USEF High Performance Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium Develop the Coach Program

Kai Handt at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with Roxanne Trunnell (USA).

Wellington, FL – January 4, 2016 – Para-Equestrian Dressage riders from the United States are encouraged to participate in the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Symposium Develop the Coach Program held in Wellington, FL. The Symposium will include FEI International 4* Dressage Judge Carlos Lopes of Portugal and U.S. Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. The symposium is scheduled for January 10-12, 2016, following the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* January 7-10, 2016. The symposium will be held in the Van Kampen Arena at the Global Dressage Festival Show Grounds. Auditors are welcome.

The two and a half day Symposium begins at 2 PM on Sunday, January 10, with a welcome from Kai Handt.

Carlos Lopes will proceed with a lecture session on Para-Dressage theory, scales of training, quality of test movements, and much more. Monday, January 11, 2016, begins the practical sessions where each participant will ride for 45 minutes in a collaborative coaching model. This model includes each athlete’s coach in the session. Equestrians will enjoy learning alongside their own coach while preparing for international level Para-Dressage competition. The final day of the clinic includes an informative lecture, a practical session on freestyles and individual riding sessions.

USEF High Performance Director of Para Equestrian & Vaulting Laureen Johnson commented, “This symposium is an integral part of preparation for the 2016 Paralympic Team. All athletes who are vying for a Paralympic slot should participate. Mr. Lopes and Mr. Handt make a wonderful team and I’ve witnessed immediate improvement in the athletes after completing the previous Para Dressage Symposium in California.”

For more information on the details of this symposium, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Phone: (908) 326-1155 Email: or via cell after January 6 at (908) 229-1858.

About Carlos Lopes:

Carlos Manuel Lucas Lopes was born in Lisbon, on November 10th 1968, is married and father of two. He has been a rider since the age of ten and breeder of “Puro Sangue Lusitano” since 1998. Was one of the Escola Portuguesa de Arte Equestre (Portuguese Riding School) riders.

National Team manager and head of Dressage teams (Grand Prix, junior and young riders) since 2005. He has, in this period, participated in 4 European Championships, 3 World Championships, 2 Olympic Games, and 1 World Cup. He is a member of the Portuguese Equestrian Federation Technical Committee since 2005.

Has had several invitations to speak and take part in expert commissions and also in public forums organizes to promote the different equestrian disciplines and all kinds of subjects related to organizing equestrian shows and Lusitano breed. Carlos has tutored, on invitation, equestrian skills perfecting practical courses, worldwide, especially in Germany, EUA and Brazil.

Certificated as Riding Teacher, FEI International Dressage 4* Judge, and FEI International Para Equestrian 5* Judge. Also certified as Trainer/Coach Dressage and Para dressage athletes.

Has managed 5 equestrian centers, of which the Academia de Dressage Daniel Pinto is the most remarkable, for being one of the best equestrian centers in the world. Presently, and for the last 18 years, he manages the Centro Equestre da Quinta do Senhor da Serra, with a team of 4 monitors, teaching over 200 lessons a week.

He has trained athletes of several age categories and has achieved remarkable results both in European, as well as in and World Championships. Never won an international event, but that is one of major aspirations.

He has established a solid career as Judge, for which he has been granted effective recognition by all of the most important international institutions, resulting in invitations to judge in the most important Dressage and Para Equestrian events all over the world.

Organized several Dressage, Para Dressage and Show Jumping events. Amongst such events, the 1st European Para Equestrian Championship, in 2001, and the European Dressage Championship for junior e and young riders, in 2008, 7 Iberian dressage cups finals (CDIs3*), CDI5* Al Shaqab, Doha, in 2013, Dressage discipline manager for the Madrid Horse Week, in 2014, selected in partnership with Dr. António Chaves de Almeida, among other companies in the world for the computerization of Dressage competitions at Sea Games, Thailand, are the most remarkable. He has also been responsible for the organization of over two dozens of National Championships and Portuguese Cup Finals.

Lusitano breeder since 1998, has been dedicated to the development and improvement of this race towards sporting excellence in order to get horses with the potential to participate and compete for prizes in the highest international competitions. This is a work of care and time, but you have already obtained the best results above expectations.

Consulting and breeding manager for several breeding facilities, Coudelaria Alegria dos Pinhais (Brazil), Haras Ilha Verde (Brazil) and Coudelaria Ortigão Costa (Portugal) are the most remarkable.

About Kai Handt:

Kai Handt is the USEF Para Equestrian Dressage Chef d’Equipe, and most recently served in this capacity at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. As a rider, trainer, and clinician, Kai’s illustrious equestrian background includes coaching and sponsoring para-dressage riders at the international level for the past several years. Among his accolades are

*           Individual coach and sponsor at 2012 Paralympics to the highest placing U.S. equestrian overall at the Paralympics and Olympics, as well as individual coach and sponsor at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.

*           Individual coach for one or more riders at the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 USEF National Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships earning 2011 USEF National Para-Equestrian Dressage Champion, 2012 USEF National Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve Champion.

*           Individual coach at numerous CPEDI3* from 2009-2014 for multiple riders earning multiple grade championships, overall championships, and as part of the U.S. Team, several Team Championships.

*           Chef d’Equipe at 2012 CEPDI3* in Wellington for the Japanese Team, coaching their rider to their first Paralympic Equestrian qualifying score.

*           Chef d’Equipe at 2011 CPEDI3* in Mexico City, resulting in a U.S. Team Nation’s Cup win, overall individual reserve champion, and individual Grade 1a and Grade Ib champions.

*           Individual coach for Derrick Perkins; the first Para-Dressage rider from the United States Veteran’s Assistance Program in 2013.

*           Also in 2013, Handt was the individual coach for Para-Dressage riders Benjamin Harper, Roxanne Trunnell, and Derrick Perkins; as well as selector of appropriate horses for each individual at each show. All individuals achieved top scores ranging from 63.478%-73.478% during that show season.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

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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