Tag Archives: Para-Equestrian

Paralympian Sophie Wells and Judge Stephen Clarke to Join ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ at Olympia

Following the announcement of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which takes place at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, Paralympic champion Sophie Wells MBE and renowned dressage judge Stephen Clarke are the latest stars to be unveiled to take part.

Sophie and Stephen will join other celebrated dressage personalities, including Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison as they unwrap the secrets of the discipline of dressage. The brand-new ninety-minute session will take place at 4pm on the opening day of the Show and provide a unique insight into the sport, from training and producing dressage horses to competing on the world stage.

Sophie Wells MBE, a double Paralympic gold medalist as well as multiple World and European champion, will be taking to the saddle to demonstrate various dressage elements, from the basic movements to the more complex components of championship tests. Sophie will be joined in the arena by Stephen Clarke, widely regarded as one of the best international dressage judges on the circuit, as he talks the audience through what he is looking for from horse and rider during a test and the main considerations when scoring each of the movements.

Stephen’s experience in this field is second-to-none, with previous roles including President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympic Games and FEI Dressage Judge General, which involves creating and coordinating discussion among international judges to ensure equality and uniformity across the sport.

This unique insight will complement previously announced components of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which include appearances by Performance Manager to Britain’s Senior Eventing Team, Richard Waygood, and one of Britain’s best loved eventers, Olympic, World, and European medalist Pippa Funnell.

Olympia Show Director, Simon-Brooks Ward, said: “We’re delighted that Sophie and Stephen will be joining the high-profile team set to be part of Dressage Unwrapped. Their experience and talent are world-renowned, and their participation will significantly enhance the programme, providing an unprecedented insight into competitive dressage.”

Dressage Unwrapped is part of the evening performance at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, which also features the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix, as well as numerous international display acts, including The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry and spellbinding horseman Jean-François Pignon.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Wheatland Farm and Marie Vonderheyden Named as Finalists for FEI Awards 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland – The Fédération Équestre International (FEI) has released the list of finalists for the FEI Awards 2019, which includes United States Equestrian Federation/U.S. Para-Equestrian Association Para-Dressage Center of Excellence Wheatland Farm in the FEI Solidarity category and U.S. para-dressage rider Marie Vonderheyden in the FEI Against All Odds category. Public voting to help determine the winners closes Monday, October 7. Category winners will be honored at the FEI Awards Gala on November 19, hosted during the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.

Public voting will count towards 50% of the overall selection for each category. Click here to VOTE NOW.

Wheatland Farm, founded by Mark and Muriel Forrest, is one of only nine USEF/USPEA Para-Dressage Centers of Excellence and is a leading member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), providing therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities and therapeutic programs. As a Center of Excellence, Wheatland Farm is instrumental in providing educational and developmental opportunities for para-dressage athletes and coaches in the United States, offering services which include classification, trainer/coach identification, and sport opportunities, as well as programs in both human and equine sports science and medicine. Wheatland Farm has remained heavily involved with the U.S. Para-Dressage Program and serves as an important touch point between the Developing and High Performance teams and the therapeutic riding community.

“We are honored and humbled to be shortlisted for such a wonderful award. Wheatland Farm’s mission is to provide healing and hope through an excellent, world-class adaptive sport program that is inclusive of all equestrians,” said Muriel Forrest, co-founder of Wheatland Farm. “We are grateful for the support of US Equestrian, who together with the United States Para-Equestrian Association, are providing amazing support for para-equestrian sport, and we are honored to be a Center of Excellence for them in that capacity. We believe that this nomination will help to raise national and global awareness of para-equestrian sport in general and para-dressage, in particular. Thank you to the FEI for considering Wheatland Farm, and we humbly ask our friends in the equestrian community and the general public to lift up para-equestrians by voting for Wheatland Farm.”

Marie Vonderheyden, the only U.S. athlete nominated for this year’s awards, suffered a devastating riding accident in 2015, which led to medical professionals placing her in a medically induced coma for seven weeks. When she awoke, her family was informed that the regulatory part of her brain controlling personality and speech was irreparably damaged and her chances of walking again were slim. She showed tremendous perseverance throughout the recovery process, in which she re-learned how to swallow, the alphabet, colors, emotions, and balance. She reconnected with horses through therapeutic riding rehabilitation and progressed from there, ultimately learning how to ride again without assistance. She competed in her first para-dressage competition in 2019 and has intentions of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Marie’s commitment and determination to return to the saddle is truly inspiring.

“A friend of ours submitted Marie’s story. We’re just amazed and so thrilled. We’re very humbled. We have so much thanks and appreciation for the people supporting and promoting Marie,” said Cecile Vonderheyden, Marie’s mother. “This is going to help us tremendously in our quest for Marie to go further in this sport and to help her accomplish her goal of competing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

About the FEI Awards
Launched in 2009, the FEI Awards have celebrated the champions of the sport both on and off the field, inspiring individuals and organizations from all over the world. The nominated categories presented at the FEI Awards Gala are the Longines FEI Rising Star, Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete, Cavalor FEI Best Groom, FEI Against All Odds, and the FEI Solidarity award.

More about the FEI Awards here: https://www.fei.org/awards/about.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Roxanne Trunnell Tops USEF Para Dressage National Championship with Dolton

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 15, 2019 – Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3* and CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan® concluded Sunday at Tryon International Equestrian Center, wrapping up three days of international and national Dressage competition at the venue that simultaneously hosted the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship. In CDI 3* competition, Karen Lipp (USA) rode to a win in Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* with Whitney, while Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar claimed their second FEI CDI 3* win Sunday with a 70.341% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*. Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton secured the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship title with a final cumulative score of 75.247%, and David Botana was named National Reserve Champion following his efforts riding Lord Locksley to a cumulative score of 74.318%.

“It feels really good [to win a National Championship], Trunnell shared. “I haven’t been with Dolton for very long. [Our] partnership is really forming.” Trunnell also relayed that one of the highlights of her tests with Dolton was “just how consistent he was. Always marching!”

Trunnell scored a 79.333% in the FEI CPEDI 3* Freestyle Grade I, earning the highest score of the weekend with the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Unknown) owned by Flintwood Farm LLC. “Our Freestyle music is from ‘Forrest Gump’ – it’s adorable!”

While Trunnell is hoping to be named to Team USA for the Tokyo Paralympics, she reflected that accuracy is a big focus, and that gaining experience at TIEC is a great environment to prepare for atmosphere and stiff competition going forward. “[Going forward we’ll do] just a lot of training, and working on accuracy with geometry. I think the bigger venue and more competition is more realistic of what we’ll get [in Tokyo], so it helps us mentally.”

Botana shared that his weekend with the 2001 Trakehner stallion (Unkenruf x Lida x Enrico Caruso) owned by Margaret L. Stevens, Lord Locksley, had been an “amazing” culmination of hard work over the summer: “We’ve worked all summer and learned a lot. We practiced the halt, bending, and improving precision, plus overall harmony. I think it all really came together this weekend. I think we were able to pull off some really improved balance in our turns, and stayed constant throughout the weekend with high scores. It’s been amazing; everything kind of came together, from working with my trainer and meeting to go over our test before each ride, and taking the judges’ comments and what I felt during each ride to transition on to the next test. [That 75] was amazing. We had a perfect ride, and it all came together.”

Botana and the big grey stallion have made strides towards harmony and Lord Locksley knows his job well despite a serious career change, Botana explained. “It’s a big transition from being a Grand Prix International stallion to being in Para Dressage Grade I, and he’s taken beautifully to it. It took us a while to get into a groove,” Botana recalled, “but now we’re in a perfect balance. He knows that as soon as I put my foot in the stirrup, we’re going to walk, and that’s it. There can be a million things going on, and he won’t bat an eye. But the second I get off and step a foot away, he’ll be back to his regular big stallion self!”

Katherine Bateson Chandler Wins FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*

Bateson Chandler and the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cantango x Polina x Ferro) owned by Jane Forbes Clark repeated their Friday win in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* with the top score in Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, but Alcazar was “a bit more with me today,” she explained. “I’m a little happier with this ride, because he’s another two days down the road of being in the heat, and sort of it’s been a little tough for him. He came off a lot of atmosphere in Europe, so now he’s a little like, ‘what happened to everybody?’ This has been an amazing show and he felt a bit more with me today.”

The pair has had a busy summer and Alcazar is ready for a break, Bateson Chandler relayed, but spent their last competition before a holiday making the most of their stay. “It’s an amazing venue. This is truly a world-class venue with beautiful stabling, which always really matters to us. We’ve got fans in the stalls, which really helps with the heat.”

Karen Lipp and Whitney Win the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*

Karen Lipp and Whitney travelled down centerline to win the blue rosette in Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* with a score of 61.185%. Lipp shared that she has been working with Whitney, a 2005 Hanoverian mare (White Star x Hauptstutbuch Grace) owned by Kathleen Oldford, since she was four years old and has brought her through all of the young horse programs: “We did the four, five, and six-year-old programs. Her owner rode her a little bit and then decided to sell her, and then she didn’t like that idea, so she said, ‘You keep her and ride her.’ I’ve been showing her in the Grand Prix now for about two and a half years.

“I didn’t really have a quality horse to show in CDI for a year, so it’s been nice to have Whitney go the CDI ring because it was a long break for me out of the ring, and it’s a lot different than riding in normal shows.”

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

USEF Para Dressage National Championship Results in Win for Team USA

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2019 – Day Two of the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship saw a win for Team USA at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort, consisting of Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Sydney Collier combining efforts for a total score of 439.585. In second, Team Canada, including Lauren Barwick, Lee Garrod, Jody Schloss, and Winona Hartvikson, finished on a score of 416.079. David Botana and Lord Locksley currently lead in the Individual competition, with Trunnell just behind heading into the final day of competition.

Hart and “Tex” claimed a win in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade III on a score of 73.775%, but Hart revealed that the weekend was about much more than the current competition for her just a year following her double-medal achievements at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) hosted at the venue last September.

“This arena has so many emotions for me. I’ve had some monumental moments – the epitome of my riding career here. I rolled in to the venue on Monday and all the emotions came back,” she recalled. “And I was having the memory of meeting up with my parents – because my parents don’t get to come to shows that often, and my dad was here – and I was telling myself, ‘don’t get weepy, you just got in the driveway!’

“But revisiting the place where I saw my dad, and where I was waiting in the chute for the final rides when we realized I had gotten the bronze and the first medal ever for US Para Equestrian in a WEG, was just fantastic,” Hart continued. “To have Tex here again with me, and to have him perform so well for me again in this arena… Tryon has such a special place in my heart.”

Hart is now focused on 2020, and admitted, “We’re Dressage riders – we always want more and want to get that extra little tenth of a point that we can get anywhere! Heading into next year we’ve got a lot of little things to work on.”

But it was a significant change in routine that has helped deepen Hart and her mount’s connection, she detailed: “We had actually changed up our routine coming into this event, which was a little intimidating, because changing anything before a big championship can go one of two ways, but it has really worked for us. I now do all the warm-up myself with Tex, which has made for a much more symbiotic relationship with my horse.”

Hart elaborated, “Before, I had my trainer doing the warm-up, because I don’t post, so I liked to give him a bit of a warm-up with an able-bodied rider to get his back moving, but I always felt like there was a bit of translation period from the two rides, and I would basically have to re-warm him up all over again. And then, any issue they had would translate into my ride as well, so me handling him from the start myself makes it my own ride, and it gives us a lot more confidence in the ring.”

Trunnell and Dolton, the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Unknown) owned by Flintwood Farm LLC, claimed second behind Botana in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade I test Saturday, scoring a 73.571%. “It was a wonderful weekend,” Trunnell said after the Team USA win. “We really have been working on solidifying them [our tests]. It feels like they’re really coming together. I love how he just kept marching.  We’re hoping to make it to Tokyo, so that’s what we’ll be working on.”

Collier and All In One grabbed third place in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade I Competition to help earn the win for Team USA, and shared that she was impressed with her mount’s reliability in their first CPEDI competition together: “For this weekend, we wanted to come out, be consistent, and I personally wanted to work on my geometry. With him being as great of a horse as he is, I have to step up to his amount of talent! Being a visually-impaired rider, geometry can be one of the most difficult things to nail, so I’ve really been working at home on perfecting my step counts, because that’s how I do my geometry.”

Collier continued of the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin) owned by Going For Gold LLC, “Being here in the big ring with different lighting and situations, I was very impressed with how ‘Alle’ stepped up his game. He was like, I’ve got your back! Really, we had no idea what to anticipate going into our first CPEDI.”

Working towards Tokyo 2020 and hoping to be named to next year’s team, Collier emphasized that competing at TIEC has been a valuable learning experience for such a new combination. “[Going forward] I just want to work on fine-tuning the little things we’ve observed here. It’s been an amazing learning experience for us, and for only having him since mid-June, I think there is so much room to improve on so many things, which is just – I keep using the word exciting, but I don’t think it really sums up the feeling that I feel about our partnership. We connected so quickly, and I can’t wait for the future with him,” Collier concluded.

Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 presented solo once again in the CPEDI 3* Grade IV Individual competition, scoring a 73.049% and putting in what she felt were “personal bests” for her team this weekend regardless of scores: “I think this was really the best work we’ve gotten in the arena – we’ve been together for five years now, and every show has been a step in the right direction: we get it at home, then we get it in the warm-up, then we get it around the arena, and then we get it in [the arena], so I felt like we had some really amazing moments in the arena this week. So, that’s what I’m really excited about, and regardless of the scores, they were personal bests.”

“I just want to keep adding more cadence, self-carriage and balance into the work, so we can show the expressiveness that he has,” Shoemaker said of the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sandro hit x Dynastie x De niro). “There’s so much in there, and he’s just waiting for me to tap into it.”

The Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Katherine Bateson and Alcazar Kick Off Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3* with a Win

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2019 – Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3*/CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan® and the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) kicked off Friday when Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) piloted Alcazar down centerline to win the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* after capturing a total score of 69.196%. Michael Pineo (USA) and his own 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz x Belalussi x Samba Hit), Farrington, were awarded second place in the class with a score of 63.63%. Third-place honors were then awarded to Julio Cesar Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Aileen Daly’s Rosali, a 2005 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanov x Mosegardens Ratina x Ragazzo), with a score of 63.587%.

Chandler explained that she and the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cantango x Polina x Ferro) owned by Jane Forbes Clark have been working together for seven and a half years now, during which they have had to face many challenges: “It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but he’s a horse that we’ve always believed in and I’m excited for him to start to come into his own.

“We’ve just come off a European tour with a lot of atmosphere, and a lot of big shows. We were on the Aachen Nations Cup Team and he was really super there. He actually is one of those horses that the bigger the environment and the bigger the show the better he gets and sort of rises to the occasion,” Chandler continued, “I’m super happy with him [today]. He was so honest and made no mistakes — I couldn’t be happier with him!”

Chandler, who competed in the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG), but missed coming to Tryon in 2018, is aiming at Tokyo in 2020 and enjoyed a Grand Prix win on her first-ever trip to the venue, she detailed: “Our next goal is Tokyo, so that’s why we’re here. To qualify we have to do four Grands Prix, and I wanted to get one in, so I didn’t have all the pressure of getting them all during Florida, and to get one score under my belt. My goals [for this weekend] are to get in the ring and get experience, and to get my scores as high as I can before going into the Florida season. I’ve never actually been here before; I’m so impressed, and it’s a beautiful facility.” Chandler concluded, “After this show, I’ll go back to Wellington where we’re based, and then in January, the circuit starts!”

USEF Para Dressage National Championship Team Competition Sees Tight Competition between the USA and Canada

After the first half of Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship Team competition, the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team, consisting of Roxanne Trunnell, who currently leads Individual competition, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Sydney Collier headed into Individual Tests on Saturday in Tryon Stadium. Team Canada, consisting of Lauren Barwick, Lee Garrod, Jody Schloss, and Winona Hartvikson, are close behind with a chance to make up the difference in day two of competition.

Rebecca Hart (USA) and El Corona Texel topped Grade III Team Test competition on a score of 71.226%, while Canada claimed second via Lauren Barwick and Engelbrecht, her own 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Regina x Rimini), scoring 70.098%. USA also claimed third, with Meghan Benge and Worth the Trip, the 1998 Welsh Cross gelding by Anjershaf rocky, bringing home a score of 68.137%.

“This is kind of our first technical qualifying event for Tokyo. He felt amazing today,” Hart said of the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel x Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Riley. “We had created a plan leading up to this event on how we wanted everything to go, and so far the plan has worked accordingly and we’ve been able to do everything that we wanted to.”

While she’s “actively campaigning for Tokyo,” Hart explained, for now the plan is to continue their progress this weekend: “I just want to continue with the progress we have made. I hope he has very confident and encouraging rides moving forward so that we can build and bring in the dynamic and expressiveness that I know we can. We’ve got two more events in January in Wellington, and then a final observation event after that.”

Hart is no stranger to the venue, as just a year ago she made history as the first U.S. Para Dressage athlete to claim a medal at WEG, later securing a second medal in the team competition. “I love showing at Tryon,” Hart emphasized. “The arena we are competing in this weekend has special memories for me, as it’s where we received our medals from the Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games last year, so it’s always nice to come here. It’s a great feeling and it has a nice vibe to it.”

CPEDI 3* Grade I Team competition saw the day’s high score as Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton, received a 74.881% to dominate the field. David Botana (USA) and Lord Locksley, the 2001 Trakehner stallion (Unkenruf x Lida x Enrico Caruso) owned by Margaret Stevens, scored a 73.274% to claim second, while Sydney Collier (USA) and All In One, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin) owned by Going For Gold LLC, scored an even 71.000% to achieve third.

“Dolton is a seven-year-old; he’s just a little baby,” said Trunnell. “He felt really good today! I love showing here at Tryon! It is so pretty and I love the mountains. We hope to continue to have great rides and help build his confidence even more this weekend. We’re hoping to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade V results saw Canada top the podium, with Lee Garrod (CAN) taking top honors on a score of 69.225% with Question, the 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Quaterback x Evita) owned by Lee Garrod. Cayla van der Walt (RSA) and Daturo II, her own 2006 Andalusian gelding (Merlito XI x Daturna x Pestillo), scored a 68.217% for second, while Cynthia Screnci (USA) and her own Eragon VF, the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Don romantic x Ujinja), landed in third with a 63.101% score.

In CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade II competition, Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) claimed first on a score of 69.495% with Duna, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Vivaldi x Nicola x Amethist) owned by Nicolas De Lavalette, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) rode Phoenix, a 1999 Westphalian gelding owned by Cynthia Nugent, to a score of 69.192% and second place. Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) and El Paso, her own 2004 Dutch Riding Pony gelding (Elegant x Karin x Carl), earned third with a total score of 67.778%.

CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade IV competition saw Kate Shoemaker (USA) present solo for a score of 73.083%, riding her own Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro hit x Dynastie x De niro).

CPEDI 1* Para Novice Test A Grade IV saw Emma Jameson (USA) make her FEI debut aboard Cortesana La, a 2007 PRE mare owned by Misha Marshall, to score a 50.052%.

The Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Double Double Dutch and Britain’s Wilson Stuns in Championship Debut

Georgia Wilson (GBR) Grade II, Jens-Lasse Dokkan (NOR) Grade I gold, and Tobias Thorning Joergensen (DEN) Grade III. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Great Britain’s Georgia Wilson topped off a stellar introduction to major international competition taking gold in the Freestyle at the Longines FEI Para Dressage European Championships in Rotterdam (NED). The win comes after her silver medal in the Grade II individual test.

Riding Midnight she scored 78.187% to take the win ahead of Austria’s individual champion Pepo Puch and The Netherlands Nicole den Dulk. Puch, riding Sailor’s Blue, scored 77.220% for the silver with den Dulk on Wallace N.O.P. taking bronze with 74.313%.

An emotional and elated Wilson said: “The silver medal hasn’t even come into my head yet I don’t know if I’ll cry at my medal ceremony, but I hope not. I’ve not had the easiest time in riding with different horses but basically you have to keep going and get the right coach.

Denmark’s Tobias Thorning Joergensen added a second gold to his tally by winning the Grade III freestyle. Riding Jolene Hill, the 19-year old scored 79.093%, with The Netherlands’ Rixt van der Horst second, on Findsley N.O.P. with 77.327%.  A second bronze of the week went to the side-saddle rider Barbara Minecci from Belgium. She rode Stuart and scored 73.127%

It wasn’t just a day for the newbies. A member of the sport’s older guard continued his spectacular come back in the shape of Norway’s Jens-Lasse Dokkan. He added the Grade I freestyle title to the individual he picked up earlier in the week scoring 80.193% on Aladdin (the highest score of the week). Italy’s Sara Morganti and Royal Delight were second with 79.273%. In a repeat of the individual test’s running order, Latvia Rihards Snikus claimed his second bronze medal on King of the Dance, with 77.387%.

Dokkans, who hasn’t won a major medal since 2010’s FEI World Equestrian Games™, and who has appeared at every Paralympic Games since the sport debuted in 1996, said: “We’ll have a big celebration dinner but first I have to fly home and then have a long drive. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed though and dreaming about this week.”

Picking up his third gold of the week, the Grade V freestyle, The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar joked: “Now I know how it feels to be British.” Riding Alphaville N.O.P. (in their eighth consecutive European, World, or Paralympic championships) he scored 79.900%, leaving Great Britain’s Sophie Wells and C Fatal Attraction in second place again with 78.375%. In another repeat of the individual competition, Belgium’s Michele George picked up bronze on Best of 8 with 74.720%.

Final honours of the day went to The Netherlands again, when Sanne Voets won the Grade IV freestyle on Demantur Rs2 N.O.P. scoring 79.720%. Sweden’s Louise Etzner Jakobsson improved on her individual bronze by taking silver on Zernard with 73.775%, swapping places with Belgium’s Manon Claeys. Riding San Dior; she scored 73.355% for the bronze.

Voets’ win, on the back of her three golds at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™, makes her a member of a unique para dressage club, the owner of a double set of consecutive triple gold medals from major championships. Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen was the last person to achieve that feat after the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2013 Europeans in Herning (DEN). “I’m happy,” Voets said. “It’s hard to be the favourite and the hardest part is the pressure you put on yourself. I was amazed by the atmosphere. It’s been an amazing week and I’m going to enjoy every second of the medal ceremony.”

At the end of an enthralling para dressage competition the Dutch topped the medal table with five golds, two silvers, and two bronzes. Denmark took the second spot with two golds and a bronze, with Norway close behind with two golds. Great Britain were fourth with their gold, and four silvers.

With exactly one year to go to the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the week will be remembered most of all though for the incredible performances by the home squad, the emergency of some new para dressage stars, and the return of one of the greats.

Click here for the full results.

By Rob Howell

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

Dominant Dutch Take Gold on Home Soil

The Netherlands team. (FEI / Liz Gregg)

Top scores by Frank Hosmar and Sanne Voets secured The Netherlands their second major international team title at the Longines FEI Para Dressage European Championships in Rotterdam. In front of an excited home crowd, the pair led both their Grades in the final day of the team contest. The win comes just under a year after their victory at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon (USA), the first time Great Britain were beaten in a European, World, or Paralympic team competition.

Hosmar, Voets, and teammates Nicole den Dulk and Rixt van der Horst scored 227.039% and took the title one year and one day ahead of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The win was one of the team’s main objectives of these championships, to prove that the 2018 win wasn’t a one off.

“It’s good, and sometimes easy to win… but staying there is harder!” — Frank Hosmar (The Netherlands)

The Brits aren’t taking the dominance of the Dutch lying down. The team, Sophie Wells (Grade V), Nicky Greenhill (Grade IV), Georgia Wilson (Grade II), and Mari Durward-Akhurst (Grade I), will be delighted with their silver medal winning score of 221.302%, especially with the latter three making their major international debuts. “We’re absolutely delighted,” said Chef d’Equipe Georgina Sharples.

Team bronze went to Denmark with a team made up of mother and son combination, Tobias and Line Thorning Joergensen (Grades III and V, respectively), alongside Caroline Cecilie Nielsen (Grade III) and Camilla Christensen (Grade V). They scored 216.493%.

But the corks popped for the Dutch who had gathered together to watch the final stages of the competition and see their gold confirmed. “From day one they’ve been performing very well,” said an elated Chef d’Equipe Joyce Heuitink, “but then it’s a new competition and you have no idea, and nothing is for sure.

“I was actually a little bit nervous. I was really hoping we could equal the gold medal from Tryon and then you realise it’s not so easy. It was hard in Tryon and it was hard here. I’m so, so happy.

“Being at home everyone can celebrate it with family and friends and that’s the nice part of it, and just the extra vibe with everybody here. It’s been an incredible season and they’ve worked very hard.”

Grade II’s den Dulk added: “Wow! It’s amazing. It’s brilliant. We knew we had a strong team, and we’d been performing very well all year. We had a great base from yesterday and to finish with such a great score was really a team effort and that’s great. I think this is one of the best championships for us as a team.”

Earlier, Hosmar’s score of 75.860% on Alphaville N.O.P. set the Dutch on their way to gold in the Grade V test. As in the individual test he edged Great Britain’s Sophie Wells into second place, on C Fatal Attraction, and scoring 75.651%. Regine Mispelkamp of Germany was third on Look at Me Now, with 71.628%.

Voets gave a yelp of delight at the end of her Grade IV test. On her individual European gold winning Demantur Rs2 N.O.P., she scored 77.150%, the highest score of the week so far. Belgium’s Manon Claeys scored 74.850% on San Dior, while Sweden’s Louise Etzner Jakobsson was third with 72.400% on Zernard.

Click here for full results.

By Rob Howell

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

Dutch, Brits, and Danes Start Strong in Team Title Chase

Rixt van der Horst and Findsley N.O.P. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

An intriguing day of competition saw a potential close finish to the Longines FEI Para Dressage European Championships’ team competition begin to take shape with nations in Grades I, II, and III in contention for the coveted title.

Leading the way in Grade I was Norway’s Jens-Lasse Dokkan. Fresh from his individual title win on Wednesday, Dokkan and Aladdin scored 76. 536%. “I’m really happy and satisfied with that,” he said.

Close behind him was Italy’s individual silver medallist Sara Morganti and Royal Delight, who scored 74.750%. Third highest score in the Grade went to Finland’s Katja Karjalainen on Dr Doolittle with 73.643%.

The second competition of the day saw another tussle between Grade III’s new individual European Champion, Tobias Thorning Joergensen, and The Netherlands’ triple world gold medallist Rixt van der Horst. Joergensen came out on top again with an impressive 76.382% on Jolene Hill, while van der Horst and Findsley N.O.P. scored 74.029%. Joergensen’s teammate Caroline Cecilie Nielsen and Davidoff had the third best score in the Grade, 70.088%.

Speaking after his ride, Joergensen said: “I’m feeling very happy although she was a bit more tense today. I was scared I may have done too much. I wish I had a better feeling, but I will sit down and watch the video and look at the scores the judges give and see what we can do better.”

In the final competition of the day, for the grade II riders, there was delight for Great Britain’s European Championship debutant, Georgia Wilson. Having picked up a silver medal in her grade’s individual test earlier in the week, she came out on top with a score of 74.758% riding Midnight.

In doing so she knocked Austria’s Pepo Puch into second place. Puch rode Sailor’s Blue to score 74.152%, edging out The Netherlands’ Nicole Den Dulk and Wallace N.O.P, who scored 73.364%.

Clearly enjoying every minute of her first major championships, Wilson said: “He felt very good. We practise and practise our transitions so they go nice and smoothly and I was really pleased with my free walk. And my accuracy and halts were apparently square.

“I’m finding the whole experience very different to a normal international. I get a day off between rides and have been able to enjoy the show jumping and dressage too. My medal ceremony was amazing and scary at the same time. I said to Pepo (Puch, the gold medal winner): ‘This is my first time. You have to show me what to do.’”

Germany, traditionally a strong team contender, are effectively out of the competition now. Their two riders, Elke Philipp in Grade I and Steffen Zeibig in Grade III, both failed to break the crucial 70% mark, making it now virtually impossible for the country to make the podium.

Officially, the current lead in the competition belongs to Portugal. Its three riders all competed and scored 188.591%. Austria are in second place with 145.224% with one rider left to perform, and Italy are third with 144.357%, also with one more rider to come.

The main competitors for the three medals all have two more riders to perform in Grades IV and V. They include The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar and Sanne Voets, Great Britain’s Sophie Wells, and Belgium’s Michele George.

Crunching the numbers suggest that The Netherlands remain the favourites for the gold, with fierce competition between Belgium, Denmark, and Great Britain for the other two medals.

Click here for full results.

By Rob Howell

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

Double Dutch Delights on Para Dressage Day Two

Sanne Voets with Demantur Rs2 N.O.P. (FEI / Liz Gregg)

Dutch Paralympic riders thrilled the home crowd by taking both gold medals on offer at the Longines FEI Para Dressage European Championships in Rotterdam.

Leading the charge was Paralympic and triple world gold medallist Sanne Voets in grade IV’s individual test, swiftly followed by Frank Hosmar in grade V’s competition. Both riders successfully defended their titles from the last European championships in Gothenburg in 2017.

Voets’ win came on Demantur Rs2 N.O.P., with a score of 76.659%. And in a straight replication of Gothenburg’s competition, silver went to Belgium’s Manon Claeys on San Dior with 73.805%, and the bronze to Sweden’s Louise Etzner Jakobsson with 72.902% on Zernard.

Clearly emotional after her first major international win in front of a home crowd, Voets said: “I’m European champion again. I love that. I am thrilled!

“I was really pleased with him [Demantur Rs2 N.O.P.]. I had a little hiccup in my first transition and that was my mistake. This horse knows what to do but waits for me to say ‘when’ so he was a bit confused. But I can’t blame him.

“I’ve been nervous all week. I arrived on Sunday and then had to wait three days to ride. When I woke up today, I was happy to get started.”

Claeys was delighted with her silver too, adding: “It feels really good. Sanne deserves to be number one, but I’m very happy with the test today.”

Hosmar’s gold came on his long-term partner, Alphaville N.O.P. The pair has been a team since the London 2012 Paralympic Games and scored a personal best of 75.810%. His close rival and world number one, Great Britain’s Sophie Wells, took the silver on C Fatal Attraction with 75.595%. And in a major surprise, just weeks into their riding partnership, Belgium’s Michele George stormed back to a championship podium for the first time since Rio 2016 to take the bronze on Best of 8 with 72.571%.

“I’m really delighted,” Hosmar said. “He was so nice and every step I could manage him. He was totally controlled and that’s what I like. I’m enjoying the home competition and there are many more people here from where I live including my friends and family who can come and watch.”

Wells was philosophical about her second place and said: “He was a little tense. He didn’t notice anything as we went in but then it was as if he thought, ‘oh there’s a lot of people here.’ But that’s horses, isn’t it?”

Wells also scored the first 10 of the championships but laughed: “Started to go downhill from there though.”

Outside of the medals there was better news for Great Britain’s Nicky Greenhill in grade IV. She’s her country’s first ever visually impaired rider at a major competition and is making her European debut. It’s fair to say she’s not had the easiest of starts though.

For starters, she’s here on her reserve horse, King Edward I, after her usual ride Betty Boo was left at home. Then her guide dog Sparky had some transportation issues with certain local taxis, and her husband Gary, who calls for her in the arena so she knows where she is, lost his voice. To cap it all, she was stung by a wasp and ended up taking a precautionary visit to hospital with anaphylactic shock.

However, she came a solid fourth in her grade, and was delighted with that result. Writing on her Facebook page, she said: “Wow, what a day. I think I have proven now that I can cope with most challenges that are thrown at me.”

After two days of competition, the Dutch are firmly at the head of the para dressage medal table with two golds, a silver, and a bronze. Denmark, Norway, and Austria are equal second with a gold each, while Great Britain are third with two silvers. Belgium has one silver and two bronzes.

The championships now have two days of team competition ahead. If the medals are anything to go by, that’s likely to be a tight battle between the home nation, the Brits, the Germans, the Danes, and the Belgians.

Click here for full results.

By Rob Howell

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

Sydney Collier and All in One Make a Winning Debut Together

Sydney Collier with All in One. Photo by susanjstickle.com.

New York, NY – August 21, 2019 – U.S. Paralympic rider Sydney Collier won all three classes in her national-level showing debut with her new horse All in One. On August 16-18, they showed at the Centerline Events at HITS on Hudson in Saugerties, NY and earned blues in two classes of Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Para Equestrian Test of Choice and also in the FEI Para Equestrian Freestyle.

“I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of ‘Alle’ and our developing partnership — his talent and heart are endlessly giving!” Collier said. “Friday at Saugerties, we showed our team test under FEI four-star judge Ulrike Nivelle of Germany and retired FEI five-star judge Cara Whitham of Canada and received a score of 74.10 percent. We studied the judges’ comments from that test and then focused on them in our warm-up for the individual championship test on Saturday. We showed our individual championship test under Kari McClain, an FEI three-star judge from the U.S., and Nivelle, and earned our best score to date of a 78.57 percent!”

On Sunday in her Freestyle test, Collier scored 79.90 percent from judges Nivelle and Cesar Torrente, an FEI four-star judge from Colombia, to win the class. “I can’t even say enough how proud I am of Alle,” said Collier. “It is our first time showing a freestyle in a competition, and freestyles are my favorite part of a show by far. He really is the best dance partner a girl could ever ask for! I can’t wait to dance with him again soon.”

Collier is aiming to be selected for the U.S. team for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games with All in One. Working toward that goal, she plans to show next at the Tryon Fall Dressage CPEDI3* and US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships on September 12-15 in North Carolina. She intends to begin 2020 by competing in CPEDIs at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL, aiming for Paralympic team selection.

“I feel really excited by how much he and I have connected so early on in our partnership,” Collier said of All in One, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Abanos — Dauphina). “His nature is trusting and hard-working, and I can tell each time we enter the ring — whether it’s at home or at a show — that he understands and enjoys his job.”

Top U.S. show jumper Georgina Bloomberg purchased All in One in July to help support Collier’s Paralympic bid. 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.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to support someone like Sydney,” said Bloomberg. “I want to see her be able to pursue her dreams. It’s nice to be able to help someone who’s working so hard and wants something so badly and deserves to get somewhere, but just has a financial roadblock preventing her from doing that.”

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 and subsequent brain surgery 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. Collier’s hometown is Ann Arbor, MI, but she lives in Stanfordville, NY in order to train with Wes Dunham at Woodstock Stables in Millbrook, NY.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the people in my life who have made this success on the path towards Tokyo possible,” Collier said. “None of this would be possible without my sponsor, Georgina Bloomberg. As well, a big thank you to my trainer, Wes Dunham, who has invested thousands of hours into my training over the years. I don’t know where I would be without him.”

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

Molly Sorge
molly@jumpmediallc.com