For U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders, It’s All About the Horse
By: Jennifer O. Bryant for the USPEA
CAEN, NORMANDY, August 26, 2014 – The para-equestrian dressage competitors representing the USA at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ are in all age ranges, grades, and types of physical disability. But they have one very strong bond in
Dynamic movement and an unmistakable presence are the PRE stallion Kamiakin’s hallmarks, shown here in his Grade IV Team test with owner/rider Susan Treabess. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com
Each of the three riders who competed today-in the Grade IV Team test, the Grade II Team test, and the Grade Ia Team test-expressed the joy they take in their horses. No matter the scores, the competitors were all smiles as they discussed their tests and their pride in their mounts’ performances.
Susan Treabess, 37, of Winters, Calif., was the first to compete Tuesday. Riding hernine-year-old PRE stallion, Kamiakin (by Kianto), Treabess earned a score of 65.833 percent in the Grade IV Team test, which put them in tenth place individually.
“It is a big relief to just get one [test] under the belt,” Treabess said afterward. Her horse had some moments of tension, she said, but added: “This is the first time he is competing internationally. It is the first time he traveled [abroad].”
Sophie Wells, the 2012 Paralympic Games team gold and individual silver medalist from Great Britain, won the Grade IV Team test aboard Valerius with a score of 74.595 percent.
Next up for the USA, in the Grade II Team test, was Rebecca Hart, 30, of Unionville, Penn., this year’s United States Equestrian Federation para-equestrian dressage national champion. Riding her new horse, the eleven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Schroeter’s Romani (Lobster x Come Back II), Hart handled a few moments of tension well and showed the elegant mare’s expressive gaits to good advantage. They earned a score of 67.971 percent, good enough for seventh place individually.
“I was really happy with how she warmed up,” Hart said afterward. “It’s a big atmosphere out there [in the arena], and she felt it when we went in; but what I was really happy with was the way she came back to me and focused.”
“We’ve come a long way from where we started,” said Hart, who’s been paired with Schroeter’s Romani only since November 2013. “I’m really excited to continue the partnership from here.” The mare, whom Hart and her supporters and sponsors found in Denmark, had belonged to one owner all of her life-an able-bodied woman who had trained her through Intermediate II and was schooling Grand Prix, Hart said. But the pair clicked-Hart claimed the mare “sized me up, shrugged her shoulders, and said, ‘Eh, I can work with this”-and Hart loves her mare’s big yet “soft” gaits, which she says don’t aggravate the spasticity that is the hallmark of her disability, familial spastic paraplegia.
Another British Paralympic veteran, the 2012 London double gold medalist Natasha Baker, took the Grade II win with a score of 73.657 percent aboard Cabral.
|Grade II rider Rebecca Hart was all smiles during her team test aboard her mare, Schroeter’s Romani. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com
Grade Ia rider Roxanne Trunnell had to warm up in a drenching downpour, but the skies cleared just in time for her team test aboard her longtime partner, the nineteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Nice Touch (by Grundstein). The pair was eighth individually on a score of 68.087 percent. The class winner, with a score of 75.783 percent, was Sara Morganti of Italy riding Royal Delight.
“She was a good girl,” Trunnell said of the mare she’s been partnered with since the age of thirteen. Now 29, Trunnell hails from Rowlett, Tex. Although this is Nice Touch’s first WEG, Trunnell wasn’t worried: “She’s always been good,” she said.
Trunnell plans to retire Nice Touch after the WEG, and she’s just started looking for her next mount. What does Trunnell hope to find? “One like her,” of course.
Grade Ia rider Roxanne Trunnell is ending Nice Touch’s career on a high note: the 19-year-old mare will retire after this, her first World Equestrian Games. Photo copyright SusanJStickle.com
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)
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: