Grass Lake, Mich. – The 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte and Selection Event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games continued Saturday with competitors performing the FEI Individual Test, the second of three tests in the competition. Maintaining her position atop the High Performance Division leaderboard is Grade Ia athlete Roxanne Trunnell and Royal Dancer with a score of 72.754%. In the National Division, Grade III athlete Pamela Hardin and Quaterjack moved into the overall lead on the strength of a brilliant Individual Test, scoring 70.203%. Saturday’s Individual Test contributed another 40% towards the competitor’s overall scores with the first 40% coming from Friday’s Team Test. The remaining 20% will be earned in Sunday’s Freestyle Test.
High Performance Division
Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding, Royal Dancer again impressed the ground jury of Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA), Carlos Lopes (POR), and Kristi Wysocki (USA) in their Grade Ia Individual Test. The pair displayed good freedom and regularity throughout the test, highlighted by accurate half circles.
“The halts [in our test] today were good. Overall, we kept everything the same from the Team Test. I just asked him to move forward a little bit more,” said Trunnell. Looking forward to tomorrow’s Freestyle, she said “I am excited about the whole test. I created the Freestyle myself, and I think it’s really fun to ride.”
The top of the overall leaderboard is extremely close as the top five all sit within two percentage points of each other. Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Western Rose, Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare, performed an excellent Grade Ib Individual Test to earn the highest score of the day across all divisions, a 73.678%, and are now in second overall. Close behind, in third by just eight-tenths of a point, is Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) with Rebecca Reno and Heather Blitz’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding. The pair improved on its day one performance to earn a score of 72.967% in the Grade III Individual Test.
Tomorrow’s Freestyle tests will prove influential in determining the National Champion with the combinations all within striking distance of the title.
Showcasing poise and determination, Hardin (Evans, Ga.) and her own, Kara Hardin, Kasey Hardin, and Rachel Bryant’s 2005 Brandenburg gelding Quaterjack improved greatly on their day one performance in the Grade III Individual Test. The pair executed consistent working and collected trot work.
“I definitely took the [Team Test] comments from the judges [and made some adjustments for today]. We worked on being more uphill, and I tried to use my core to push him into the bridle more. We have had some problems in the past with our shoulder-ins and centerline halts and today we really showed improvements in those movements,” said Hardin.
Laurietta Oakleaf (Malvern, Pa.) and her own and Laura McGinnis’ 2004 Friesian stallion, Niekele fan Busenitz are now in second overall, posting a score of 66.724% in the Grade Ib Individual Test riding. The pair had nice transitions and well executed half-circles.
Posting a score of 66.905% in the Grade IV Individual Test were Mary Jordan (Wells, Maine) and Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center’s Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding. The pair is now in third overall.
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. Of the 11 athletes competing this weekend, nine will look to secure a position on the four-member 2016 U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team. 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.
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The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.