15-year-old Holly Bergay is a bit overwhelmed and the surge of support recently generated when she became aware she still had a shot at the 2008 Beijing Para Olympic US Team. A campaign to raise funds, spearheaded by Olympian Debbie McDonald who is as big a fan of Holly as Holly is of her, has taken on a life of it’s own. An on line auction which will be offered on eBay is accumulating an amazing array of valuable items which will contribute to her trip to Australia in January, for the required qualifying event at the Melbourne CPEDI, and RDA National Dressage Championships, January 14th-18th.
McDonald along with Steffen Peters, and Guenter Seidel have offered to donate lessons, Robert Dover has added Olympic memorabilia to the pot, and several breedings to stallions from Offield Farms, Hilltop, Hampton Green, Devonwood Farm and others are joining in daily.
Bergay, was born with one hand, but in spite of her disability has competed successfully in dressage, most recently placing fifth at the 2007 North American Junior Young Riders’ Championships, an “able bodied” event.
Para riders have a difficult time qualifying for the Para Olympics because there are so few of the required CPEDI**** shows available to them. “We were hoping to use the NAJYRC as her qualifier but the FEI rule is that it has to be Para-equestrian.” explained Holly’s mother, Mary Bergay. “The last International Qualifier was scheduled for October. We realized we just couldn’t go. We fundraised so aggressively for the NAJYRC, and we felt like we couldn’t ask ant more of our local supporters right now. When we found out the competition had been pushed back to January we started rethinking our game plan.”