Thousand Oaks, CA- June 22, 2015 - United States Para-Equestrian Association would like to honor all the 2015 graduates including 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) athlete Annie Peavy and fellow WEG athlete Sydney Collier, and Para-Dressage international rider Cambry Kaylor.
USPEA's President Hope Hand praised, "The USPEA family and friends congratulate our graduates. Their dedication and commitment to their education while still competing at horse shows Internationally and making goodwill appearances to further the sport of Para Dressage, is commendable. We thank you and we are proud of all your accomplishments. The future is bright for these rising stars."
Annie Peavy of Avon, Connecticut is a Grade III Para-Equestrian. Peavy recently competed at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Peavy graduated from Ethel Walker School, an all girls school, located in Simsbury, Conn.. Peavy is partially paralyzed on her left side by a stroke she suffered prior to birth. She began riding horses as a form of physical therapy at the age of four which turned into her life's passion. Peavy is currently competing in Europe and is working to make the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team. Peavy competes with horses Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding, and Ozzy Cooper, a 2006 Trakehner gelding.
Peavy commented, "I have mixed feelings about graduating because I am excited to go to college, but I've made such great friends that it's hard to leave them. I had the best four years at Ethel and in August I'm going to Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL. During the winter my horses will be in Wellington, FL so it will be easy to ride. Even though it's hard for me to move on I can't wait for my future with school and riding."
Cambry Kaylor of Lehi, Utah graduated with her Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Utah. Kaylor is a Grade Ib Para-Dressage rider currently riding in an international CPEDI3* in California. Kaylor rides Danish Warmblood Markgaards Donnewind. Kaylor was a successful equestrian vaulter through her young adult life. When she was 18 years of age Kaylor did her aerial dismount off of her horse, flipped, hit her teammate who was still on the horse, changing her rotation in the air, and landed on her back. She broke her back and severed her spinal cord resulting in paralysis from the waist down. Kaylor continues to coach vaulting and is now competing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympics. After graduation Kaylor is planning to combine her education with her injury and equestrian love.
Kaylor explained, "I plan on working with individuals with spinal cord injuries adapt and return to the activities of daily living that are meaningful to them. I also plan on pursuing an additional occupational therapy certification in hippotherapy so that I can use my degree to work with children with disabilities through the power of horses. I plan to start working part-time and continue with my para dressage training and show schedule."
2014 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year and 2014 FEI Against All Odds Award winner Sydney Collier recently graduated from Skyline High School. Collier is a Grade Ib Para-Dressage rider from Ann Arbor, Mich. who rides her own Wentworth. Collier was diagnosed with an an extremely rare congenital birth defect known as Wyburn-Mason Syndrome when she was seven years of age. As a result, she completely lost the vision in her right eye and suffered a stroke that caused the loss of use of the left side of her body. Education was an important task in the Collier household. With traveling around the world and around the United States for equestrian competition, Collier had to make her education work even when she was on the road.
Collier explained, "I am so excited to be part of the 2015 graduating class from my hometown school, Skyline High School. All of the administration at the school was so incredibly helpful creating a program for me so that I could follow my dreams of riding and competing at the highest of levels and representing our country. Even though I completed my final two years of High School completely online, my love of working with the special education community led me to BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) School in Salt Point Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. I have spent two years there as a teachers aid in multiple classrooms working with different age students. Rather then take a gap year as I work towards the 2016 Paralympics I will be attending Dutchess Community College in New York where I will work towards earning a degree in Special Education. I hope to use this in the future to combine my love of riding horses and educating the next generation of aspiring Junior Young Riders in the USA. I want to thank everyone including family, friends, and horses, who have helped me along my journey, and of course my dog Journey too. I could not have done any of this without their incredible support and belief in me."
Combining both education and the equestrian sport helps to create the future leaders in the equestrian community, the sport community, the disabled community, and the world. The experience and education a young athlete gains both in the classroom and in the show ring gives riders and drivers the tools they need to succeed in life and become well-rounded individuals.