By: Jennifer O. Bryant for the USPEA
CAEN, NORMANDY, August 27, 2014 – There’s quite of bit of interplay between the para-dressage and the able-bodied dressage communities.
Not only do many trainers coach both able-bodied and para-dressage students; some para-equestrians compete in the able-bodied divisions, as well.
Take Angela “Annie” Peavy, for instance. The eighteen-year-old from Avon, Conn., is at
A poised, balanced canter by Angela Peavy on Ozzy Cooper at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Credit: SusanJStickle.com
the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games competing as an individual in the Grade III para-equestrian dressage division. But in three weeks, she’ll be at the New England Dressage Association Fall Festival and the Great American/USDF Region 8 Dressage Championships in Saugerties, N.Y., contesting the (able-bodied) FEI Juniors.
Peavy’s trainer is Heather Blitz, who with her horse Paragon was the reserve rider for the US dressage squad at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“I train in Boston with her. I’ve been with her for a year and a half,” Peavy said of Blitz. And at the WEG Peavy is getting a two-fer: Not only Blitz but also one of Blitz’s coaches, the international clinician and author Mary Wanless (Ride with Your Mind), are in Caen assisting the young para-equestrian, Peavy said.
Peavy is the first para-equestrian Blitz has coached, and “I’ve learned so much from her,” Peavy said. “She’s good at keeping me focused in the show ring.”
Blitz doesn’t cut her student any slack, either. “Heather trains me how she would train any other of her students. If I can’t do something with my left side, she’ll figure out another way.” (The left side of Peavy’s body is affected by cerebral palsy.)
Blitz, who lived and trained in Denmark for many years, also found Peavy’s two current mounts there: her 2014 WEG mount, Ozzy Cooper; and Lancelot Warrior, a twelve-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Londonderry x Waroness), both owned by Rebecca Reno. Peavy has been paired with both horses since January, she said.
Although Lancelot Warrior outscored Ozzy Cooper at the US WEG selection trials, when the gelding sustained a corneal ulcer the decision was made that Ozzy Cooper would go to Normandy instead. Ozzy Cooper is an eight-year-old Trakehner gelding (Hibiskus x Arrak)-and yes, he’s named for heavy-metal rock stars Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper, Peavy said.
“I asked his old owner” about the name, Peavy said. As a young horse he was called Orca, but the owner disliked the name and rechristened him, she said.
Angela Peavy beams aboard Ozzy Cooper after her Grade III Individual test. Credit: Jennifer Bryant
Peavy was attracted to Ozzy Cooper’s “wanting to go, and his work ethic, and his gaits. His attitude-he has a great mind, very steady,” she said.
These 2014 Games are Peavy’s first world championships. “It’s amazing,” she said. “The venue is beautiful. It’s an experience like no other.”
Today, in the Grade III Individual test, Peavy earned a respectable score of 63.561%.
“I thought it went really well,” she said afterward. “He was really focused with me, and more energetic and powerful. I was more relaxed than the first day. We were in our own little bubble.”
Riding and competing as a para-equestrian is “definitely a great learning experience. It’s changed my life so much. It’s really fun,” Peavy said. She admitted that “It’s a lot of work; you’ll miss a lot of school.” The rising high-school senior returns from France to the U.S. this Saturday, and Monday-jet lag or no-she’ll be back in class.
Fellow US para-equestrian Sydney Collier, Ann Arbor, Mich., also competed today, scoring an impressive 68.103 percent in the Grade Ib Individual test for a ninth-place finish. Collier’s WEG mount is Willi Wesley, a fourteen-year-old Hessen gelding (Wolkenstein x Kokoschka) owned by Victoria Dugan.
Willi Wesley walks steadily toward a Grade Ib Individual score of 68.103 percent with rider Sydney Collier. Credit: 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: