Tag Archives: Para-Equestrian

FEI World Ranked Para-Dressage Rider Katie Jackson Earns Top Accolades in 2017

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.

For more about Jackson’s story, please visit https://www.austinprostheticcenter.com/single-post/2017/10/21/Riding-toward-the-2020-Paralympics.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

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.

To view an online version of this press release, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.

Victory for Jessica Jo Tate and Cayman V at Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W

Jessica Jo Tate and Cayman V. Photo Credit ©RichardMalmgren.

Mill Spring, NC – September 17, 2017 – Competition concluded at the Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), with a win for Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Cayman V in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Adequan®. The pair bested competition in the George Morris Arena, earning a score of 65.294%.

Tate and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Comeback II x Damgaard’s Brunetee x Lobster), owned by Joseph Tate, ended their week of competition on a high note, finishing ahead of Alexandra Duncan (CAN) and her own Vitall, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ferro x Jarelle x Aram), who earned a 60.608% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Adequan®.

“This was my first CDI with Cayman V,” said Tate. “I am just starting out with him in this kind of electric environment. On Friday I just didn’t have him quick enough and didn’t have him connected enough. The connection wasn’t as good as it can be, so, I went home and watched the video. Today I felt like we definitely improved that. He just tried his heart out for me today, so I was really thrilled.”

Tate, of Landrum, SC, purchased the horse with the idea of getting back into the Grand Prix CDI competition arena.

She continued, “It’s exciting that things are moving in the right direction with Cayman because he is still a beginner out here. We love coming to Tryon because it’s so close. It’s a great place to gain experience with an international feel. The facility is beautiful and well thought out, and footing is world-class. It’s one of the best horse show facilities I’ve ever been to.”

Tate also collected a victory in the FEI Intermediaire I presented by Adequan® piloting Summersby, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall x St. Pr. Hauptsutbuch Roxanne x Rosenthau), owned by Joseph Tate, on a score of 69.548%. Second place position went to Emily Miles (USA) and Sir Sherlock, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Shari), owned by Leslie Waterman, with a score of 64.333%.

Of Summersby, Tate commented, “Summer was tired today, but I’ve just been incredibly proud of her this weekend. She’s ten this year, and she can be pretty firey and emotional. She just showed up this week and had her game face on. I was thrilled with her consistency and her quality, as well as her complete focus on me.”

Tate will head to Dressage at Devon in two weeks to compete, and then will begin to make preparations for the winter circuit at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

Riders made their way down centerline for their FEI Para-Freestyles, the final classes of the week in the FEI CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan®, running in conjunction with the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

The Grade V Para-Freestyle was won by Mary Jordan (USA) on her own Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe), with a score of 70.458%. Second place was captured by Katie Jackson (USA) aboard Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, on a 70.167%.

Top honors in the Grade IV Para-Freestyle were earned by Angela Peavy (USA) piloting Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenberg mare, owned by Rebecca Reno, with a score of 76.458%. Second place went to Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quarterman x Medea II x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, on a score of 72.708%. The third-place position was earned by Michele Bandinu (USA) and his own Soulman 13, a 2009 Oldenburg gelding (Swarvoski x Lovestory vii) finishing with a score of 67.042%.

The Grade III Para-Freestyle saw a win for Riley Garrett (USA) and Piston, a 2003 Canadian Warmblood owned by Garrett, on a score of 69.778%. Second place was collected by Meghan Benge (USA) and Zoey, a 2007 Welsh mare (The Key x Kurbaums Future), on a 65.667%.

The Grade II Para-Freestyle was won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) aboard Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349), with a score of 71.389%. Sharon Buffitt (CAN) and Elektra II, a 2005 Canadian Warmblood gelding (Radjah z x Nikita x Rastar) owned by Buffitt, with a score of 67.556%. Third place was captured by Jason Surnoski (CAN) aboard Bella de la Noche, receiving a score of 61.500% to finish off a strong weekend of competition.

First place in the Grade I Para-Freestyle was awarded to Margaret McIntosh (USA), aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light), scoring 71.833%. Coming in second to McIntosh was Jody Schloss (CAN) and Lieutenant Lobin, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (Lobster x Farine) with a score of 71.278%. Third place was captured by Winona Hartvikson (CAN), and Ultimo, a 2007 PRE gelding (Invasor iii x Gala xxi x Teodoro), receiving a score of 70.778%.

Angela Peavy, who represented the United States at the 2017 Paralympic Games, piloted Royal Dark Chocolate to top honors, winning the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

Commenting on her week and her National Champion title, Peavy said, “I’ve been very pleased with Cocoa all weekend, but was exceptionally happy with her today. We’ve been developing our Freestyle at each competition. The music excites her and today she just felt right on with me. She’s used to this amazing arena now, so we can just go and show everyone what we can do.”

Peavy continued, “Every day she gets more comfortable with the venue. It has such an international feel, and I wasn’t nervous, but I was pretty excited to ride it today. You never know how it’s going to go until you have it down pat, and we’ve only had it for a month or so. When that music started, I just felt right on.”

The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Champion title went home with 2016 Paralympian Margaret McIntosh, aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light).

“I didn’t know what to expect here today,” said McIntosh. “I bought Heros in June and rode her for a little while in England. She was imported at the end of July and was in quarantine for three weeks. I really was not sure what to expect, but Heros improved with every test. She’s been a model of exemplary behavior. The freestyle is old. I didn’t have time to make a new one with her. It felt like putting on an old shoe and Heros just fit right into it,” she concluded.

The third-place winner of the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte was Laurietta Oakleaf piloting Niekele Fan Busenitz. “This arena and facility is amazing. We’ve had a solid week of competition and we progressed every day. He was pretty spot on. We have a couple things to work on, but I’m really happy with him,” said Oakleaf.

For a full list of results and to learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Paris and Countess Impress in Their First FEI CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle Competition at TIEC

Molly Paris and Countess.

Mill Spring, NC – September 16, 2017 – Day two of the Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W continued at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), featuring both Small Tour and Large Tour competition in the George H. Morris Arena. Molly Paris (USA) and her own Countess, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare (Don x Compeed x Solos), rose to the occasion in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Adequan®, earning a 68.375% to achieve the victory.

“This is our first CDI-W Grand Prix together and it’s been so amazing!” said an exuberant Paris. “She’s an amazing horse. She’s been great all week. It was a great place to win. We are from Charlotte, so we absolutely love competing in Tryon!”

She continued, “I’ve had Countess for about two years, and we bought her simply because I needed a horse to move up on. We’ve done the U-25 together and Chris Hickey said, ‘You have the horse, now go do the Grand Prix,’ so here we are!”

Paris, currently ranked at number 29 with Countess on the FEI Youth Dressage U25 list, is well known for her unique freestyle music, in which this edition features an alternative tune called ‘Move’ by Saint Raymond.

Moving forward the 21-year-old plans to continue competing in the Under 25 division. Paris concluded, “I eventually want to come back to the Grand Prix, but we want to end up back at the U25 Championships first.”

Second place in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W presented by Adequan® was awarded to Elizabeth Austin and Steeped In Luck, a 2003 Irish Draught stallion (Mount Diamond Flag x Steeple View) owned by Keith Douglas, with 67.350%. Third place went to Debbie Hill (USA) and Zarcita, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood mare (Parcival x Sarita x Ahoy) owned Leslie Waterman, with a score of 66.525%.

Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Summersby, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall x St. Pr. Hauptsutbuch Roxanne) owned by Joseph Tate, bested the competition in the FEI Intermediaire I presented by Adequan® with a 68.526%.

Second place went to Kelly Layne (AUS) and her own Fürst Amante, a 2006 Rhinelander gelding by Fürst Piccolo, on a score of 65.763%. Capturing third place in the FEI Intermediaire I, was Emily Miles (USA) aboard Sir Sherlock, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding owned by Leslie Waterman, earning 64.342%.

Competition at TIEC also welcomed the FEI CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan®, featuring riders from around North America and running in conjunction with the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

Top honors in the Grade V Para-Individual Test were earned by Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, on a score of 66.746%. Second place was awarded to Mary Jordan (USA) on her own Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe) scoring 65.714%.

The Grade IV Para-Individual Test was won by Angela Peavy (USA) aboard her own Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenberg mare, owned by Rebecca Reno, with a 70.122%. Peavy was also third place aboard Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (Londonderry x Waroness x Warkant) owned by Rebecca Reno, with a score of 67.480%.

Commenting on her successful rides thus far, Peavy said, “I’ve been very happy with both horses these past two days. The first day Lancelot Warrior felt so focused. He really listened to me and was so supple. He’s fifteen years old this year, so I thought that the Paralympic Games in Rio would be it for him, but he had some time off and now he’s just come back even better.”

Peavy continued, “With Cocoa, we are still getting to know each other so every experience is a learning opportunity. I can really feel our relationship getting stronger. She goes into the arena and trusts me, and today that really showed. She went from an amazing warm-up and kept that momentum up the whole time, and that’s all I can ask of her.”

This is Peavy’s first time competing at the venue and commented, “I absolutely love it here. I always thought that Global Dressage Festival was amazing, and it is, but this is just incredible. All of the shops, the restaurants, it’s all so good for the horses too because it all has such an international feel.

“The arena is wonderful and the footing is perfect. I want Cocoa to be my next FEI World Equestrian Games™ horse, so this is incredible experience for her,” concluded Peavy.

Katie Shoemaker (USA) captured second place with a 69.350% aboard her own Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sandro Hit x Dynastie x De Niro).

Rebecca Hart (USA) clinched yet another win, this time in the Grade III Para-Individual Test, riding Rowan O’Riley’s El Corona Texel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel), as the pair finished on a 68.275% for their second winning score of the week. Riley Garrett (USA) took second place with Piston, a 2003 Canadian Warmblood owned by Garrett, on a score of 66.716%. Third place was collected by Meghan Benge (USA) and Zoey, a 2007 Welsh mare (The Key x Kurbaums Future), on a 62.108%.

First place in the Grade II Para-Individual Test was Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) aboard Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349), earning a 68.529%. Coming in second to Oakleaf was Sharon Buffitt (CAN) and Elektra II, a 2005 Canadian Warmblood gelding (Radjah z x Nikita x Rastar) owned by Buffitt, with a score of 66.225%. Third place was awarded to Jason Surnoski (CAN) aboard Bella de la Noche, a Warmblood mare, receiving a score of 64.755%.

The Grade I Para-Individual Test was won by Margaret McIntosh (USA), aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light), with a score of 70.476%. Second place went to Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Daytona Beach, a 2002 Westphalian mare (Don Bedo x Weindame) with a score of 70.476%. Third place was captured by Winona Hartvikson (CAN), and Ultimo, a 2007 PRE gelding (Invasor iii x Gala xxi x Teodoro), receiving a score of 69.286%.

To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Great Britain and Dynamic Danes Share Honours as Para Dressage Draws to a Close

Photo: Stinna Tange Kaastrupd with Horsebo Smarties (FEI/Liz Gregg)

For the second day running Denmark went head-to-head with Para-Equestrian Dressage powerhouse Great Britain as the two nations dominated a compelling final day of Freestyle to Music action in Gothenburg’s Heden Arena at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017.

Once again Great Britain edged ahead of the Scandinavians at the finish, a bold ride from serial winner Sophie Wells (GBR) on C Fatal Attraction giving them a third Freestyle gold of the day, one clear of Denmark’s haul.

It has been another glorious Championships for the Brits who, despite fielding three debutants, take home six of the 11 gold medals on offer. But Denmark will be proud of how far they pushed their illustrious rivals on day two and three, with their dynamic mixture of teenage talent and seasoned know-how promising much for the future.

The first of Great Britain’s triple Championship gold medal-winning newcomers, Suzanna Hext, kicked off proceedings riding Abira in the Grade III finale. The individual and team champion responded to the imposing marker of 76.173% set by Germany’s Steffen Zeibig and Feel Good with a confident ride to edge another gold, this time by 0.233%.

“Coming to my first Championships is enough; winning three gold medals is insane!” — European Grade III Freestyle champion Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Teenager Tobias Joergensen (DEN) on Bruunhiolms Caribian opened up Denmark’s account for the day with bronze behind Zeibig. The 17-year-old hails from a fine line of Para Dressage athletes, as his mother Line Joergensen (DEN) competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Inevitably, Great Britain’s Julie Payne was not going to let a day go past at these Championships without producing a huge score and grabbing another gold in Grade I. The 55-year- old and her incomparable mare Athene Lindebjerg showed the virtues of doing the simple things to perfection as they strutted to 80.393%, comfortably the highest mark of the week.

Three rides, three gold medals and the three highest scores of the Championship.

“I’ve certainly had more than my 15 minutes of fame,” said the ever-modest Payne, who, in case anyone should forget, was making her Championship bow.

Rihards Snikus (LAT) on King of the Dance and Elke Philipp (GER) on Regaliz swapped places from Monday’s individual test, taking silver and bronze in the Freestyle, respectively.

In the fourth category of the day, Denmark hit back once again with Susanne Sunesen levelling the tally at two gold medals each. The Dane broke the home crowd’s hearts on the way by snatching gold from Louise Jakobsson and Zernard with the final ride of Grade IV. Sunesen has a wonderfully symbiotic relationship with her horse CSK’s Que Faire.

“Before I got my injury (a farm accident in 2006 left her with incomplete paraplegia) I was riding her, until she was six years old, then she had a foal, then I got my injury and I rode her a little bit after. And then I had a foal (her daughter Sara was in the Heden Arena crowd) and she had another foal and then I started riding her again.” — Grade IV Freestyle gold medallist Susanne Sunesen (DEN)

A disappointed Sanne Voets (NED), riding Demantur, took Grade IV bronze.

And then it was the moment for two-time Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Wells (GBR) to shine in the final test of the Para Dressage Championships. She and C Fatal Attraction knew what they had to beat: Frank Hosmar (NED) and Alphaville N.O.P.’s impressive 76.955%.

“I had no idea what I was going to get out there, but he pulled it out of the bag when it mattered.” — Grade V Freestyle champion Sophie Wells said referring to her spooky horse C Fatal Attraction

The duo stormed to a Championship closing gold with 78.350%. Switzerland’s Nicole Geiger picked up her second bronze of the week with Phal de Lafayette.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Gold Rush for GB and Dutch as Para Dressage Starts with a Flourish

Photo: Pepo Puch (Europeans/ Claes Jakobsson)

Great Britain and the Netherlands flexed their considerable muscles and claimed two gold medals apiece in the Para-Equestrian Dressage on a glorious, sun-drenched first day of the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

Julie Payne (GBR) led the charge in Grade I, posting a huge 77.642% score to leave the competition trailing far behind.

“That is one of the best feelings I have ever had. It’s the best test I have done on her; she was just so in my hand; if I asked her to correct she was just answering.” — Julie Payne (GBR)

The 55-year-old was riding Athene Lindebjerg, the mare who won triple gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with former rider Sophie Christiansen (GBR). Remarkably, Payne and her new mount have only been together for three months, with the newly-crowned European champion grateful that they “just clicked”.

Grade I is for the most severely impaired athletes, with Payne describing her multiple system atrophy (MSA) as like combining motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic fatigue syndrome into one.

German Elke Philipp was delighted to take silver with 73.428%, while Rihards Snikus (LAT) held off the challenge of current freestyle world champion Sara Morganti (ITA) to snatch bronze.

Great Britain’s Suzanna Hext, a debutant on the team like compatriot Payne, edged a tight battle for Grade III glory with a score of 71.588%. She was “over the moon” with her horse Abira’s performance.

“He loves a party, loves to show off and that’s exactly what he did today. He is a horse of a lifetime.” — Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Claudia Schmidt (GER) won a second silver for Germany, with a score of 70.617% placing her just ahead of Hext’s teammate, Erin Orford (GBR).

In Grade V, defending European individual champion Frank Hosmar (NED) pushed his long-time rival Sophie Wells (GBR) into silver.

“To beat them is always what gets me out of bed,” said Hosmar of his battles with Wells and Rio 2016 freestyle gold medal winner Michele George (BEL), who finished a surprising fifth.

“We see each other in the stables, say hello and kiss-kiss; it’s not like we hate each other, but it’s fun to beat each other.” — Frank Hosmar (NED)

Compatriot Sanne Voets (NED) revealed some timely pre-competition motivation made all the difference for her gold medal-winning routine in Grade IV.

“Yesterday in the familiarisation he got really tense and today in the warm-up he was a little tense too, but I said to him ‘c’mon boy, we can do this’ and I’m really, really proud of the way he handled everything,” Voets said after scoring 72.353%.

Belgium’s Manon Claeys claimed silver with a mark of 71.560% and Louise Etzner Jakobsson (SWE) delighted the home crowd by claiming bronze.

“I am proud to be a Swede in the Championships here,” Jakobsson said. “I always try to ride like I am home, wherever I am.”

Veteran Pepo Puch (AUT), a former international three-day eventer, defended his European title in Grade II, triumphing with 73.382%, ahead of Nicole de Dulk (NED) and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

US Para-Dressage Athletes Continue Successful Summer 2017

Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Thousand Oaks, California – July 22, 2017 – Summer 2017 began with an impressive international showcase from the United States Para-Dressage riders. The United States Para-Dressage Team dominated at the Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3* held at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, Calif. June 15-18. The Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3* was followed by an exciting Para-Dressage Symposium with Michel Assouline and US Equestrian Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt, all sponsored by US Equestrian. Across the pond, 2016 Paralympian (USA) and 2014 World Equestrian Games athlete Annie Peavy headed to Europe this summer riding at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage July 5-9, located at the Hartpury College in Hartpury, Gloucestershire, England. Peavy rode her Paralympic mount Lancelot Warrior and her new mount Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy and her 2008 Oldenburg mare, Royal Dark Chocolate, owned by Rebecca Reno, scored a 72.425% in the Grade IV Freestyle competition. Their outstanding first show has prepared them for their next journey to the Bishop Burton CPEDI3* July 25-29, held at Bishop Burton College in Bishop Burton, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Fellow Paralympic teammate Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh (USA) will join Peavy at Bishop Burton with her new partner, 13 year old Danish Warmblood mare, Heros. Finally, United States riders in both National and International will close out the summer competition at the USEF Para Equestrian Dressage National Championship Sponsored by Deloitte, September 14-17, held at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games competition.

The Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3*, held at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, Calif. June 15-18, showcased veteran para-dressage riders and many new horse and rider combinations. The U.S. Team led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt included Katie Jackson and NTEC Royal Dancer (Grade V); Roxanne Trunnell with NTEC Daytona Beach (Grade I), Michele Bandinu with Soulman 13 (Grade IV); and Kate Shoemaker and Solitaire 40 (Grade IV). World Equestrian Games (2014) and Paralympian (2016) Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Daytona Beach topped Grade I over the three days. “The first day was wonderful,” said Trunnell. “She pranced to a 69.571% the highest score of the day. Since Daytona is a big girl it takes her a little bit longer to get her back supple for that nice, swingy, forward walk that the judges want to see in the Grade I tests compared to the more compact horses. So to aid with this situation I did a lot of lateral work with her. Even with 100 degree temperatures Daytona was a soldier. Since Daytona has a long giraffe neck I’ve been playing around with her frame. She starts to get tense in the back when I have her really up in the bridle but when I warm her up where she is reaching for the bit and let her frame become more relaxed and natural to her, she rounds up nicely in her back and gets a relaxed swingy forward walk. I was happy how consistent she was that whole weekend.”

Trunnell added, “My coach and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt has been helpful for not only the U.S. Team but for Daytona and me as a pair. An example of this is how Kai speaks about keeping a horse forward. He said, ‘a horse is like a Porsche: the engine is in the back. You ride a horse from the back first.’ Daytona is a horse that needs to be ridden from behind and that requires a tremendous amount of half-halts. Knowing that she is trained this way has helped me keep her responsive and pretty in the show ring by giving her little ‘wake-up calls’ in the form of half-halts from my seat during a test.”

Other notable rides at the CPEDI3* included new para-equestrian partnership Alanna Flax-Clark and Real Erbeo in Grade II; Ashleigh Flores-Simmons and Binero in Grade III; new rider Michele Bandinu and Soulman 13 in Grade IV; and Katie Jackson and NTEC Royal Dancer in Grade V.

Equestrians were able to move from the CPEDI3* to the US Equestrian Para-Dressage Symposium with Michel Assouline and US Equestrian Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt that same week.  Michel Assouline was recently named the US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs. This symposium opportunity included lectures, collaborative coaching, and intensive work on what the judges are looking for in the new FEI Para-Dressage Tests.

Michel Assouline commented, “I was pleasantly surprised to find an overall good standard of riders and horses. The facilities were really stunning and well organized in Rancho Murieta. I liked the concept of mixing para-dressage and able-bodied dressage competitions which generates broader crossway interest. The horse and rider combinations looked good indeed with room for improvement. I felt the riders and their coaches all had the ability to enhance the skill sets needed to develop their horses’ performance. Everyone was so keen to learn.”

Assouline and Handt conducted this similar symposium on the East Coast just months prior. Assouline said, “I am happy to say there are equally good quality riding and horses on both sides. The depth on the East coast is obviously greater. In California we worked on Improving their horses’ way of going including throughness, connection, contact and activity. We also worked on test presentation and outline awareness; accuracy. In addition to picking up marks where it’s easy.”

Assouline concluded, “I enjoyed working with Kai very much. I was able to bring different approaches and structures to the established system which Kai seemed to have embraced. Riders benefited from a daily test review with video analysis which is an important step forward and aid in the way we should up our game. I also included videos of recent top European riders in action to create an awareness of where riders are at present, and where they have to go and surpass themselves eventually. In the US, para-dressage riders tend to compare themselves against one another because it’s the only option with the lack of international competitors, so we need to offer them European exposure in the form of videos for the moment, being the cheapest option. I intend to monitor progress through an online competition system too which is being set up by Laureen Johnson and the USEF IT Team. In the meantime several riders have been regularly sending video links for advice.”

Understanding what each athlete’s counterparts are showcasing in the international arena may be the key to the US riders earning medals at the world championships. Each year a handful of US Para-Dressage riders head overseas to immerse themselves within European competition. Annie Peavy headed to the Hartpury Festival of Dressage July 5-9, with Lancelot Warrior and Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy explained, “Hartpury was great exposure with my new horse Cocoa. We learned a lot as a team; the more I get to know her, the more I love riding her. Both Cocoa and Lance traveled to England well; I am grateful to have two strong competitors. Our plans are to stay in England the rest of July and compete at Bishop Burton. I am thankful for my parents endless support along with my groom, Alex Philpin, and trainer, Heather Blitz.”

2016 Paralympian Margaret McIntosh will join Peavy in Bishop Burton this July. Along her side will be Michel Assouline’s wife and classical dressage trainer Mette. McIntosh said, “After hearing a resounding endorsement of her horse-hunting talent (she found both British Grade I team horses), I asked Mette Assouline to help me find a Grade I horse. Missy (Ransehousen) and I met her in Denmark in May, where we found Heros, a 13 year old, 16.1, dark brown Danish Warmblood mare. I am training with Mette at her farm in Colne Engaine, Essex, U.K. for the month of July with the CPEDI3* at Bishop Burton and Tryon in September as our goals. My regular coach Missy Ransehousen will be here at the end of July to help me at the show. I am so excited to have the opportunity to ride and train in Great Britain, the Mecca of Para Equestrian Dressage. Many thanks to my great support group, including Missy and Jessica Ransehousen, my family, especially Brian, and Assouline Dressage for helping me make this incredible journey happen.”

US Para-Dressage athletes will finish the summer off with the USEF Para Equestrian Dressage National Championship Sponsored by Deloitte in Tryon, NC. The Para-Dressage show is scheduled for September 14-17, 2017.

The United States Para-Equestrian Association would also like to mention four para-dressage horses that have passed this year. Rider Lara Oles lost her Bella earlier in the year, Katie Jackson lost her horse Wembley in April, Elle Faulkner lost Flash Dance in June, and Ashleigh Flores-Simmons lost Binero in July. The USPEA would like to express their sincere sympathy for each of these riders.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

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.

Kristi Wysocki Earns FEI Five Star Para-Dressage Judge Promotion

Thousand Oaks, California – July 8, 2017 – Kristi Wysocki, of the United States, was recently promoted as a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) 5* Para-Dressage judge. A 5* accreditation is the highest rank given to international judges. Wysocki is the only US FEI 5* Para-Dressage judge joining only a handful of experts in the world with this level of expertise.

Wysocki was first introduced to the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2008 Unites States Equestrian Federation Para-Equestrian Dressage Selection Trials for the 2008 Paralympic Team. Her next exposure to the sport was at the CPEDI3* held at N.E.D.A. Fall Show in 2009. Watching the athletes and horses and speaking with the international panels of judges during these competitions drew her attention to the value of the sport. She recognized the minimal funding the Para-Dressage riders had so in the spring of 2010, Wysocki organized a fundraising event for the U.S. Para-Dressage riders in Loxahatchee, Florida. She also attended the U.S. Para-Dressage training camp for the 2010 World Equestrian Games held in Lexington, Kentucky. Each of these experiences made Wysocki more interested in becoming further actively involved in the sport. In 2011 Wysocki became a FEI 3* Para-Dressage judge. In 2012 she served on the Selection Committee for the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team. She was promoted to an FEI 4* Para-Dressage judge in July 2013 and obtained her Technical Delegate status in the spring of 2014. She has served on the U. S. Equestrian Para-Dressage Committee since the spring of 2011 and currently serves as the chair of that committee. She now sits on the U.S. Equestrian International Disciplines Council as a representative for the Para-Dressage sport.

Wysocki is a lifelong horsewoman in addition to her past career as an engineer. Her engineering background and degree in Metallurgical Engineering has always given her a keen interest in both horse and rider biomechanics. Wysocki noted, “It was not until she became involved in the Para-Dressage branch of Dressage that she really started to see just how much the two can become one, despite many physical hurdles.” Wysocki feels her experience in this division has helped her learn so much more about this most important aspect of riding. She stated, “Para-Dressage has only enhanced my life-long love and bond to the horse. I really feel my experiences in Para-Dressage have made me more aware of the relationship between the two athletes (horse and rider).  I truly believe it has made me not only a worthy Para-Dressage judge but also a much better Dressage judge, trainer and rider than I would have been without.”

Hope Hand, President of the USPEA, noted, “The US is extremely proud of Kristi’s accomplishments and her dedication and commitment to the Para-Dressage Program.”

Wysocki concluded, “I am honored and humbled to be promoted to an FEI 5* Para-Dressage judge.”

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.

Hanneke Gerritsen Para Dressage/Dressage Symposium and Schooling Show June 2-4

Lyman, Maine – May 22, 2017 – Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, recognized as a USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Center of Excellence, will host a Para Dressage/Dressage Symposium and Evaluation Ride Schooling Show June 2-4, with Hanneke Gerritsen. Hanneke Gerritsen is a FEI 5* Paralympic Dressage Judge and Deputy Chair of the FEI Technical Committee. Gerritsen will offer an educational and interactive symposium packed with information and training for riders and coaches. The symposium will be held at the Carlisle Academy located in Lyman, Maine. Friday & Saturday, June 2-3, 2017, includes the Dressage & Para-Dressage Symposium, followed by Sunday, June 4, Dressage & Para-Dressage Schooling Show. Para-dressage athletes, dressage riders, and interested veterans are encouraged to attend. For more information about dates, activities, or biographies, please visit http://carlisleacademymaine.com/programs/sports-education/para-dressage-education-training/ or contact Sarah Armentrout, Head of School, at sarmentrout@carlisleacademymaine.com or 207-985-0374.

This will be Hanneke Gerritsen’s fifth visit to Carlisle Academy. During the symposium riders will have 45-minute private mounted sessions each day along with lecture-based education. Trained program horses are available. PATH Instructors and Dressage Coaches are encouraged to audit lessons and participate in coach development sessions. A USEF National Classifier will be available for classification. A Sports Medicine Veterinarian will lecture and utilize horses for demonstrations. Veterans may participate free of charge and are encouraged to audit to learn more about the sport, in collaboration with to an Adaptive Sports Grant provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Participants will receive a bound manual on a variety of topics with accompanying lectures on Para-Dressage Classification Process, Introduction to Para-Dressage Competition, A Judge’s Perspective on Winning Rides/Video Analysis, Musical Freestyle Tips, Adaptive Equipment & Compensation Aids, Paralympic Military Program, and Common Equine Athlete Soft Tissue Injuries. Sunday’s schooling show is open to symposium participants, but is managed under a separate registration.

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.

Riders Have Successful Symposium with Para-Dressage Coach Michel Assouline

Assouline speaks to symposium attendees.

Wellington, FL – March 22, 2017 – Team Great Britain Para Equestrian Dressage Coach Michel Assouline flew to Wellington, FL to conduct a Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14, 2017. The symposium followed the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. For United States Para-Dressage riders this was a unique opportunity to work on the new FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Tests following an international competition. Both Assouline and U.S Para-Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt worked with each athlete and their home coaches in the Van Kampen Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The focus of the symposium was finding the appropriate competitive horse for each athlete’s Grade and working on what the judges are looking for in the new Tests.

Michel Assouline noted, “I had the pleasure to work with riders and coaches at the Wellington International Equestrian Center, during the USEF Para-Equestrian Symposium. Horses had quality and true potential to progress with the aim to gain consistent marks in competition. It was a question of seeing what they can be rather than what they were, repeating good habits in their training routine which will be more easily replicated in competition. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Training sessions were fragmented in building blocks to identify blockers in detail, which were then shared with coaches, as attention to detail is everything in any winning culture. A really exciting pool of good rider-horse combinations.”

Para-Dressage rider Katie Jackson took part in the symposium with Assouline. She expressed, “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to learn from Michel Assouline.  The symposium was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to learn from one of the best in our sport.  On the first day Michel shared valuable insight about developing the para-dressage athlete, giving us his perspective on how to grow as individual riders and as a team.  He also spoke on the key areas that have created the success of Team Great Britain, including having a strong foundation for riders, coaches, and their support teams to grow and develop from.  During my rides I appreciated Michel’s attention to detail. I especially liked his patience and focus on correct basics such as straightness and connection to improve the horses’ gaits.  He gave helpful suggestions on how Royal and I can improve as a team and I felt that we made some big improvements over the two days of riding.  A big thank you to USEF/USPEA and our sponsors for making this symposium possible.”

For more information about future U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposiums, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email: lkjohnson@usef.org.

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.

Final CPEDI 3* of the Season Concludes at AGDF

Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele Fan Busenitz. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 12, 2017 – Week nine of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) featured CPEDI 1*/2*/3* Para Dressage, presented by Mane Stream courtesy of Rowan O’Riley, Mission Control, Adequan®, and Nutrena. Competition concluded on Sunday at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

The Para Freestyle Test Grade II – CPEDI 3* was 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 70.833%.

Commenting on her ride, Oakleaf said, “We are improving from where we were at this point last year. We are working on stretching him more forward, and his gaits are much bigger, so we’ve got to re-do our musical freestyle to fit him better. I’m very proud of him, and I’m very proud of the direction we’re headed. We are working for a spot at the 2018 World Equestrian Games so I’m hoping we can really keep moving forward.”

Oakleaf and Niekele Fan Busenitz won all three of their classes throughout the weekend.

“He is a Friesian, and I tried to find something that would fit him,” said Oakleaf in regard to her musical freestyle. “We wanted something that represented his presence as a stallion, so I tried to find something with a good beat and something to keep him up and going with that beat.”

Second place in the Para Freestyle Test Grade II – CPEDI 3* went to Dale Dedrick (USA) and her own Bardondales Ultrasuede, a 2007 Connamera Cross gelding, with 70.056%.

Other classes of the day included the Para Freestyle Test Grade I – CPEDI 3*, which was won by Robyn Andrews (CAN) and Fancianna, a 2001 Friesian x Andalusian mare owned by Andrews, with 73.500%. Charlotte Merle-Smith (USA) and Firewalker, a 2006 Westfalen gelding owned by Merle-Smith, took the winning ride in the Para Freestyle Test Grade III – CPEDI 3*, scoring 69.056%. Katie Jackson (USA) and Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Julia Handt, captured a win in the Para Freestyle Test Grade V – CPEDI 3* with a score of 74.458%.

Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quaterman x Medea ii x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, were victorious in the Para Freestyle Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 73.458%.

Placing second to Hardin in the Para Freestyle Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* were Angela Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenburg mare owned by Rebecca Reno, who scored 72.375% with their “Chocolate” themed freestyle.

Peavy and “Cocoa” were also named high point horse and rider of the weekend, with an overall score of 71.798%.

“Her canter tour is my favorite,” said Peavy of her freestyle. “She’s very elastic and flowing in the canter. We have a nice serpentine and different, exciting movements. The theme was picked to go along with her name so it suits her.”

Third place in the Para Freestyle Test Grade IV – CPEDI 3* was awarded to Eleanor Brimmer (USA) and London Swing, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (Londonderry x St. Pr. St. Ribanna x Rubinstein I) owned by Martina and Kai Schneider, with a 65.958%.

Competition at AGDF will resume Wednesday, March 15, with the CDI 4* and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Havensafe Farm; CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation; and CDI 1*, presented by CaptiveOne. The week also features a National Show and the 2017 Florida International Dressage Youth Championships. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.