dressage symposiums, clinics, and Centers of Excellence. Hope not only knew every US Para Dressage athlete from emerging to elite, but recruited many of them, and was available 24/7 to all to advise, encourage, and educate them on their journey to be the best. Hope is well known in the equestrian world globally for her tireless work in advancing Para Equestrian sport and has served on numerous boards and committees, all in the pursuit of bringing competition excellence to the US in Para Dressage.

Two-time Paralympian Barbara Grassmyer and close friend of Hope remembered their time together. “Hope and I traveled many miles together. We were competitors first then became close friends. It was always an adventure when traveling with Hope. From flat tires in Germany to her being carried up two flights of stairs to the train by my Dad and the Mayor of the small town in Germany. She had a big smile and thrived on the adventures we had together. While we were in England, we decided to go to a safari park. While driving through the monkey area, a few came through the sunroof, making us laugh. Hope had a heart of gold and made sure everyone around her had a fantastic time. She became my mentor and then when my parents couldn’t make the international trips, she became my show mom. While I was horse shopping, I called her to tell her I found my dream horse. She didn’t like it when I informed her that Mibis was a chestnut mare. She came to love Mibis almost as much as I did. When Hope retired from competition, she took on yet another role as president of the USPEA. Without Hope the United States Para Dressage program would not be where it is today. In 2021, we had a watch party for the Tokyo Paralympics. We all stayed up all night cheering on the USA team. We both had tears of happiness when the team won the bronze and Roxie Trunnell won the gold medals for the United States. I enjoyed my time with the Hand family especially when I stayed with them for two summers before the Athens and Hong Kong Olympics. Their family was my family, and I watched her daughter Amy grow up, I watched Hope become a grandmother to two grandsons, and I met many of Hope’s dogs over the years. Hope was one amazing lady who never took no for an answer. She is greatly missed by her west coast family.”

Hope’s list of accomplishments and committee representations were always to help promote and grow the sport of Para-Dressage. Her achievements are as follows:

  • Established and served as President of the United States Para Equestrian Association 2010-2022
  • FEI Para Dressage Technical committee 2016-2020 & 2006-2010
  • USEF IDC member 2013-2022
  • USEF Para Dressage Sports Committee Vice Chair 2013-2022, Chair 2006-2013
  • Para Dressage Centers of Excellence panel 2017-2022
  • Path International Advisory Board 2018-2022
  • USEF Board member 11years 2002-2013
  • USDF Para Dressage Committee Chair 2006 up to restructuring ~2013
  • Instrumental in helping with the transition of Para Dressage into the USEF and FEI in 2006
  • Para Dressage Athlete representing the US at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics serving as Team Captain, 1999 World Dressage Championships Denmark earning a bronze, 1997 British Invitational earning a gold and bronze, and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics
  • 1997 Bradshaw Challenge Cup at the Festival of Champions, competed with fellow team members Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel
  • Spearheaded the first Para Dressage group fundraiser – webathon in 2010
  • Initiated clinics with high profile AB dressage clinicians stand alone and after CPEDI3* for PD riders, including Debbie McDonald 2011, Mette Rosencrantz 2012, and more
  • Initiated clinics/symposiums with FEI Para Dressage judges/trainers Hanneke Gerritsen 2011, Carlos Lopes
  • Worked to secure two spots for Para Dressage in Able-Bodied dressage clinics 2009-2011 with top clinicians Sue Blinks and Robert Dover
  • Has attended all US CPEDI3* to meet with new riders, parents, and clinicians for education information and recruitment.
  • Production of Para Dressage promo videos 2009 & 2011
  • Instrumental in the development of Para 101 for athlete education
  • Consistently works with show secretaries and regional dressage areas to include Para dressage classes at their licensed shows, and developed education sheet for how to include classes working with USDF
  • Recruitment of Para Dressage sponsors
  • Instrumental in working with show secretaries & USEF to hold CPEDI3* in the US
  • Initiated Train, the trainer program with FEI 5* judge & trainers Hanneke Gerritsen working with Carlisle continued developing symposiums for Train the trainer & developing HP athletes 2012-2014
  • Instrumental in working with USDF to establish Para Dressage year-end awards
  • Working with USEF to include Para Dressage in NAJYRC, and sponsor 2015 & 2016
  • Established & Developed the Para Dressage mentor program through USPEA
  • Worked with US Pony Club Association to mainstream Para Dressage riders

Tina Wentz who serves as interim President of the USPEA is also a mom of Jonathan Wentz who was a Para Dressage rider that rode on the U.S. Team 2010-2012. Wentz noted, “I had the incredible privilege of working alongside Hope since the time she first formed the USPEA, and I have yet to figure out how she was able to do the work of ten every single day, always with a twinkle in her eyes. I met Hope because of my son Jonathan. Hope and Jonathan, also a Paralympic equestrian, shared the same competitive spirit and independent mindset of never considering their disability but in developing their abilities. They saw themselves as parallel to able bodied athletes and fiercely promoted that to others. Para means parallel.”

Wentz continued, “The board of USPEA and all who knew and loved her will strive to continue her vision of Para truly being parallel, with ALL athletes focused and working together to improve their ability in equestrian sport and life. Hope was a remarkable and irreplaceable individual that I am so thankful to have known as a kindred spirit and friend. And I know she’d say to all of us don’t stop now, you must carry on!”

A memorial service is being planned later this year. Details will be published once confirmed. Follow United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) on Facebook to up to date on information.

USPEA accepts tax-deductible donations, and they may be sent to USPEA c/o Ellie Brimmer, USPEA Secretary, 12359 Westhall Pl, Wellington, FL 33414.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Hope Hand Awarded Pegasus Medal of Honor

Hope Hand (front center) receiving her Pegasus Medal of Honor. Photo by Adam Brennan.

Wellington, Florida – January 23, 2020 – On January 10, 2020, equestrians gathered at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. Top athletes, owners, horses, and supporters were honored for their dedication to the equestrian sport. Hope Hand (Newtown Square, Penn.) was awarded the Pegasus Medal of Honor that evening in front of a large and grateful crowd. Hand was commended on her interminable push over the past 25 years for growing the Para-Equestrian discipline from the grassroots through the high-performance level. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was created as an annual award to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport through their dedication. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was earned by individuals who have excelled in attracting people to the sport and have contributed to horse sport by advancing its popularity. Hand’s contributions to the sport have extended from being a Paralympic athlete to President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association to numerous board and staff positions within the international sport. Hand’s efforts occur on a daily basis to support and grow the sport she loves for both the horses and disabled athletes. Hand wears many hats including being both ambassador and role model.

Hand has been a part of Para-Equestrian since it was a network of therapeutic linked shows, borrowed mounts as catch rides, the introduction of Paralympic Equestrian, joining USEF, the addition of Para-Driving, and the first World Equestrian Games with Para-Equestrian Dressage. Hand has been the wheels that made Para-Dressage a talked-about sport, but she rode to top medals in her equestrian career.

Hand was an alternate of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Team and competed at the British Invitational in 1997, earning gold and a bronze. In 1998, she was one of the four disabled riders competing at the Bradshaw Challenge of Champions. As a member of Team USA, she won a bronze medal at the 1999 World Dressage Championships in Denmark and competed at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia. From riding to ambassador Hope has helped propel the sport to where it currently stands.

In 2018, Hand witnessed the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage team earn four medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon. For Hand, this was a pinnacle moment where every phone call, every plane flight, every clinic, and every ride down centerline was worth it all. With her cheerful personality and ability to accomplish any goal she sets forth, the Para-Equestrian sport continues to have a champion leader who gives it her all for the riders, coaches, sponsors, volunteers, show managers, and all involved.

Many of those riders, coaches, sponsors, volunteers, and show managers would say their first interaction with Para-Equestrian began with Hope Hand. Her words of encouragement and expertise are always welcome to newbies in the equestrian world.

Top international athlete Katie Jackson remembers that moment for her. “Hope was one of the first people I met when I began looking into para-dressage after my cancer.  I will always be grateful to her for how comfortable and welcome she made me feel as we sat together and she shared information with me.  Her enthusiasm and love for the sport were immediately apparent.  Hope has dedicated herself to furthering the para-equestrian sport and is someone I look to as a role model. She is generous in sharing her knowledge and experience and has devoted significant amounts of her time to para-sport on all levels.  From her involvement with USEF, USPEA, and her participation at the FEI level, to welcoming new riders at symposiums across the country and being ringside, always smiling and cheering on the riders, Hope is a true ambassador of our sport.  I cannot think of a person better suited to receive the Pegasus Medal of Honor.”

Tina Wentz, who served as a National Para equestrian classifier and later a FEI International classier and currently serves on the board of the USPEA, is a selector for the U.S. Team, and was mother to the late Paralympian Jonathan Wentz, joins Hand at many events and has been a part of the sport since 1998. Wentz said sincerely, “Sleep may be the only thing Hope Hand does not do well and it would be no wonder since she gives 110% of her boundless energy and time to Para-Equestrian Sport and Para-Dressage. Constantly promoting, recruiting, educating, and encouraging everyone she meets as she travels at her own expense to all US International and National Championship competitions and to numerous Para Dressage symposiums, clinics, and Centers of Excellence. Hope not only knows every US Para-Dressage athlete from emerging to elite but recruited many of them and is available 24/7 to all to advise, encourage, and educate them on their journey to be the best. Hope is well known in the Equestrian world for her tireless work in advancing Para-Equestrian sport and has served and is serving on numerous Boards and committees. All in the pursuit of bringing competition excellence to the US in Para-Dressage.”

Managing Director, USEF Licensed Officials Sally Ike, commented, “I hadn’t known that Hope was going to receive the Pegasus award until that evening when I saw her before dinner and congratulated her. Her acceptance speech brought back so many memories when she mentioned my name. I was first introduced to Hope about 25 years ago when I had a phone call from Jumper rider Debbie Stephens.  Debbie called to let me know that her friend Hope Hand was going to call me.  Most specifically, Debbie alerted me that Hope was in a wheelchair, and then clarified her statement by saying that there was nothing handicapped about her. Hope called, and brought some of her friends to help me with a clinic we were doing at the USET in Gladstone.  They did wheelies down the ramp to the USET’s Indoor.  The first Paralympic Games were a few years afterward.  An argument could be made that the Para-Equestrian movement in the United States began those November days at the USET. We have so much to thank Hope for; there is not a more deserving winner of this award.”

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