Tag Archives: USPEA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dressage Foundation

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

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

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

Rebecca Hart. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

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

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

Support the Future of Para Equestrian Sport

Photo (c) United States Para-Equestrian Association.

United States Para-Equestrian Association Mission Statement  

To Help Develop, Promote, Support, and Sustain all USA Para Equestrian Athletes for Regional, National, and International Competition with a focus on Paralympic Equestrian Sport.

United States Para-Equestrian Association Vision Statement  

The vision of the United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America for athletes with an eligible physical impairment, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Paralympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national Para Equestrian Association in the world.

About USPEA

The United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) includes every recognized equestrian discipline that is practiced by athletes with an eligible physical impairment with a focus on Paralympic Equestrian Sports. The USPEA is a network of current and past athletes, owners, officials, event organizers, and equestrian enthusiasts. The Association assists athletes to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Disciplines of Para-Equestrian.

USPEA was created to fill a need to assist Para Equestrian disciplines when they came under the governance of the FEI. While Para Equestrian disciplines were originally segregated, they now are integrated in international sport. As each individual Para Equestrian discipline develops, it is USPEA’s mission to always serve as an advisory resource with the ultimate goal that the established able-bodied discipline affiliate will integrate within their organization.

In 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status and became a recognized International affiliate association of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) working together to grow the FEI recognized disciplines by helping to provide press, educational information, symposiums, and competition opportunities for athletes with eligible physical impairments.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

The USPEA is a USEF Recognized National Affiliate. The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members. For more information please visit US Equestrian at https://www.usef.org/compete/disciplines/para-equestrian.

Para-Dressage Newcomers Awarded Grants to Fund Ambitious New Dreams

Erika Wager and Clifton Zander (Photo courtesy of Erika Wager)

Exploring new breeds and disciplines is one of the most fun parts about being an equestrian. As we challenge ourselves to learn a new style of riding or master different training techniques, we inevitably become better athletes and horse people. Newcomers to U.S. para-dressage Meghan Benge (Windsor, S.C.) and Erika Wager (Delmar, N.Y.) are doing just that, and making a splash as they do.

Benge and Wager are both veteran competitors in a multitude of other disciplines, including endurance, hunters, combined driving, and even Thoroughbred racing and retraining, and were recently awarded grants from The Dressage Foundation’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund to support their growth in the para-dressage discipline. Both athletes are working to qualify for and compete at the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championships in the next couple of years.

READ MORE

Learn more about para-dressage and other para-equestrian programs by visiting the United States Para-Equestrian Association, a recognized affiliate of US Equestrian. Follow the USPEA on Facebook and Twitter.

by Ashley Swift
© 2020 United States Equestrian Federation

Apply Now for the USPEA Jonathan Wentz Memorial Grants

The Jonathan Wentz Memorial (JWM) Competition Grants were established to continue the dream of Paralympian Jonathan Wentz; to advance Para Dressage in the USA by supporting and encouraging Para Dressage Youth, Adult & Veteran athletes to set the goal of National and 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. In 2012, 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 U.S. equestrians that competed in London.

Jonathan saw the need to develop a pathway for Para Dressage Emerging athletes in order to help grow and improve Para Dressage in the USA. The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Grants were developed to help offset the expense of participating in National and International competitions to encourage the growth of USA Para Dressage. Download the grant application here.

Grant #1 The JWM Emerging Athlete National Competition Grant

The JMW Emerging Athlete National Grant is intended for Emerging Para Dressage Youth, Adult & Veteran athletes, ages 12 within the competition year through adults who are actively competing in National Para Dressage competitions at USDF/USEF Licensed competitions.

The JMW Emerging Athlete National Grant is intended to be used to help offset the expense of participating in National competitions. Grant reimbursement may include entry and stabling fees, trainer fees, and/or horse transportation,

Grants of $250 may be awarded for up to two USDF/USEF competition per calendar year, showing in FEI Para Dressage Test of Choice classes. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and availability of funding.

Guidelines for Application of The JWM Emerging Athlete National Competition Grant:

  1. Athletes must be an active member of USPEA.
  2. Must have a current USEF National Classification with a confirmed Grade or Review Set Date Status.
  3. Athletes must be age 12 or older within the competition year.
  4. Grant is to offset expense of entering and competing in a USDF/USEF Licensed competition in FEI Para Dressage TEST OF CHOICE classes.
  5. Athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Competition Grant Application (page 1) with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices, and/or receipts for consideration of grants. Grants are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or horse transport only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9 and will be subject to approval.
  6. Athlete may only apply for one grant at a time (maximum two (2) Grant #1 per calendar year, six grants maximum lifetime).

Note: Athletes may only receive this grant a maximum of six times. Athletes who have achieved a 62% or higher in the Team, Individual, or Freestyle test at a CPEDI3* are not eligible for Grant #1.

Grant #2 The JMW Young Athletes International Competition Grant

The JMW Young Athletes International Competition Grant is intended for assisting USA Para Dressage Young Athletes (ages 16-21 within the competition year), who are eligible to compete in CPEDI 1-3* International Para Dressage competitions and have not yet achieved a 62% or above in the Team or Individual FEI Para Dressage tests at a CPEDI3*.

The JWM Young Athletes International Competition Grant is intended to be used to help offset the expense of participating in International (CPEDI) competitions. Grant reimbursement may include entry and stabling fees, trainer fees, and/or horse transportation.

Grants may be awarded up to $1,000.00 for the athletes competing in a CPEDI competition. Grant amount will be based on horse transport mileage. (> 500 miles = $500.00; > 750 miles = $750.00; > 1,000 miles = $1,000.00 max. Miles noted are based on one way.)

Grants may be awarded for a maximum of one CPEDI event per competition year with a maximum of $1,000.00 awarded per competition. Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and availability of funding.

Guidelines for Application of The JWM Young Athletes International Competition Grant:

  1. Athletes must be an active member of USPEA (membership at uspea.org).
  2. Athletes must be 16-21 years old within the competition year.
  3. Athletes must have a USEF National Classification or FEI International Classification with an assigned Grade with the status of Confirmed or Review Set Date. A FEI Classification is mandatory for participation in a FEI CPEDI.
  4. Athlete must have received a minimum score of 64% in the past 6 months at a USDF/USEF Licensed show or through USPEA Video Judging in the Novice A & B test for a CPEDI 1 & 2*; and in the Team, Individual, and Freestyle test for a CPEDI3*. Tests must be in the athlete’s classified grade.
  5. Grant is intended to offset the expense of entering and competing in an FEI CPEDI.
  6. Athletes must submit a Jonathan Wentz Memorial Competition Grant Application (page 1) with expenses itemized, along with a copy of completed entry forms, invoices, and/or receipts for consideration of grants. Grants are intended for direct payment of specific competition expenditures, entry fees, stabling, and/or horse transport only. Checks made out to athlete or immediate family for reimbursement will require a completed W-9 and will be subject to approval.
  7. Athlete may only apply for one grant at a time (maximum one (1) Grant #2 per calendar year, 2 grants maximum lifetime).

Note: Athletes may only receive this grant a maximum of two times. Athletes who have achieved a 62% or higher in the Team, Individual, or Freestyle test at a CPEDI3* are not eligible for Grant #2.

Both Grants are subject to the approval of the USPEA board and the availability of funds. Athletes may only apply for one Grant at a time.

Download the grant application here.

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

Adequan US Para-Dressage Team and US Athletes Dominate in Florida

Photo by: Lindsay Y. McCall.

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.

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

Grants Awarded to Two Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders

Meghan Benge – photo by Nicole McNally.

January 8, 2020 – The Dressage Foundation is pleased to announce that $1,000 grants from its Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund have been awarded to Meghan Benge (SC) and Erika Wager (NY).

Meghan began riding when she was six years old and has trained in hunters, para-driving (she was the 2008 Para Driving World Championships gold medalist), and now para-dressage. She has been named to the US Equestrian Para Dressage Development Athlete list and will use her $1,000 grant to train and compete in Wellington with her trainer, Melissa Vaughn. Meghan said, “My ponies, Trip and Zoey, and I are very thankful to receive this grant. It will allow us to obtain additional training prior to and in between our shows during the spring season. It will help put us one step closer to achieving our goals.”

Erika began riding at the age of 5 and has been focused on para-dressage for the past year. She has recently been named to the US Equestrian Para Dressage Emerging Athlete list and will use her $1,000 grant to train with Susanne Hamilton and attend USEF/USPEA clinics. Erika said, “I’m so grateful to be selected as a grant recipient! The funds will go towards continuing my education as a Para-Dressage rider with my horse, Clifton Zander, and are a tremendous help.”

The purpose of the Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund, seeded by a gift from the Lowell Boomer Family Charitable Remainder Unitrust, is to provide financial support for para-dressage riders to attend educational events that will enable them to receive training to help them reach their riding and competition goals.

For more information about applying for a grant from TDF’s Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund or to make a donation, contact TDF at (402) 434-8585 or visit www.dressagefoundation.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610) 356-6481.

Article courtesy of The Dressage Foundation

Cynthia Screnci’s Journey from Jumpers to USA Para-Dressage

Cynthia Screnci and Erago VF at the 2019 Tryon Fall Dressage CPEDI3*. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – December 11, 2019 – The love for horses has no boundaries. That is what makes the Para-Equestrian discipline so important. It gives riders with physical disabilities (whether they were born with them, occurred over time, or were the result of an injury) a place to compete with the highest goal of becoming a Paralympian and showing at the Paralympics. Cindy Screnci of Wellington, Florida exemplifies an athlete that has not let an injury stop her from achieving international aspirations on the animal she loves.

When Screnci was a child, her mom, a single parent, scraped together $800 to buy her first horse. Screnci and her horse competed in Gymkhana including barrel racing and pole bending. Screnci took a break from riding to do “life” and when her daughter was eight years old, she started riding in the hunter and jumper divisions alongside her daughter. Living in South Florida, Screnci enjoyed competing at a high level with her jumper Kasimir. The pair accumulated top accolades including several year-end awards, a Silver Stirrup Award, finished first in the North American League Jumpers, and many other top honors. In 2015, Screnci sold Kasimir and she was in between horses. Screnci recalled, “I was honestly just playing around in the low adult jumper ring on a friend’s horse for the weekend.  We had won the speed class the day before and went clear again moving us on to the jump-off.  This horse was a small, speedy guy and in the jump-off, we had done a few tidy tight turns so we were ahead by more than four seconds.  The second to the last line was a one stride, then five strides to a decent sized oxer, followed by a quick turn to the last line.  We went over the oxer and my horse spooked at a jump that was not part of the course but was set a bit close to our line. When he jogged left, I went right. I landed on my feet and twisted, breaking my ankle pretty severely. This type of injury would have been a normal 8-12 week recovery; unfortunately I contracted Osteomylitis, a severe bone infection, resulting in 25 surgeries over the next three years and a permanent disability in my left ankle.” Screnci wasn’t sure where her riding was at this point but with a purchase of Sally L from Murray Kessler, her next chapter began. Screnci explained, “Sally had been quite a successful jumper and had a lot of dressage training in her past. My friend Natalie Liebowitz, who sold the mare to me, told me that Robert Dover had wanted Sally for the Para-Dressage program because he loved her so much. With a great horse and my permanent disability, I thought I could be classified as a para-dressage rider, and the rest is history.  I started riding with David Marcus and lessoning on Sally L and absolutely fell in love with para-dressage. Going from the jumper ring to dressage has been great. I have had to change my seat completely and have learned essentially eight years of dressage in what will be a year in December, but I train six days a week and have dedicated myself to becoming a successful Grade V para-dressage athlete.”

Screnci’s success in a short amount of time includes training with Marco Bernal. She stated, “Marco has been the other piece of this crazy puzzle. He is an internationally successful Grand Prix rider who is referred to as an ‘Icon in the dressage world’ by everyone I meet. I am very fortunate and blessed to have Marco and his team on my side.  Every single person in his barn is supportive, excited, and a constant inspiration to me.” Outside the barn, Screnci’s husband Stephen and her children Lia and Bradley are key people in her village of support. Screnci recalled, “When I sat down and told them about my dreams and ambitions regarding para-dressage and competing Internationally with the big goal being Tokyo 2020, they were all in.  Finding Eragon VF (with the help of international para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker), training six days a week, competing on a regular basis, and now with the purchase of a new edition to the family, Ricci, my superstar school master, they have been with me all the way.”

Not only is Screnci putting in the hours in the ring to reaching her goal of the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, but she is putting in the time with watching and researching the top athletes in Grade V. Screnci explained, “In a short amount of time I have learned that para-dressage is every bit as competitive as able bodied dressage.  The level of competition internationally even more so.  In my grade (Grade V) there are para-dressage riders that compete able bodied Grand Prix such as the United Kingdom’s Sophie Wells who has competed and won against such riders as Charlotte Dujardin.  I study all of the International riders regularly so I can be a prepared as possible when we eventually meet.”

With the discipline crossover from the hunter jumpers to para-dressage Screnci has noticed that there is a negative connotation with being seen as a para-dressage rider among equestrians. Screnci said, “Para-dressage is so much more than people in the United States seem to understand.  I am hoping to help change that and open doors for the US Para-Dressage program. I don’t want to see new potential riders shy away from para-dressage, especially in the higher grades of four and five.”

Screnci is enjoying helping to educate while doing the sport she loves. Screnci concluded, “Riding is more than my passion; it saved my life.  I grew up riding and owning horses and they are an intrinsic part of me. I wouldn’t be me without horses in my life the way they are. It’s very hard to explain to people who are not horsemen.  When I broke my leg, many doctors and much of my family not only asked but insisted I give up horses and riding.  Not my husband, or my children, but others in my family and of course friends. Three years of surgeries, external fixators, bone graphs, skin grafts, weeks of IVs, physical therapy and pain – what kept me going was knowing that at some point I would find my way back to these amazing creatures and would feel whole once again.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610) 356-6481.

US Para-Dressage Secure Top Scores at Hartpury Festival of Dressage

Kate Shoemaker, Michel Assouline, and Rebecca Hart. Photo courtesy of Michel Assouline.

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom – July 9, 2019 – International athletes Rebecca Hart and Kate Shoemaker of the United States competed at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage CPEDI3*, located at Hartpury University in Gloucestershire, July 3-7, 2019. Hart, a three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and three-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014, 2018), rode her horses El Corona Texel and Fortune 500, both owned by Rowan O’Riley. Hart earned top placings with both horses including a second place in the Grade III Freestyle with Fortune 500 earning a 73.113 and a second place with El Corona Texel in the Team Test. Kate Shoemaker, a 2018 World Equestrian Games medalist and Grade IV para-dressage athlete, earned a Freestyle score of 74.080 and top Team Test score garnering her two second places on her horse Solitaer 40. The U.S. riders were led by USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

US Para-Dressage Athletes Showcase Talent at Burlington Capital International Omaha

The team of Karen Pavicic, Kate Shoemaker, and Tillie Jones (c)Lili Weik Photography.

Omaha, Nebraska – April 19, 2019 – Four U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, to compete in the $50,000 Dressage Team Challenge at the 2019 Burlington Capital International Omaha April 4-7, 2019. Those riders included Kate Shoemaker (Grade IV), Deborah Stanitski (Grade I), and Emerging Athletes Laurietta Oakleaf (Grade I) and Cindy Screnci (Grade V). USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline was also on location to support this collaboration. The $50,000 Dressage Team Challenge featured teams comprising a Senior or Amateur rider paired with a Youth (Junior or Young Rider) and a para-dressage rider. Each of the three teams aimed to capture the title in the CHI Health Center arena with scores remaining close until the end. Each team rode their team and freestyle test. The freestyle on Saturday, April 6, was Presented by Rowan O’Riley and Mission Control. Earning the overall title was the team of Senior Rider Karen Pavicic, para-dressage athlete Kate Shoemaker, and Young Rider Tillie Jones.

Following the competition, the three riders announced they would donate a portion of their winnings to Nebraska flood relief. Take pride in a unique gift. The Team Challenge was an opportunity for para-dressage to showcase the international and national talent the discipline contains. It was also an exciting collaboration between able-bodied and para-equestrian sports.

For Kate Shoemaker, a 2018 World Equestrian Games medalist and Grade IV para-dressage athlete, this trip was a 60 hour drive over 3200 miles with her horse Solitaer 40. Shoemaker commented, “The Dressage Team Challenge at the Omaha International led the way for para-dressage inclusion by combining FEI competitors from both dressage and para-dressage. This event brought our sport to the community of Omaha and beyond in a way I’ve never seen before. I enjoyed the warm up in the center of the trade fair and the interaction with spectators after riding. It was a wonderful way to show people firsthand the love and joy that our sport brings. On a personal note, I was very proud of my horse Soli for handling the unique and very busy environment extremely well. It demonstrated just how strong his trust in me has become over the last five years. Soli’s favorite part of the show was interacting with spectators. He loved the extra pets and posed for every photo with a fan. Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity we had in Omaha and especially grateful for International Omaha Dressage Manager, Thomas Baur and Dressage Team Challenge sponsors, Rowan O’Riley of Fair Sky Farm, Becky Reno of Mission Control, and Lisa Roskens. It was an irreplaceable amazing experience.”

Deborah Stanitski, a Grade I para-dressage rider, flew out to Omaha and borrowed horse Staccato de Gervalto to compete with teammates Senior rider Gracia Huenefeld and Junior rider Raegan Lingenfelter, both of Lincoln, Nebraska. The team came in second place with Stanitski and horse Staccato de Gervalto earning the High Point award. Stanitski noted, “My horse Staccato de Gervalto (Billy) was absolutely awesome. There were lots of people there, lots of clapping, and lots of cheering. I enjoyed the experience and borrowing a horse from Jonis Agee turned out great. It was a really beautiful facility and the show was well run and organized. It was nice to work with our para-dressage and able-bodied riders and to have our coach Michel Assouline on hand. I am so thankful to all the generous owners that allowed us to use their horses for this showcase and for the incredible help of Gracia Huenefeld and her industrious team.”

Laurietta Oakleaf, Grade I para-dressage Emerging Athlete, rode Indigo, owned by Carole Kryska, and her team came in third in the Team Challenge. Oakleaf recalled, “I was very honored that Carole trusted me to ride such a talented and good-hearted horse and trusted me to ride him. Omaha was a wonderful experience as a rider and I very much enjoyed the show, facility, and especially the staff. They went above and beyond to make us all feel welcome. The facility is a top-notch facility that takes you to a whole new level out there.”

Brand new Grade V para-dressage Emerging Athlete Cindy Screnci rode horse Win Some Chauffeur (James), owned by Rebecca Mouras. Screnci stated, “The Omaha International was an amazing opportunity for me. It was the first chance I’ve had as a para-dressage equestrian to ride in such an incredible venue. I catch rode James. Riding a borrowed horse can be challenging but the support of not only the Omaha officials to allow us ample time to school, but the support of my teammates, other para-dressage riders, and even the crowd was inspirational. I love this sport and look forward to competing in Omaha next year.”

The 2019 Burlington Capital International Omaha, the ‘Midwest’s Largest Horse Event,’ took place at the CHI Health Center arena in Omaha, Nebraska, home of the highly successful 2017 FEI World Cup™ Finals. Now in its seventh year, the Burlington Capital International Omaha hosts everything under one roof – stabling, warm-up, competition arena, educational and exhibit area, demonstrations, dining venues, and shopping for both the horse aficionado or anyone just looking for a unique gift.

Further information is available at www.internationalomaha.com.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.