US Team Makes History at Inaugural North Am. Jr. Young Rider Para-Dressage Championships

Sydney Collier and Wentworth. Photos (c)

Lexington, Kentucky – July 19, 2015 – The United States Para-Equestrian Dressage Young Rider Team made history at the inaugural 2015 Adequan/FEI North American Junior Young Rider Para-Dressage Championships (NAJYRC). The U.S. team topped three days of competition at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park, earning the win over Canada on July 18. The team included Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and her own Wentworth in Grade Ib; Cambry Kaylor (Lehi, Utah) with her own Markgaards Donnewind also in Grade Ib; and Kate Shoemaker (Glendale, Ariz.) and her own Pacifec M in Grade III. The team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt and Team Coach Wes Dunham. Equestrians competed on July 16, in the Team Test followed by the Individual Test on July 18. The USA topped the Canadian Para-Dressage Team with a lead of 393.02 over 380.191. Following the medal ceremony and some celebration, the USA Team regrouped for their Freestyle Tests on Sunday, July 19. In addition to topping the first-ever NAJYR Para-Dressage Championships, U.S. athlete Sydney Collier was awarded the The Captain Andrew B. de Szinay Memorial Sportsmanship Award while her teammate Cambry Kaylor was recognized with the “The Style Award”. U.S. teammate Kate Shoemaker also had a great weekend earning the highest overall score of the weekend including a 71.7% in the Freestyle Test. The ground jury included Anne Prain FRA 5*, Ulrike Nivelle GER 3*, Kristi Wysocki USA 4*, Mercedes Campdera Alatorre MEX 3*, and Lorraine Stubbs CAN 4*. Each rider attributed to the success of the USA team in this unprecedented event held in Lexington, Kentucky.

“The U.S. Para-Dressage Junior Young Rider team had a fantastic showing at their first NAJYRC competition beginning with a comfortable lead in the Team competition,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. “These young athletes showed exceptional team spirit and showmanship placing way ahead of their competitors. This is the first time an intercontinental game has a junior young rider para-equestrian division. These groundbreaking athletes did a great job for their country, USEF, USET Foundation, and USPEA, showing the world how it is done.”

Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt has coached multiple Young Rider Teams to championships at the NAJYRC but this weekend was his first U.S. Para-Dressage Young Rider Team. Sydney Collier rode under Handt prior on the U.S Team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games but at this event she rode her own horse Wentworth.

Sydney Collier commented, “Overall I was extremely happy how NAJYRC went for our entire team and for me and Wentworth as an individual. It was such an exciting event for us because without Jonathan Wentz none of this would have been possible. He will forever be my hero for his determination to get Paras into NAJYRC. I am so honored to be a part of history as we know it. I am looking forward to many more years of participating in the NAJYRC.”

Collier was awarded the The Captain Andrew B. de Szinay Memorial Sportsmanship Award on July 18. The Captain Andrew B. de Szinay Memorial Sportsman Trophy is given to the Young Rider who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper and unselfishness. This award is presented annually by the United States Equestrian Federation in honor of Captain Andrew B. de Szinay who was a teacher, dressage judge, technical delegate and long-time supporter of the Young Rider’s program. His dedication and support has helped the championships become what it is today. In 1989 former U.S. Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Missy Ransehousen earned this award.

“Winning the sportsmanship award this year at the debut of Para-Dressage at NAJRYC feels really amazing,” said Collier. “It really was a highlight of my week. There were so many disciplines with so many great sportsmen that I really am so incredibly honored to receive this award; it was extremely cool to see how supportive every single discipline was of adding Para-Dressage to North Americans. I would love to thank USEF and the FEI for including Para-Dressage this year. I also want to thank all of my sponsors and my trainer Wes Dunham for traveling to Kentucky with me and helping myself and my USA teammates have such a successful competition.”

Cambry Kaylor and Marksgaards Donnewind
Cambry Kaylor and Marksgaards Donnewind

Also presented with a unique accolade was Cambry Kaylor. Kaylor earned the “The Style Award” annually celebrates one rider from each discipline recognizing their “style” throughout the week. Not only while mounted, but also in the form of manners and overall demeanor around the competition grounds and at the organized functions. The panel of judges who voted on the winners included the Ground Juries of each discipline, the veterinarians, technical delegates, FEI stewards, appeals committee and the NAJYRC OC.

Kaylor was esteemed to be given this award. She noted, “This week has been an incredible experience. I’m so grateful to represent the U.S. in Para-Dressage at the NAJYRC. This is a huge milestone for Para-Dressage. Donnewind and I could not be more honored to be a part of it.”

Although the NAJYRC is a team competition individual Kate Shoemaker from the United States obtained the highest overall score from the three days of dressage tests. Shoemaker commented, “I’m honored to be taking part in the first Para-Equestrian competition at NAJYRC. I hope this event opens the door to many junior and young para-equestrian riders across North America.”

Hope Hand, President of the USPEA and a former Paralympian, was there every step of the way not only during the competition but before this event was even named. “I am so proud of our Team,” smiled Hand. “It has been 10 years in the making. Jonathan Wentz and Sydney Collier stepped up the process with their freestyle demonstration four years ago at the Kentucky Horse Park. We have so many people to thank that believed in the Para-Dressage Discipline and we were so honored to represent our country at this prestigious event. Show manager Lloyd Landkammer and Howard Simpson blazed the trail for us years back and opened the doors of opportunity for Para-Dressage. We were welcomed by competitors and drew a large fan club in our short stay. The Para-Dressage riders look forward towards the future and many more competitions.”

Hand continued, “Our thanks to show management, our Chef Kai Handt, our Team Coach Wes Dunham, the Canadian Team for giving us a good challenge, and the trainers, stewards, the ground jury, classifiers and the hundreds of volunteers including our own Ellie Brimmer for making the inaugural Para Dressage NAJYRC a great success. I also want to thank Adequan, Mark Coley, USEF, USET Foundation, Hugh Kincannon, and our Discipline Director Laureen Johnson.”

The U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage riders’ next competition is the 2015 Katy CPEDI3* October 27-29, followed by the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship held October 29 – November 1, 2015, in Katy, Texas.

NAJYRC Article July 15, 2015:

NAJYRC Article July 12, 2015:

NAJYRC Inaugural Para-Dressage Competition Begins with a Reflection on the Past

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 or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

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