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Archive for December 2012

December 23, 2012-Laureen K. Johnson Takes New Role In Stride as USEF High Performance Director of the Para-Equestrian Discipline

Laureen K. Johnson Takes New Role In Stride as USEF High Performance Director of the Para-Equestrian Discipline

Lexington, KY- December 23, 2012- As the United States Para-Equestrian discipline looks toward 2013, the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) is pleased to honor new discipline director Laureen K. Johnson. Laureen was appointed an exciting new role as High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Programs and Assistant to High Performance Director of Driving Programs. Laureen’s prior title for the past seven years included Assistant to Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Director. She has also been with USEF since 1999 where she assisted every High Performance discipline except able-bodied dressage. Laureen’s dedication, professional experience and love for the equestrian sport has made this transition exceptionally smooth.

Laureen Johnson High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Programs and Assistant to High Performance Director of Driving Programs

Laureen Johnson High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Programs and Assistant to High Performance Director of Driving Programs

Laureen was born in Chicago, IL and moved to Chatham Township, NJ at 13 years of age. On her 16th birthday Laureen received her first horse kindly called, “Sweet William,” as a gift from her parents. Since that moment Laureen has continued to enjoy all aspects of the equestrian world including riding, volunteering at therapeutic riding centers, and working for the Federation. Laureen graduated from Washington School for Secretaries and Business Administration in Washington D.C. and began working for USEF in January of 1999.

The 2012 calendar year was a very exciting year for many equestrian disciplines. With 2013 right around the corner and the 2014 World Equestrian Games approaching Laureen will be an integral part of the continued growth of the Para-Equestrian discipline including both Dressage and Driving. “I love the artistry and elegance of Dressage and Driving,” noted Laureen. “The disabled athletes never cease to amaze me with their dedication and “can do” attitudes.  They are an extremely positive group of athletes.” She added, “Vaulting is also a fascinating sport. The artistry, athletic strength and teamwork to create a harmonious relationship with the horse is magical.”

With the 2014 World Equestrian Games and 2016 Paralympics on the four-year calendar Laureen will also have to face a few challenges. Laureen explained, “The biggest challenge is fundraising and securing high quality, competitive horses.  The budget for Para-Equestrian and Vaulting is limited so it is imperative that the athletes receive more funding which will help increase their international presence.”

Raising the capital for each discipline can be difficult which is why the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) works with the Para-Dressage and Para-Driving equestrians to help reach their goals nationally and internationally. The USPEA is a large network that continues to support the disabled athletes in all aspects of competition and training. Laureen mentioned, “I’m eager to work closely with the USEF recognized Para-Equestrian affiliate, USPEA, in developing grass root riders into elite athletes.  The USPEA conducts outstanding clinics and educational seminars for riders and officials.  The new and experienced Para-Equestrian athletes are fortunate to have the high caliber support and knowledge from the USPEA.  Synergistically, the USPEA and USEF will develop the finest of athletes.”

President of the USPEA Hope Hand commented, “We are looking forward to working with Laureen and are very excited for her new role at USEF.  Laureen’s great attitude, willingness to work as a team, and dedication to the athletes will provide each of the disciplines she works with the support needed to succeed around the world.

In June 2012 Laureen married Lee Schenck and they reside in Bridgewater, NJ.  Between Laureen and her husband Lee they have six adult children and one grandchild. When Laureen has free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends and relaxing at their beach house in North Wildwood, NJ.

To contact High Performance Director of Para Equestrian and Vaulting and Assistant to Driving Laureen K. Johnson please e-mail lkjohnson@usef.org or call USEF at (908) 326-1155.

On December 14, 2012 the Para-Equestrian High Performance Committee and Para-Equestrian Eligible Athlete Committee were announced. Both committees are pending approval of the USEF Executive Committee.

 

Para-Equestrian High Performance Committee (Pending approval of the Executive Committee)

 

The Chair of the High Performance Committee is Hope Hand

Co-Chair of the High Performance Committee is Barb Grassmyer.

 

Dale Dedrick

Barabara Grassmyer, Elected Eligible Athlete

Hope Hand

Rebecca Hart, Elected Eligible

Mary Jordan, Elected Eligible Athlete

Kim Kelly

Sandy Rafferty

Melissa Ransehousen

Sharon Schneidman

Lynn Siedemann

Hardy Zantke

 

The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Para-Equestrian High Performance Committee will be named shortly.

 

Para-Equestrian Eligible Athlete Committee (Pending approval of the Executive Committee)     

 

Mary Jordan , Chair

Rebecca Hart, Vice Chair

Erin Alberda

Robin Brueckmann

Barbara Grassmyer

December 22, 2012-Vote Jonathan Wentz for USEF 2012 Equestrian of the Year and NTEC Richter Scale for Horse of the Year Before January 7, 2013

Vote Jonathan Wentz for USEF 2012 Equestrian of the Year and NTEC Richter Scale for Horse of the Year Before January 7, 2013

Thousand Oaks, CA – December 22, 2012 – After topping the Paralympic equestrian ranks at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and earning the highest ranking among the United States Equestrian Olympic and Paralympic Team, Jonathan Wentz of Richardson, Texas was on top of the world.  The duo of Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale were synonymous with dynamic duo. Wentz was a team player, a hard worker, and someone who always put his horse first.  Tragedy would hit the equestrian community at the end of September 2012 when Wentz passed away due to unknown causes only two weeks after his Paralympic debut.  Wentz was back at college at Southern Methodist University where he was in his senior undergraduate year.  Just days before his death, Wentz gave a speech in front of his peers and spoke about what it meant to him to become a Paralympian.  Wentz was a leader in and out of the classroom and took his role as a U.S. athlete seriously. The 21 year-old 6’5″ Texan was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth and didn’t let his diagnoses define him.  He was the epitome of a champion, achieved the goals he set-forth, and truly loved his sport and his fellow teammates.

In 2010, North Texas Equestrian Center’s Kai Handt helped prepare his horse NTEC Richter Scale and Jonathan Wentz for international competition. “Richter” as Jonathan would call him was a non-standard dressage horse.  NTEC Richter Scale’s heavy build and atypical color would not stop this horse from earning top results with his 6’5″ rider.  Jonathan would refer to Richter as a, “fine wine that kept getting better with age.” As 2010 ran into 2011 the duo continued to compete and earn top results.  Wentz was always showcasing multiple mounts during competition but he always went back to his trusty gelding.  In 2011 Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale earned the 2011 USEF Para-Equestrian

Dressage National Championship followed by qualification for the Paralympics and the 2012  Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Championship.  Wentz’s dream came true in London in September 2012 when the duo anchored the team to the leader board and was only percentage points away from a Paralympic medal.  On the final day of the Paralympic Equestrian competition, Wentz put forward his best freestyle test in his career.  As the crowd began to wave in congratulations Jonathan looked up to the crowd, gave NTEC Richter Scale a pat, and conducted the crowd to cheer and applaud for what his horse had done for him.  He was proud of their performance and the journey that got them to London. On Jonathan’s last interview after the Games he thanked his coach, his team, his family, and generously showed his gratitude to the 18 year-old horse that helped him accomplish his dream. He looked forward to heading back to the U.S. back to college and was ready to start preparing for the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

The United States Equestrian Federation has posted both the 2012 Horse of the Year and 2012 Equestrian of the Year nominations.  To vote for the Horse of The Year please go to the website  http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/hoty/ and enter your e-mail.  To vote for Equestrian of the Year you have to go to  http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/eoty/ and enter your USEF member identification number.  There are multiple athletes both four-legged and two that have out performed their peers in 2012.  Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale were the number one performing equestrian among Show Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, and Para-Dressage at the Olympic and Paralympic level.  It was with great sadness the Wentz family announced the death of their son and athlete Jonathan Wentz only 15 days after the Paralympics. The equestrian community has lost a true athlete and a friend.

To vote for the Horse of the Year please go to:  http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/hoty/

To vote for Equestrian of the Year please go to:  http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/eoty/

Please vote by January 7, 2013.

If you would like to read more about Jonathan Wentz and the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team’s performances please go to: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/

To view Jonathan’s speech at Southern Methodist University please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGsRxkeVDaQ&noredirect=1

Jonathan Wentz at 2012 London Paralympics (C) Lindsay Yosay McCall

Jonathan Wentz at 2012 London Paralympics (C) Lindsay Yosay McCall

Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale with Coach kai Handt at the 2011 Dressage Affaire CPEDI3* in Del Mar, CA

 

Jonathan Wentz at 2012 Paralympics (C) Lindsay Yosay McCall

Jonathan Wentz at 2012 Paralympics (C) Lindsay Yosay McCall

 

Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale winning the 2011 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship. Photo copyright Lindsay McCall

Jonathan Wentz at 2012 London Paralympics (C) Lindsay Yosay McCall

Jonathan Wentz at 2012 London Paralympics (C) Lindsay Yosay McCall

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