Katie Jackson and Royal Dancer. Photo by Susan J Stickle.
Austin, TX – November 13, 2017 – International Para-Dressage athlete Katie Jackson from Austin, Texas has been working hard in 2017 topping Grade V Para-Dressage with scores in the mid 70’s and recently earning her USDF Silver Medal and High Point Award in the Fourth Level Open Division in able-bodied Dressage. Only two years ago Jackson was just out of surgery and barely even walking after she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of soft tissue cancer. Amputation of her right leg, above her knee, was the only option to make sure all of the cancer was removed from the area. Jackson made a commitment to herself to continue to do the sport she loved and aim for the world stage. With talent, hard work, and a strong support system Jackson and Royal Dancer, now owned by Jackson and her husband Yancy thanks to the generosity of Rachel and Julia Handt, have become a top duo on the Para-Dressage stage. Jackson’s list of accomplishments in two years include earning the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Lloyd Kramer Annual Sportsmanship Trophy, United Stated Dressage Federation (USDF) Grade IV Para Equestrian National Champion Number One Rider of the Year, helping to win four gold medals at each Nation’s Cup for Team USA in Florida and California, Awarded Women’s Sports Foundation 2017 Travel & Training Grant, and currently she is the third ranked FEI World Para-Dressage Grade V athlete. In September, Jackson topped Grade V at the US Equestrian 2017 Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and CPEDI3* in Tryon, NC. In October 2017, Jackson rode at the GAIG/USDF Region 9 Championships, Southwest Dressage Championships and Houston Dressage Society Autumn Classic where she earned her USDF Silver Medal and High Point Award in the 4th Level Open Division. Finishing off the year, Jackson was presented the Grade V 2017 Adequan®/USDF Para-Dressage Grade V Rider of the Year in addition to the All Breeds Para-Dressage Rider of the Year from the Westfalen Horse Association, for her accomplishments with Royal Dancer.
In Summer 2015, Jackson could only imagine where she would be weeks, months, and years down the road. In 2016, she was a brand new Para-Dressage rider and one year amputee competing at her first international Dressage competition. Jackson stated, “It has been an incredible year and I am so thankful to be able to be on this journey. I have learned so much about myself, my riding, and what it takes to be a top competitor. It is very rewarding to challenge my body and my mind to see what I can accomplish, especially now, as an amputee.”
Jackson has been a horse woman and athlete since she began riding at six years of age focusing on Dressage. She continued her riding even after graduating from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor in Arts and then from the UCLA School of Dentistry, beginning her dental practice in Austin, TX in 2007. She noted, “Earning my silver medal has been on my bucket list of goals. Even as a little girl I always dreamed about getting to wear the pretty shadbelly coat and riding at the FEI level. I just never imagined I would be earning it so soon. Earning this medal now, as a para-equestrian, makes it even more meaningful and special for me.”
Jackson is thankful to all of her support including her husband Yancy. She is also thankful to Austin Prosthetic Center who has helped to tell her story and keep her mobile so Jackson can continue living a life without limits. Jackson added, “I am extremely grateful to Kai Handt of North Texas Equestrian Center as well for believing in me and challenging me to ride at this level. Kai’s support and coaching have aligned me for these successes and I am very thankful to be able to ride under someone with his knowledge and experience.”
Jackson is now aiming at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina and the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Wellington, FL – March 10, 2017 – Week nine of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), features CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena. Competition started on Friday at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), in Wellington, FL.
Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, finished with a win in the Para Team Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* with a score of 67.872%.
Jackson has only been riding Royal Dancer for about two weeks. “He’s been super fun to get to know,” said Jackson. “With every ride, we are getting more comfortable with each other. He’s incredible, and I’m really lucky that I get a chance to ride him.”
In regards to the pair’s future, Jackson commented, “We’ve got lots of areas to improve on, which is exciting when we see our score continue to go up. The plan for now is that I’m going to be competing him in the region, and we are already qualified for nationals in September in Tryon.”
Jackson concluded by expressing her gratitude for her team, and all of the sponsors of this week’s CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage Competition.
Second place in the Para Team Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* went to Mary Jordan (USA) and Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe) owned by Jordan, with a 67.829%.
Angela Peavy (USA) and Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare owned by Rebecca Reno, clinched a victory in the Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3*, with a score of 72.250%.
Peavy competed at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, as well as the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.
Placing second to Peavy in the Para Team Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* was Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quaterman x Medea ii x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, with a score of 67.417%. Third place was awarded to Laura Hall (CAN) and Boo Sinclair, a 2006 KWPN gelding (Sir Sinclair x Onward O’Crimson) owned by Dr. Heather Boo, with a 65.750%.
Other classes of the day included the Para Team Test Grade II – CPEDI 3*, won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) and Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349) owned by Oakleaf, with a 67.879%. The Para Team Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, awarded a win to Jody Schloss(CAN) and Lieutenant Lobin, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (Lobster x Farine) owned by Schloss, with a 69.524%.
About Margaret (Gigi) McIntosh: Margaret McIntosh broke her neck in the spring of 1999 while riding in an event, resulting in incomplete quadriplegia. Initially paralyzed from the chest down, she is eternally grateful for having the opportunity to regain her mobility. McIntosh had extensive riding experience before her accident: 1970-1976 Working student for May and Denny Emerson; 1976-1979 Working student and barn manager for Gunnar Ostergaard and Ellin Dixon; 1979-1983 Working student/groom George Theodorescu in Sassenberg, W. Germany; from 1987 through 1999 Gigi evented several horses with lots of help from Bruce Davidson, culminating in completing the CCI*** and CCI**** at Rolex Kentucky 3-Day in 1997 and 1998. Six months after her accident she began riding with Jane Cory, the owner of the Cort Center for Therapeutic Riding at Pleasant Hollow Farm in Pleasant Valley, PA. She initially asked Missy and Jessica Ransehousen for help just before the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and has enjoyed their expertise ever since. In 2012, McIntosh qualified for the London 2012 selection trials including successful trips at back-to-back CPEDI ***s in Wellington, FL. McIntosh was also the Reserve Champion at the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. Married since 1983, with two grown children (Charlotte (27) and Cameron (25)), and her husband, Brian, a retired banker. McIntosh is now aiming at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio Di Janeiro with her own Rio Rio.
About Katie Jackson: Katie Jackson was born and raised in a small town in Southern Oregon. Always a bit horse crazy, her mom finally gave in and Jackson took her first riding lesson on her sixth birthday. Jackson continued riding through high school and always found a way to keep horses in her life through college and dental school.
Jackson attended the University of San Diego for her undergraduate degree, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Biology. For dental school she decided to stay in California, attending the UCLA School of Dentistry. After dental school she did a postgraduate residency program for general dentistry which took her to San Antonio. While in San Antonio she fell in love with a Texan who happened to live up the road in Austin. Jackson and her husband have called Austin home for nine years. Jackson currently owns and manages a private dental practice in north/central Austin. When not at the office, she is out at the barn or outdoors with her husband and two labs.
Jackson’s life changed last summer when she went to the doctor for a second opinion on the pain she was having behind her knee. At 35 years old it was quite a surprise to be diagnosed with cancer. The type of cancer she had was a rare type of soft tissue cancer known as a Clear Cell Sarcoma. Amputation of the leg above her knee was her only option to make sure this aggressive cancer was removed. “I feel very fortunate that my recovery has gone as smoothly as it has,” said Jackson. As soon as she could, she was back out at the barn. Being around horses has been not only therapeutic but also a big motivation to work hard on her physical therapy.
Jackson explained, “Being able to ride and compete again was a goal from the day I heard my diagnosis. I knew I needed some direction on how to starting riding again and started looking into para-dressage. It just so happened that the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships were in being held in Katy, Texas. Just three months after surgery I headed to go watch the show. It was incredibly inspirational to watch the beautiful, talented riders. Above everything, I was thankful for the warm welcome that I received from everyone I met and all the great information I received about riding again.”
She continued, “I was most apprehensive about how to get back on safely and what my balance would be like without having my leg. To get back in the saddle I had the help of a therapeutic riding program in Austin known as H.E.L.P. This was a great way to gain confidence in the saddle again in a safe environment.”
In January Jackson went to Florida to watch the CPEDI3* in Wellington. For Jackson it was a worthwhile experience getting to watch the riders compete and to also attend the symposium featuring FEI 5* judge Carlos Lopez and U.S. Team Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. Whence returned two weeks later to watch the second CPEDI3* she received her official classification as a Grade IV Para-Equestrian. In February, Jackson went to Dallas to ride with Kai Handt, hoping to have him evaluate her riding. On that day Jackson had the opportunity to ride multiple horses and fell in love with one sweet, bay gelding. Jackson now calls that gelding Wembley her very own. In March Wembley and Jackson went to their first show with a goal of qualifying for the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. The duo completed their goal and will head to Michigan in June for the National Championships.
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.
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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 www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.