Lexington, KY- As the United States Para-Equestrian discipline looks toward 2013, the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) is pleased to honor new discipline director Laureen K. Johnson. Laureen was appointed an exciting new role as High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Programs and Assistant to High Performance Director of Driving Programs. Laureen's prior title for the past seven years included Assistant to Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Director. She has also been with USEF since 1999 where she assisted every High Performance discipline except able-bodied dressage. Laureen's dedication, professional experience and love for the equestrian sport has made this transition exceptionally smooth. Laureen was born in Chicago, IL and moved to Chatham Township, NJ at 13 years of age. On her 16th birthday Laureen received her first horse kindly called, "Sweet William," as a gift from her parents. Since that moment Laureen has continued to enjoy all aspects of the equestrian world including riding, volunteering at therapeutic riding centers, and working for the Federation. Laureen graduated from Washington School for Secretaries and Business Administration in Washington D.C. and began working for USEF in January of 1999.
The 2012 calendar year was a very exciting year for many equestrian disciplines. With 2013 right around the corner and the 2014 World Equestrian Games approaching Laureen will be an integral part of the continued growth of the Para-Equestrian discipline including both Dressage and Driving. "I love the artistry and elegance of Dressage and Driving," noted Laureen. "The disabled athletes never cease to amaze me with their dedication and "can do" attitudes. They are an extremely positive group of athletes." She added, "Vaulting is also a fascinating sport. The artistry, athletic strength and teamwork to create a harmonious relationship with the horse is magical."
With the 2014 World Equestrian Games and 2016 Paralympics on the four-year calendar Laureen will also have to face a few challenges. Laureen explained, "The biggest challenge is fundraising and securing high quality, competitive horses. The budget for Para-Equestrian and Vaulting is limited so it is imperative that the athletes receive more funding which will help increase their international presence."
Raising the capital for each discipline can be difficult which is why the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) works with the Para-Dressage and Para-Driving equestrians to help reach their goals nationally and internationally. The USPEA is a large network that continues to support the disabled athletes in all aspects of competition and training. Laureen mentioned, "I'm eager to work closely with the USEF recognized Para-Equestrian affiliate, USPEA, in developing grass root riders into elite athletes. The USPEA conducts outstanding clinics and educational seminars for riders and officials. The new and experienced Para-Equestrian athletes are fortunate to have the high caliber support and knowledge from the USPEA. Synergistically, the USPEA and USEF will develop the finest of athletes."
President of the USPEA Hope Hand commented, "We are looking forward to working with Laureen and are very excited for her new role at USEF. Laureen's great attitude, willingness to work as a team, and dedication to the athletes will provide each of the disciplines she works with the support needed to succeed around the world.
In June 2012 Laureen married Lee Schenck and they reside in Bridgewater, NJ. Between Laureen and her husband Lee they have six adult children and one grandchild. When Laureen has free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends and relaxing at their beach house in North Wildwood, NJ.
To contact High Performance Director of Para Equestrian and Vaulting and Assistant to Driving Laureen K. Johnson please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call USEF at (908) 326-1155.
On December 14, 2012 the Para-Equestrian High Performance Committee and Para-Equestrian Eligible Athlete Committee were announced. Both committees are pending approval of the USEF Executive Committee.
Para-Equestrian High Performance Committee (Pending approval of the Executive Committee)
The Chair of the High Performance Committee is Hope Hand
Co-Chair of the High Performance Committee is Barb Grassmyer
Barabara Grassmyer, Elected Eligible Athlete
Rebecca Hart, Elected Eligible
Mary Jordan, Elected Eligible Athlete
The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Para-Equestrian High Performance Committee will be named shortly.
Para-Equestrian Eligible Athlete Committee (Pending approval of the Executive Committee)
Mary Jordan, Chair
Rebecca Hart, Vice Chair