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October 14, 2014- U.S. Para-Equestrian Drivers Excel at Shady Oaks Farm CDE

United States Para-Equestrian Association

Media Contact: Lindsay McCall -Lindsay@uspea.org -USPEA, 3940 Verde Vista Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360- www.USPEA.org

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U.S. Para-Equestrian Drivers Excel at Shady Oaks Farm CDE

Lodi, California- October 14, 2014- Four Para-Equestrian Drivers competed at the Shady Oaks CDE September 18-21, 2014, in Lodi, California. Those athletes included Tracy Bowman competing in Preliminary Single Pony; Ginny Leal competing in Training Level Single Pony; Diane Kastama competing in Preliminary Pair; and Stefanie Putnam who competed in Preliminary Single Horse. The U.S. drivers made an incredible showing among 53 competitors and the support from the spectators, judges, and organizers was overwhelming. Drivers competed in Dressage, Cones, and the exciting Marathon Course over three days.

Tracy Bowman came in sixth place for Dressage, seventh for Marathon, fourth for Cones and fifth in the Preliminary Single Pony Division. Ginny Leal earned the second place accolade for Dressage and Cones and tied for first in the Marathon. Leal also took Reserve Champion for the Training Level Single Pony Division. Diane Kastama came in first for Dressage and Cones in Preliminary Pairs Division. Stefanie Putnam came in second in Dressage, second in Marathon, third in Cones, and first overall in the Preliminary Horse Division out of 14 contestants.  Putnam also won the whole Preliminary Division Championship (1st of 32 drivers) as well as the Reserve Championships for the whole Preliminary Division (including Ponies, Horses, and Pairs) for Dressage and Marathon and third in cones for the whole division (out of 32 drivers).

Tracy Bowman on the Marathon. Photo (c) Christie Bs Photography
Stefanie Putnam in Dressage. Photo (c) Christie Bs Photography
Diane Kastama competing in Cones. Photo (c) Christie Bs Photography

The last few years for the U.S Para-Equestrian Drivers have been outstanding. That includes the most recent 2014 FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships which concluded in June at The Royal Estate in Sandringham, England. The U.S. team earned a Bronze finish with drivers Virginia Fitch, Diane Kastama and Veteran Robert Giles. Giles also garnered a Silver medal at the Championships.
United States Driving for the Disabled
For more information about United States Driving for the Disabled please go to www.USDFD.org.
USDFD facebook site

About the United States Para-Equestrian Association:

 

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation 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 Paralympic Games, the USPEA provides Para-Equestrians the knowledge and resources needed to succeed.  The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), USA Reining, and USEF which provide 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 www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

 

To view an online version of this press release please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/

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October 13, 2014 -2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day October 25

United States Para-Equestrian Association

Media Contact: Lindsay McCall -Lindsay@uspea.org -USPEA, 3940 Verde Vista Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360- www.USPEA.org

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2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day October 25

Wylie, TX – October 13, 2014 - North Texas Equestrian Center will host the 2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day October 25, 2014, at 1 PM in Wylie, Texas. Kai Handt, the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Coach and Para-Dressage Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe will be showcasing a demonstration by U.S. Air Force Veteran and Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete Derrick Perkins. There will also be appearances from rider(s) of the 2014 U.S. World Equestrian Games Para-Dressage Team.

Also featured is an introductional seminar about the Para-Equestrian discipline. New members of the Wounded Warrior and other Disabled U.S. Veteran programs will be introduced to the exciting Paralympic Equestrian Dressage Sport . Veterans from all branches of the service are invited in addition to interested future para-dressage athletes. All are welcome to attend this free seminar including auditors.

At the inaugural U.S. Armed Forces Day in April 2014, Kai Handt explained to those in attendance what is required to be a competitive Para-Dressage rider and how veterans can qualify for the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Assistance Program for Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes. In addition to Handt’s informative presentation, Tina Wentz, FEI Classifier and USPEA Board member explained the FEI Para-Equestrian Classification system and how to get started in Para-Dressage. Wentz will once again be on hand in Texas to discuss this topic and more.

U.S. Air Force disabled veteran Derrick Perkins on NTEC Hans. Photo copyright Lindsay Y. McCall
U.S. Air Force disabled veteran Derrick Perkins on NTEC Hans. Photo copyright Lindsay Y. McCall

History of the Paralympic Movement and the Dressage Sport in the Military:

The unique relationship between the military and the Paralympic sport began with Sir Ludwig Guttmann, known as the Father of the Paralympics. He used wheelchair sport as a way to physically & psychologically rehabilitate soldiers who had suffered spinal cord injuries in WWII. The first competition in 1948 started small with one sport but caught the eye of the Olympic organizers. Twelve years later in 1960 the first Paralympics were held with 9 sports and twenty-one countries participating.

Dressage roots go as far back as Xenophon (430 – 355BC) in Greece who developed a training method for complex military movements for their cavalry horses. Later in the late 18th century and early 19th century with the shift from heavy to light cavalry, dressage was developed to keep their horses fit, agile, and ready for battle.

These two movements came together in the 1970′s with the development of Para-Dressage and the inclusion of this discipline into the Paralympics in 1996 in Atlanta.

2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day Fast Facts:

WHAT: 2nd Annual Disabled U.S. Armed Forces Day

WHERE:  North Texas Equestrian Center, 1765 Southview Drive, Wylie, TX, 75098

WHEN: October 25, 2014

CONTACT INFORMATION: 972-442-7544

WEBSITE: www.USWarmblood.com

For more information about the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Assistance Program for Para-Equestrian Dressage Athletes please go to:

About the United States Para-Equestrian Association:

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation 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 Paralympic Games, the USPEA provides Para-Equestrians the knowledge and resources needed to succeed.  The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), USA Reining, and USEF which provide 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 www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

To view an online version of this press release please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/

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Photos and Articles Copyright(c) 2014 United States Para-Equestrian Association. All Rights Reserved.
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October 3, 2014 – 2014 American Quarter Horse World Championship Show Schedules Para-Reining Demonstration November 15

United States Para-Equestrian Association

Media Contact: Lindsay McCall -Lindsay@uspea.org -USPEA, 3940 Verde Vista Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360- www.USPEA.org

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2014 American Quarter Horse World Championship Show Schedules Para-Reining Demonstration November 15

Photos and article by: Lindsay Y. McCall

Oklahoma City, OK – October 3, 2014 - The American Quarter Horse (AQHA) World

Two-time Paralympian (2008 and 2012) and 2010/2014  Alltech FEI WOrld Equestrian Games Athlete athlete Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Pa.) with Pete Kyle and his horse Zins Smart Wrangler, donated by Pete and Tamara Kyle and owned by Pat Moore
Two-time U.S. Paralympian (2008 and 2012) and 2010/2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Athlete athlete Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Pa.) with Pete Kyle and his horse Zins Smart Wrangler, donated by Pete and Tamara Kyle and owned by Pat Moore at the 2013 Para-Reining Demonstration. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall

Championship Show November 7-22, will once again feature a para-equestrian reining demonstration on November 15, 2014. The demonstration will take place in The Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City after the Senior Reining CRI 3*. The previous 2013 AQHA World Championship Show featured english, western, and halter disciplines, 3,401 entries, a total purse more than $2.4 million, riders from 49 states and 7 countries, and the best Reiners in the business. This para-reining demonstration will be the third opportunity for spectators, organizers, and current and potential athletes to experience para-reining on an international platform. The 2013 event was the launch pad for the 2014 development year and 2015 and beyond international para-reining competition. Riders in the past two demonstrations included international para-dressage athletes, two Paralympians, and current reining equestrians. Each reiner rode specific patterns that were part of the newly adapted para-reining rules. Riders will be judged by FEI 4* Reining jury and given accolades based on their performance. USA Reining and the United States Para-Equestrian Association, in cooperation with the AQHA and National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), make this event possible.

The popularity of the first para-reining demonstration began at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show in November. The second installment was during the Kentucky Reining Cup April 26, 2014, held at the Kentucky Horse Park and was titled the Cargill’s Nutrena® brand Para-Reining Event. The April demonstration was a feature during the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Reining Selection Trial and the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

Para-Reining riders, owners, horses, sponsors at the 2013 Para-Reining Demonstration during the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City, OK. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall

With the proven success of the 2013 and 2014 Para-Reining demonstrations USA Reining is looking forward to continuing to work with the AQHA and NRHA to grow this para-equestrian discipline into an international high performance sport. It has already received numerous praises from international athletes, coaches, and judges, interested in participating in this future high-performance para-equestrian discipline.

During the 2014 competition year, USA Reining is using newly adapted para-reining rules. The new rules are a collaboration of AQHA Equestrians with Disabilities, NRHA and USA Reining. The adapted rules will be continually specialized, revised, and collated with the FEI para-equestrian rules for the 2015 competition year. Members are encouraged to provide feedback for integration of the 2015 rules.

For more information about USA Reining, please visit www.USA-Reining.com.
If you are interested in the para-reining program or would like to provide member feedback please contact Brad Ettleman at Brad@HPowerInc.com.

To view more about the American Quarter Horse (AQHA) World Championship Show November 7-22, 2014, please visit

To view the 2013 Para-Reining Demonstration Press Release and photographs please click here:

You may also view the Para-Reining discipline information and potential patterns on the USPEA website at http://uspea.org/para-reining/
About the United States Para-Equestrian Association:

 

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation 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 Paralympic Games, the USPEA provides Para-Equestrians the knowledge and resources needed to succeed.  The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), USA Reining, and USEF which provide 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 www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

 

To view an online version of this press release please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/

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USPEA
Photos and Articles Copyright(c) 2014 United States Para-Equestrian Association. All Rights Reserved.
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September 26, 2014- Horse Radio Network Recaps 2014 WEG Para-Dressage Competition with Athlete Sydney Collier and Coach Wes Dunham

United States Para-Equestrian Association

Media Contact: Lindsay McCall -Lindsay@uspea.org -USPEA, 3940 Verde Vista Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360- www.USPEA.org

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Horse Radio Network Recaps 2014 WEG Para-Dressage Competition with Athlete Sydney Collier and Coach Wes Dunham   

 

Jupiter, FL -September 26, 2014- Horse Radio Network’s once-a-month Para-Equestrian Show featured U.S. World Equestrian Games (WEG)Athlete Sydney Collier and her WEG coach Wes Dunham.

Lindsay McCall from the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) hosted the show with co-host Regina Cristo. To listen to episode #278 please visit: http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2014/09/25/dressage-radio-episode-278-para-dressage-wraps-2014-weg-with-sydney-collier-and-coach-wes/

 

Sydney Collier and her dog Journey. Collier's dog Journey became a media sensation at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com
U.S. WEG Team Athlete Sydney Collier and her dog Journey. Journey became a media sensation at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com

About Sydney Collier:  Sydney Collier of Ann Arbor, Michigan, represented Grade Ib for the USA at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. This was her first World Equestrian Games at the young age of 16. Collier rode Victoria Dugan’s Willi Wesley, a 2000 Warmblood gelding. At age seven Sydney was diagnosed with Wyburn-Mason Syndrome after she began having blurry vision. Wyburn-Mason Syndrome is a rare, congenital disorder characterized by arteriovenous malformations in the central nervous system and retina. It affects only .14% of the world’s population and can cause brain hemorrhaging, stroke, paralysis, or death. In 2010 at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, Sydney and her family ran across young para-equestrian Jonathan Wentz. Wentz introduced Collier to trainer Kai Handt and veteran Paralympian Hope Hand who is President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association. Not long after the 2010 World Equestrian Games Collier began training as a Para-Dressage rider eventually pairing up with Paralympic Dressage coach Wes Dunham of Millbrook, NY. In 2012, young rider Collier had not yet reached her 16th birthday before the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials but she did earn the opportunity to compete at the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. The valuable experience of showing at the National Championships that year gave her the verification she needed to know that she was ready to aim for the 2014 WEG. Collier and her coach Wes Dunham have been working together over the past two years creating the perfect partnerships with multiple mounts. Collier began riding Wentworth (owned previously by Amy McIlwham) in 2013 and competed internationally with her horse that same year. In 2014 Collier added two new mounts to her line-up scoring top rankings in Grade Ib. Collier earned a spot on the U.S. WEG Team in June 2014 with horses NTEC Cuplee and Willi Wesley. Collier and Willi Wesley were successful at the 2014 Games. The WEG was Collier’s first overseas trip for Para-Dressage and a dream come true for the young athlete.

Willi Wesley trots to a thirteenth-place finish and a score of 65.960 percent in the Grade Ib team test with rider Sydney Collier.
Willi Wesley trots to a top finish in the Grade Ib team test with rider Sydney Collier. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com

 

Wes Dunham and Willi Wesley. Photo by Lindsay McCall
Wes Dunham and Willi Wesley at the 2014 CPEDI3* in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay McCall

About Wes Dunham: Born and raised in Western New York, FEI rider and trainer Wes Dunham began his life-long love of horses at the age of 6. He competed in Western Pleasure classes before turning his attention to Eventing, Show Jumping and ultimately Dressage which he currently coaches and trains. While completing his Master’s in Education, Wes dedicated himself full-time to a career in the sport. Wes has been awarded his USDF Bronze and Silver medals, and is currently working towards his Gold. Most recently, he coached an FEI para-equestrian athlete and student on his own mare “Western Rose,” helping the pair to earn a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Wes has been working with multiple Para-Dressage athletes including WEG U.S. Team member Sydney Collier and hunter/jumper rider Elizabeth Traband. As an FEI coach Wes has trained at the 2012 Paralympics and the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Wes trains in Millbrook, New York, at Woodstock Stables.

Wes Dunham, Sydney Collier, and Willi Wesley at the 2014 CPEDI3* in Wellington, FL. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall

 

List of Para-Equestrian Radio Shows:

 

Para-Equestrian Show #278

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2014/09/25/dressage-radio-episode-278-para-dressage-wraps-2014-weg-with-sydney-collier-and-coach-wes/  

 

Para-Equestrian Show # 270   

 
Para-Equestrian Show # 265

 

Para-Equestrian Show # 259

 

Para-Equestrian Show #248

 

Para-Equestrian Show #244

 

Para-Equestrian Show #235

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/11/25/dressage-radio-episode-235-reining-into-para-dressage/

November 1, 2013- Para-Equestrian Show #231

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/11/01/dressage-radio-episode-231-para-dressage-horse-ownership-and-training/ 

 

September 25, 2013- Para-Equestrian Show #226

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/09/24/dressage-radio-episode-226-becca-hart-and-missy-ransehousen-on-the-future-of-para/  

 

August 28, 2013- Para-Equestrian Show #222
http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/08/28/dressage-radio-episode-222-set-up-before-you-trot-up/

 

July 31, 2013- Para-Equestrian Show #218

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/07/31/dressage-radio-episode-218-developing-para-dressage-young-riders/  

 

June 27, 2013-Para-Equestrian Show #213

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/06/27/dressage-radio-episode-213-para-week-goes-driving/  

 

May 24, 2013-Para-Equestrian Show #208

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/05/24/dressage-radio-episode-208-the-maine-event/  

 

April 4, 2013-Para-Equestrian Show #204

http://dressageradio.horseradionetwork.com/2013/04/25/dressage-radio-episode-204-kristi-wysocki-and-gil-merrick-discuss-judging-the-team-approach/

 

March 27, 2013-To listen to the the first Para-Equestrian show #200:

 

 

Once a month the Dressage Radio Show becomes the Para-Equestrian Show Hosted by Lindsay McCall, of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, focusing on Lindsay Yosay McCallinternational FEI discipline Para-Dressage. Although Para-Dressage is the main event, listeners have the opportunity to learn more about the skillful U.S. Para-Driving Team, the Para-Reining discipline, Para-Vaulting, and the future of Para-Jumping. The para-equestrian dressage show will feature a line-up of guests including olympians, paralympians, trainers, coaches, professionals, amateur riders, young riders, and equine enthusiasts. The intention of the radio show is to educate, inform, and entertain listeners on the para-equestrian Dressage discipline.

 

 

To learn more about the USPEA please visit www.USPEA.org or e-mail President Hope Hand at hope@uspea.org. You may also e-mail the host of the para-equestrian segment Lindsay McCall at Lindsay@uspea.org.

 

To learn more about the Horse Radio Network visit www.horseradionetwork.com or to contact Glenn the Geek go to http://www.horseradionetwork.com/contact/ or leave a voicemail at 270-803-0025.

 

About the Horse Radio Network:

 

The Horse Radio Network is the voice of the horse world with listeners in over 40 countries. Eight different entertaining shows cover all aspects of the horse world and you can listen any time on your computer, MP3 player or smart phone.

 

We believe that people own horses for fun and entertainment. Why else would you

put up with the early morning feedings, stall cleaning, vet bills, long trips to shows,

empty bank accounts and everything else that goes with being a horse owner.

 

Our goal with these shows is to help your chores go a little faster and to put a smile

on your face!  Learn more at www.HorseRadioNetwork.com

 

 

HORSES IN THE MORNING live M-F at 9am Eastern at www.horsesinthemorning.com

.

 

Fantastic weekly shows:

Driving Radio Show at www.drivingradioshow.com

Equestrian Legends at www.equestrianlegends.com

Stable Scoop Radio Show at www.stablescoop.com.

Eventing Radio Show at www.eventingradio.com.

Dressage Radio Show at www.Dressageradio.com.

Horse Tip Daily at www.horsetipdaily.com

Western Radio Show at www.westernradioshow.com

 

About the United States Para-Equestrian Association: 

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation 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 Paralympic Games, the USPEA provides Para-Equestrians the knowledge and resources needed to succeed.  The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), USA Reining, and USEF which provide 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 www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

 

To view an online version of this press release please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube

USPEA
Photos and Articles Copyright(c) 2014 United States Para-Equestrian Association. All Rights Reserved.
If you have received this e-mail and no longer wish to receive any e-mails regarding the USPEA please click on the Unsubscribe link below.  USPEA will only send e-mails that are news related to the USPEA.

August 31, 2014 – U.S. Para-Dressage Is Really Cooking

United States Para-Equestrian Association

Media Contact: Lindsay McCall -Lindsay@uspea.org -USPEA, 3940 Verde Vista Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360- www.USPEA.org

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U.S. Para-Dressage Is Really Cooking

Officials are creating a recipe for success at the 2016 Rio Paralympics

 

By Jennifer O. Bryant

 

In the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Great Britain poured £264 million into training programs for elite sports, about 60 percent of which came from National Lottery proceeds. (Source: BBC.com) The results were indisputable: 63 medals, five of which were in the equestrian disciplines, three of those gold.

 

No matter how talented the athletes, the chances of stepping onto the medal podium are slim without sufficient training and competition opportunities. And that goes double for the equestrian sports, with the high costs of acquiring, maintaining, training, and transporting top horses.

 

Unlike in Great Britain, equestrian sports in the U.S. typically rely on corporate and private sponsorship to fill the financial gaps. And human nature being what it is, once a discipline or a horse-rider combination begins to enjoy some success, more supporters want to get on the bandwagon.

 

The sport of para-equestrian dressage is approaching that tipping point, say American equestrian officials and coaches. In this article, we’ll take a look at how U.S. high-performance para-dressage has gathered momentum-and how it’s positioning itself to climb onto the medal podium at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Step 1: Hire a Chef

Roxanne Trunnell and her own Nice Touch with U.S. Para-Equestrian DressageChef d'Equipe Kai Handtat the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Roxanne Trunnell and her own Nice Touch with U.S. Para-Equestrian DressageChef d’Equipe Kai Handtat the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo (c) SusanJStickle.com

 

Kai Handt has been the United States Equestrian Federation’s national para-equestrian dressage national coach and coordinator since February. Handt, a German Bereiter and Grand Prix-level trainer and competitor who has owned and operated North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC) in Wylie, Tex., since 1985, got involved in para-dressage in a roundabout way.

 

About six years ago, Handt recounts, his (able-bodied) daughter, Julia, “was riding on the junior team for the regional dressage finals, and we had [para-dressage rider] Jonathan Wentz on the team. The team won the gold medal, and he came to our barn. He said, ‘I want to go to the Olympics, I want to do all this stuff.’ I said, ‘Well, what are you going to do for it?’”

 

Wentz began working at the NTEC, and Handt decided to sponsor him. “He rode three of our horses that we kept for him. We got him to [the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky] the next year. The next year, he was US national [para-dressage] champion. He won four Nations Cups and was the best US rider at the [2012] Paralympics. He was very, very close to a medal. He sadly passed away that fall, and then I got approached about becoming the para-dressage national coach.”

 

Says Handt: “My job at home is to educate all the trainers. The U.S. situation is a little bit unique. The European teams, they are very small countries, so they [each] have one national coach and the riders go on a regular basis to clinics with these coaches. The U.S. is so spread out that everybody has their own individual coach. So I coordinate the trainers and I’m the chef d’équipe at the international events.”

 

Prior to 2014, Handt says, “We didn’t have much of a [US national para-dressage] program. For London, I believe we had two riders [who were earning scores] in the seventies. We have twelve or thirteen this year. At the national finals [The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships], I believe we had 27 [riders] this year.”

 

Step 2: Gain Experience

 

Exciting new talent, both human and equine, competed for the U.S.A. at the 2014 WEG-but “new” is synonymous with “inexperienced.”

 

“We have the youngest rider here of all the [WEG para] riders [16-year-old SydneyCollier]; I think we have the youngest rider the U.S. has ever sent [to an equestrian world championships],” says Handt. “I have all the riders on new horses, so there is really not any pair here with big championship experience. They just need to get some experience under their belly.” (Even Team U.S.A.’s most experienced rider, six-time U.S. para-equestrian dressage national champion and Paralympic veteran Rebecca Hart, is on a new horse this year, the mare Schroeter’s Romani.)

 

“I think we’re sitting on the right horses; we just need a little bit more ring time, and time for the judges to get to know them,” Handt says. “They’re not well known to the judges yet. They need to go out there and pay their dues and get better known.”

 

CAPTION: USEF national para-equestrian dressage national coach and coordinator Kai Handt (left) with U.S. Para-Equestrian Association president Hope Hand at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games CREDIT: Jennifer Bryant
USEF national para-equestrian dressage national coach and coordinator Kai Handt (left) with U.S. Para-Equestrian Association president Hope Hand at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games CREDIT: Jennifer Bryant

To Handt, the way forward is clear: “We need to get ready for Rio de Janeiro, so we need to majorly cowboy up. We need to compete more so they get calmer about these kinds of competitions. The Europeans have ten, fifteen CPEDIs [FEI-recognized para-dressage competitions] they can go to every year; we have two in Florida and one in California. So we’re trying to get more CPEDI sponsorships so we can get more shows in the United States. I’m working right now with some of the European countries to come over to the U.S. and give them some incentive so we actually compete against the gold medalists. It’s usually just the U.S. and Canada [at the U.S. shows]; we need to compete against the other nations.”

 

Handt also wants his riders to be able to emulate the other U.S. high-performance squads by traveling to Europe to train and compete. He says he’s hoping for a European tour in 2015.

 

“Since we’re getting a better team now, and they’re getting competitive, it’s worth it for us to start coming over here and competing in Europe,” he explains.

 

Step 3: Find the Funding

 

Which brings us back to where we started this discussion-with the bottom line. Thanks to some recent initiatives, U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation executive director Bonnie Jenkins is sanguine about the subject of funding.

 

USEF president Chrystine Tauber (left) and USET Foundation executive director Bonnie Jenkins (right) take in WEG para-dressage freestyles with 2014 U.S. WEG competitor Susan Treabess. CREDIT: Jennifer Bryant
USEF president Chrystine Tauber (left) and USET Foundation executive director Bonnie Jenkins (right) take in WEG para-dressage freestyles with 2014 U.S. WEG competitor Susan Treabess. CREDIT: Jennifer Bryant

 

“We’re all really excited about the para-dressage program,” Jenkins says. “The U.S. athletes have performed extraordinarily well, and we’re working hard with the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge that Margaret Duprey and the Barnfield Foundation have made available.” (Duprey and the Barnfield Foundation will each match, dollar for dollar, every pledge of $4,000 and above made through April 1, 2015. For more information, click here.) http://uspea.org/category/jon-wentz-memorial-challenge/

“We feel that, through additional funding, the athletes in this program will really have the opportunity to take off.”

 

USEF president Chrystine Tauber, who was in the stands with Jenkins for the 2014 WEG para-dressage freestyle classes, observes: “I have attended a few para-equestrian events at home, but seeing it at the international level, you get a very clear picture of how we’re doing in our programs and what needs to get ramped up more.”

 

“With the additional funding we’re going to be putting in place starting next year, we’re really going to focus on Rio,” Tauber continues. “Just chatting with people, one of the things is how to create this atmosphere at a few more events at home. From the technical side, I think we can work with competition management to give our riders more of an opportunity to compete in [a championships-style venue]. Because some of our horses got a little bit lit up when they came into this stadium.”

 

The officials’ presence did not go unnoticed.

 

“I’m very thankful and impressed that the USEF sent a lot of their staff, and the able-bodied dressage trainers and coaches were all excited about coming over this year to catch some of the rides,” says former Paralympian and current U.S. Para-Equestrian Association president Hope Hand. “To have them see firsthand the quality of rides, it’s very important to take all that back to our federation. That will mean a lot to us, getting that support and exposure.”

 

Says Tauber: “With [veteran sports-management and development executive] Chris Welton coming in as the new [USEF] CEO, we’re hoping to really step up the sponsorship levels. That’s one of our main focuses-to bring up the level of sponsorship dollars that goes back into high performance. That should have an effect on all disciplines, but certainly on para as well.”

 

In recent years, a lot has been written about the USEF’s establishment of high-performance tracks, or “pipelines,” to develop new talent in eventing, jumping, and dressage. Designated national coaches do scouting and conduct clinics, among other duties.

 

Currently there is no USEF para-dressage pipeline program, but such a program “certainly can be” established, says Tauber. “That’s a question of having our coaches start to put together those specific programs, because that’s what our three Olympic coaches have done. They actually created the pipeline, and that is clearly working. We need to probably use that model across the board.”

 

Another key new hire-one that Tauber says will prove “a major turning point in all our programs”-is that of Will Connell. Connell, a native of Great Britain, has served as the British Equestrian Federation’s sports director since 2003. After he concludes his commitment to Team GB when the 2014 WEG wraps, Connell will immigrate to the U.S. to start his new job as USEF director of sport programs October 1, based at U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. He succeeds former USEF director of sport programs Jim Wolf.

 

“He is the one who put together that phenomenal sports program for Great Britain, and we saw the results of that in London,” Tauber says of Connell. “I think this is going to have a dramatic impact on our future plans and our development programs because he has already proven that he can create the programs and produce the results we need.”

 

Delicious Possibilities

 

“I think it was really a positive experience,” Hand says of the 2014 WEG. Of the U.S. para-dressage riders, she says: “I think they did very well. Everybody got very respectable scores. They performed well as a team, they helped each other, and they got through some very tough competition.” As the largest-ever para-dressage competition at the WEG-19 teams and 100 horse-rider combinations from 33 nations-”the field was so competitive, and to get two of our riders qualified for the freestyle was significant and important to us.”

 

As Handt sees it, para-equestrian dressage is a sport whose star is rising-and he plans to ride the wave.

 

“The Paralympics is the second-biggest sporting event in the world,” he says, and “the Paralympic movement is really moving up as far as status goes. Obviously, for a sponsor, the image is fantastic: How much better an image can you have than to sponsor a physically disabled person who is actually an Olympic competitor?”

 

Take the feel-good para-equestrian message and stir in some good old-fashioned American patriotism, and the result may well be not only irresistible to sponsors but also a source of growth for the para-dressage program.

 

” We’re working a lot with out veterans. I actually have a U.S. Air Force veteran who is competing and was long-listed for here We’re even working with the Wounded Warrior Project;,” says Handt, referring to the veterans service organization that supports injured post-9/11 U.S. military veterans (WoundedWarriorProject.org).

 

The positive impression that the 2014 U.S. WEG para-equestrian dressage athletes left on VIPs and the equestrian public alike is “what we need to further the sport and get it out there that they’re serious athletes, not much different from [those in] able-bodied dressage,” says Hand. “They’re very focused and very athletic and have the same challenges that we all do in the sport.” And with the right mix of talent and support, it will be exciting to see how far they can go.

 

2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team

The following horse-and-athlete combinations have been named to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team (in alphabetical order):

Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Victoria Dugan’s Willi Wesley.
Willi Wesley is a 2000 Warmblood gelding. (Grade Ib)

Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Pa.) and Schroeter’s Romani, owned by Rebecca Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolo’s, and Will and Sandy Kimmel.
Schroeter’s Romani is a 2003 Danish Warmblood mare. (Grade II)

Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) and Rebecca Reno’s Ozzy Cooper.
Ozzy Cooper is a 2006 Trakehner gelding. (Individual athlete Grade III)

Susan Treabess (Winters, Calif.) and Kathryn Hill’s Kamiakin.
Kamiakin is a 2005 PRE stallion. (Grade IV)

Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and her own Nice Touch.
Nice Touch is a 1995 Dutch Warmblood mare. (Grade Ia)

USA WEG Team  by Lindsay Y. McCall Photos by Sue Stickle

Learn more about the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France:

Support the Team and it’s future to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with the USET Foundation’s Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge:

Learn more about the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage discipline or give a tax-deductible donation to support the development of the sport with the USPEA 501(c)(3)t:

About the United States Para-Equestrian Association: 

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation 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 Paralympic Games, the USPEA provides Para-Equestrians the knowledge and resources needed to succeed.  The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), USA Reining, and USEF which provide 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 www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

 

To view an online version of this press release please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/

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