Tag Archives: Para-Equestrian

Team Tests & World Records at Perrigo Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI 3*

Cynthia Screnci and Sir Chipoli ©Lindsay McCall, USPEA.

Mill Spring, NC – June 19, 2021 – The second night of competition at the Perrigo Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI 3* saw team tests performed in Tryon Stadium under the lights, part of the final U.S. Olympic Observation Event before Tokyo. The Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team is firing on all cylinders ahead of team selection announcements, and Team Tests thrilled spectators Saturday evening as well as live stream viewers from around the world.

Cynthia Screnci (USA) scored a personal best aboard her new mount, Sir Chipoli, in Grade V competition after winning the previous night as well. Screnci and the 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Vivaluciene TKS x Carabas) co-owned by Chris Von Martels and Select Equine International scored a 69.225% to earn first place, while Cayla van der Walt (RSA) and Daturo II, the 2006 Andalusian gelding (Mirlito XI x Datura x Pestillo) owned in partnership with Christine Heathman, received second place honors on their score of 68.333%.

Screnci has already formed a show-stopping partnership with her horse, despite having only known him for four weeks. This is only the pair’s second show, with podium finishes in all competitions thus far. “He got here on my birthday, so it was kind of like a meant-to-be thing,” she said with a smile. “He’s got all the movement and he has such international quality, but some things we are just going to need to smooth out. But, like I said, we’ve only had him for four weeks!” Screnci is setting her sights on the World Championships in 2022, hoping the pair will shine even brighter under the lights after a year of working together.

Sir Chipoli, her “meant-to-be” mount, and Screnci have already taken the Para Dressage ring by storm, but Screnci herself is new to the sport. No stranger to the equestrian world, she has owned and ridden horses for over 40 years, competing in barrel racing, hunters, and jumpers. After an injury in a jump-off in 2015, she decided to try her jumper mare in the Para Dressage ring after some coaxing by Robert Dover. “I’ve only been doing Dressage for the last two years!” she admitted, “We won last night and we won again today, and that’s just really incredible.”

The night also held special meaning for Screnci, who pointed out a special pin on her coat that could also be seen worn by other competitors, as a tribute to her mother who passed away in May. Screnci’s mother was an active supporter of not only Screnci, but the entire U.S. Para Dressage community, she emphasized. “She loved everybody here, and she had bought these for everybody to show that she supported them all.”

In Grade II competition, Beatrice “Bea” De Lavalette (USA) piloted Clarc to first on a score of 71.414%, catching a second win on the weekend with the 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Dreamcatcher x Miss Sinclair) owned by Elizabeth and Nicolas De Lavalette. In reserve, Laurietta Oakleaf and Comte Du Baccara C, the 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Johnson TN x Baccara x H Ulrich) owned by Laurietta Oakleaf and Tammi Nowicki, combined for a score of 63.434%.

De Lavalette reported that her weekend with Clarc has only improved as competition has continued, sharing, “It went really well. I’m very happy with tonight’s test. I worked on some of the judges’ comments from last night, and adjusted my riding for tonight. My horse was really good. He spooked, but that’s no big deal! Honestly, I thought it was a very good ride and I’m very happy with it.”

Since traveling to Germany in May, De Lavalette revealed, she has grown as a rider, and her focus is on continuing to improve her skills. “So much has changed since my trip to Germany, and during those three days in Germany, my riding completely changed,” she emphasized. “From there, we’ve been working on how much my riding has changed and how to improve it.” Her growth is evident, as she performed her test with grace and ease, earning the top spot in her class.

For De Lavalette, the highlight of Saturday night’s test was seamlessly handling a spooky moment in the sandbox, she concluded: “Right after the spook, I didn’t let it fluster me. I just went straight back and said, ‘Okay, let’s go!’ So that’s probably my proudest moment [from tonight] because I didn’t let it get my mind off what I was doing.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Perrigo Tryon Summer Dressage CPEDI 3* Sees Para Dressage under the Lights at TIEC

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton ©Lindsay McCall, USPEA.

Mill Spring, NC – June 18, 2021 – Para Dressage was front and center in Tryon Stadium Friday night at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort as part of Perrigo Tryon Summer Dressage 1&2 CPEDI 3* competition and the final U.S. Olympic Observation Event before Tokyo. Individual Tests were performed Friday evening starting at 8:15pm, with Team Tests taking place Saturday evening and Freestyle performances closing out the weekend Sunday, June 20, starting at 10:00am.

Grade I Competition kicked off with a win for Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team member Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton, 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Lady x Londonderry) owned by Karin Flint and Flintewood Farms LLC, after the duo collected a total score of 82.500%. In second place, with a score of 70.059%, was Sydney Collier (USA) and All In One, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphina x Dauphin) owned by Going for Gold LLC and Katie Robicheaux. Deborah Stanitski (USA) and Skovlunds de Nice, her own 2006 Danish Warmblood mare (De Noir 3 x Miss Kiki x Diamond), received third place with a score of 67.143%.

Trunnell and Dolton have shined in the TIEC competition rings before, but competing under the lights at TIEC provided a new layer of atmosphere to the venue and some cooler temps than typically felt in Florida, she shared. “It was [such a good test!] He was a good boy,” Trunnell recapped. “He felt really relaxed, but forward, too.

“I’ve competed [under the lights] in Wellington, and it’s a lot colder out this time!” The weekend that is also serving as a final observation event for the U.S. Olympic Team selection trials is giving high performance athletes and their horses a practice outing, and Trunnell concluded that she hopes to continue her momentum from her win at TIEC into future rides both in North Carolina and beyond. “Hopefully, [the plan is] keeping the good scores going, and making it to Tokyo!”

Rebecca Hart (USA) piloted two mounts through Grade III competition, earning first place aboard Fortune 500 on a score of 72.500% and claiming second place with El Corona Texel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel x Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Riley, after their performance, which earned them a score of 70.245%. Third place honors were presented to Charlotte Merle-Smith aboard her own Guata, a 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare (Vivaldi x Zuata x Haarlem); the pair received a score of 69.461%. Ignacio Trevino Fuerte and Delegada X, the 2002 mare (Airoso XXVI x Lusitana x Farruco XIII) owned by Beatrice De Lavalette, claimed fourth place with a score of 60.441%.

Hart and the 2010 Oldenburg Gelding (Fidertanz 2 x Weinrose x Don Romantic) owned by Rowan O’Riley have only danced together under the lights twice now, but her “happy soul” of a young horse took to the atmosphere with ease, Hart recalled. “He is just such a cool horse. He’s really starting to come into his own, which is nice, and he’s just a fun, happy soul. He’s such a pleasure to ride and show because he’s just a happy dude!”

After piloting two horses around the Grade III tests, Hart reflected that she’s grateful that she’s been focusing on fitness lately: “You know, I think it’s amazing that we’re doing this at night to, sort of, simulate Tokyo, [but] I’m really glad I’ve been working on my fitness because these are long days, and with two [horses], it kind of doubles!” Hart went first and last in the Grade III competition, without a spare minute between rides. “But,” Hart emphasized, “it’s an absolute privilege to have two horses at an event like this, so I cannot ask for more than that.”

Para Dressage has been featured at TIEC numerous times throughout the years, but Tryon Summer 1&2 is markedly scheduled to showcase all CPEDI competition at evening hours to simulate conditions that will be expected in Tokyo. After her first tour of Tryon Stadium under the lights, Hart was thrilled with the results she achieved. “I love showing under the lights. Para is really starting to come into its own as an international discipline, so I think any time that we can highlight it and bring it to an event like this, in a venue like this, under the lights and now that we’re able to bring back some spectators, it’s great for growing the sport of Para Dressage.”

Going forward throughout the weekend, Hart will work on achieving increased energy in the ring while maintaining El Corona Texel’s relaxation, but is excited to give “Moolah” more miles under the lights Saturday night. “That was a really good test for him and this is his second time under the lights, so to have him come out and really want to play is a really special feeling,” she concluded. “Huge thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors that are putting on this event and staying into the late hours for us. We couldn’t do it without them, so huge thank you to everyone that’s putting on this event!”

Kate Shoemaker, D.V.M. and Solitaer 40, the 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit x Dynastie x De Niro) owned by Kate, Craig, and Deena Shoemaker, were the solo competitors in Grade IV individual competition, producing a score of 73.049%.

One of the last rides in Tryon Stadium for the night, Shoemaker raved about the evening’s atmosphere. “It’s so amazing in this venue under the lights,” she shared. “I don’t know what it is, but just the way the lights bounce off all the different wood, and the rocks, and the colors, it just makes this amazing atmosphere. The horses are loving it!”

She’s starting to see her homework pay off with “Sully” in the sandbox, she detailed. “We’ve really been working on bringing a lot more power and cadence into our riding. Everything is always behind, [between] what you’re getting at home, and what you’re getting in the arena, and it’s just so exciting right now because I’m starting to get that work in the arena. I think it showed today!”

The only thing Shoemaker will tweak going forward is her warmup routine, she revealed. “We’re trying to figure out what the ideal amount of warm-up time is, just to make sure he’s as ‘through’ as possible. I think today was a little bit short, so tomorrow we’ll do just a touch more and see if we can get a bit more. I’m just so happy to be here, and that Perrigo is sponsoring, [and for] everyone here at Tryon, the USEF staff, and everybody’s personal support staff. It’s amazing what goes into putting this on, and I’m super thankful,” Shoemaker concluded.

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Trunnell Triumphs after Earning World Record-Breaking Score at Perrigo CPEDI3*

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton ©SusanStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2021 – Perrigo CPEDI3* competition presented by Adequan® and Nutrena® concluded on Sunday, March 14, at week nine of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), with an impressive win for the U.S. team and a world record-breaking score of 83.334% for 2021 Whitney Stone Cup award winner Roxanne Trunnell (USA) in the FEI Para Individual Test Grade I.

Trunnell and Karin Flint’s 2012 Hanoverian gelding, Dolton (Danone I), have been partnered together for over two years and are currently sitting atop the FEI Para Dressage World Individual Ranking list, as well as the FEI Para Dressage World Individual Ranking-Grade I, and the FEI Para Dressage Paralympic Individual Ranking list. Trunnell and Dalton also posted strong scores of 80.119% in the Team Test and 83.500% in the Freestyle Test.

Of her world record-breaking score, Trunnell said, “It feels great to break a world record. Dolton is a very nice horse, and I am proud of him.”

Next up, the combination will head to the June CPEDI in Tryon, like many other North American para dressage riders hoping to make it onto teams for the Tokyo Paralympics. Trunnell noted, “I am looking forward to Tryon. Dolton really likes to compete there, and Tokyo will be fun if we get selected for the team.”

Lehua Custer Welcomes Win in National Grand Prix at AGDF 9

In national competition at AGDF 9, the USA’s Lehua Custer posted a win in the FEI Grand Prix on Saturday, March 13. Custer rode F. J. Ramzes, Wendy Sasser’s 2010 KWPN gelding by Juventus, to first place after earning a score of 69.456% from the judge at C.

“I felt like I focused on making him rideable throughout our test,” said Custer, “so we didn’t nail every movement the way that I wanted to. It’s so important to school him and to make him the horse that I know I can do that with. I trust him so much and know every detail, so now it’s just about finding that brilliance within the power without letting him take over.”

Custer and Sasser picked the gelding out as a yearling, and the U.S. bred KWPN has come up the levels with the 42-year-old as his guide. “He was actually bred at Cornell University; his sire and his dam were both donated to the University by Iron Spring Farm,” explained Custer. “They use the mares and stallions as a part of their veterinary program, and we picked him from a woman who had purchased him from the University.”

She continued, “The intention was for his owner Wendy to eventually take over the ride, but she kept entering us in competitions even after I got the foundation under him. I feel really lucky to continue to ride him and compete. We’ve moved up the levels, and it’s nice to be here now. We started schooling a bit of Grand Prix last spring, but then things got shifted around with COVID, so we decided to just take our time with things.”

For more information and results, please visit www.GlobalDressageFestival.com.

USOPC Names Michel Assouline as 2020 Paralympic Coach of the Year

Michel Assouline with David Botana at 2019 Tryon CPEDI3* and National Championship. Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Y. McCall.

Colorado Springs, Colorado – February 23, 2021 – United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has named Para Dressage Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline as 2020 Paralympic Coach of the Year. Michel Assouline started with the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage program in May 2017. His innovation and persistent drive to grow the sport and expand the program has impacted the whole Para Dressage community. Through the pandemic, Assouline has helped several athletes work through emotional pressures and reposition athletes’ training schedules by utilizing technology and focusing on enhanced communication. His efforts include online judging, direct coaching through PIXIO, group meetings, and one-on-one meetings, which proved effective when athletes showed performance improvement at the 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championships October 23-25. In three years, Michael has built a Para-Equestrian Dressage Coach Certificate Program that was rolled out across the country during the latter part of 2019 and early 2020 that received high participation with 32 coaches going through the program. In March 2020, the U.S. Para Dressage Team ranked No. 1 in the world having achieved scores that would have tracked Team USA to be on the podium at Tokyo 2020. At the heart of Assouline’s success is his ability to work with each athlete and build a specialized program around them to improve their development and performance, which can be seen in Roxanne Trunnell, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in her grade and overall across all five grades.

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

US Para Dressage Team Maintains Their Spot after First CPEDI3* in 2021

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall for the USPEA.

Wellington, Florida – February 4, 2021 – Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team maintains their stride as the number one ranked FEI Team in Para-Dressage after a solid weekend (January 27-30, 2021) at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI3*. The Wellington, Florida venue was an excellent location for the launch of an important Paralympic Year. Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline and USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor led the four-woman squad to top results. The Team included Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) with All In One, Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.) riding Fortune 500, Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.) with Solitaer 40, and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) aboard Dolton.

Bronze Medal (2018 WEG) rider Trunnell, who recently received the USET Foundation award of the 2021 Whitney Stone Cup, rode Dolton who also earned the US Equestrian Federation Award of 2020 International Horse of Honor Award to the High Point Para-Dressage athlete at the CPEDI3*. Dolton is owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Trunnell (USA Grade I) has had a fantastic year leading the FEI Rankings as the number one Para-Dressage rider in the world.

U.S. Teammate Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 earned the Reserve Champion High Point in the CPEDI3*. With an extra year to prepare not only were the top combinations earning their best scores, but new horses and rider pairs were seen giving the judges the best view of the United States Para-Dressage high performance depth. Even athletes in the national para-dressage show earned outstanding test percentages over the weekend.

The ground jury included Kjell Myhre (Norway), Anne Prain (FRA), and Adrienne Pot (USA). Athletes will prepare in the next few months for the March 24-28, Wellington Para-Dressage National Competition, followed by the June 17-20, 2021, Tryon CPEDI and final Paralympic Observation Event which takes place before the Tokyo Paralympic Games August 24 – September 5, 2021.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline and USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor noted, “All went beyond expectations. I would expect for athletes in Tokyo contention to not peak too early and be fairly conservative since we have a long way to the Games. The judging panel was of particular interest to me as both Anne Prain (FRA) and Kjell Myhre (NOR) are both part of the future Tokyo Paralympics official jury. It will give our selectors and coaches a solid evaluation of their performances. The team of four, Roxanne Trunnell, Sydney Collier, Rebecca Hart, and Kate Shoemaker, did well. Rebecca Hart had a personal best with Fortune in the Freestyle with a score over 76%, Roxanne Trunnell continues to impress with scores hovering the 80% mark, maintaining her FEI World one strong hold, Sydney Collier was consistent, riding conservatively as there is still a long way to the June Tryon CPEDI, and team rider Kate Shoemaker also rode a soft ‘economical’ test to save her horse for this long road to selection towards Tokyo.

“However, even with this approach in mind, our team achieved a remarkable average of 74.45%. That is keeping the US Para Dressage in its first FEI ranking position. A dream for all involved. Eyes were on the new partnership of Charlotte Merle Smith (Grade III) with her lovely grey mare Guata. She really impressed the judges in their first international; scores were solidly around the 72% mark each day. Beatrice De Lavalette also rode her new partner Clarc, very promising horse indeed, with the same level of score quality. All the other riders improved their performances throughout the three days with most moving to the magic 70% in the freestyle. We received a special accolade from our foreign judges about the ever-increasing quality of horses and riding in the US. Happy team and coaches.”

To view this press release in full, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.

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

Unprecedented Year for International Para-Dressage Athlete Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall for the USPEA.

Wellington, Florida – January 21, 2021 – Paralympian and Para-Dressage World Equestrian Games Athlete Roxanne Trunnell had a fantastic finish to the 2020 calendar year. United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation awarded Roxanne Trunnell the 2021 Whitney Stone Cup and US Equestrian Federation awarded Dolton, owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint, the 2020 International Horse of Honor Award.

The duo of Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton started the 2020 year as the first para-dressage pair to break the 80th percentile in the team or individual test since Sophie Christansen (GBR) in the 2012 London Paralympics. Trunnell and Dolton accomplished this at the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* with a Grade I team test score of 81.131%, an individual score of 81.964%, and a freestyle of 83.167%. The pair would go on to earn top scores in the following Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and further national shows. With the duo’s outstanding scores in 2019 and 2020, Dolton and Trunnell helped lead Team USA to #1 in the world in Para-Dressage. Dolton was also individually ranked #1 in the World in all grades of Para-Dressage. This was the first time in history a U.S. athlete or Team held a world #1 position in Para-Dressage. The pair remained undefeated in 2020.

The 2012 Hanoverian Dolton (by Danone I x Lady, Londonderry) was purchased by international para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker as a two-year-old in Germany and later licensed as a Stallion by the German Oldenburg Verband. As a 3-year-old, Shoemaker elected to pursue his sport career, gelded him, and imported him to the United States. His first dressage show as a 4 year-old he won open high point with Shoemaker riding. By the end of his fourth year, he began being groomed as a Grade One Para-Dressage horse. At the beginning of his sixth year, Shoemaker brought him to Wellington to be evaluated by Michel Assouline, USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor. Roxanne Trunnell was invited to ride him the following day where the perfect combination was made. Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint then joined as a sponsor to give Roxanne and Dolton an opportunity towards the World Equestrian Games team. Two months later, in April, Roxanne and Dolton entered their first CPEDI3* and FEI World Equestrian Games test event where they finished with the overall high score. After scoring the high score at the final mandatory outing in July they secured an individual spot on the team for the 2018 FEI Longines World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon. At the WEG, after helping the team reach their highest placing in history, 5th, Dolton then brought home a medal for the USA in the Freestyle Test putting him among the first U.S. horses to medal in the Para-Dressage freestyle at a championship. He was the youngest para-dressage horse to win a medal at a major international championship. Following his medal win at the 2018 WEG, Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint purchased Dolton.

With very successful 2018, 2019, and 2020 years Trunnell and Dolton aimed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. In March 2020, the IOC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee officially announced that the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2020 Summer Paralympics would be postponed to 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time that the Paralympics has been postponed. The pair will have the next six months before the June 17-20, 2021 Tryon CPEDI and final Paralympic Observation Event which takes place before the Tokyo Paralympic Games August 24 – September 5, 2021.

Roxanne Trunnell was honored to receive the Whitney Stone Cup. “It was such a surprise to win the Whitney Stone Cup; I hadn’t even expected it. I am always cheering on my teammates because I know how hard all of this is especially as a para-dressage athlete. It is an honor to be recognized among so many great equestrians.”

Trunnell also was thankful for the 2020 International Horse of Honor Award. “I was very proud of Dolton. It takes a special horse to become an outstanding Para-Dressage horse and Dolton at only eight years old has proved to be a very special horse. I would like to thank my parents Sid and Josette Trunnell for moving from Washington to Texas (where Trunnell trained with former Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt) and finally to Florida for me to be able to pursue this horse adventure. Thank you to the owner of Dolton, Karin Flint, for trusting me to pilot her special boy to become a superstar in the Para-Dressage world. Thank you to Anna Forbes, Dolton’s groom, for taking the best care of him and my trainer Andrea Woodard for helping me and Dolton to become great partners. I also want to give a big thank you to the USDF, USEF, USET Foundation, and USPEA for working together to help get USA Para-Dressage into the spotlight. Let’s show the world what the USA Para Dressage Team is made of.”

Hope Hand added, “Both awards were quite an honor to a well deserving pair. We also want to thank US Equestrian President Murray Kessler and his wife Sarah Kessler for their continued support of Para Dressage. This support helped us secure Gold medal coach Michel Assouline and provide competition opportunities for elite riders. These factors made USA Para-Dressage successful at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.”

Hand continued, “I also want to thank Laureen Johnson USEF Director of Para Dressage and Vaulting for her efforts in nominating Roxanne Trunnell for this award.”

Trunnell is the first para dressage rider and only the eighth dressage rider to receive the Whitney Stone Cup in its 40-year history.

The Whitney Stone Cup is awarded annually by the USET Foundation Executive Committee to an active competitor whose consistent excellence in international competition and whose standard for sportsmanlike conduct and contributions as an ambassador for the sport and for the USET Foundation exemplify the Team’s highest ideals and traditions. Roxanne Trunnell joins a long list of outstanding competitors who were previously recognized with this honor.

The Whitney Stone Cup, which was presented to the Team by the Officers and Directors of the USET Foundation, is given in honor of the late Whitney Stone who served as President and Chairman of the Board of the USET, and who was instrumental in the creation of a civilian team when the Army retired from competitive horse sports after 1948.

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

Cindy Screnci Wins US Para Grade 5 Dressage National Championship

Cindy Screnci Riccione (Lindsay Y. McCall photo credit)

Wellington, Florida (November 12, 2020) – Reigning USEF Grade V Para Equestrian of the Year, Cindy Screnci of Wellington, Florida, has been promoted to the Para Dressage Pathway Development Athletes roster following multiple victories on Eragon VF and Riccione at the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championships at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in October.

After being named to the US Team last month, Screnci secured the US Para Grade V National Championship on her 11-year-old KWPN gelding, Eragon VF,(aka ‘Danny’), and won the Grade V Freestyle in front of judges Adrienne Pot, Elke Ebert, and Carlos Lopes. She also earned Reserve Champion honors with her KWPN mare, Riccione, posting the top two scores in both her Team and Individual classes. The fairytale week just kept getting better for Screnci, after making the US Team and winning the US National Championship, she was also unanimously nominated by her peers to receive the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship Award in recognition of high standards and virtues of integrity, honor, team spirit, good temper, and unselfishness. Screnci was overcome by with the award.

Just don’t say “Break a leg” if you want to wish her luck. Because her road to Tryon and (she hopes) to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games began 26 surgeries and a couple of riding lifetimes ago.

As a girl, barrel racing and pole bending left her unscathed from injury, but years later, when her own daughter showed interest in horses, she joined her in the hunter/jumper ring, only to suffer a freak accident in a jumper class at Wellington that shattered her ankle and ultimately changed the direction of her life.

It was a pool not a horse that redirected her to the para equestrian world. “In my zeal to return to the ring after breaking my ankle I decided, on my own, to start physical therapy ahead of the suggested schedule and use my pool at home. I didn’t know I shouldn’t have gone into water so soon.”

She contracted an aggressive bacterial infection in the pool water, leading to a 26-surgery battle against osteomyelitis, an infection and inflammation of bone and bone marrow caused by bacteria or fungi entering bone tissue through an open or unhealed wound.

“I am so grateful, to this day, for the amazing support I received from the surgeons and staff at Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute in Royal Palm Beach. They put my ankle, and me, back together.”

Repaired and ready to ride, she bought Sally L, a former jumper of Murray Kessler’s. “My friend, Nataly Liebowitz told me that Robert Dover said that Sally L should be in the ‘para program’ because she had extensive dressage training.  I said, para what?”

Shortly after, she attended a para dressage clinic at Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Loxahatchee and “was so impressed by the community that I truly fell in love.”

“I don’t miss jumping at all. Dressage is so cognitive! Every step means something,” she said. “This is my full-time world now, and I do believe my husband, Stephen, will be sainted someday for bearing with me.”

She praises Sharon Decker, the Chief Operating Officer at TIEC and the TIEC team who helped make Tryon’s indoor arena available to all the para equestrian athletes to train in. “The support Sharon and her team at TIEC showed the Para Dressage Program is truly remarkable. We are all so thankful for everything they have done for us and continue to do.  The new indoor facility at Tryon is incredible and they stopped everything and got it ready for our National Championships in a matter of days!”

The pair had never performed the freestyle, produced by Tom Hunt to the music of Les Miserables, in an arena or in front of judges, when their choreographed performance was given a winning score in the 70s.

“The Tryon CPEDI received great results,” said Michel Assouline, USEF Head of Coach Development and Para Dressage Technical Advisor. “We are very proud of the continued progress of our Para Dressage athletes and horses.”

The new Virtual Coaching Program is working, the chef d’equipe said, as proven by riders, like Screnci, earning higher scores and breaking the “magic 70% benchmark” at levels like this CPEDI3*. “This is all due to a hard-working campaign of daily training with coach support, as well as live-stream remote sessions and video analysis.”

Screnci is the only para dressage rider among eight Developing Athletes on the Para Dressage Pathway list to do so with two horses, Eragon VF and Riccione. The Para Dressage Pathway’s three levels (emerging, developing, and elite) identify and assist athletes on track to becoming medal contenders at the Paralympic and World Championship level.

“Breaking my leg turned out to be a blessing. It made me settle down and develop a deeper relationship with my family, and it has given me this opportunity – at my age – to have a goal of competing in Tokyo.”

The 2020 Summer Paralympic Games have been rescheduled for August 24 – September 5, 2021 in Tokyo. Follow Cindy Screnci and her horses on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/cscrenci.

Young Para-Dressage Rider Andie Sue Roth Receives United States Dressage Foundation Grant

Andie Sue Roth on Centeno XIII. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall for the USPEA.

Alamo, California – November 6, 2020 – Four young riders received grants from The United States Dressage Foundation’s Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund. Para-Dressage young rider Andie Sue Roth from Alamo, California, was one of the recipients. Roth is 15 years old and recently competed at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Roth rode in the 2020 Para Dressage Emerging Athlete Competition sponsored by USPEA which was held in conjunction with the CPEDI3* and USEF Para Dressage National Championship October 22-25, 2020, in Mill Spring, NC.

Roth is aiming for the Paralympics. She began as an Eventer and was an accomplished Pony Club rider before switching to para dressage. Roth and her sister, Kaysie Li, were adopted from China at 15 months and six years, respectively, each with a severely deformed lower limb requiring amputation, multiple surgeries, and specially fitted prosthetics.

The Dressage Foundation (TDF) was pleased to announce that grants from the Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund were awarded to four riders after receiving a record number of grant applications.

TDF’s Cynthia Aspden Youth and Young Adult Development Fund provides financial assistance to youth and young adult riders (age 25 and under) to aid in their development in dressage. Grants are being used for educational experiences that are not within the horse and rider’s typical training plan. The grant selection committee was pleased to receive a record number of applications and stated that the quality of the applicants was exceptional.

Roth has also been awarded $500 to continue training with Brenda Beare.

From Roth: “I am so grateful to TDF for this very generous grant. I have been working to get my horse, Blue, up the levels in dressage so that we can compete at the standard needed for the USEF Paralympic Emerging and Developing athlete lists, but I need extra training on a horse who is confident at the higher levels. That is where the beautiful ‘Exclusively Sunny’ comes in. Being able to extend my training with Brenda and Sunny for another month is invaluable as I am hoping to compete in another para dressage competition in Wellington in January. Thank you so very much for this opportunity.”

The Cynthia Aspden Fund Grant application is available on The Dressage Foundation’s website with a deadline of September 1st of each year. For more information about this Fund, visit www.dressagefoundation.org or contact Sara Weiss, Director of Grants and Programs, at (402)434-8585 or sara@dressagefoundation.org.

The Dressage Foundation

The Dressage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, donor-driven organization that is dedicated to educating, supporting, and advancing the sport of dressage. The organization solicits contributions, appropriately allocates the donations, and awards grants and scholarships to dressage riders, judges, instructors, breeders, high performance teams, and nonprofit equestrian organizations. For more information, please visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

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

CDI World Cup Winners and Para-Dressage National Champions Command Centerline

Abraham Pugh and Elfenperfekt ©Sharon Packer Photography.

 Mill Spring, NC – October 27, 2020 – Abraham Pugh (USA) and Elfenperfekt grabbed their first career CDI wins together at Tryon Fall Dressage 3 at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC), claiming the FEI Grand Prix on a score of 68.109% and topping the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 74.010%. Julio Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Rosali, Aileen Daly’s 2005 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanov x Mosegardens Ratina), claimed second in both the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle and the FEI Grand Prix, scoring 73.990%, and 67.022%, respectively. Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon, the 2008 Connemara Cross gelding (Gun Smoke x Kynynmont Tara x Greystone McErrill) owned by Pam Liddell, claimed third in both CDI competitions, scoring 66.261% in the FEI Grand Prix and earning 71.150% in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.

Pugh and the 2006 Trakehner stallion (Peron x Elfentruam x Zauberklang) owned by Alice Drayer have been together for seven years now, he said, and they keep “getting better and better” as they go. “My weekend went really well. This is our first time winning an international competition like that, so it’s pretty special. He just keeps getting better, and I keep getting better, so it’s really exciting. He really is a great partner,” Pugh shared of his mount. “He really will try his heart out for me day, in and day out; he doesn’t tell me no. He comes to work the same horse, whether we are at a show, whether we are in a big environment or a small environment.”

Rebecca Hart Is the 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para-Dressage National Champion

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel ©Leslie Potter/US Equestrian

The Adequan®/USEF Para-Dressage National Championship named Rebecca Hart (Wellington, FL) and Rowan O’Riley’s El Corona Texel at the 2020 Champions, earning a total composite score of 77.029%, with the Reserve Championship awarded to Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, MI) scored a personal best in her freestyle with Going for Gold LLC’s All In One in the Grade I division with a 78.711%, which gave her a composite score of 76.147%.

“I’m so blessed to have him,” said Hart, who led all weekend and produced consistent personal bests with the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel x Goodtimes). “He’s such a fun ride. He’s very dynamic and powerful. He was just awesome all week for me. I couldn’t have asked for more. He gave me the best birthday present ever! All three days were his top scores. Each test was the best it’s ever been for that test.”

With the 2020 season drastically impacted by COVID-19, Hart relayed that she focused on “getting back to basics,” so that their debut performance this weekend would be a strong one. “It was a crazy year! We went back to basics. We [sometimes] get so set on this date and that date with all of the shows, so we took the break as a silver lining. We caught our breath and really focused on the training and keeping our horses happy and healthy,” she emphasized. “We’ve done a lot of training at home working on certain things while in lockdown. This is our first time back out, so to have him be so happy and strong was fabulous.”

Sydney Collier and “Alle,” the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin), produced personal best after personal best to finish in reserve, and shared that she was searching for words other than “incredible” to describe her experience:

“It has been just so fun, and I wish I had better words to describe how good it feels to be back in the show ring, and to see all of our hard work during quarantine pay off. To step in there and be better than we ever have been is something that is really beyond words, and it invigorates me for going home and continuing on the same path and polishing up on some things before heading to Florida.”

For more competition information, visit www.Tryon.com/dressage.

Elite Athletes Head to Tryon for USEF Para Dressage National Championship CPEDI3

Rebecca Hart. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Mill Spring, NC – October 22, 2020 – With the uncertainty of the calendar year of 2020 the Para Dressage community is looking forward to the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship and CPEDI3* competition. Riders will compete October 22-25, 2020, at the beautiful Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina. The event will include a national championship along with CPEDI3*, CPEDI2*, and CPEDI1*. Elite, developing, emerging, and young riders will be showcasing their talents in front of international judges Elke Ebert (GER), Carlos Lopes (POR), and Adrienne Pot (USA).Fifteen horse and rider combinations team and individual tests will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 23-24, and the top horse and rider combinations will return for the freestyle tests on Sunday, October 25. High Performance athletes in multiple countries will showcase quality tests as they aim for the rescheduled Paralympic Games taking place August 24 – September 5, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. The competition will be live streamed on USEF Network: https://www.usef.org/network/.

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