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.”
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.
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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.
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.
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.”
Sydney Collier hopes to qualify for the U.S. Para Dressage team for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics with All in One. Photo by susanjstickle.com.
New York, NY – July 29, 2019 – Top U.S. show jumper Georgina Bloomberg has been a sponsor of U.S. Paralympic rider Sydney Collier for a year, supporting her in her bid to qualify to represent the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. In early July, Bloomberg purchased a new horse for Collier to show with that goal in mind, the Hanoverian gelding All in One.
“I can’t say enough great things about [All in One] and how excited I am to be working with him to try and earn a spot on the team for Tokyo 2020 and try to earn the gold there,” said Collier. “We have high hopes for him. It’s like the stars aligned for him to come into my life. I’m over the moon to get into the show ring with him. Georgina was willing to help me find and purchase him, which was such a blessing. Without her, I would not have had the resources to be able to do that myself.”
Bloomberg, one of the top U.S. show jumpers, and Collier have been friends for years. “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, 21, 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.
Collier represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Caen, France and then went on to compete for the U.S. team at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where she finished seventh individually riding Western Rose. In 2014, she won the Against All Odds award from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).
“I love Sydney’s positive attitude,” said Bloomberg. “She doesn’t see herself as having a disability or being restricted in any way. She just loves riding and wants to pursue her dreams. She’s one of the most positive and happy people I’ve met. She’s so enthusiastic about not just the horses, but also about riding for the USA. Every time you see her, she’s in head-to-toe USA gear, and she’s one of those people who is such a great representative of the U.S. both on and off the horse.”
Collier and Dunham found All in One, or “Alle,” through Kai Handt, who saw the horse in Germany. “He sent a video and we were just mesmerized by his walk, which is what you really look for,” said Collier. “You want a walk that draws you in and makes you want to watch the entire test. They’re really like unicorns to find. Our jaws just dropped. Kai was amazing and helped us to get him over here for me to try him.”
All in One is a 10-year-old (Abanos—Dauphina) with experience to fourth level. Collier made her showing debut with him at the Fall Breed & Dressage Show at Maplewood Warmbloods II & III in Middletown, NY on July 26-28. She plans to show a few more times throughout the summer to prepare for the Tryon Fall Dressage CPEDI3* and US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships on September 12 through 15 in North Carolina. She aims to begin 2020 by competing in CPEDIs at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL aiming for Paralympic team selection.
“From the first ride, Alle and I just really clicked,” Collier said. “He has the uphill build that I’ve been searching for my entire riding career. The walk has its own metronome and tempo that is really helpful to my body. He tunes out things that my body unintentionally does, like with my left side not being able to work properly with my right side. This partnership has melded together really quickly and well so far. He’s been such a joy to work with. The other awesome thing is that on the ground, he’s like a big teddy bear. He leans into you and wants all of the cuddles. He’s such a sweetheart and really takes care of me in the saddle. The best part about him being such a great walk horse, is that he really enjoys the walk, which is so hard to find.”
Sydney Collier and Western Rose – photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – September 14, 2016 – The 2016 Rio Paralympic Equestrian competition continued Wednesday at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center with the Grade 1B division riding their Individual Championship Test for a chance at a medal. The youngest rider in the Rio Equestrian Paralympics, Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, MI, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose improved on their Team Test placing ending up 7th with a 67.665%. Collier commented, “I am so happy and proud of my ride today. I can’t stop smiling. My mare Rosie was a superstar and we had a top 7 finish. Seeing my name up on the jumbotron made me so emotional and I can’t wait to see what amazing things I have coming up in my future. Overall it’s just an honor to be here in Rio competing with the best of the best and representing our country.”
Winning the Gold Medal in Grade Ib was Austria’s Pepo Puch riding Fontainenoir to a score of 75.103%. In Silver Medal position was Great Britain’s individual rider Lee Pearson riding Zion for a score of 74.103%. In the Bronze Medal position was Denmark’s Stinna Kaastrup riding Smarties to a score of 73.897%.
Thursday we have three riders riding for the individual championship – Rebecca Hart up first riding the Grade II test at 9:54 AM. In the Grade IA division we have at Margaret McIntosh at 3:23 PM and Roxanne Trunnell at 4:22 PM.
The 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Games continue at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center.
The Equestrian competition runs through September 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Equestrian competition at the Rio Paralympic Games got underway at the Deodoro Equestrian Center Saturday with the horse inspection. A total of 76 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 29 countries, including 14 in the team competition, are set to compete over the course of the week for Paralympic medals and national pride. The U.S. will be represented by the team of Sydney Collier, Rebecca Hart, Margaret McIntosh, and Angela Peavy. Roxanne Trunnell will represent the U.S. in Individual competition. The U.S. squad is led by U.S. Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt.
The U.S. athletes will compete as follows:
Sunday, September 11
Pathfinding for the U.S. will be Grade III athlete and first-time Paralympian Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.) riding Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding. Peavy was the 2016 and 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division Reserve National Champion. She and Lancelot Warrior were Team Gold medalists and Grade III Individual Champions at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January.
Grade Ib athletes will perform their Team tests Sunday afternoon. Representing the U.S. will be the youngest athlete in the field, Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), competing in her first Paralympics with Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare, Western Rose. The pair began the year with strong placings at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and went on to become the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Champions in June.
Monday, September 12
In Grade Ia, the U.S. team will see Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh (Reading, Pa.) and her longtime partner, Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare. Though Rio will mark the pair’s first team appearance in a Paralympic Games or World Championships, they have had consistent top results over the past three years. During this year’s winter season in Wellington, Fla., they posted five wins in Grade Ia CPEDI3* competition, including as members of the Gold medal-winning U.S. Team.
Also riding in the Grade Ia will be individual Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) in her Paralympic debut, aboard Royal Dancer, Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding. The pair has been competing at the international level together since early 2015 and have always placed within the top four. They were a part of the U.S. Team that clinched the Team Gold medal at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January.
Tuesday, September 13
Anchoring the U.S. Team will be two-time Paralympian Hart (Wellington, Fla,) with her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare. Competing as a Grade II athlete, Hart won in all of her outings with Schroeters Romani during the winter season, also contributing to the Gold medal-win for the U.S. Team at the Wellington CPEDI3*.
Team medals will be awarded on Friday based on the top three scores from each team in both the Team and Individual tests. Individual tests begin on Tuesday with Grade III on Tuesday and continue Wednesday with Grades IV and Ib, and Thursday with Grades II and Ia. Medals will be awarded for the Individual tests. Freestyle tests take place on Friday with another set of medals being awarded to each grade.
Sydney Collier and Western Rose. Photos by Erich Linder.
Grass Lake, Michigan – June 6, 2016 – Like a movie ending moment, Grade Ib rider Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Western Rose, owned by Wes Dunham, garnered the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Championship Sponsored by Deloitte. The duo maintained consistent scores over the weekend earning a final FEI Freestyle score of 73.167%. Grade III rider Annie Peavy (Avon, Conn.) and Lancelot Warrior, owned by Rebecca Reno and Heather Blitz, scored the highest freestyle of the day on Sunday at the Waterloo Hunt Club show grounds with a 75.833%. Peavy’s final score placed her as Reserve Champion of the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Championship. In the National division, Grade III athlete Pam Hardin (Evans, Ga.) and Quaterjack, owned by Hardin, Kara Hardin, Kasey Hardin, and Rachel Bryant, finished as the 2016 National Division Champion. Grade Ib rider Laurietta Oakleaf (Malvern, Pa.) and Niekele fan Busenitz, owned by Oakleaf and Laura McGinnis, took home the 2016 National Division Reserve Championship. It was an exciting weekend for the thirteen horse and rider combinations competing in front of ground jury members Kristi Wysocki 4* (USA); Kathy Amos-Jacob 5* (FRA); and Carlos Lopes 5* (POR). For ten of those horse and rider combinations it was the final chance to secure a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team representing the United States at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in September.
Sydney Collier is looking forward to the opportunity that she may be heading to Rio de Janeiro in September. Although the short list/ FEI Nominated Entry will not be released until a later date the 2016 championships gave an idea of how each rider competes under international pressure. Collier is no stranger to international competition since she was a team member of the 2014 World Equestrian Games Para-Dressage Team in France. Collier has been working hard over the years growing as an athlete and perfecting her dressage skills with coach Wes Dunham. Collier rode two horses in the championships over the weekend, Western Rose and Wentworth, and her determination and strength showed that she has the talent to represent the United States once again in Rio.
Collier expressed, “Winning yesterday meant the world to me. It was an affirmation that all of my hard work and training has really been paying off. It also makes me so happy to be able to make everyone that has been riding alongside me on my journey proud. In addition, getting to ride down centerline in Jonathan Wentz’s honor meant so much to me; he is who started me on this path and although he can’t be with us in person I know he is riding alongside all the riders as the sport of Para-Dressage grows. I don’t know if there are even words to describe how proud I am of my horses and how thankful I am to have such a supportive team beside me. Without my family, sponsors, trainer Wes Dunham, and amazing groom Satu Greer, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the success I achieved at selection trials. Then to make things even more special I won back in my own home state at a show grounds that I used to compete at when I was first starting Para-Dressage. It seems like everything has really come full circle and seeing the growth development that training with Wes and my two amazing mounts Wentworth and Rosie has made in my riding. I cannot even tell you how proud I am of the two of them for performing so well with me. Freestyles have always been my favorite day of competition; I just love how much you can express yourself and how much the horses really enjoy dancing to the music.
Collier concluded, “A huge thank you as well to Deloitte for sponsoring such an incredible national championship and selection trial event, as well as show management, a great panel of judges, and all of the other officials that made this event possible.”
Reserve High Performance champion Annie Peavy is also no stranger to international competition. Peavy and Lancelot have traveled the world competing against the best Para-Dressage athletes in the world. Peavy was also an individual rider at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France. Peavy and Lancelot secured the Reserve Championship High Performance Championship and earned competitive scores over the selection weekend. Peavy also earned the Reserve High Performance Division National Championship in 2015 aboard her own Ozzy Cooper.
Peavy noted, “This weekend was great for Lance and me; he was truly a warrior. After a long trip from Wellington he got off the trailer ready to compete. It was a very tough competition and I couldn’t have asked any more of him. I am anxious for the team to be named, but if we are on the team I know it will be a summer of doing what I love with intense focus.”
Peavy continued, “Following the trials I am heading to Connecticut for a few days to see good friends and give Lance a chance to travel back to Florida and have a couple days off.
When I return to Florida I plan on continuing to work with Heather to have Lance at his peak. Ozzy (Ozzy Cooper) is reportedly doing well and we will also continue to work together on our partnership.”
Peavy concluded, “I have to thank Heather for once again helping me train and also helping me take the judges impressions and translate that to the show arena. Both horses are so well taken care of by Alex Philpin; a happy healthy horse makes my job much easier. But most importantly I have to thank my parents for their support and passion for me to achieve my dream.”
In 2015 the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships added the High Performance and National divisions. The 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Division Champion was Pam Hardin and Quaterjack. The pair took the lead after the FEI Individual Test and maintained that lead to obtain the tricolor rosette. Hardin was also competing in the selection trials over the weekend as was the Reserve National Division Champion duo Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele fan Busenitz.
Hardin reflected on what this championship meant to her. “When I can no longer ride a horse and my days are filled with more memories than new beginnings, I will remember this week and how proud I was to have the chance to compete with such amazing women athletes for a chance to represent my country and to become the Para-Equestrian Dressage National Division Champion. I will remember reconnecting with friends and beginning new friendships. I will remember the partnership that was created with a ‘horse of a lifetime’ and I will cherish the support I received from both friends and family as I pursued this dream. I must thank my trainer and friend, Melanie Mitchell, who walked me onto this path and daily keeps me on the correct one, doing so with laughter and enduring care for the comfort of my horse. I would never be on this journey without her, or my family, friends, and sponsors, or the para-equestrian community, as a whole.”
Hardin will return home to Georgia and is hoping to qualify for the Region 3 championships in October 2016.
The overall National Champions in each division were determined by weighting the tests with the Team Test counting for 40%, Individual Test 40%, and Freestyle Test 20%.
The U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team selection rankings will be based on 50% of a combination’s overall performance in the Selection Event and 50% on the combined overall score from its best two CPEDI3* events taking place January 1, 2015 – May 16, 2016. The selection procedures also include discretionary criteria. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee and the USEF. The short list/FEI Nominated Entry for the U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team will be forwarded to the FEI by the United States Equestrian Federation by June 20, 2016. Equestrian competition at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games is scheduled for September 11-16, 2016, at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in the Deodoro Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.
The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.
Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.
In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).
For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: email@example.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.
Sydney Collier and Western Rose (Erich Linder Photography)
Grass Lake, Mich. – The 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte and Selection Event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games wrapped up Sunday with Grade Ib athlete Sydney Collier and Western Rose being crowned National Champions in the High Performance Division. Grade III athlete Pamela Hardin and Quaterjack earned top honors in the National Division. Sunday’s Freestyle Tests accounted for the final 20% of the overall championship scores with the first 80% percent coming equally from Friday’s Team Test and Saturday’s Individual Test.
High Performance Division
Heading into the final day of competition, the top of the High Performance leaderboard was extremely close with the top five all sitting within two percentage points of each other. The Freestyles proved very influential, with the athletes turning in high-quality performances under inclement weather conditions in front of the ground jury of Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA), Carlos Lopes (POR), and Kristi Wysocki (USA). Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare, Western Rose, began their quest for National Championship honors with a solid Team Test score of 70.867%. In Saturday’s Individual Test, the pair marked the highest score of the day across all grades, a 73.678%. Capping off a successful weekend with the Freestyle Test, featuring instrumental versions of Phillip Phillip’s “Home” and One Direction’s “Secrets”, the pair scored a 73.167% and secured the Grade Ib National Championship and overall High Performance Division titles.
“It was an incredible [Freestyle] test. I stayed with my music and both of the halts were squares, which I am so proud of. Our medium walks felt good, even though I didn’t push her as much with the muddy footing. Overall, my accuracy was spot-on. This was a great way to start the summer and an exciting start to a journey. It is such an honor competing with so many talented athletes and their horses. I want to say a big thank you to all of my sponsors; I could not be here without them,” said a pleased Collier.
Collier was also Reserve National Champion in the Grade Ib High Performance Division with her own Wentworth, a 2003 Hanoverian gelding.
Earning the highest Freestyle score of the day with a 75.833%, Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) and Rebecca Reno and Heather Blitz’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding, earned the High Performance Division Reserve National Champion title and were the Grade III National Champions. The pair went from strength to strength this weekend, improving its scores each day. They earned a Team Test score of 69.693% and an Individual Test score of 72.967%.
“I was really pleased with our performance,” said Peavy. “This was our third time showing this Freestyle. The strongest part of this test is the canter tour – we have really expressive changes. I was really pleased with the weekend overall. It was a long shipping trip for [Lancelot] from Wellington, Fla., and he was still on his a game. We are really becoming a more united pair the more we show together.”
Rounding out the top three overall in the High Performance Division was Kate Shoemaker (Peoria, Ariz.) and Solitaer 40, Craig Kate and Denna Shoemaker’s 2007 Hanoverian stallion. As the Grade III Reserve Champions, they scored 72.193% in the Team Test, 70.041% in the Individual Test, and 71.917% in the Freestyle Test.
Maintaining their overnight lead, Hardin (Evans, Ga.) and Kara Hardin, Kasey Hardin, Rachel Bryant, and her own 2005 Brandenburg gelding, Quaterjack, performed another brilliant test to end their weekend. In day one’s Grade III Team Test, the pair worked through initial nerves to score a 67.675%. They improved greatly on day two, scoring a 70.203% in the Individual Test, moving them into the lead, overall. The pair performed an energetic and expressive Freestyle to music from the movie Kung-Fu Panda and the video game Dragon Warrior to earn a score of 72.417%.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from that horse. He rises to the occasion every time. Everything can go wrong at a show and he takes it all in stride. Nothing fazes him,” said Hardin. “The test went well; I love the extended trot [in the Freestyle] down the long side – we are able to really go for it.” Hardin also earned the Grade III National Champion title.
Laurietta Oakleaf (Malvern, Pa.) and her own and Laura McGinnis’ 2004 Friesian stallion, Niekele fan Busenitz, or Nikki, finished the weekend as the Grade Ib National Champions and Reserve National Champions, overall, in the National Division. The pair led the division on day one with a Team Test score of 68.200%. They posted an Individual Test score of 66.724% and earned a score of 68.667% in the Freestyle.
“Overall it went well, considering that we got the music recently and were only able to practice it once earlier this week,” said Oakleaf of her Freestyle performance. “Nikki and I had a couple places that we need to work on, but we also had very good moments. Some of our geometry, and most of our marks, were right on today.”
Earning the third-place position overall in the division was Grade IV National Champion, Mary Jordan (Wells, Maine) and Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center’s Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding. The pair scored a 63.611% in the Team Test, a 66.905% in the Individual Test, and a 67.583% in the Freestyle.
U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team selection rankings will be based on 50% of a combination’s overall performance in the Selection Event and 50% on the combined overall score from its best two CPEDI3* events taking place January 1, 2015 – May 16, 2016. The selection procedures also include discretionary criteria. Of the 11 athletes competing this weekend, nine will look to secure a position on the four-member 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team, which will be announced at a later date. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee and the USEF. Para-dressage competition at the Paralympic Games takes place September 11-16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.