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July 28, 2012 Meet the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team

Meet the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team  

Written by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

Photographs by: Lindsay Yosay McCall

 Thousand Oaks, CA July 28, 2012 – Meet the 2012 United States Paralympic Equestrian Team headed to London and the three alternates. The four United States Para-Equestrian Team horse and rider combinations and three alternates have been selected by USEF to represent the United States of America at the 2012 London Paralympics. Prior to traveling to London, the team will prepare and train at the USET Foundation Headquarters at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, NJ.

Para-Equestrians will head to London, England to compete at beautiful Greenwich Park beside 78 other horse and rider combinations and 26 nations from around the world. The FEI horse inspection will occur on August 29, 2012 followed by competition on August 30-September 4, 2012. The following four horse and rider combinations will ride under the direction of Chef d’Equipe Missy Ransehousen.

THE UNITED STATES PARALYMPIC EQUESTRIAN TEAM
Rebecca Hart, 27, of Unionville, Penn. and Jessica Ransehousen’s Holsteiner gelding Lord Ludger
Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Kai Handt’s 18 year-old NTEC Richter Scale
Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and Wesley Dunham’s Oldenburg mare Western Rose
Dale Dedrick, 56, of Ann Arbor, Mich. and her 14 year-old grey Hanoverian Bonifatius
Alternates:

Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and PG Ganda, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center
Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Dr. Michele Miles horse Silvano
Mary Jordan, 46, of Wells, Maine, and Deecie Denison’s Hanoverian Sebastian

 

Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger by Lindsay Y McCall

Rebecca Hart, 27,(Unionville, PA)-Under the tutelage of Rolex Eventer Missy Ransehousen and Olympian Jessica Ransehousen, Hart has spent half of her life at Blue Hill Farm perfecting Classical Dressage. Born with Familial Spastic Paraplegia, a genetic disease that causes muscle wasting and lack of control from the waist down, Hart excelled through her academics and became an international star in Para-Dressage. Her energetic personality and full-time job at Starbucks Corporate keeps her smiling no matter the weather. Since 2008 she has earned five USEF National Championships, earned a 4th place finish at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, represented the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and was champion in 2011 at a CPEDI3* in Australia. Hart was only one spot away from earning a medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. This year she is armed with Jessica Ransehousen’s horse Lord Ludger for the Grade II competition.

 

 

 

JonathanWentz and NTEC RichterScale by Lindsay YOsay McCall

JonathanWentz and NTEC RichterScale by Lindsay Y McCall

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.

 

 

 

Donna Ponessa and Western Rose by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Donna Ponessa and Western Rose by Lindsay Y McCall

Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, NY)- Ponessa’s competitive nature made her one of the world’s top wheelchair tennis players and celebrated equestrian. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in college and then a new diagnoses a few years later as a rare form of multiple sclerosis, called Devic Disease, Ponessa’s competitive desire remained fixed on the future. In 2011 she aimed for the Paralympics and her dreams will come true this August. Armed with trainer WesleyDunham, of Woodstock Stables in Millbrook, NY, Ponessa has been accumulating the accolades throughout 2011 and 2012. In 2011 she was the Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion in Grade Ia. When she headed to Mexico she was part of the Gold Medal U.S. Team and was then selected to fly halfway around the world to Australia, once again capturing the Gold as part of U.S. Team. In 2012 she earned the third overall placing at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and was Champion of the Grade IA division. Ponessa will be competing with Western Rose at the Paralympics who is owned by Wesley Dunham in the Grade IA competition.

Ponessa also earned an alternate spot on the Paralympic Team with PG Ganda, owned by Vinceremos Thereapeutic Riding Center. PG Ganda is a 19 year-old Danish Warmblood with a strong walk and a consistent pace.  Ponessa and PG Ganda were fifth overall at the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships.

 

Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius by Lindsay Y McCall

Dale Dedrick (Ann Arbor, MI) With a U.S. National Swimming world-record holder for a mom, a father that was an elite golfer, and a grandmother who rode in the Calgary Stampede, it seemed only natural for Dale Dedrick to become an athlete and equestrian.  After a few intense years, earning her M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dale stepped back into riding and her Dressage training evolved. During her orthopedic residency at the University of Michigan Dedrick was diagnosed with Lupus. As an orthopedic surgeon symptoms of joint deformities, inflammation, heart disease, and muscle weakness were affecting Dedrick’s ability to work. Dale retired in 1992 as an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Internal Medicine. In her teens she was a successful hunter/jumper rider, was a supreme National Dressage rider and in 1986 she was a U.S. Olympic Festival competitor. As a Para-Equestrian she flew onto the scene training with her mount Bonifatius “Erik” and trainer Rosalind Kinstler of Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2011 she earned the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Champion, was Champion Grade II Para-Equestrian, and in 2012 was the Reserve National Champion Grade II Para-Equestrian.

 

Alternates:

Donna Ponessa, 51, of New Windsor, N.Y. and PG Ganda, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center
Jonathan Wentz, 21, of Richardson, Texas and Dr. Michele Miles horse Silvano

Mary Jordan and Sebastian by Lindsay Yosay McCall

Mary Jordan and Sebastian by Lindsay Y McCall

Mary Jordan (Wells, Maine) Growing up in Clinton, New York Jordan’s first interests were in the show ring. Jordan has a wealth of experience in all disciplines including dressage, eventing, show jumping and showing horses she bred herself at in-hand competitions. In 2002, Jordan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  While Mary won national awards in eventing, it was not until 2009 that she began competing in para-dressage competitions including the European Championships in Norway. After qualifying for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with her mare Paxton Abbey, Mary headed to Lexington, KY where she competed as a Grade IV rider for the United States. In 2011-2012 Mary traveled the world competing for the United States Para-Equestrian Dressage Team including a CPEDI3* in Melbourne, Australia. As the 2012 Paralympic Selection Trials approached, Jordan campaigned Paxton Abbey’s sister P. Sparrow Socks and Deecie Denison’s Hanoverian, Sebastian. Mary earned the top Grade IV position at the 2011 and 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and earned the alternate spot with Sebastian at the 2012 United States Paralympic Selection Trials for the London Paralympics.

 

Paralympic Equestrian Schedule at Greenwich Park

August 29, 2012
Opening Ceremony London 2012 Paralympics
Horse Inspection 10:00 AM -11:30 AM
August 30, 2012
Grade II Mixed Team Test 9:00 AM
Grade Ib Mixed Team Test 2:00 PM
August 31, 2012
Grade IV Mixed Team Test 9:00 AM
Grade III Mixed Team Test 1:15 PM
Grade Ia Mixed Team Test 3:45 PM
September 1, 2012
Grade II Mixed Individual Championship Test 9:00 AM
Grade Ib Mixed Individual Championship Test  2:30 PM
September 2, 2012
Grade IV Mixed Individual Championship Test  9:00 AM
Grade III Mixed Individual Championship Test  1:45 PM
Grade Ia Mixed Individual Championship Test 4:15 PM
September 3, 2012
Grade II Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 9:00 AM
Grade Ib Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 2:15 PM
September 4, 2012
Grade IV Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 9:00 AM
Grade III Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 1:45 PM
Grade Ia Mixed Individual Freestyle Test 3:45 PM
September 9, 2012
Closing Ceremony

For more information about the Para-Equestrians heading to London please visit http://www.fei.org/events/games/paralympic-games/london-2012

To view more about the London 2012 Paralympics please visit the offical Paralympic website at http://www.london2012.com/
For more information about the United States Equestrian Federation please visit www.USEF.org

ABOUT THE EQUESTRIAN PARALYMPICS (courtesy of FEI)
Host nation Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have qualified the maximum number of riders and will each be represented by a team of four and one individual.

Nine countries – USA, The Netherlands, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and France – have qualified four riders.

The National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Singapore and Mexico, which had originally qualified four riders, returned one qualification slot each and will be represented by three-rider teams. The unused slots were re-allocated to Norway and Israel on the basis of the Individual Para-Equestrian Rankings of athletes not already qualified with a team. As a result, Norway, which had already qualified two individual riders, will be fielding a composite team consisting of three members.

New Zealand and Finland will be represented by two individual riders apiece. Bermuda, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong and Austria have each been allocated one individual slot.
Three Bipartite Commission invitations have been issued to Thomas Haller of Austria, Lee Frawley of the Virgin Islands and Anita Johnsson of Sweden.
The definite Para-Equestrian entries will be published on 6 August. A total of 78 Para-Equestrian riders will be battling it out for the 11 sets of medals available.

SUMMARY:
26 nations –
ARG, AUS, AUT, BEL, BER, BRA, CAN, DEN, FIN, FRA, GBR, GER, HKG, IRL, ISR, ISV, ITA, JPN, MEX, NED, NOR, NZL, RSA, SIN, SWE, USA

TEAMS
4 nations with 5 riders (team + 1 individual): CAN, DEN, GBR, GER
9 nations with 4 riders (team): AUS, BEL, BRA, FRA, IRL, ITA, NED, RSA, USA
3 nations with 3 riders (team): MEX, NOR, SIN
NATIONS REPRESENTED ONLY BY INDIVIDUALS
2 nations with 2 individuals: FIN, NZL
6 nations with 1 individual: AUT, ARG, BER, ISR, JPN, HKG
3 Bipartite Commission invitations: AUT, ISV, SWE

PHOTO CREDIT: All photographs taken by Lindsay Yosay McCall for the USPEA 2012

All logos and trademarks in this press release are copyright of their respective owners. All references to London 2012 Paralympics, Olympics, or London 2012 are copyright the 2012 London Olympic Games Organizing Committee. All references to Team USA are copyright the United States Olympic Committee.

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