Tag Archives: Sydney Collier

Judy Werner and Sydney Collier to Receive Top Awards at USEF Annual Meeting

Sydney Collier (SusanJStickle.com)

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce Judy Werner as the winner of the 2014 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and Sydney Collier as the 2014 Junior Equestrian of the Year. The recipients will receive their awards at the Pegasus Awards Dinner held Friday, January 16, at The Hyatt Regency Lexington in Lexington, Ky., during the 2015 USEF Annual Meeting.

Junior Equestrian of the Year – Sydney Collier

Seventeen-year-old Sydney Collier is a talented Para-Equestrian who competed at the international level in 2014, including the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., she was diagnosed at the age of seven with a rare congenital birth defect called Wyburn-Mason Syndrome. In spite of this challenge, Collier pursued her love of riding and has become a top equestrian athlete. A prime example of courage, sportsmanship, and dedication, Collier will be awarded the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2014 Junior Equestrian of the Year.

For more information about Sydney Collier, click here.

Judy Werner (Diana De Rosa Photo)
Judy Werner (Diana De Rosa Photo)

USEF Lifetime Achievement Award – Judy Werner

Werner, of Waterloo, Ill., has played an influential role in the American Saddlebred industry for decades. Participating as a competitor, breeder, and leader, Werner has made numerous contributions to the equine industry. For her years of service, Werner has been awarded the 2014 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and will receive the Jimmy A. Williams Lifetime Achievement Trophy at the Pegasus Awards gala.

For more information about Judy Werner, click here.

Visit https://www.usef.org/convention/ for more information about the 2015 USEF Annual Meeting.

Horse Radio Network Recaps Para-Dressage at WEG with Sydney Collier and Wes Dunham

Willi Wesley trots to a top finish in the Grade Ib team test with rider Sydney Collier. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com.

Jupiter, FL – September 26, 2014 – Horse Radio Network’s once-a-month Para-Equestrian Show featured U.S. World Equestrian Games (WEG) Athlete Sydney Collier and her WEG coach Wes Dunham.

Lindsay McCall from the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) hosted the show with co-host Regina Cristo. To listen to episode #278, please visit: http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2014/09/25/dressage-radio-episode-278-para-dressage-wraps-2014-weg-with-sydney-collier-and-coach-wes/.

About Sydney Collier:

Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, Michigan represented Grade Ib for the USA at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This was her first World Equestrian Games at the young age of 16. Collier rode Victoria Dugan’s Willi Wesley, a 2000 Warmblood gelding. At age seven Sydney was diagnosed with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome after she began having blurry vision. Wyburn-Mason Syndrome is a rare, congenital disorder characterized by arteriovenous malformations in the central nervous system and retina. It affects only .14% of the world’s population and can cause brain hemorrhaging, stroke, paralysis, or death. In 2010 at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, Sydney and her family ran across young para-equestrian Jonathan Wentz. Wentz introduced Collier to trainer Kai Handt and veteran Paralympian Hope Hand who is President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association. Not long after the 2010 World Equestrian Games Collier began training as a Para-Dressage rider eventually pairing up with Paralympic Dressage coach Wes Dunham of Millbrook, NY. In 2012, young rider Collier had not yet reached her 16th birthday before the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials but she did earn the opportunity to compete at the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. The valuable experience of showing at the National Championships that year gave her the verification she needed to know that she was ready to aim for the 2014 WEG. Collier and her coach Wes Dunham have been working together over the past two years creating the perfect partnerships with multiple mounts. Collier began riding Wentworth (owned previously by Amy McIlwham) in 2013 and competed internationally with her horse that same year. In 2014 Collier added two new mounts to her line-up scoring top rankings in Grade Ib. Collier earned a spot on the U.S. WEG Team in June 2014 with horses NTEC Cuplee and Willi Wesley. Collier and Willi Wesley were successful at the 2014 Games. The WEG was Collier’s first overseas trip for Para-Dressage and a dream come true for the young athlete.

Wes Dunham and Willi Wesley at the 2014 CPEDI3* in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay McCall
Wes Dunham and Willi Wesley at the 2014 CPEDI3* in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay McCall

About Wes Dunham:

Born and raised in western New York, FEI rider and trainer Wes Dunham began his life-long love of horses at the age of 6. He competed in Western Pleasure classes before turning his attention to Eventing, Show Jumping and ultimately Dressage which he currently coaches and trains. While completing his Master’s in Education, Wes dedicated himself full-time to a career in the sport. Wes has been awarded his USDF Bronze and Silver medals, and is currently working towards his Gold. Most recently, he coached an FEI para-equestrian athlete and student on his own mare “Western Rose,” helping the pair to earn a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Wes has been working with multiple Para-Dressage athletes including WEG U.S. Team member Sydney Collier and hunter/jumper rider Elizabeth Traband. As an FEI coach Wes has trained at the 2012 Paralympics and the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Wes trains in Millbrook, New York, at Woodstock Stables.

Once a month, the Dressage Radio Show becomes the Para-Equestrian Show Hosted by Lindsay McCall, of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, focusing on international FEI discipline Para-Dressage. Although Para-Dressage is the main event, listeners have the opportunity to learn more about the skillful U.S. Para-Driving Team, the Para-Reining discipline, Para-Vaulting, and the future of Para-Jumping. The para-equestrian dressage show will feature a line-up of guests including Olympians, Paralympians, trainers, coaches, professionals, amateur riders, young riders, and equine enthusiasts. The intention of the radio show is to educate, inform, and entertain listeners on the para-equestrian Dressage discipline.

To learn more about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or e-mail President Hope Hand at hope@uspea.org. You may also e-mail the host of the para-equestrian segment Lindsay McCall at Lindsay@uspea.org.

To learn more about the Horse Radio Network, visit www.horseradionetwork.com; to contact Glenn the Geek, go to http://www.horseradionetwork.com/contact/ or leave a voicemail at 270-803-0025.

About the Horse Radio Network:

The Horse Radio Network is the voice of the horse world with listeners in over 40 countries. Eight different entertaining shows cover all aspects of the horse world and you can listen any time on your computer, MP3 player or smart phone.

We believe that people own horses for fun and entertainment. Why else would you put up with the early morning feedings, stall cleaning, vet bills, long trips to shows, empty bank accounts and everything else that goes with being a horse owner?

Our goal with these shows is to help your chores go a little faster and to put a smile on your face! Learn more at www.horseradionetwork.com.

HORSES IN THE MORNING live M-F at 9am Eastern at www.horsesinthemorning.com.

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

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Sydney Collier Carries the Para-Equestrian Torch

Sydney Collier and her dog Journey at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.

They say some living things are “old souls.” If that’s true, then Sydney Collier is one of them.

With her huge, earnest, round blue eyes and round rosy cheeks, the pint-sized Collier bears a certain resemblance to an oversized Raggedy Ann doll. (She even has the reddish hair, although hers is cropped close.) But the sixteen-year-old para-equestrian dressage rider’s articulate speech and positive, thoughtful nature belie her young age.

Collier has lived with medical challenges for half her young life. At the age of eight she was diagnosed with a rare condition called Wyburn-Mason syndrome, which causes vascular malformations within the brain and causes other side effects, including one that befell Collier when she lost vision in her right eye and had coordination problems on the left side of her body. Then in 2009, when Collier was 11, she was undergoing one of the three brain surgeries she endured that year when she suffered a stroke. The stroke left her with hemiparesis (one-sided weakness) on her left side.

The disability ended Collier’s career as a budding event rider. She’d begun riding at the age of seven, and she’d evented until the time of her stroke. The setback left her feeling “a little discouraged, like, ‘Oh, I had a stroke;, I can’t be the best rider I possibly can be.'”

It was time for a little luck to come into Collier’s life, and the lucky break took the form of a trip to Lexington, Ky.

In 2010, the year after Collier’s stroke, the Kentucky Horse Park hosted the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games – which also happened to be the first WEG held in the United States and the first to include para-equestrian dressage. Collier traveled from her home in Ann Arbor, Mich., to Lexington to watch the competition.

“That was when it really clicked for me: Even though I have these physical challenges that make me have to do things differently, I still can ride at the level I want to ride,” Collier recalls.

The 2010 WEG was also the site of the meeting that changed Collier’s life. She befriended the young US para-equestrian dressage rider Jonathan Wentz, who “got me connected with the right people” and whom she calls her mentor.

Collier decided to pursue para-dressage, and she’s never looked back. Of the sport, she says, “The best thing about dressage is there’s always something to work on.”

Collier’s quest to reach the international levels of para-dressage has led to a vagabond existence. While the rest of the Collier family remains in Michigan, Sydney and her mother, Anna Collier, rent a house in Millbrook, N.Y., so that Sydney can train with FEI-level instructor/trainer Wes Dunham at his Woodstock Stables in Millbrook. Dunham also coaches para-equestrian Donna Ponessa, who rode Dunham’s mare Western Rose in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

“Syd’s ParaQuest,” as Collier calls it (her website is www.sydsparaquest.com), next led her to Texas, home base of Kai Handt, the US para-equestrian dressage chef d’équipe. Collier was riding two horses based at Handt’s North Texas Equestrian Center in Wylie, Tex.: NTEC Cuplee, a six-year-old Mecklenburg gelding owned by Patricia McIean Mendenhall; and Willi Wesley, a 14-year-old Hessen gelding owned by Victoria Dugan.

“It’s been a lot of traveling for us the last few months,” Collier says, referring to the trips to Texas to ride with Handt.

Collier competed with both horses at the 2014 U.S. WEG para-dressage selection trials, held in June at U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. Although she actually ranked higher (third) on the WEG short list with NTEC Cuplee than with Willi Wesley (sixth), “the selection committee selected Willi Wesley as my main mount.”

“Willi Wesley has been to many international competitions, so he has a lot of experience,” Collier explains. “The other horse I was riding is six years old and just starting out. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him. Both of them are amazing, and I could never pick one over the other. They have brought me so much happiness.”

Collier’s sunny attitude extends to her experience in Normandy, where she is competing in the Grade Ib division. Her first tests at a world championships haven’t been mistake-free, but like any dedicated dressage rider, she is matter-of-fact about what needs to improve.

“I would like to work a lot on my center lines and get them as perfect as they can be,” she says after her Grade Ib Team test, her first time competing in the arena at the WEG para venue, La Prairie Racecourse. “I also want to work on my geometry because I’m three-fourths blind, actually. It helps a lot when I have that extra time to become familiar with the arena,” she says.

Not Your Usual Dog and Pony Show

Collier has attracted a lot of media attention at these Games. For starters, she’s the youngest para-equestrian here. For another, she makes for ridiculously easy photo ops because she’s the only WEG competitor accompanied by a dog.

The white Standard Poodle at Collier’s side is her service dog, appropriately named Journey. “He’s the first dog ever to get credentials for the world championships,” Collier says. “It was so funny when they gave it to him because it looked like he was getting knighted.”

Journey “wears a harness and acts like my cane. If I trip, he braces his muscles. He opens doors; he can turn on and off lights; he can open and close cabinets; he helps me up and down the stairs. He can bark for help, which helps a lot if I fall, and he will find someone if I fall, as well. We do almost like old-fashioned texting: If I forget something, I’ll hand him a note, and he’ll take it to my mom. Then my mom will give him a bag with whatever I need, and he’ll bring it right up to me.”

Jonathan’s Legacy

In 2012, mere weeks after competing in the London Paralympics, Jonathan Wentz died unexpectedly and suddenly at the age of 22. Although the loss of her mentor hit Collier hard, she says she is determined to keep his memory and his para-equestrian legacy alive.

“He’s always been a huge part of my story and journey,” says Collier, who lifts the sleeve of her dressage show coat to reveal a rubber bracelet bearing the phrase JONATHAN RIDES ON. “I ride with one of his Paralympic pins, and I ride with a picture of the two of us in my pocket so I can always keep him close.

“A huge part of my journey is carrying on his story,” Collier continues. “It’s like I’m carrying on his hope to grow the [U.S.] junior/young rider para program. For me, it’s so inspiring seeing all these other riders who have reached their goals.

“It’s crazy to think about: Four years ago I was sitting in the stands [at the 2010 WEG], thinking, ‘Maybe I could do this.’ I hope that, through my story, I inspire other youths – or people of any age range – that they can achieve their goals, no matter what speed bumps might come up along the way.”

By: Jennifer O. Bryant for the USPEA

Learn more about the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France: http://www.normandy2014.com/the-disciplines/8/para-dressage.

Support the Team and its future to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with the USET Foundation’s Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge: http://uspea.org/the-jonathan-wentz-memorial-challenge/.

Learn more about the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage discipline or give a tax-deductible donation to support the development of the sport with the USPEA 501(c)(3)t: www.USPEA.org.

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Peavy and Collier Close Out Para-Dressage World Championship Debuts on High Notes at WEG

Angela Peavy and Ozzy Cooper (SusanJStickle.com)

Caen, France – Nations took the next steps in earning Para-Dressage Team medals, as riders also had their first opportunity to claim Individual medals at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Wednesday at the La Prairie Racecourse. Grade III and 1b combinations went to task throughout the day, as the U.S. was represented by Angela Peavy and Sydney Collier.

In the Grade III Championship, Peavy (Avon, Conn.), competing as an Individual, closed out her first World Championship experience in the Individual Test on Rebecca Reno’s Ozzy Cooper. In their second test of the World Games, the combination earned a score of 63.561% from the Ground Jury of Alison King, Eva Bachinger, Kjell Myhre, Hanneke Gerritsen, and Marco Orsini.

“I thought it went very well. He was very focused with me: more energetic, up and powerful. I was very happy with him, and I was more relaxed than the first day,” said Peavy. “He’s really focused on me, and we are in our own little bubble. We are very concentrated on his job and performing well.”

The pair finished the Grade III Team Test in 17th place.

Germany’s Hannelore Brenner and Women of the World earned the Gold medal in the Grade III Individual Test on a score of 73.610%, with The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets and Vedet PB N.O.P. claiming the Silver medal on a score of 72.053%, and Annika Lykke Risum and Aros A Fenris of Denmark earning the Bronze medal with a score of 69.868%.

Sydney Collier and Willi Wesley (SusanJStickle.com)
Sydney Collier and Willi Wesley (SusanJStickle.com)

Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Victoria Dugan’s Willi Wesley had a marked improvement in the Grade 1b Individual Test over their Team Test on Monday. The combination earned a score of 68.103% from the Ground Jury of Sarah Leitch, Anne Prain, Hanneke Gerritsen, Eva Bachinger, and Freddy Leyman. The 16-year-old was hoping to build on her performance from Monday and earn a finish within the top 12 in the Individual Test. They were able to do just that as she notched a ninth-place finish on Wednesday.

“That made me so happy. I really took Monday to just figure out what I needed to improve. I schooled him with that in mind. I was really happy with how that all came out,” said Collier. “My whole career has been leading up to this so far. For my first Games, I would be extremely thrilled with this outcome.”

The winners of the Grade 1b Individual Test Gold medal were Lee Pearson and Zion of Great Britain on a score of 77.310%. Pepo Puch and Fine Feeling S of Austria claimed the Silver medal on a score of 76.520%, with Silvia Veratti and Zadok of Italy earning a score of 72.00% and the Bronze medal.

By Helen Murray

To learn more about the Para-Dressage Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/8/para-dressage.

Learn more about the Para-Equestrian Team: click here.

Top-15 Finishes for First Two U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Competitors at WEG

Angela Peavy finished tenth with Ozzy Cooper in the Grade III team test on a score of 65.421 percent. CREDIT: SusanJStickle.com.

CAEN, NORMANDY, August 25, 2014 – The USA got off to a strong start in day 1 of para-equestrian dressage competition at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™.

First up was individual competitor Angela Peavy, 18, of Avon, Conn., who earned a tenth-place finish in the Grade III team test on a score of 65.421 percent. Peavy’s mount for the Games is Ozzy Cooper, an eight-year-old Trakehner gelding (Hibiskus x Arrak) owned by Rebecca Reno.

“It was great; he was a really good boy,” Peavy said of her mount afterward. “He was good, nice, and very focused. It was a very clean test.”

This WEG is Peavy’s first international competition, as it is likewise for her teammate Sydney Collier, 16, of Ann Arbor, Mich. Collier’s story – she is the youngest para-dressage competitor at these Games, and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) fact-checkers are busy trying to confirm their hunch that she may be the youngest competitor in all of the disciplines at this event – has charmed the media, as have Collier’s accounts of her service dog, a white Poodle named (appropriately) Journey, who is the first dog to receive a proper WEG accreditation, credential and all.

Aboard Willi Wesley, a fourteen-year-old Hessen gelding (Wolkenstein x Kokoschka) owned by Victoria Dugan, Collier earned a score of 65.960 percent in the Grade Ib team test, which put her in thirteenth place.

Willi Wesley trots to a thirteenth-place finish and a score of 65.960 percent in the Grade Ib team test with rider Sydney Collier. CREDIT: SusanJStickle.com
Willi Wesley trots to a thirteenth-place finish and a score of 65.960 percent in the Grade Ib team test with rider Sydney Collier. CREDIT: SusanJStickle.com

“It was an incredible experience to be riding with such amazing other riders,” Collier said afterward. “For my first time, my horse was super-well-behaved, and thankfully I don’t get nervous, because of my stroke,” she said, referring to the incident that changed her life at age 11.

WEG para-equestrian team dressage competition continues tomorrow, August 26. First up for Team USA will be 2010 WEG athlete Susan Treabess, who will ride Kamiakin in the Grade IV team test. Reigning six-time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion, two-time Paralympian (2008 and 2012) and 2010 WEG athlete Rebecca Hart will contest the Grade II team test aboard her new mount, Schroeter’s Romani. And Roxanne Trunnell will ride Nice Touch in the Grade Ia team test.

Learn more about the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France: http://www.normandy2014.com/the-disciplines/8/para-dressage.

Support the Team and its future to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with the USET Foundation’s Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge: http://uspea.org/the-jonathan-wentz-memorial-challenge/.

Learn more about the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage discipline or give a tax-deductible donation to support the development of the sport with the USPEA 501(c)(3)t: www.USPEA.org.

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Horse Radio Network Features Sydney Collier and Groom Amy McIlwham

Sydney Collier and Willi Wesley at the June 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage WEG Selection Trials and National Championships. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com.

Wylie, TX – July 31, 2014 – Horse Radio Network’s once-a-month Para-Equestrian Show featured U.S. World Equestrian Games (WEG) Athlete Sydney Collier and her WEG groom Amy McIlwham.

Lindsay McCall from the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) hosted the show with co-host Ellie Brimmer. To listen to episode #270, please visit: http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2014/07/31/dressage-radio-episode-270-para-dressage-preview-weg-2014/.

About Sydney Collier: Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will represent Grade Ib for the USA at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This will be her first World Equestrian Games. Collier will be riding Victoria Dugan’s Willi Wesley, a 2000 Warmblood gelding. At age seven Sydney was diagnosed with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome after she began having blurry vision. Wyburn-Mason Syndrome is a rare, congenital disorder characterized by arteriovenous malformations in the central nervous system and retina. It affects only .14% of the world’s population and can cause brain hemorrhaging, stroke, paralysis, or death. In 2010 at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, Sydney and her family ran across young para-equestrian Jonathan Wentz. Wentz introduced Collier to trainer Kai Handt and veteran Paralympian Hope Hand who is President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association. Not long after the 2010 World Equestrian Games Collier began training as a Para-Dressage rider eventually pairing up with Paralympic Dressage coach Wes Dunham of Millbrook, NY. In 2012, young rider Collier had not yet reached her 16th birthday before the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials but she did earn the opportunity to compete at the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. The valuable experience of showing at the National Championships that year gave her the verification she needed to know that she was ready to aim for the 2014 WEG. Collier and her coach Wes Dunham have been working together over the past two years creating the perfect partnerships with multiple mounts. Collier began riding Wentworth (owned previously by Amy McIlwham) in 2013 and competed internationally with her horse that same year. In 2014 Collier added two new mounts to her line-up scoring top rankings in Grade Ib. This will be Collier’s first overseas trip for Para-Dressage and a dream come true for the young athlete.

About Amy McIlwham:  McIlwham began riding at the age of 7, at a stable close to her house in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In 2000, she began training with Ruth Koch out of Oxford Ridge Stables in Kemptville, Ontario. Ruth generously loaned McIlwham her Grand Prix horse Favorit, and she successfully competed him at the FEI Junior level for several years.

Amy McIlwham and Wentworth. Photo Courtesy of Amy McIlwham
Amy McIlwham and Wentworth. Photo Courtesy of Amy McIlwham

Not long after, McIlwham was offered the ride on Marzipan, a Hanoverian stallion owned by one of Ruth’s clients. She competed him for 5 years taking him to Dressage at Devon at the FEI Junior level in 2004, and to the NAJYRC twice at the FEI Young Rider level in 2005 and 2006. “I was so lucky to have such generous people around me, and such wonderful horses to teach me so much through my Junior and Young Rider years,” said McIlwham.

After graduating from the Young Rider ranks, she purchased Wentworth, a 4 year old Hanoverian gelding, from Germany. The pair worked alongside Ruth and her other coach, Albrecht Heidemann, to develop Wentworth through the levels. He competed through second level with scores consistently in the high 60s-70s, before becoming a new partner for Sydney in the Fall of 2012.

McIlwham has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy Management and a Master’s degree in Conflict and International Security. Currently, she works full time for the Canadian government as an Analyst for Aviation Security, and she still rides as often as she can.

Riding Highlights
-Top Canadian (7th) and Team Bronze medalist at the 2001 North American Junior Dressage Championships (with Favorit)
-Individual and Team Gold Medalist at the 2002 FEI Championship of the Americas (Favorit)
-FEI Junior Champion at Dressage at Devon in 2004
-Member of the 2005 and 2006 NAJYRC Canadian Young Rider team (with Marzipan)

Once a month, the Dressage Radio Show becomes the Para-Equestrian Show Hosted by Lindsay McCall, of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, focusing on international FEI discipline Para-Dressage. Although Para-Dressage is the main event, listeners have the opportunity to learn more about the skillful U.S. Para-Driving Team, the Para-Reining discipline, Para-Vaulting, and the future of Para-Jumping. The para-equestrian dressage show will feature a line-up of guests including Olympians, Paralympians, trainers, coaches, professionals, amateur riders, young riders, and equine enthusiasts. The intention of the radio show is to educate, inform, and entertain listeners on the para-equestrian Dressage discipline.

To learn more about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or e-mail President Hope Hand at hope@uspea.org. You may also e-mail the host of the para-equestrian segment Lindsay McCall at Lindsay@uspea.org.

To learn more about the Horse Radio Network, visit www.horseradionetwork.com; to contact Glenn the Geek, go to http://www.horseradionetwork.com/contact/ or leave a voicemail at 270-803-0025.

About the Horse Radio Network:

The Horse Radio Network is the voice of the horse world with listeners in over 40 countries. Eight different entertaining shows cover all aspects of the horse world and you can listen any time on your computer, MP3 player or smart phone.

We believe that people own horses for fun and entertainment. Why else would you put up with the early morning feedings, stall cleaning, vet bills, long trips to shows, empty bank accounts and everything else that goes with being a horse owner?

Our goal with these shows is to help your chores go a little faster and to put a smile on your face! Learn more at www.horseradionetwork.com.

HORSES IN THE MORNING live M-F at 9am Eastern at www.horsesinthemorning.com.

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

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Congratulations to Sydney Collier for Earning the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Scholarship Fund

Sydney Collier and Willi Wesley at the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Gladstone, NJ – May 31, 2014 – In less than a week the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and World Equestrian Games Selection Trials will occur June 2-5, 2014. Para-Dressage athletes from around the United States will meet at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ for their opportunity to represent the United States in Normandy, France. Over the year equestrians have prepared by traveling around the world to multiple Para-Equestrian Dressage competitions. One of those athletes includes young rider Sydney Collier (Grade Ib) of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Collier participated in the 2012 USEF National Championships but was unable to compete for the London Paralympics since she was under the minimum qualification age of 16. The 2013 through 2014 calendar has been a year of intense preparation, thousands of miles, and multiple trips down the centerline. Earning the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2014 helped Collier in 2014 before the Selection Trials/National Championship.

The Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund was established to continue the dream of Paralympian Jonathan Wentz, to advance High Performance Para Dressage in the USA by supporting and encouraging USA Para Dressage Young Riders to set the goal of International competition. Scholarship funds go toward assisting USA Para-Dressage High Performance Young Riders (ages 16-25 within the competition year), who are actively competing in 3* and above International Para-Dressage competitions, and have qualified for the U.S. Young Rider Para-Equestrian Championships. Funds are awarded to help offset competition expenses up to $1,000.00 per competition to help cover entry and other fees including stabling and/or shipping (must be greater than 500 miles one way) costs for competition.

Collier was excited to receive this Scholarship Fund. She explained, “I am excited and focused as Selection Trials and the National Championship gets closer and closer. It was such a great experience in 2012 to have qualified at the National level. Even though I was too young at that point to be included in Selection Trials for the London Paralympics it was an invaluable learning experience as I was growing and developing as a rider. I hope other Junior/Young riders will continue to use the National level shows as preparation for events like this regardless of the possible age restraints because it is absolutely the best way to find yourself prepared for all the ins and outs of future international and high level competitions.”

She continued, “I was so incredibly honored to be the first recipient of the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Scholarship Fund for Junior/Young Riders who are both actively competing at the International level and actively promoting Para-Dressage through speaking engagements and by volunteering at events in the community. In 2010 I met Jonathan Wentz at the World Equestrian Games and even though he was showing at a top level and was part of the USPEA, Jonathan was an invaluable mentor and friend showing me the ropes of training and competition while also sharing many laughs along the way. I learned from Jonathan that to be competitive and recognized as an athlete you need to be consistently training, competing and improving as well as an ambassador for your sport. As this was my goal I followed his lead, training my first year to the National level competitions and then to International CPEDI3* competitions. Although I am young I have competed in six CPEDI3* competitions and over 20 USDF/USEF recognized shows over the last three years in preparation for the upcoming World Equestrian Games U.S. Para-Dressage Selection Trials. I hope that as the sport of Para-Dressage continues to grow in the USA that I can continue Jonathan’s dreams of growing a strong and thriving Junior/Young Rider Para Dressage Program and also be as great a friend to other athletes and competitor as he was to me. The Jonathan Wentz Scholarship was absolutely invaluable to me as it helped me be able to travel to the Florida CPEDI3* this year by covering part of the shipping costs across the country.”

Sydney will be showing Willi Wesley and NTEC Cuplee at the Selection Trials June 2-5, 2014. Collier acknowledges, “I would like to say a huge thank you to Victoria and the entire Dugan family in Texas for their incredible generosity in allowing me to ride their fabulous horse Willi Wesley. Willi Wesley is a 14-year-old German Sporthorse living at the North Texas Equestrian Center. He has trained and competed up through the Grand Prix level. Besides being a fabulous mover and absolutely drop dead handsome he has the most wonderful and tender heart and soul. My body is not always the easiest to work with and he has been able to adjust and work with my different cues and compensatory aids without missing a beat. I would also like to thank Kai Handt for opening his training facility to me to work with Willi while I was in the Texas area. Finally, to all my sponsors I am so incredibly grateful for being a part of Team ParaQuest.”

About the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials:

The 2014 calendar year has been one of the most competitive years in history for U.S. Para-Dressage. The 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) will showcase that. The Trials/National Championship will be held June 2-5, 2014, at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. Twenty-four horse and rider combinations were recently invited from Grades Ia, Ib. II, III, and IV. Riders had through May 31, 2014 to qualify. Athletes will be vying for not only a spot on the U.S. WEG Para-Dressage Team but the championship titles of the year. Riders have through the end of May to continue to qualify for this event. The ground jury includes President Kristi Wysocki (4*) USA, Adrienne Pot (3*) USA, and David Schmutz (4*) USA. The 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials is managed by Connie Davenport.

About the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Scholarship Fund:

The Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund was established to continue the dream of Paralympian Jonathan Wentz; to advance High Performance Para Dressage in the USA by supporting and encouraging USA Para Dressage Young Riders to set the goal of International competition.

At age 13, Jonathan set the goal of riding for the USA in the Paralympics. At age 16, he established a plan and budget to achieve his dream. At the age of 21, Jonathan was able to achieve his dream of riding for Team USA in the 2012 London Paralympics earning the highest placing of all USA equestrians that competed in London. Another goal of Jonathan’s was to develop a Para Dressage Young Rider program to help grow and improve Para Dressage in the USA. His scholarship fund will be used to offset the cost of YR Championships and International competition for Para Dressage Young Rider’s and to encourage their participation enabling them to excel in their sport.

Scholarship funds will go toward assisting USA Para Dressage High Performance Young Riders (ages 16-25 within the competition year), who are actively competing in 3* and above International Para Dressage competitions, and have qualified for the U.S. YR Para Championships.

Funds shall be awarded to help offset competition expenses up to $1,000.00 per competition to help cover entry and other fees including stabling and/or shipping (must be greater than 500 miles one way) costs for competition.

Guidelines for Application of Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund:
Application Download Here

USA athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Scholarship Application with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices and/or receipts, for consideration of scholarship funds, along with a list of their competition highlights, competition goals and competition plan/schedule for the current and future 2 years. (Examples: 2013-2014, 2015-2016)

Scholarship funds are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or shipping only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9, and will be subject to approval. Scholarship funds may be awarded for a maximum of two CPEDI3* events per competition year or the YR Para Championships & one CPEDI3* with a maximum of $1,000.00 awarded per competition. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board. Funds will be awarded based on “own horse” (according to FEI Para definition), distance to competition, number of competitions athlete is planning to attend in 2-year competition period, competition record, number of applicants and/or funds available.

This trophy was established in memory of Paralympian Jonathan Wentz, to recognize a USA Para Equestrian ATHLETE (includes Para Dressage, Para Driving, Para Vaulting, Para Jumping, and Para Reining) who has competed and excelled in multiple International Competitions and received scores that contributed to the USA Individual and/or Team ranking on the FEI ranking list during the competition year. This individual has also served as a role model in advancing the sport in the USA, and educating the public on the discipline.

Paralympian Jonathan Wentz, at the age of sixteen, established a plan to achieve his goal of representing his country at the Paralympics. Toward that goal he tirelessly trained and competed as a high performance Para Dressage athlete for the USA. He tenaciously pursued his goal while working to improve his sport through serving on USEF committees, giving riding demonstrations, public speaking and mentoring new riders. Jonathan felt it was extremely important for the growth of the sport for Para Equestrian High Performance athletes, to be recognized as athletes without regard to their disability, to be viewed parallel to Olympians. To achieve this level a Para Equestrian must be committed to training & competing consistently at the highest level, like their Olympic counterparts. It also requires a commitment to improving the sport and educating the public on all Para Equestrian disciplines.

The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Perpetual Trophy recognizes the USA Athlete’s excellence in competitive Para Equestrian sport at the International level. This award honors USA athletes who serve as a role model for their sport and it commends those equestrians who help to advance Para Equestrian sport in the United States.

(This trophy was established by the USPEA to be given annually** at the USEF annual convention. There will be a perpetual trophy created for the names of the recipients. Disciplines not yet established are listed looking toward future growth in Para Equestrian High Performance disciplines. **The award will be given annually, if there is an athlete that meets the criteria.)

To make a tax-deductible donation to the USPEA Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund or Memorial Trophy:

Mail donations to:
USPEA, c/o Tina Wentz, 701 N. Waterview Dr., Richardson, TX 75080

Make your checks payable to:
USPEA and designate: “JW Trophy” in the memo.

Use your Credit Card or PayPal by going to www.USPEA.org.
Click on the “Donate Now” button and designate “JW Trophy” in the message section.

Written by: Lindsay Y McCall

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

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.