Grass Lake, Mich. – The country’s top para-dressage athletes and horses have gathered at the Waterloo Hunt Club this week to compete in the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte and the Selection Event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Five athlete-and-horse combinations are entered in the National Division, while eight combinations plan to compete in the High Performance Division. Of the 11 athletes scheduled to compete this weekend, nine will look to secure a position on the four-member 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team.
The National Championship and Selection Event will begin with the horse inspection Thursday afternoon; competition will run Friday-Sunday and will include the FEI Team, Individual, and Freestyle Tests for each grade of athlete. The overall champions in each division will be determined by weighting the tests as follows: Team Test 40%, Individual Test 40%, and Freestyle Test 20%. U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team selection rankings will be based on 50% of a combination’s overall performance in the Selection Event and 50% on the combined overall score from its best two CPEDI3* events taking place January 1, 2015 – May 16, 2016. The selection procedures also include discretionary criteria. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee and the USEF. Para-dressage competition at the Paralympic Games takes place September 11-16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Highlighting the High Performance division will be some of the country’s most experienced para-dressage talent. Angela Peavy has entered Rebecca Reno and Heather Blitz’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding. Peavy was the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Champion in the High Performance Division. She and Lancelot Warrior were Team Gold medalists and Grade III Individual Champions at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January. Also contesting the High Performance Division will be Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh and her longtime partner, Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare. The pair posted five wins in Grade Ia CPEDI3* competition during the winter season in Wellington. Other entries include Kelly Boccia, Sydney Collier, Pamela Hardin, Kate Shoemaker, and Roxanne Trunnell.
The entries in the National Division include both veteran athletes and rising talent. Mary Jordan, member of the 2010 U.S. Para-Dressage Team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, will ride Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center’s Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding. Laurietta Oakleaf is entered on her own and Laura McGinnis’ 2004 Friesian stallion, Niekele fan Busenitz. Together the pair has competed at the FEI level since 2013. Joining these experienced combinations will be relative newcomers to the sport, Katie Jackson and Riley Garrett.
Following consultation and agreement between the Selectors, Team Veterinarian, Team Coach, and Rebecca Hart’s veterinarian, trainer, and the owner, Hart and Schoeter's Romani received a waiver from competing at the Selection Event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. This waiver was granted per the criteria outlined in section II.B. of the selection procedures. Hart and Schoeter's Romani remain eligible to be named to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team under the discretionary criteria stated in section I.C.3.
Visit horseshowoffice.com for class schedules, ride times, and results.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.