Gladstone, NJ – June 12, 2012 – The weather report for Tuesday, June 12, 2012 predicted 80% chance of rain at the United States Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters. Within an hour of competition at the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Paralympic Selection Trials/Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships, rain began to crash upon the trees. Riders did not waiver from the schedule and welcomed the rain as a variable to take advantage of. As the second day concluded Rebecca Hart (Unionville, PA) inched ahead of Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, NY), and 2011 National Champion Jonathan Wentz (Richardson, TX). With only the Freestyle competition left to secure four spots on the United States Paralympic Team headed to London, riders hope to continue earning supreme scores. Currently Rebecca Hart, Donna Ponessa, Jonathan Wentz, and Dale Dedrick (Ann Arbor, MI) have remained in the top four of the standings.
Rebecca Hart, 26, and Lord Ludger excelled in the Grade II Team Test earning a 73.968% aboard the Holsteiner gelding. Hart showcased her test when the rain became a downpour but Hart remained determined and relaxed. “I owe my grippy gloves to sticky spray,” chuckled Hart. “The reins get quite slippery in a rain like this and with two whips, and two reins it gets difficult to hold onto everything if it’s wet. However, the rain was not a factor on how LoLu performed.” Having all types of situations occur within an atmosphere like the Selection Trials gives the riders experiences they can grow from before heading to a large show like the Paralympics.
Gladstone, NJ – June 10, 2012 – In 2008, five Para-Equestrian Dressage riders competed in the United States Selection Trials for the Beijing Paralympics. Four years later twenty-three horse and rider combinations earned the right to compete at the 2012 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Paralympic Selection Trials. Dr. Stacey Kent, DVM, FEI Ground Jury member Carlos Lopes 5* (POR), and USEF Dressage Team Vet Dr. Rick Mitchell, DVM were on hand to evaluate each horse during Sunday’s veterinary inspection. Each horse passed with flying colors shifting the rider’s focus to the next three days of competition. From June 11-13 Para-Equestrian athletes will compete at the United States Equestrian Team Foundation (USET) headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey. Running simultaneously with the Selection Trials is the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. Overall scores for both the Paralympic Selection Trials and National Championships will be calculated using 40% of the Team Test, 40% of the Individual and 20% of the Freestyle Test Score. With only four spots on the United States Para-Equestrian Dressage Team headed to London it will be crucial that each test is precisely executed.
Gladstone, NJ – Competition in the National Para-Equestrian Championships featuring the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Paralympic Selection Trials is set to begin Monday in five grades. All 24 horses presented at the Veterinary Inspection Sunday afternoon were accepted. Riders will perform three tests over three days of competition held at Pine Meadow which is part of the USET Foundation Headquarters. On Monday, riders will compete in the FEI Team Test in their respective grade, they then return to ring Tuesday to perform FEI Individual Tests. Competition concludes Wednesday as riders showcase their Freestyle Tests.
2012 marks the first time the National Para-Equestrian Championships are being held as a stand-alone competition.
The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Paralympic Selection Trials has seen tremendous growth as 16 riders are vying to represent the U.S. at the 2012 Paralympic Games, August 30 – September 4, while only six athletes vied for a team spot in 2008. Sydney Collier, Grade II, is the sole competitor in contention for National Championship honors; at 14 years old she does not meet the minimum age requirement to compete in London.