-Born: November 15, 1990
-Hometown: Richardson, Texas
Jonathan began riding at the age of two for therapy to combat the loss of strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance caused by cerebral palsy which he’s had since birth. Wentz was also born with a competitive drive and strong determination. At age five he found Equest, a therapeutic riding center in Wylie, TX where he continued therapy and also began riding for sport participating in vaulting, jumping, western pleasure and english equitation. When he was thirteen he was told that he chttp://supertechmedia.com/uspea/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=521&type=image&TB_iframe=1ould no longer jump because his legs were too weak. This caused him to shift his focus to dressage with his sights on participating in the Paralympics. He started training in dressage at Equest with Gail Pace and Boaz Or. One year later he competed in his first able bodied competition at a USDF recognized show.
In the fall of 2008 after making great strides toward his goals including receiving; qualifying scores toward the 2009 Para-Equestrian Advanced Riders list and the Region 9 Championships. Jonathan found himself without a horse to compete, due to an unexpected injury, and needing to find a new place to train in order to reach the next level in his competitive riding.
Wentz found both at NTEC: North Texas Equestrian Center where he currently trains six days a week.
Jonathan trains with and is sponsored by Kai Handt owner and head trainer at North Texas Equestrian Center in Wylie, TX. Wentz moved to North Texas in November 2008. Six months after beginning training with Kai, Jonathan competed in his first CPEDI3* and USEF Para-Equestrian Nationals as a Grade II, where he earned his certificate of capability and place seventh in Nationals. He also received High Point Individual at the Region 9 Junior Team Championship and qualified for the 2009 Region 9 USDF Championships. In 2009 Jonathan competed in 13 USDF recognized shows and a CPEDI3*.
Jonathan started 2010 with a great first show in January with NTEC Richter Scale, receiving a 75.238%, 67.857%, and 76% with the new 2010 FEI Para Equestrians Tests in preparation for the Dressage Affaire CPEDI3* in March. At Del Mar, Richter came off the trailer lame, meaning Jonathon would compete a last minute catch ride Lano I, with whom he placed first in the Grade II classes. In May, NTEC Richter was back in stride receiving a 70%. Wentz also competed on a new horse, Contigo scoring a 66.667% on their second test together. Wentz had a very succesful showing at the USEF Selection Trial/National Championship for the US Para-Equestrian Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. With NTEC Richter Scale he earned a 68.167% in the Freestyle on the way to an overall sixth place finish. Jonathan also scored a 59.667% with Contigo in the Freestyle.
At the 2010 WEG, Jonathan Wentz and his Shire, NTEC Richter Scale, fared best of the American entries in Grade II and earned 68.550, which put them in 11th place.
Jonathan was recently honored by being named to the USEF Youth Council representing the para-equestrian discipline. He has been an ambassador for Hippotherapy, Therapeutic Riding and Para Equestrian dressage from an early age with numerous demonstrations and speaking engagements. He credits all the horses in his life for not only giving him a competitive sport in which to excel in, but also for giving him the gift of being able to walk.
Jonathan is a sophomore history, economics, and political science major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
2012 UPDATE BIO:
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.