Barbara Grassmyer Wins 2001 NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities

Barbara Grassmyer of Placerville, CA won the 2001 NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities, held this past weekend at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions. It was a clean sweep of both classes for Barbara, riding Bally Shannon, owned by Trudy Phillips of Chadds Ford, PA. Barbie scored a 67.666% in Friday's Championship test and a 72.857% on her Freestyle for a combined average score of 70.261%.

Rebecca Hart, 16, from Erie, PA, received a combined average score of 64.503, to make her the reserve champion of the event. She rode Miss Jane Marple, owned by Linda Fritsch of South Bend, IN. Their score of 65.841% in the freestyle, placed them 3rd.

Other participants in the Championship were:
Robin Brueckmann of Summerfield, NC, riding Figaro, owned by Colleen Mitchell of Milford, NJ. Robin placed 3rd overall with a combined score of 64.222%.
Hope Hand of Newtown Square, PA, riding Wunderschon, owned by Nancy Kennedy, placed second in the freestyle with a score of 65.882%. Her overall average score of 63.496%.
Lynn Seidemann of Coppell, TX placed 5th overall with a combined average score of 62.532%. She rode NFH Eckman, a Norwegian Fjord pony, also owned by Colleen Mitchell.
Kebbie Cannon, of Mineral Springs, NC rode Cavalier, owned by Pat Reese of New Hope, PA. Their score of 61.802 placed them 6th in the overall competition.
Mary Green, of Jackson, MI and Deb Lewin of Richardson, TX also competed.

This was the first time ever that riders with disabilities competed for an overall championship in dressage. It is the fourth year that they have competed at the Festival of Championship, with prior three year's participation being in the Bradshaw Challenge of Champions.

Judges for this year's event were Jessica Ransehousen, Mary Ann McPhail, Lorraine MacDonald and Carol Henkel.

Competition for riders with disabilities is governed by IPEC, the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee. IPEC develops the rules as well as the tests. Riders with disabilities undergo a process called classification, and are given a Profile and Grade. The classificationprocess is to determine the rider's level of physical ability, not their riding skill. There are separate tests for each Grade that have been developed to test the rider at the highest skill level that they should be able to attain, due to their physical disability. In international competition, the Grades compete and are awarded separately.

For the NDSA Championship, riders rode the tests of their Grade, but competed against the riders from all Grades. Placings were then determined by the overall highest percentage scores. The combined average scores from the championship test and the musical freestyle determined the champion and reserve champion for the division.

In conjunction with USET, the Championship was managed by NDSA, the NationalDisability Sports Alliance, formerly USCPAA. In the U.S., riders with
physical disabilities are governed by NDSA. NDSA Equestrian provides national and international competition opportunities and training, through clinics, competitions, and sponsorship. NDSA is responsible for the selection and administration of all international teams, including Paralympics.

The 2001 NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities has been sponsored by the National Horse Sports Foundation. A long time supporter of riders with disabilities, the National Horse Sports Foundation also co-hosted the 2000 Paralympic Selection Trials, which were held at USET last year. NHSF also sponsors athlete training clinics, judge and official training, and other events that help promote and develop the sport of dressage for riders with disabilities in this country.

For more information, please contact:
Denise Avolio
NDSA Equestrian Sports Manager
115 Franklin Avenue
Valhalla, NY 10595
Phone/fax: (914) 949-8166