Mill Spring, N.C. - U.S. para-equestrian dressage got underway at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018 on Tuesday with the Grade IV Individual Test. U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team presented by Deloitte athletes Angela Peavy with Royal Dark Chocolate and Kate Shoemaker with Solitaer 40 made their first appearance of the WEG, performing satisfactory tests. Both combinations held their own and made personal strides, placing sixth and seventh, respectively.
Peavy, a WEG Normandy 2014 veteran, and Royal Dark Chocolate, Rebecca Reno’s 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, competed first for the U.S. They displayed nice power, submission, and medium trot work. However, they struggled a bit in the halt work to finish on an overall score of 68.902%.
“I was very happy with ‘Coco’ [Royal Dark Chocolate]. I’ve had her for a year and a half. We’re still getting to know each other, but every show we go to, she feels more on. In the warm-up and arena, she felt the most powerful and listened to my leg aids and really respected everything I asked of her. I was pleased with her attitude and work ethic,” said Peavy.
First-time WEG competitor Shoemaker and Solitaer 40, the 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion she owns with Craig and Deena Shoemaker, followed. Their test did not go as they had anticipated. However, she learned from the test and recognized the adjustments she needs to make with Solitaer 40 as they move into Thursday’s FEI Grade IV Team Test.
“It wasn’t our ride today, but there are two more [tests] to go, so we’ll go from here. I’m really proud of him, and he went through the [test] very well. He didn’t make any mistakes,” said Shoemaker, who earned a score of 68.707% with Solitaer 40. “Now that it’s getting hot, we’ll go towards resting him. He’s well prepared for this show, and it comes down to his energy in the arena … and that is what we are going to be focused on.”
Since both combinations placed in the top eight and scored above a 60 percent in the FEI Grade IV Individual Test, they have qualified to compete in Saturday’s Grade IV Freestyle.
Para-equestrian dressage competition continues on Wednesday, September 19, with the FEI Grade III Individual Test at 9:30 a.m. ET. The FEI Grade I Individual Test will follow at 1:30 p.m. ET. Watch it live via the USA Para-Dressage Facebook page.
On the feeling being the first U.S. para-athlete in the arena:
Peavy: “It’s an honor to ride for the U.S. To be the first [U.S.] athlete in the arena today, I could feel the energy from the spectators in the arena. With your home country, no matter what happens, everyone is so excited for you.”
On the impact of WEG on para-equestrian dressage in the U.S.:
Shoemaker: “I think WEG is bringing more awareness. As a sport, we’ve been a little misunderstood that maybe para means paralyzed, and, therefore, it’s for paralyzed riders. That’s not the case; we have five grades [classified] by different disabilities, so giving people a chance to see this is wonderful and is already bringing a lot more interest.”
Stay up to date on the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team presented by Deloitte at WEG by following USA Para-Dressage on Facebook and US Equestrian on Twitter and Instagram, featuring a daily Instagram Story. Use #USAParaDressage and #Tryon2018.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.