Earning the highest score on Friday of the Para-Equestrians was Laura Goldman aboard Patrick Truxillo's Stallion VPRH Pegasus vom Niehaus-HOF. "Pegasus is such a great horse," smiled Goldman. "Friday was the first day that I rode the Individual Championship Test aboard him and he was great. Pegasus maintained a smooth gate throughout the test, he was always responsive to my cues, and I really appreciated his perfect head carriage. I feel lucky to be able to ride this type of horse."
In July 2011, Goldman had a hip replacement just five weeks prior to a CPEDI3* competition in September 2011. She noted, " It's been tough and my hip is still sore and stiff however, I can still mount from the left side of the horse and I can still dismount."
With the help of Goldman's trainer in Cleveland, OH and the assistance of an entire circle of support Goldman will be heading to the 2012 London Paralympics Selection Trials for the United States Team this summer.
Goldman agreed, "From Kai Handt who allowed me to borrow one of his horses this year to the owners of Pegasus this journey would not have been possible without everyone. I have to thank all of these wonderful people who have gone above and beyond. A few of those people include the Collier's (Sydney Collier is a fellow Para-Equestrian), Pegasus' owners who took us in, and the woman who has fought for the Para-Equestrian discipline, Hope Hand (President of the USPEA). They need to be applauded, they give us the opportunity to do what we love."
For Grade III rider Briana Beckworth (USA) doing what she loves at an international show was made possible by the gracious involvement of Mette Rosencrantz. Beckworth explained, "This journey has been amazing, Mette is the most incredible instructor. I know that I am quite lucky to be able to work with her. Within the last three days Mette has expanded upon my foundation exponentially. For instance, I went into the warm-up on Thursday and Basquewille and I just clicked. When we demonstrated our Team Test I held the counter-canter which I had never done before."
Like many Para-Equestrians Beckworth has had to learn how to utilize her disability to challenge herself each day. After a car accident in 2004, Beckworth suffered a spinal cord injury resulting in leaving the riding ring for many years. In 2010, while watching the World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, Beckworth felt that desire to ride again. Beckworth commented, "In 2010, I began working with Felice Rose who is an 81 -year-old classical dressage rider. She is the reason I started riding again and she is the reason I am here in California. For the past two years I have been searching for a horse of the type of caliber for FEI International competition. This was the first time that a horse was lined-up for me and I can't believe the horse and trainer we got. I keep calling Felice and telling her that we did it!"
She continued, "Without Mette, her assistant Anna Dahlberg, Para-Equestrian Rebecca Hart, Para-Equestrian Ellie Brimmer, and Hope Hand we would not have been at the jog on Wednesday. I also would like to thank Felice, and the show organizers and USEF officials who helped us get all of our official papers together within three days."
As Selection Trials and the London Olympics approaches 2010 World Equestrian Games rider, Susan Treabess is focused on the future. With a barn full of horses (12 in training and 50 boarding), being five months pregnant, and working with her Terry Waechter's horse Fugitivo XII, Treabess has been quite busy. She noted, "In April 2011, Fugitivo and I began this partnership thanks to a connection through one of my sponsors. As a stallion just pushing ten-years old I have been very pleased with him over the last two days. It took two years for my partnership with Moneypenny (2010 WEG horse) to know how I need to warm her up to achieve the scores we wanted. With Fugitivo we are still working those kinks out. He is a fabulous horse and a blast to ride but right now we are focusing on getting him out, showing him, and forming a confident partnership. Our game plan is to compete for the 2012 year in FEI Prix St. George and then hopefully try for the Norway World Equestrian Games."
She continued, "For this weekend we are just focused on us. Fugitivo is such a wonderful horse: He is incredibly intelligent, has a huge personality, and of course since he is a stallion he has opinions about things. As a rider I can't just get on him and tell him what to do. I have to form a relationship with him where we negotiate what we want. For my personal goals as a professional this horse is more of a professional challenge. With Moneypenny it was about learning how the international world works and with Fugitivo it's about reaching that next level."
As Susan completes each test at the 2012 Rancho Valencia Dressage Affaire CPEDI3* owner, Terry Weachter, keeps a close eye on her PRE stallion. Weachter noted, "Susan and Fugitivo have a wonderful relationship. When I am watching her in the dressage ring I think about how Fugitivo has excelled within his breed standard and is continuing to open the door for a greater presence of Baroque horses in the international dressage ring. I am very excited to see what the future holds for Susan and Fugitivo."
On Saturday evening, spectators will be treated to dazzling dressage including FEI Intermediare I, $5,000 FEI Rancho Valencia Grand Prix Freestyle Test, FEI Grand Prix Test for Special, FEI Young Rider Individual Test, and Junior Rider Individual Test. Para-Equestrian Holly Bergay will perform during the break of the Saturday evening ceremonies showcasing the Para-Dressage discipline. In addition to the evening's activities, a Silent Auction will occur to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA). Sunday morning will open to the last day of competition. On Sunday, The Para-Equestrians will ride their freestyle tests concluding the day with an awards ceremony.