Katy, TX - Friday's Para-Equestrian Dressage competition at the Houston Dressage Society (HDS) Spring Classic I & II CPEDI3* included the Team Test competition. Each horse and rider combination put forward their best technical execution of their respective test in Grade Ia, Ib, II, III and IV. Friday's FEI Ground Jury included Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA), David Schmutz (USA), and Carlos Lopes (POR). For the United States the HDS Spring Classic I & II CPEDI3* is the last individual qualifier for the 2012 USEF Paralympics Selection Trials. For Canada, this is one more opportunity to gain international experience in a large venue such as the Great Southwest Equestrian Center under FEI judges and fellow competitors. The HDS CPEDI3* is sponsored by The COR Group and is running alongside the CDI3*and CDI1* sponsored by North Texas Equestrian Center and $10,000 HDS Dressage Derby.
With her qualifying score already obtained, Grade Ia rider Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, NY) has been focusing on her borrowed mount, Dr. Michele Miles' horse Silvano. Ponessa's ability to focus her athleticism and attitude without distraction has resulted in the top Grade Ia division score. Ponessa added, "I was thrilled with my overall performance Friday. With London on my mind, I am aiming for perfection so in my mind 70 percents are what I need to be pulling. However, I was thrilled with how the horse went and the way I was able to make the corrections that were needed. I am very appreciative of my trainer Wes (Dunham) setting Silvano up. He stayed nice and round and forward which is exactly what we wanted so all he had to do was his great walk. Now that I savored it, it is back to work for Saturday."
Following Ponessa for the second place finish in Grade Ia is Laura Goldman (Highland Heights, OH). After a successful CPEDI3*in California, United States teammate Laura Goldman partnered up with Patrick Truxillo's horse VPRH Pegasus VOM Niehaus-HOF. The pair will continue together through the weekend.
With a minor tempo change across the diagonal, Canadian Jody Schloss completed her test earning a 67.941%. Schloss dominated this winter while showing in Wellington, Florida and her success in the United States will hopefully translate to earning a spot on the Equine Canada Team that is headed to London.
Hometown Para-Dressage athlete Jonathan Wentz consistency in the Grade Ib division has net him top ribbons aboard Dr. Michele Miles' horse Silvano and Rachel Zent's NTEC Jabriel. Wentz executed his Team Tests showcasing freedom at each pace, the desire for his horses to move forward naturally, and technical accuracy. Under the tutelage of Kai Handt, Wentz is looking forward to preparing for the 2012 USEF Selection Trials.
In June, Wentz and his fellow United States Para-Equestrians will head to Gladstone, NJ where they will compete for the 2012 USEF London Paralympics Selection Trials and Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship. Olympian Courtney King-Dye will be joining the United States riders as a result of obtaining the score she needed to head to Gladstone as a Grade Ia Para-Equestrian. This has been a long journey for Courtney since her accident in 2010. "I am relieved that I earned my qualifying score," smiled Courtney. "To be showing again feels like coming home. Today was accompanied by a bit of anxiety, but now that I'm qualified, the next two days will be pure joy!"