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July 28, 2012 Meet the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team

Meet the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team  

Written by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

Photographs by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

 Thousand Oaks, CA July 28, 2012 – Meet the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team headed to London and the three alternates. The four United States Para-Equestrian Team horse and rider combinations and three alternates have been selected by USEF to represent the United States of America at the 2012 London Paralympics. Prior to traveling to London, the team will prepare and train at the USET Foundation Headquarters at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, NJ.

Para-Equestrians will head to London, England to compete at beautiful Greenwich Park beside 78 other horse and rider combinations and 26 nations from around the world. The FEI horse inspection will occur on August 29, 2012 followed by competition on August 30-September 4, 2012. The following four horse and rider combinations will ride under the direction of Chef d’Equipe Missy Ransehousen.

THE UNITED STATES PARALYMPIC EQUESTRIAN TEAM
Rebecca Hart, 27, of Unionville, Penn. and Jessica Ransehousen’s Holsteiner gelding Lord Ludger
Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Kai Handt’s 18 year-old NTEC Richter Scale
Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and Wesley Dunham’s Oldenburg mare Western Rose
Dale Dedrick, 56, of Ann Arbor, Mich. and her 14 year-old grey Hanoverian Bonifatius
Alternates:

Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and PG Ganda, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center
Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Dr. Michele Miles horse Silvano
Mary Jordan, 46, of Wells, Maine, and Deecie Denison’s Hanoverian Sebastian

 

Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger by Lindsay Y McCall

Rebecca Hart, 27,(Unionville, PA)-Under the tutelage of Rolex Eventer Missy Ransehousen and Olympian Jessica Ransehousen, Hart has spent half of her life at Blue Hill Farm perfecting Classical Dressage. Born with Familial Spastic Paraplegia, a genetic disease that causes muscle wasting and lack of control from the waist down, Hart excelled through her academics and became an international star in Para-Dressage. Her energetic personality and full-time job at Starbucks Corporate keeps her smiling no matter the weather. Since 2008 she has earned five USEF National Championships, earned a 4th place finish at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, represented the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and was champion in 2011 at a CPEDI3* in Australia. Hart was only one spot away from earning a medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. This year she is armed with Jessica Ransehousen’s horse Lord Ludger for the Grade II competition.

 

 

 

JonathanWentz and NTEC RichterScale by Lindsay YOsay McCall

JonathanWentz and NTEC RichterScale by Lindsay Y McCall

Jonathan Wentz, 21, (Richardson, TX)-Finding a dressage horse for Wentz was the goal of Kai Handt from the North Texas Equestrian Center when they met years ago. Now with many years under his belt learning from a “no-complaints” traditional German trainer, Wentz, who has Cerebral Palsy, topped the world Para-Equestrian list in 2012. In 2010 Wentz represented the United States with his trusty gelding NTEC Richter Scale at the FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2011 they earned the USEF National Championship and in 2012 earned the Reserve National Championship. Jonathan is looking forward to continuing his consistency with Kai Handt’s horse NTEC Richter Scale in the Grade Ib competition.

Jonathan also earned an alternate position on the 2012 Paralympic Equestrian Team with Dr. Michele Miles’ 13 year-old horse Silvano. Jonathan and Silvano began working together during the 2012 Spring show season and ramped up their training before the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials.

 

 

 

Donna Ponessa and Western Rose by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Donna Ponessa and Western Rose by Lindsay Y McCall

Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, NY)- Ponessa’s competitive nature made her one of the world’s top wheelchair tennis players and celebrated equestrian. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in college and then a new diagnoses a few years later as a rare form of multiple sclerosis, called Devic Disease, Ponessa’s competitive desire remained fixed on the future. In 2011 she aimed for the Paralympics and her dreams will come true this August. Armed with trainer WesleyDunham, of Woodstock Stables in Millbrook, NY, Ponessa has been accumulating the accolades throughout 2011 and 2012. In 2011 she was the Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion in Grade Ia. When she headed to Mexico she was part of the Gold Medal U.S. Team and was then selected to fly halfway around the world to Australia, once again capturing the Gold as part of U.S. Team. In 2012 she earned the third overall placing at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and was Champion of the Grade IA division. Ponessa will be competing with Western Rose at the Paralympics who is owned by Wesley Dunham in the Grade IA competition.

Ponessa also earned an alternate spot on the Paralympic Team with PG Ganda, owned by Vinceremos Thereapeutic Riding Center. PG Ganda is a 19 year-old Danish Warmblood with a strong walk and a consistent pace.  Ponessa and PG Ganda were fifth overall at the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships.

 

Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius by Lindsay Y McCall

Dale Dedrick (Ann Arbor, MI) With a U.S. National Swimming world-record holder for a mom, a father that was an elite golfer, and a grandmother who rode in the Calgary Stampede, it seemed only natural for Dale Dedrick to become an athlete and equestrian.  After a few intense years, earning her M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dale stepped back into riding and her Dressage training evolved. During her orthopedic residency at the University of Michigan Dedrick was diagnosed with Lupus. As an orthopedic surgeon symptoms of joint deformities, inflammation, heart disease, and muscle weakness were affecting Dedrick’s ability to work. Dale retired in 1992 as an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine. In her teens she was a successful hunter/jumper rider, was a supreme National Dressage rider and in 1986 she was a U.S. Olympic Festival competitor. As a Para-Equestrian she flew onto the scene training with her mount Bonifatius “Erik” and trainer Rosalind Kinstler of Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2011 she earned the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Champion, was Champion Grade II Para-Equestrian, and in 2012 was the Reserve National Champion Grade II Para-Equestrian.

 

Alternates:

Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and PG Ganda, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center
Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Dr. Michele Miles horse Silvano

Mary Jordan and Sebastian by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Mary Jordan and Sebastian by Lindsay Y McCall

Mary Jordan (Wells, Maine) Growing up in Clinton, New York Jordan’s first interests were in the show ring. Jordan has a wealth of experience in all disciplines including dressage, eventing, show jumping and showing horses she bred herself at in-hand competitions. In 2002, Jordan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  While Mary won national awards in eventing, it was not until 2009 that she began competing in para-dressage competitions including the European Championships in Norway. After qualifying for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with her mare Paxton Abbey, Mary headed to Lexington, KY where she competed as a Grade IV rider for the United States. In 2011-2012 Mary traveled the world competing for the United States Para-Equestrian Dressage Team including a CPEDI3* in Melbourne, Australia. As the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials approached, Jordan campaigned Paxton Abbey’s sister P. Sparrow Socks and Deecie Denison’s Hanoverian, Sebastian. Mary earned the top Grade IV position at the 2011 and 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and earned the alternate spot with Sebastian at the 2012 United States Paralympic Selection Trials for the London Paralympics.

 

Paralympic Equestrian Schedule at Greenwich Park

August 29, 2012
Opening Ceremony London 2012 Paralympics
Horse Inspection 10:00 AM -11:30 AM
August 30, 2012
Grade II Mixed Team Test 9:00 AM
Grade Ib Mixed Team Test 2:00 PM
August 31, 2012
Grade IV Mixed Team Test 9:00 AM
Grade III Mixed Team Test 1:15 PM
Grade Ia Mixed Team Test 3:45 PM
September 1, 2012
Grade II Mixed Individual Championship Test 9:00 AM
Grade Ib Mixed Individual Championship Test  2:30 PM
September 2, 2012
Grade IV Mixed Individual Championship Test  9:00 AM
Grade III Mixed Individual Championship Test  1:45 PM
Grade Ia Mixed Individual Championship Test 4:15 PM
September 3, 2012
Grade II Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 9:00 AM
Grade Ib Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 2:15 PM
September 4, 2012
Grade IV Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 9:00 AM
Grade III Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 1:45 PM
Grade Ia Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 3:45 PM
September 9, 2012
Closing Ceremony

For more information about the Para-Equestrians heading to London please visit http://www.fei.org/events/games/paralympic-games/london-2012

To view more about the London 2012 Paralympics please visit the offical Paralympic website at http://www.london2012.com/
For more information about the United States Equestrian Federation please visit www.USEF.org

ABOUT THE EQUESTRIAN PARALYMPICS (courtesy of FEI)
Host nation Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have qualified the maximum number of riders and will each be represented by a team of four and one individual.

Nine countries – USA, The Netherlands, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and France – have qualified four riders.

The National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Singapore and Mexico, which had originally qualified four riders, returned one qualification slot each and will be represented by three-rider teams. The unused slots were re-allocated to Norway and Israel on the basis of the Individual Para-Equestrian Rankings of athletes not already qualified with a team. As a result, Norway, which had already qualified two individual riders, will be fielding a composite team consisting of three members.

New Zealand and Finland will be represented by two individual riders apiece. Bermuda, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong and Austria have each been allocated one individual slot.
Three Bipartite Commission invitations have been issued to Thomas Haller of Austria, Lee Frawley of the Virgin Islands and Anita Johnsson of Sweden.
The definite Para-Equestrian entries will be published on 6 August. A total of 78 Para-Equestrian riders will be battling it out for the 11 sets of medals available.

SUMMARY:
26 nations –
ARG, AUS, AUT, BEL, BER, BRA, CAN, DEN, FIN, FRA, GBR, GER, HKG, IRL, ISR, ISV, ITA, JPN, MEX, NED, NOR, NZL, RSA, SIN, SWE, USA

TEAMS
4 nations with 5 riders (team + 1 individual): CAN, DEN, GBR, GER
9 nations with 4 riders (team): AUS, BEL, BRA, FRA, IRL, ITA, NED, RSA, USA
3 nations with 3 riders (team): MEX, NOR, SIN
NATIONS REPRESENTED ONLY BY INDIVIDUALS
2 nations with 2 individuals: FIN, NZL
6 nations with 1 individual: AUT, ARG, BER, ISR, JPN, HKG
3 Bipartite Commission invitations: AUT, ISV, SWE

PHOTO CREDIT: All photographs taken by Lindsay Yosay McCall for the USPEA 2012

All logos and trademarks in this press release are copyright of their respective owners. All references to London 2012 Paralympics, Olympics, or London 2012 are copyright the 2012 London Olympic Games Organizing Committee. All references to Team USA are copyright the United States Olympic Committee.

July 27, 2012 Announcing the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team

Announcing the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team

Written by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

Photos by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

 

Gladstone, NJ –July 27, 2012 – These four horse and rider combinations have been selected to represent the United States of America at the 2012 London Paralympics.  Para-Equestrians will head to London, England to compete at beautiful Greenwich Park beside 78 other horse and rider combinations and 26 nations from around the world. The FEI horse inspection will occur on August 29, 2012 followed by competition on August 30-September 4, 2012. The following four horse and rider combinations will ride under the direction of Chef d’Equipe Missy Ransehousen.

 

THE UNITED STATES PARALYMPIC EQUESTRIAN TEAM

Rebecca Hart, 27, of Unionville, Penn. and Jessica Ransehousen’s Holsteiner gelding Lord Ludger

Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Kai Handt’s 18 year-old NTEC Richter Scale

Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and Wesley Dunham’s Oldenburg mare Western Rose

Dale Dedrick, 56, of Ann Arbor, Mich. and her 14 year-old grey Hanoverian Bonifatius

Alternate: Mary Jordan, 46, of Wells, Maine, and Deecie Denison’s Hanoverian Sebastian

 

Photographs from the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and Paralympic Selection Trials

Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale by Lindsay Yosay McCall

DonnaPonessa and WesternRose by Lindsay Yosay McCall

DonnaPonessa and WesternRose by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius by Lindsay Yosay McCall
Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius by Lindsay Yosay McCall
MaryJordan and Sebastian by Lindsay Yosay McCall

MaryJordan and Sebastian by Lindsay Yosay McCall

2012 Paralympic Equestrian Schedule

 August 29, 2012

Opening Ceremony

Horse Inspection 10:00 AM -11:30 AM

 August 30, 2012

Grade II Mixed Team Test 9:00 AM

Grade Ib Mixed Team Test 2:00 PM

 August 31, 2012

Grade IV Mixed Team Test 9:00 AM

Grade III Mixed Team Test 1:15 PM

Grade Ia Mixed Team Test 3:45 PM

 September 1, 2012

Grade II Mixed Individual Championship Test 9:00 AM

Grade Ib Mixed Individual Championship Test  2:30 PM

 September 2, 2012

Grade IV Mixed Individual Championship Test  9:00 AM

Grade III Mixed Individual Championship Test  1:45 PM

Grade Ia Mixed Individual Championship Test 4:15 PM

 September 3, 2012

Grade II Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 9:00 AM

Grade Ib Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 2:15 PM

 September 4, 2012

Grade IV Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 9:00 AM

Grade III Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 1:45 PM

Grade Ia Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 3:45 PM

September 9, 2012

Closing Ceremony

 

For more information about the United States Equestrian Federation please visit www.USEF.org

For more information about the Para-Equestrians heading to London please visit http://www.fei.org/events/games/paralympic-games/london-2012

To view more about the London 2012 Paralympics please visit the offical Paralympic website at http://www.london2012.com/

ABOUT THE EQUESTRIAN PARALYMPICS (courtesy of FEI)

Host nation Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have qualified the maximum number of riders and will each be represented by a team of four and one individual.

Nine countries – USA, The Netherlands, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and France – have qualified four riders.

The National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Singapore and Mexico, which had originally qualified four riders, returned one qualification slot each and will be represented by three-rider teams. The unused slots were re-allocated to Norway and Israel on the basis of the Individual Para-Equestrian Rankings of athletes not already qualified with a team. As a result, Norway, which had already qualified two individual riders, will be fielding a composite team consisting of three members.

New Zealand and Finland will be represented by two individual riders apiece. Bermuda, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong and Austria have each been allocated one individual slot

Three Bipartite Commission invitations have been issued to Thomas Haller of Austria, Lee Frawley of the Virgin Islands and Anita Johnsson of Sweden.

The definite Para-Equestrian entries will be published on 6 August. A total of 78 Para-Equestrian riders will be battling it out for the 11 sets of medals available.

SUMMARY:

26 nations – ARG, AUS, AUT, BEL, BER, BRA, CAN, DEN, FIN, FRA, GBR, GER, HKG, IRL, ISR, ISV, ITA, JPN, MEX, NED, NOR, NZL, RSA, SIN, SWE, USA

 

TEAMS

4 nations with 5 riders (team + 1 individual): CAN, DEN, GBR, GER

9 nations with 4 riders (team): AUS, BEL, BRA, FRA, IRL, ITA, NED, RSA, USA

3 nations with 3 riders (team): MEX, NOR, SIN

NATIONS REPRESENTED ONLY BY INDIVIDUALS

2 nations with 2 individuals: FIN, NZL

6 nations with 1 individual: AUT, ARG, BER, ISR, JPN, HKG

3 Bipartite Commission invitations: AUT, ISV, SWE

 

PHOTO CREDIT: All photographs taken by Lindsay Yosay McCall for the USPEA 2012

July 26, 2012 United States Para-Equestrian Driving Team Prepares for 2012 World Driving Championships

United States Para-Equestrian Driving Team Prepares for 2012 World Driving Championships 

Written by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

July 26, 2012- As the United States looks forward to the 2012 Paralympics for the United States Para-Equestrian Dressage Team, the Para-Equestrian Driving Team will be preparing for the 2012 Para-Equestrian World Driving Championships, scheduled August 30-September 2, 2012 in Breda, The Netherlands.    

The 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Driving Team for the World Driving Championships include Diane Kastama, Grade 1, from Arroyo Grande, CA; Pam Johnson, Grade 2 from Pleasant Hill, MO; and Karen Gorham, Grade 2, of Burnet, Texas.      United States Driving for the Disabled Logo

In preparation for this exciting event, the United States Driving for the Disabled (USDFD), which is the Para-Equestrian Driving National Affiliate for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), works alongside USEF, coaches, drivers, horse owners, and trainers to assist with the many aspects that will affect Para-Drivers.

Beverly White, President of the USDFD noted, “We poll the active Para-Equestrian drivers early in the championship year asking for recommendations for Coach and Chef d ‘Equipe. We also ask for names to be submitted as selectors. We put together the selection criteria based on previous years and any changes that are made in those two years. All of this is then submitted to the USEF’s High Performance Committee for Para-Equestrians for their approval. Once approved, the application and criteria are then sent to the drivers so they may apply to be selected for the team.  USDFD keeps track of deadlines and verifies that all appropriate paperwork and fee requirements are met. While this process slowly advances, we are busy locating horses, equipment and facilities in the host country. This can be difficult as we do not really know who will be going until the team is selected. However, we need to have everything organized so that all will fall into place when the time arrives for the team to leave for Europe.”

She continued, “Because many of the Para-Equestrian Drivers live on fixed incomes, it can be a financial hardship to compete. We work with many people to get services and equipment donated or at minimal cost. USDFD also applies for grants and seeks donations from raffles to help send the team to the World Championships.”

Seven countries and 26 horse and driver combinations will set-forth their best efforts at the 2012 World Driving Championships. As the World Driving Championships approach USEF has announced the nominated entries for the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Driving Team.

2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Driving Team for the 2012 World Driving Championships:

1.Diane Kastama Grade 1, Arroyo Grande, CA
2.Pam Johnson Grade 2, Pleasant Hill, MO
3.Karen Gorham Grade 2, Burnet, Texas

Diane KastamaDiane Kastama, Arroyo Grande, CA Grade I.  In 1991 a car crash left Diane paralyzed from the waist down. Although a lifelong horse person and dressage enthusiast, riding without the use of her legs was not much fun and she soon turned to driven dressage and then the exciting sport of combined driving. Her relatives and friends thought she was crazy for taking on a sport that involves sitting atop a tall carriage, pulled by a horse going “hell-bent” for speed.

Diane started competing with her home bred Appaloosa’s but now Diane competes with a pair of Section D Welsh Cobs, Rupert and George. She drives them single, pair and tandem. She competes against able-bodied drivers all over the Western United States and occasionally on the East Coast at the Intermediate and Advanced level. Diane has also demonstrated her skills at Rolex, KY, Horse Expo in Sacramento, the “Night of the Horse” in Del Mar. The Equine Affair and various therapeutic horse programs throughout California. She has also participated in the closing ceremonies at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. Diane is always willing to share her skills and knowledge and bring driving to the forefront of equine sports.  Diane has been very succesful in international Para-Equestrian competition, coming home with an Individual Silver and Team Bronze driving a borrowed Welsh Cob Stallion in 2002 Greven, Germany.  2004 she place 5th with a borrowed Welsh cob in Endinburg, Scotland.  In 2006 she came home with Individual Gold driving her own Welsh cob gelding Jasper.  In 2008 Diane earned Individual Bronze and Team Silver driving Jasper once again.

Pam JohnsonPam Johnson and her husband Kelly are the owners of K Bar J Ranch in Pleasant Hill, MO, where they give horse-drawn hay rides at various events. Pam has been involved in an array of different disciplines over her life, competing in everything from Three Day Eventing to Team Roping. Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis put an end to those days, but that didn’t stop her. Pam put a cart and harness on her Christmas list and began driving. After volunteering at a local CDE she was sure with her vast eventing experience that Combined Driving was something she could do. Pam felt Combined Driving Events were just the ticket to keep her moving and motivated. Driving fulfilled her desire to still be involved with horses allowing her to continue to be competitive, and now fifteen years later she’s still kickin it! Pam competed as an individual with Team USA in the 2004 IPEC World Championships for Carriage Drivers with Disabilities held in Scotland.

 

Karen GorhamKaren Gorham grew up riding horses at her childhood home in Michigan. Both Karen and Bill enjoyed riding but when Bill was taught by Milo Measel to drive, it would be the start of a future career with the driving discipline. After a move in 1967 with her husband Bill the couple settled in Texas. After witnessing Bill Long, an elite driver, in the Four-in-Hand World Karen Gorham and OCharley Championships and numerous other fantastic drivers, Karen and her husband were hooked on the driving discipline. Karen and Bill spent most of the 80’s and 90’s driving horses, raising their children, and traveling to Combined Driving Events where Bill was a Technical Delegate.

In 2005, when Hurricane Rita came barreling towards Texas it would not only be recorded as one of the most intense hurricanes in weather history, but for Karen and Bill it would be a pinpoint for Karen’s future equestrian career as a Para-Equestrian Driver. After an incredible incident involving a truck and horse trailer Karen would live the rest of her life with a prosthetic left arm.

It would be just after the World Equestrian Games in 2010 when Karen would see her first video of a Para-Equestrian Dressage rider.  As Bettina Eistel a Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete rode her horse Fabuleax 5 with only her toes, Karen was awestruck by this athletes determination.  Karen noted, “I thought that if she could ride with her toes in Dressage, I can surely drive.” From that moment, Karen knew it was her turn to compete. She has traveled the country competing, training, and learning from the top drivers in the world. Throughout the week Karen is consistently training including daily drives with her six-year-old Welsh pony O’Charley, conditioning to keep her horse and herself in peak shape, and attending clinics and horse shows. As the World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships approaches, she is looking forward to representing the United States of America as a Para-Equestrian Driver. Karen commented, “I have so many people to thank all over the United States who have got me to this point.  Everyone was so gracious in areas like Windsor, S.C. and Florida, I am in debt to everyone who assisted me as I prepared for my next endeavor. In particular, I wanted to thank Sue Hirzuk for allowing me to lease her pony Tucker. Part of my lease with Sue Hirzuck was that I showed in the Triple Crown of Driving and that her driving pony Tucker maintained his “For Sale” tag. This sweetheart of a pony was a wonderful drive and was sold to a driver in Tennessee just after I leased him. I can’t thank Sue enough for lending this wonderful pony to me. It is people like Sue who continue to make the Para-Equestrian Driving sport flourish.”

She continued, “I also want to thank the amazing Gerard Paagman, and Hardy Zantke for their encouragement since October 2010. I wouldn’t be here without so many wonderful drivers and trainers, my family, and of course the horses Lastly, I would like to thank Georgie and John Green who gave us the push to pursue this discipline and to everyone who founded and currently run the United States Driving for the Disabled, Thank you!”

About Para-Equestrian Driving (courtesy FEI)

Para-Equestrian Driving competitions are modeled on the ridden Three Day Event. It is a triathlon which tests the overall versatility of the driven horse. Modern Horse Driving Trials came into existence in 1968 when HRH Prince Philip of Great Britain initiated the formulation of the rules for the new sport. Prince Philip is a past President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) for able-bodied people in all equestrian disciplines.

The competition consists of three phases, spread over three or four days.

Day 1 Dressage
Driven dressage consists of a sequence of set movements driven from memory and using mainly the voice for control. Dressage displays the schooling and obedience of the horse.
Day 2 The Cross Country Marathon with Obstacles
There are three timed sections plus up to six challenging ‘obstacles’ to be driven at speed. The stamina of the horses and the horsemanship of the drivers are stretched to the very limit. This section gets the adrenaline pumping and the mud-flying. Carriage Driving is definitely not for the faint hearted.
Day 3 Cone Driving Competition against the clock.
Cone driving equates to the Show jumping phase of a ridden event. With only centimeters to spare, cone driving requires extreme accuracy on a tricky course, a steady hand, nerves of steel and a well trained horse.

Each phase of the Driving Trials tests the skill and the nerve of the driver and the fitness, obedience and suppleness of the horse. But above all it tests the bond of complete trust between them both.

Most carriage drivers with disabilities have, for one reason or another, found that riding is not physically possible for them. Their love of horses and their determination to participate in equestrian sport has led them to explore new and equally demanding and exciting equestrian challenges.

Great attention is given to all aspects of safety for the horse and the driver. At all times the driver is accompanied by at least one competent able-bodied person. Traditional elegance is expected, horses, drivers, grooms and carriages are all immaculately turned out.

Organization for this sport is very labor intensive requiring 30-40 volunteer Judges, Stewards, Time keepers, Scorers, Vets, Farriers and many others. However a carriage driving competition for disabled drivers can be easily integrated into a competition for able-bodied drivers. The first three World Championships have been held in conjunction with National Championships for able-bodied drivers in Wolfsburg, Germany in 1998, Stadl Paura, Austria in 2000, Greven, Germany in 2002 and also Hopetown, Scotland in 2004.

About the United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc.

United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, seeks to improve the lives of physically challenged individuals throughout the United States and Canada by providing the experience of driving horses in a safe and challenging environment.  Our mission is to provide the extraordinary benefit of therapeutic driving to as many people as possible through sharing knowledge, experience, and serving as a resource for innovations in adaptive equipment for drivers, trainers, and programs offering carriage driving. The Sybil Dukehart Memorial Fund seeks to provide financial assistance to equip and train disabled drivers through providing scholarship funds to applicants.
USDFD fosters opportunities for drivers to compete in national and international amateur competitions by training and providing financial support for Team USA. For more information please visit www.USDFD.org.

Contact for the USDFD:
United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc.
32450 South Wright Rd.
Molalla, OR 97038
Ph: 503-550-9384
President: usdfdpresident@gmail.com
Offices: usdfd.org@gmail.com

Holly Jacobson

Holly Jacobson and Absolute GeorgeHolly Jacobson Ipswich, MA

Impressed by the level of riding, rider commitment and amazing horses, she first saw covering the 2009 USEF Para National Championships at Lamplight as a reporter, Holly crossed over from jumping and competing in the hunter ranks.

In 1986, injuries from a carfire resulted in amputations of Holly’s right arm above the elbow and all the fingers on her left hand, nerve damage in her right leg, plus severe facial scarring.

At the 2011 Para clinic at Carlisle Academy Therapeutic & Sports Program in Maine, she met
Tito, a Lipzzan, owned by Cyndy West, who subsequently loaned him for weekly lessons. She
also leased and showed a fun, pint-sized Dutch-bred gelding named Nazar at several rated shows.

Holly is currently fund raising and looking for a suitable horse to start showing the Grade III

tests. “I believe para dressage serves as an outstanding role model to the dressage community and public at large to see past stereotypes of disability. To that end, I think competing against able-bodied riders, doing presentations and promoting Para are essential to the cause.”

Holly is also a USEF Para affiliate board member and writes regularly on Para topics for
DressageDaily.com, NEDA’s Tip of the Hat and other publications.

July 22, 2012 Para-Equestrian Dressage Athlete Mary Jordan Leaves Lasting Impression at Official USA Olympic Day

 Para-Equestrian Dressage Athlete Mary Jordan Leaves Lasting Impression at Official USA Olympic Day

Written by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Olympic Day logo Property of USOC

Saco, Maine – July 22, 2012 – As the London Olympics/Paralympics approach athletes have been promoting and creating awareness of this spectacular event. On June 29, 2012, the Official USA Olympic Day occurred where hundreds of Olympians and Paralympians participated around the country in interactive and informative public speaking events. Created by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), there were more than 700 events taking place across the United States including multiple locations in Maine. U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage rider Mary Jordan of Wells, Maine traveled to Saco, Maine where over 400 campers were awaiting her arrival.

As Jordan described and showcased Olympic and Paralympic athletes around the world, the previously hot and tired campers became captivated by Jordan. “The children were fascinated when they saw a Paralympic Swimmer without legs winning the gold for their country. They asked so many wonderful questions and two hours flew by as if it were 20 minutes,” noted Jordan.

During Jordan’s presentation she spoke about many topics including personal and family values, sportsmanship, goal making, how each child may become involved in a sport, and the value of perseverance. She introduced what makes her a Para-Equestrian athlete and showcased a video of her training for her Dressage Freestyle with her horse prior to the Paralympic Selection Trials. Jordan explained, “As an alternate for the United States Para-Equestrian Team, perseverance is a subject I work towards every day.  I explained to the campers that as an alternate you don’t give up your ideals, you keep training, you keep working, you move forward, you stick it out because if I get called to fulfill the team’s need I want to be ready.”

As an experienced public speaker who travels the country, Jordan enjoyed the unique impact the Paralympic sport had on these children. “This was such a powerful experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” smiled Jordan. “I truly enjoyed informing these young campers about the Olympic and specifically Paralympic sports. I want to thank the USOC, Saco Parks & Recreation, and everyone involved who was instrumental in creating this event. GO TEAM USA!”

For more information about the United States Olympic or Paralympic Teams please visit http://www.teamusa.org

For more information about the London Paralympics please visit http://www.london2012.com

All logos and trademarks in this press release are copyright of their respective owners. All references to London 2012 Paralympics, Olympics, or London 2012 are copyright the 2012 London Olympic Games Organizing Committee. All references to Team USA are copyright the United States Olympic Committee.

Mary Jordan at 2012 Olympic Day

Mary Jordan at 2012 Olympic Day Photo Courtesy Saco Parks & Recreation

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