Tag Archives: Para-Equestrian

Apply Now for the USPEA Jonathan Wentz Memorial Grants

The Jonathan Wentz Memorial (JWM) Competition Grants were established to continue the dream of Paralympian Jonathan Wentz; to advance Para Dressage in the USA by supporting and encouraging Para Dressage Youth, Adult & Veteran athletes to set the goal of National and International competition.

At age 13 Jonathan set the goal of riding for the USA in the Paralympics. At age 16 he established a plan and budget to achieve his dream. In 2012, at the age of 21, Jonathan was able to achieve his dream of riding for Team USA in the 2012 London Paralympics, earning the highest placing of all U.S. equestrians that competed in London.

Jonathan saw the need to develop a pathway for Para Dressage Emerging athletes in order to help grow and improve Para Dressage in the USA. The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Grants were developed to help offset the expense of participating in National and International competitions to encourage the growth of USA Para Dressage. Download the grant application here.

Grant #1 The JWM Emerging Athlete National Competition Grant

The JMW Emerging Athlete National Grant is intended for Emerging Para Dressage Youth, Adult & Veteran athletes, ages 12 within the competition year through adults who are actively competing in National Para Dressage competitions at USDF/USEF Licensed competitions.

The JMW Emerging Athlete National Grant is intended to be used to help offset the expense of participating in National competitions. Grant reimbursement may include entry and stabling fees, trainer fees, and/or horse transportation,

Grants of $250 may be awarded for up to two USDF/USEF competition per calendar year, showing in FEI Para Dressage Test of Choice classes. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and availability of funding.

Guidelines for Application of The JWM Emerging Athlete National Competition Grant:

  1. Athletes must be an active member of USPEA.
  2. Must have a current USEF National Classification with a confirmed Grade or Review Set Date Status.
  3. Athletes must be age 12 or older within the competition year.
  4. Grant is to offset expense of entering and competing in a USDF/USEF Licensed competition in FEI Para Dressage TEST OF CHOICE classes.
  5. Athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Competition Grant Application (page 1) with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices, and/or receipts for consideration of grants. Grants are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or horse transport only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9 and will be subject to approval.
  6. Athlete may only apply for one grant at a time (maximum two (2) Grant #1 per calendar year, six grants maximum lifetime).

Note: Athletes may only receive this grant a maximum of six times. Athletes who have achieved a 62% or higher in the Team, Individual, or Freestyle test at a CPEDI3* are not eligible for Grant #1.

Grant #2 The JMW Young Athletes International Competition Grant

The JMW Young Athletes International Competition Grant is intended for assisting USA Para Dressage Young Athletes (ages 16-21 within the competition year), who are eligible to compete in CPEDI 1-3* International Para Dressage competitions and have not yet achieved a 62% or above in the Team or Individual FEI Para Dressage tests at a CPEDI3*.

The JWM Young Athletes International Competition Grant is intended to be used to help offset the expense of participating in International (CPEDI) competitions. Grant reimbursement may include entry and stabling fees, trainer fees, and/or horse transportation.

Grants may be awarded up to $1,000.00 for the athletes competing in a CPEDI competition. Grant amount will be based on horse transport mileage. (> 500 miles = $500.00; > 750 miles = $750.00; > 1,000 miles = $1,000.00 max. Miles noted are based on one way.)

Grants may be awarded for a maximum of one CPEDI event per competition year with a maximum of $1,000.00 awarded per competition. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and availability of funding.

Guidelines for Application of The JWM Young Athletes International Competition Grant:

  1. Athletes must be an active member of USPEA (membership at uspea.org).
  2. Athletes must be 16-21 years old within the competition year.
  3. Athletes must have a USEF National Classification or FEI International Classification with an assigned Grade with the status of Confirmed or Review Set Date. A FEI Classification is mandatory for participation in a FEI CPEDI.
  4. Athlete must have received a minimum score of 64% in the past 6 months at a USDF/USEF Licensed show or through USPEA Video Judging in the Novice A & B test for a CPEDI 1 & 2*; and in the Team, Individual, and Freestyle test for a CPEDI3*. Tests must be in the athlete’s classified grade.
  5. Grant is intended to offset the expense of entering and competing in an FEI CPEDI.
  6. Athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Competition Grant Application (page 1) with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices, and/or receipts for consideration of grants. Grants are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or horse transport only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9 and will be subject to approval.
  7. Athlete may only apply for one grant at a time (maximum one (1) Grant #2 per calendar year, 2 grants maximum lifetime).

Note: Athletes may only receive this grant a maximum of two times. Athletes who have achieved a 62% or higher in the Team, Individual, or Freestyle test at a CPEDI3* are not eligible for Grant #2.

Both Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and the availability of funds. Athletes may only apply for one Grant at a time.

Download the grant application here.

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

Announcing the Para Dressage Virtual National Judging Program

USPEA is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 virtual Para Dressage Judging Program. To kick off the pilot program, one FEI Para 3* International Judge, Adrienne Pot, has graciously agreed to view video submissions and provide official score sheets for each test entered.

The Para Dressage Virtual judging program is the first step in tackling the huge geographical challenge in the US. It takes ongoing monitoring and regular assessment to improve performance in any sport, and we trust this great opportunity provided to you by USPEA will encourage you to pursue the sport of Para Dressage and allow you to achieve your goals, whether it be competition or just for the pure joy the horse can contribute to your well-being.

The Emerging National Virtual Judging Program is being offered to the riders as a first step into competition with an emphasis on using the Introductory Tests to work up the levels of their Classified Grade.

Eligibility

Athlete

  • All athletes, 12 years old and over, with a permanent, measurable, physical disability are welcome to enter a FEI Para Dressage Test of Choice (Introductory, Novice, Team, Individual, Freestyle) in their Classified Grade.
  • Riders must either have a National or FEI Classification riding at their grade level to participate in the program.
  • This Program is only for the Emerging Para Dressage Athlete for Classified Grade athletes wishing to compete at the National level. The National Program is to compliment the USEF Developing/Elite Program and not to replace or compete with the International Program.

Horse

Horses must be a minimum of six (6) years of age. The age is counted from the 1st January of the year of birth. Recommend horse be braided.

Dress

  1. All Athletes must be neatly and correctly dressed at all times.
  2. Protective Headgear must be worn by Athletes at all times when mounted.
  3. Black or brown boots or stout riding shoes with heels must be worn. Plain black or brown half-chaps or gaiters to the knee may be used.
  4. For On-Line Video Competitions, breeches shall be worn; jackets are optional, but recommended.
  5. Stock or tie: optional, but recommended. White, off-white, or same color as coat.
  6. Gloves: white, off-white, or same color as coat.
  7. Riding boots: black or same color as coat.
  8. Safety vests (including inflatable) are permitted.
  9. Spurs are optional. Spurs must be made of metal. The shank must be either curved or straight, pointing directly back from the center of the spur when on the Athlete’s boot. Spurs must not be offset, unless allowed as a compensating aid and noted on the FEI Classification Master List. The arm of the spur must be smooth and blunt. If rowels are used, they must be blunt, smooth, and free to rotate. Metal spurs with round hard plastic knobs (‘Impulse’ spurs) or “Dummy” spurs with no shank are allowed.

Saddlery

FEI Rules can be found here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/regulations/para_dressage.

FEI Dressage Tests

FEI Para Dressage Tests may be found here: https://inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/organisers/p-e-dressage/tests.

Gr. I, II, III must ride in 40 x 20 meter arena.

Gr. IV, V must ride in 60 x 20 meter arena.

Video Procedure

The camera must be placed at “C” (far end of ring/arena). If the zoom feature is used, the horse may be no larger than ¼ of the screen. The recording should start approximately 5 seconds before the rider enters the arena. In an indoor arena, the rider may already be in the arena, and the recording will start 5 seconds before the judging of the class begins. The recording should finish approximately 5 seconds after the class ends or after the final salute at the end of the test.

  • It is recommended that you film with your back to the sun.
  • Make sure the camera is steady and the horse in the center of the frame.
  • Use highest quality setting on camera.
  • Set the zoom before you start and do not alter it once you have started filming.
  • Ensure the light setting is correct for the time of day.
  • Stand at C either with your back to C or behind C facing A and do not move from that spot.
  • Make sure you video from the start of the test as you turn on center line and keep videoing until after the final halt so we can see some walk work as you leave the arena (1/2 dozen steps or so).
  1. Make sure that a well-lighted ring/arena is used.
  2. Riders entering the FEI Freestyle to music test must ensure that the sound on the video recording device is switched on and that the music can be clearly heard in the video.
  3. The name of the video file should include the rider’s last name, horse name, date, Grade, and test being submitted.
  4. Videos may include more than one test providing there is a five second pause between tests, and are clearly marked with the test, date, rider’s last name, and horse name.

Please Note: If athlete submits video from competition, then athlete will not receive scores from the Virtual Judging Panel. Only comments.

How to Create a YouTube Account

Go to YouTube.com and create an account. To do this, click on the “Sign Up” button at the top of the screen. Fill out all of the requested information. An e-mail will be sent to you to confirm your e-mail address. Clink the link in the e-mail to confirm.

Customize Your YouTube Profile

You can customize your profile by clicking on your username at the top of the screen. You can choose to add a photo, video logs, favorite videos, subscribers, and friends.

Fill In the Video Upload Information

To upload a video, go to the upload page by clicking on “upload” in the upper right corner of the homepage. On this page, fill out your video information, including title, description, and tags. Tags are key words used to describe your video, i.e. Gr. Test.

Upload the Video to YouTube

The next step is to upload your video onto YouTube from your computer. Click on “Upload Video” to find the video file on your computer. Next, click the browse button to search for the file you want to upload. Double click on the file and it will appear in the text box. Click on “Upload Video”.

Please be aware that posting videos on YouTube without security settings will allow outside individuals to view your video. It is highly recommended that users set the YouTube security setting to “unlisted” (meaning only those who have been provided the link can view the video).

Video Entry Process and Checklist

Entry Due Date: 25th of each month.

Once riders have a video of themselves performing a specific test, send the YouTube video link to Hope Hand, President of The United States Para-Equestrian Association, at wheeler966@aol.com along with the trainer name, trainer email, trainer phone. If no trainer, use rider info, rider name, horse name, grade, test, and detail on rider classification (non-classified, classified National, or International). When you are uploading your video, please ensure your video and entry meets the following requirements.

  • Have you previewed your video to ensure that it is clear and meets the entry requirements?
  • Is your video in one of the following file formats: avi (audio video interleave), mov (QuickTime-Apple), wmv (winder media video), or flv (flash)?
  • Is your video less than 2 GB?
  • Is your video file name properly saved (i.e. rider last name and test entered)?
  • “Unlisted” YouTube link (only those who have been provided the link can view the video).
  • Once your submission is completed, USPEA will forward the YouTube Video link to the International Judge for her review.

Cost

Each Test will cost the rider $15.00 paid through Athlete’s Venmo Account to be paid on the date Video is submitted for review. Athlete will then forward the Venmo Receipt and YouTube Video to USPEA at Wheeler966@aol.com.

Prior to submitting the test for judging, payment must be made.

Results

The results of each test submitted will be completed by the International Para Dressage judge and returned to the USPEA, who will forward the score sheets directly to the athlete and trainer, along with any comments made by Emerging Athlete Trainers.

Other Rules

  • The Judges’ decisions are final.
  • No communication or discussion will be entered into with the judges involved.
  • Videos of tests must not have been recorded at any official competition. Any video which is suspected of having been filmed during a competition will not be accepted.
  • If the quality of a video is considered too poor to be judged, the competitor will be given the opportunity to submit a further video.
  • Athletes may only submit 2 individual tests of choice and 1 Freestyle Test per month (maximum 3 tests monthly), as described above under Costs.

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

Fifteen Para-Equestrian Nations Earn Team Slot for Tokyo 2020

Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg.

The identity of the 15 nations who will contest the Para Dressage Team title at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been revealed. By qualifying, each country will be able to send up to four athletes to Tokyo.

Joining Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany, who secured their places at FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon in 2018, are the USA, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and Austria. They qualified by being either in the top seven teams in the International Equestrian Federation’s world rankings (apart from those three who qualified at WEG), or the top team in either Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. As host nation, Japan will also field a full team.

Currently Russia has also qualified, but its participation in the Games is yet to be confirmed.

“Team Canada is delighted to have secured a team slot for Canada Tokyo,” Canada’s Coach and Chef d’equipe Clive Milkins said. “It is a recognition of the determination hard work, committed effort and motivation from all our grooms, athletes, and coaches involved from grass roots to international level. The hard works starts now.”

The team competition in Tokyo will be a hotly contested one. In the race for medals, USA who are currently ranked world number one, will mount a strong challenge, while Denmark has significant talent. Belgium will also be in with a shot as will a resurgent Australia and Austria. The Netherlands, currently European and World champions, will be desperate to add Paralympic gold to that pair, while the British will do everything in their power to defend the title, having won at every Paralympic Games since Para Dressage was introduced in Atlanta in 1996.

And in Tokyo, the team competition is given extra tension by changes to the format. The team medal will now be decided over two days by just three riders per country (it used to be four). Not only that, the three competing riders won’t be chosen until the Games themselves, on completion of the individual titles on the first two days of competition.

Outside of the team competitions, a host of other nations have gained slots for up to two of their top athletes, so the Games will see individual competitors coming from South Africa, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Brazil. There’ll also be athletes from Norway, Finland, and Mexico in the mix too. Further individual allocations will also be made as the year progresses according to the rules of the bipartite commission.

The Para Dressage competition will be held at the Tokyo 2020 Equestrian Park from Thursday 27 to Monday 31 August. Individual medals will be decided on the first two days, the team completion takes place on the Saturday and Sunday, and the whole competition rounds off with all five grades’ freestyle titles being decided on Monday.

Click here for more information on the Paralympics qualification.

Names of athletes competing will start to be announced from mid-July, on completion of nations’ individual selection processes.

By Rob Howell

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Adequan US Para-Dressage Team and US Athletes Dominate in Florida

Photo by: Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – February 6, 2020 – Twenty-two horse and rider combinations competed at the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival 3 CPEDI3*, January 21-24. Para-Dressage riders from Canada, Mexico, Republic of South Africa, and USA rode to top placings in the International Ring at the Global Dressage Festival in beautiful Wellington, Florida. In the Team competition, the Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, earned the championship over Canada. The U.S. Team included Beatrice de Lavalette (Lake Worth Beach, Fla.) in Grade II riding Duna, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare she co-owns with Elizabeth de Lavalette and Nicolas de Lavalette; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), in Grade III, with El Corona Texel, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley; Marie Vonderheyden (Wellington, Fla.) in Grade I and London Swing, an 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Eleanor Brimmer and Liza MacMillan; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) in Grade I and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Trunnell also earned the individual championship with her 77.738% in the FEI Grade I Team Test, 78.572% in the FEI Grade I Individual Test, and the highest score of the show, a 81.878% in the FEI Grade I Freestyle Test, resulting in an overall of 77.699%. This was Trunnell’s second consecutive championship at the Global Dressage Festival in 2020. During the January 8-11, CPEDI3* Trunnell earned multiple scores over 81%. Taking home the reserve championship was Sydney Collier and the Hanoverian All in One, owned by Going for Gold LLC. Collier, also in Grade I, averaged a score of 73.384%. The US Para-Dressage riders have an intense year ahead as they prepare for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo August 27-31.

Champion Para-Dressage athlete Roxanne Trunnell noted, “Karin Flint’s Dolton was such a superstar at the ADGF 3 CPEDI3*. I was a little worried how he would handle another CPEDI so soon after the last one, but he handled it like a champ. On the first day we started off with another solid test, but I had gotten so excited about it while going down the final centerline that I was not as strong with my aids for the final halt, resulting in the halt not being square. The second day I could feel that the back to back shows were catching up to him and I just didn’t have as much horse under me as I usually do. I had to use a lot of leg during that ride, but it was once again a wonderful test and we nailed that final halt.”

She recalled her freestyle under the lights. “I love our freestyle and I think Dolton does too, so my only concern was that he didn’t get startled by the scoreboard like he did during the first CPEDI. He didn’t even give it any attention, so I was very very pleased with, since this was only the second time he’s showed under the lights.”

During the next few months building up to the Tryon CPEDI3* in June, Trunnell and Dolton will continue to show at the Global Dressage Festival National shows while training at Helgstrand Dressage.

Reserve champion rider Sydney Collier will also be attending the National Shows in Wellington following her successful CPEDI3* with All in One, owned by Going for Gold LLC. Collier expressed, “We were in the zone more than ever at this CPEDI3*. I am so proud of Alle for going into the ring at global and owning it. He is such a special horse in that he really takes any situation in stride and loves showing. I am so lucky to have found him and have had an opportunity to get him because of Georgina (Bloomberg, owner Going for Gold LLC). I don’t even have words to explain how grateful I am for all for these opportunities in Wellington that have opened up since all of these people have joined my team.”

Collier continued, “I had so much fun at this show. Honestly anytime I get to show any horse it is a blast but even more so with Alle because he is so special. He really looks forward to going into the ring. My trainer Katie Robicheaux and I have been working to master my geometry which was something I struggled with for years due to my vision. At this show my geometry was one of my stronger points but there is further room for improvement. I was also proud of our halts since in a walk test there are three of them and they weigh heavily on the total score. Alle is a great horse and I love his walk quality. A great walk was one gait that we searched hard for in each horse until we found him. It is a beautiful walk to ride in and out of the show ring. Horses are either born with a walk or they aren’t. It’s not a gait you can fix or create.”

Collier like Roxanne Trunnell is on her way as she aims at the Tokyo Paralympics. Collier added, “As Alle and I move along this pathway to Tokyo I remain dedicated to my goal of helping the US Team win the gold medal for America. Bringing this medal back to the USA would proudly represent every person who has stood behind the three horses and riders on their way to the podium. From the farrier, veterinarians, grooms, sponsors, support staff, to our Federation, the teams that stand behind each horse and rider are the dedicated individuals who make success possible for our country at the Games.”

Following the national shows at Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, Collier will head North to prepare for the summer.

Collier acknowledged, “I would like to thank Georgina Bloomberg for giving me the opportunity to ride, my sponsors Kastel Denmark, TheraPlate, Evermore Pet Foods, Dressage Sport Boots, Romitelli Boots, Equicizer, NupaFeed, Respond systems, OnTyte, Sport Horse Saddlery, Massage Sport Boots, Stacey Bradley Designs, Mastermind Equestrian, Flex Sticks, Eco Vet, and everyone who is a part of our team.”

Trunnell, Collier, and all of the U.S. international para-dressage riders aiming at the Tokyo Paralympics are looking forward to the next few months before selection of the U.S. Team and heading down centerline in Tokyo scheduled August 2020.

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

Sydney Collier Earns Reserve Champion Title at AGDF CPEDI3*

Sydney Collier and All In One. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – U.S. Paralympic rider Sydney Collier and her mount All In One, owned by Going for Gold LLC, collected top placings during the CPEDI3* held at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival on January 22-26 in Wellington, FL.

Collier made her way on the podium three times, opening with a second-place score of 70.298% in the CPEDI3* Team Test Grade I, before again finishing second on a 73.631% in the CPEDI3* Individual Champ Grade I the following day. She and All In One closed out a spectacular week with a personal best score of 77.80% in their “Kung Fu Panda”-themed CPEDI3* Freestyle Grade I.

“We stepped in the ring and made every moment count. It brought the biggest smile to my face,” said Collier of her performances with All In One throughout the week. Together, they claimed reserve champion honors for the show.

“He’s the horse of a lifetime and every moment I get to spend riding him is the best time of my life,” continued Collier of All In One, or “Alle”, purchased for her in July by top U.S. show jumper Georgina Bloomberg. “I want to thank Georgina for bringing us together and cheering us on as we work towards Tokyo 2020. Also, to my trainer Katie [Robicheaux], a million thank yous for putting our heads, hearts, and hooves in the right direction.”

Bloomberg purchased All In One for Collier to help the determined rider realize a goal to be selected for the U.S. team at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Collier, 21, has represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Caen, France and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where she finished seventh individually riding Western Rose. In 2014, she won the Against All Odds award from the FEI.

“On my pathway towards Tokyo, I remain dedicated to my goal of winning a team gold medal for America,” said Collier. “Bringing this medal back for the USA would proudly represent every person who has stood behind the three horses and riders on their way to the podium. From the farriers, veterinarians, grooms, sponsors, support staff, and our Federation, the teams that stand behind each horse and rider are the dedicated individuals who make success possible for our country at the games.”

“I could not be prouder to be a part of this journey, as well as be Sydney and All In One’s number-one fan,” said Bloomberg. “There’s no one who loves representing the United States more than Sydney. To see them one step closer to riding for their country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with such a fantastic performance in Wellington is very exciting.”

“Sydney, ‘Alle’, and I started working together three and half weeks ago,” said trainer Robicheaux of their new partnership heading into CPEDI competition in Wellington. “We had an instant connection! Sydney’s hard work and attention to detail is inspirational. There was a lot at stake for them at this competition and I was extremely proud of how they handled the pressure.”

Collier rides at the Grade I para-equestrian dressage level, in which the tests are performed at the walk only. She began riding as able-bodied at the age of seven, but switched to para-equestrian at age 11 after being diagnosed with the rare Wyburn Mason Syndrome. The congenital birth defect caused tumors and a massive stroke. A brain surgery also left her with limited use of the left side of her body, completely blind in her right eye, and three-quarters blind in her left eye.

Out of the tack, Collier is combining her riding career with pursuing a degree in communications online through DeVry University. She was awarded a full scholarship through the Athlete Career Education program of the United States Olympic Committee.

For more information on Sydney Collier, visit www.sydsparaquest.com.

For more information on Georgina Bloomberg, visit www.georginabloomberg.com.

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.

Roxanne Trunnell Kicks Off Para-Dressage CPEDI3* Grade I in Week 3 of AGDF

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 22, 2020 – Paralympic hopeful Roxanne Trunnell (USA) dominated the FEI Para Team Test Grade I CPEDI3* class to kick off the third week of competition of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Trunnell and Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton received a score of 77.738%, winning by a margin of 7.44%. The USA’s Sydney Collier finished second on a score of 70.298% with All in One, owned by Going for Gold LLC.

During the first week of AGDF competition, Trunnell received the highest score of her career (83.167%). This week, she hopes to beat that score and commented that she’s “hoping to get into the 80s again.”

That same night was also Dolton’s first time competing under the lights. “The scoreboard kind of bothered him during the freestyle that first week, but he’s over that now. This week, I’m hoping to keep him up in the bridle more and keep him really marching, which he did really well today,” Trunnell admitted.

This is Trunnell’s fifth consecutive year competing in Wellington: “I love the weather here; it’s usually good and it’s so handicap friendly,” Trunnell concluded.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Adequan U.S. Para-Dressage Team Dominates at Paralympic Qualifier in Florida

Roxanne Trunnell, Grade I, and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2020 – Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team rode into the new decade dominating the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*. This first show of the Paralympic calendar year took place January 8-11, in Wellington, Florida, at the beautiful grounds of the Global Dressage Festival. The Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, included David Botana (Portland, Maine), Grade I, and Lord Locksley, a 19-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by Margaret Stevens and Susanne Hamilton; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Grade III, and El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.), Grade IV, and Solitaer 40, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate Shoemaker, Craig Shoemaker, and Deena Shoemaker; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.), Grade I, and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Equestrians rode over three days for both team and individual accolades. Champion of the CPEDI3* was USA rider Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton scoring an average of 81.871. Reserve Champion was Marie Vonderheyden and London Swing. This was the first look of the year with only seven months before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1* was not only the place for each duo to finesse their tests in this Paralympic qualifier but it was also where riders with new horses like Beatrice DeLavalette and Ellie Brimmer were able to get into the international ring in front of top judges.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline was excited for the U.S. riders. He noted, “Our riders have risen above all expectations showing great dedication and competence while maintaining U.S. Para Dressage in top FEI ranking position with a team average of 75.55%, our highest to date. Roxanne Trunnell’s progression seems unstoppable and Karin Flint’s Dolton is moving into FEI world number one position on the current ranking list with record breaking U.S. scores. Also very exciting is the broadening of our athlete base getting high scores in the 70% range. We have a great team of riders, owners and support staff working in strong unity; their endeavor continues.”

President of the USPEA Hope Hand added, “The weather was challenging due to gale force winds that seem to grace us in January every year, but the skies were clear and the temperature was just about perfect. The first show of the season is always exciting to see all the new combinations. It was also fun watching our WEG medalists who draw a crowd with their celebrity status setting the stage for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. We were confident in our team to do well but still on edge since every competition going forward is an important Paralympic qualifier. Over the last year, the Elite riders ramped up their fitness and riding programs to prepare for the January early start. Hard work does pay off big time. Roxanne Trunnell stole the limelight with her personal best scores each day exceeding 80% pushing her to the top of the World Individual Ranking List. She certainly rocked it and raised the bar for the other riders. Canada and Mexico followed the lead and also performed well, earning individual first places. The 2020 race to Tokyo undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the greatest athletic contests of strength and determination.”

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.

Steffen Peters Aces the Grand Prix Special in Week One of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – USA Olympic team medallist Steffen Peters stamped his authority on the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by MTICA Farm, in the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Peters and Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh gelding Suppenkasper pulled off a fault-free performance and were rewarded with 76.149% — including a high score of 78.404% from the Colombian judge at H, Cesar Torrente. This is the horse’s first visit to AGDF and he and Peters will remain in Wellington until the CDI5* show in week seven (February 19-23).

California-based 55-year-old Peters said: “That was really fun. He has endless energy; he’s a dream. If any rider would get on this horse they would say that this is the ultimate feeling.”

Peters attributed his almost 6% improvement from the Grand Prix to an altered warm-up routine for the big-framed but light-footed Spielberg x Krack C 12-year-old: “He’s such a firecracker, like he was in the grand prix. My dream is always to keep the feeling from the warm-up into the ring, and that worked out perfectly today.

“I walked him this morning and then I worked him for half an hour at lunch time, then I put him away and let him completely settle down, then I did another 20 minutes before the test. That’s what I used to do with Legolas and maybe this might be the new recipe for ‘Mopsie’.”

Peters has the World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas in mid-April and the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July in his crosshairs.

“Mopsie is sometimes a bit tricky in the arena, and we still have a huge hurdle to go with the freestyle, as it’s quite a different atmosphere and it’s still a bit about desensitizing, but hopefully with one more good freestyle score, we will head to Vegas,” added Peters, who picked up nines for the extended canter, pirouettes and for his riding.

“Since Tryon, where he got extremely excited, he’s been getting better and better. I’m one of those extremely lucky guys who gets to ride a horse like that and I think there’s an 80% in there; so many times we’ve been close, but I rate him as my big hero, as my best friend. He’s one of those horses that can easily make you shed happy tears.”

Of the 15 starters, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape who was once again the bridesmaid. She rode Harmony Sporthorses’ 11-year-old Zenon stallion Harmony’s Eclectisch to second place with a shade under 70% after mistakes in the one-time changes pulled their score down. The USA’s Anna Marek filled third with the charming bay mare Dee Clair. Diane Morrison’s 12-year-old Sir Sinclair daughter scored 68.851%.

Having finished second in the week’s earlier Prix St Georges CDI1*, Swedish rider Carline Darcourt went one better, riding Bon Coeur 1389 to a 71.882% victory in the competitive Intermediate I CDI1* class.

The sporty black eight-year-old is a well-known breeding stallion in Europe, having already produced more than a dozen licensed sons. He is owned by Lövsta Stuteri who also own his sire, Benetton Dream. This is his first ever international show. The previous day’s winners, Susan Pape (GBR) and Bourani, had to settle for third place, with home rider Katie Johnson riding Paxton finishing second. All three scored over 70%.

Canada’s Ariana Chia once again topped the leaderboard at small tour, winning the Intermediate I CDI3* on Fiderflame with 69.5%. This marks their second win of the week, and Chia will be bidding to make it three out of three when she contests Sunday’s Intermediate I CDI3* freestyle class with the 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz.

In the FEI para classes, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) held her lead in the Grade I after scoring a career-high of 83.167%. Trunnell piloted Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, to the overall champion award.

“It feels really good; we’re training a lot at home and it’s all coming together,” Trunnell commented, adding that it was Dolton’s first time competing under lights, resulting in a touch of tension.

Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) dominated the Grade II para division after receiving her highest score of the week. She earned 73.667% aboard Nicolas De Lavalette’s Duna, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) came a close second with 72% aboard his own Phoenix.

The Grade III para division saw Rebecca Hart top the leaderboard after scoring an impressive 72.644% on Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune 500, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

“It was really a good experience and I had a nice easy start to the season. The next qualifier is in week three, so we’re hoping to up our scores and represent really well,” concluded Hart, who has her eyes set on Tokyo 2020.

Lee Garrod of Canada improved her score again, scoring a 71.833% in the freestyle to win the Grade V para division on Question, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Quaterback.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Jill Irving Records Personal Best in First Freestyle of AGDF

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas 12.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2020 – Day two of the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) heralded the first Friday night under lights of this competitive season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The result in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Lövsta, was an exact repeat of the previous day’s results, with three Canadian ladies, all trained by Ashley Holzer, filling the podium. They were led by Jill Irving on her own long-time partner, the De Niro gelding Degas 12, who scored 76.06% — a personal best score. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu rode All In to second place (75.74%), while 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte filled third with 75.645% on Statesman.

“Degas is 18 this year so I’m thrilled with his energy,” said Irving, who rode to a Beatles compilation. “His piaffe and passage felt great. He’s really flexible and, with age, he’s become less nervous, which used to be an issue. I was super thrilled with him and it’s really fun to be part of all this at Global. It takes a village to make this sport roll.”

Fraser-Beaulieu, who is back riding after the birth of her first child in the summer of 2019, said: “This is my second competition back and he’s the type of horse that needs to be in the ring a fair amount, so yesterday in the Grand Prix I felt he was a little sticky and unsure. Today he came out ready to rock. The beginning of my test felt incredible — the best feeling I’ve ever had on him. Then I had a mistake in my ones, which was a pity.”

Laliberte was riding in her first Friday Night Stars class, a long-held dream of hers. She said: “I’m really happy to finally be competing here. I thought Statesman did a great job in there; it’s a different atmosphere and apart from one rider mistake, the rest felt quite amazing. We’re still newcomers; I’m happy to break the ice.”

This is her third season with the 13-year-old Sandro Hit gelding, and only their seventh grand prix competition together. They were part of the gold medal winning Canadian team at the Pan American Games in July 2019 and this was their first show since then.

Judge Bill Warren was impressed with what he saw: “To sit at Global at C and see the quality of horses and riding was just thrilling. I’ve judged Jill and Brittany many times over the years and I’ve seen the relationships develop with their horses, and it’s been really gratifying to see where they’ve come from and where they are now.”

The 2020 season’s first small tour class, the FEI Prix St Georges CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, went the way of the Canadians, with Ariana Chia returning to Wellington with Fiderflame for the second year running and winning their first class of the show. The 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz was the only one to break the 70% watermark, scoring 71.47%. This is Chia’s fourth year in a row competing at AGDF.

In the FEI Prix St Georges CDI1* class, all three top finishers of the nine starters scored over 71%, with the winner’s sash going to Great Britain’s Susan Pape and Harmony Sporthorses’ Bourani. The nine-year-old gelding by Belissimo M had not competed internationally in a year, and this was his first ever plus-70% score. Hot on his heels was Lövsta Stuteri’s breeding stallion Bon Coeur 1389. The eight-year-old by Benetton Dream FRH was ridden to 72.529% by Sweden’s Caroline Darcourt. Katie Johnson (USA) and Paxton rounded out the top three.

In the para equestrian division, Grade II rider Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) topped the leaderboard with 68.398% riding Sky High 15 in the individual test and then pulled off a 71.569% victory riding her other horse, Duna, in the championship test. This followed a disappointing performance the previous day when she finished third on Duna with 68.2%.

“Today my coach Shayna Simon really told me to push her, to keep her upright — and she was right,” said the 21-year-old of her own 12-year-old KWPN mare by Vivaldi. “I worked very hard during the test to make sure that she wasn’t too far down and that she was active. It was hard, but definitely worth it.”

De Lavalette was the most critically injured survivor of the Brussels Airport terrorist bombing in March 2016. She suffered partial paralysis and lost both her lower legs, making the accuracy with which she rides particularly impressive.

“I was very proud of my eight-meter circles today, because those are hard. Overall, it was a very good test, so I am happy,” added De Lavalette, who has only been riding Duna since July, having bought her from Judy De Winter in the Netherlands. Previously, she had been competing a PRE, so switching to a warmblood was a major change.

“When we first started with Duna it was a completely new, different horse. I had never had a warmblood before, so we were able to explore those new sensations and paces,” she concluded.

At Grade I, home rider Roxanne Trunnell continued her sizzling form on Dolton, scoring 81.964% to lead the class by a clear 10% over the budding talent of David Botana and the grand prix-trained stallion Lord Locksley. She has, this week, become one of very few riders worldwide to achieve scores of over 80% in a non-freestyle class, where the scores are typically higher.

Kate Shoemaker (Solitaer 40) once again posted an impressive score in the Grade IV division. The USA rider scored 74.634%, picking up two eights for her riding of the consistent 13-year-old black stallion by Sandro Hit. Grade V rider Lee Garrod (CAN) improved on her previous day’s score, landing a win with Question, a 12-year-old gelding by Quaterback, with 69.087%.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.