Rancho Murieta, CA - The final chapter on international para-dressage competition has ended for two-time Paralympian Barbara Grassmyer and her Royal Dutch Warmblood Mibis. At the 2013 Golden State Dressage Classic CPEDI3*, held at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center, Grassmyer took the stage one last time as a Para-Equestrian Dressage rider. Over three days she competed in front of FEI judges in the Individual, Team, and Freestyle competition. Although this was her last competition her Grade III performances earned her a qualifying score for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. In a grand ceremony, Mibis walked forward carrying a garland around her neck and one of her many championship coolers. With her long-time partner Grassmeyer by her side both took one last walk into the FEI competition ring. The Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center was one of the first locations Grassmyer ever showed and it will be the last place she competed as a Para-Equestrian. Although she is retiring as a Para-Dressage rider and retiring the 19 year-old Paralympic horse, Grassmyer's commitment to the high-performance sport will continue for years to come.
As a young child Barbara Grassmyer was as horse crazy as any little girl. Her father passed down the love for horses to herself and sister Jennifer. At 10 years old Grassmeyer began riding at All Season's Riding Academy in Calif. where she competed at horse shows for the disabled. After many years of riding and a brief jumping history, her love for a Dressage horse and athletic ability led her to competitive Dressage. In 2000, Grassmyer served as an alternate for the U.S. Paralympic Team competing in Sydney, Australia. During that time riders were catch-riding horses around the world. In 2001 and 2002 she was the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion. However, Grassmyer desired a partner of her own which is where Paralympic coach Missy Ransehousen stepped in to find her a horse for the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Mibis was found in Holland and it was love at first sight for Grassmyer. The year 2004 would begin the long term partnership and the duo would represent the U.S. Para-Dressage Team in Athens that same year. In 2006, Mibis and her rider earned the Gold Medal at the Pacific Rim Para-Equestrian Paralympic Qualifier in Vancouver, Canada. She was also Reserve Champion that year at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship.s In 2007, Grassmyer was a member of the U.S. Team at the Para-Dressage World Championships in Hartpury, England, followed by the 2007 Reserve Champion at the USEF Para-Equestrian National Championships. In 2008, the duo would once again make the U.S. Team where they flew to Hong Kong for the Beijing Paralympics.
Since the moment she became involved in the Para-Dressage discipline Grassmyer was an ambassador for the sport. In her retirement from international competition, Grassmyer plans on continuing her dedication to Para-Dressage. Grassmyer is currently a member of the USEF High Performance Para-Equestrian Eligible Athlete Committee and the High Performance Para-Equestrian Committee. She is also very active within the California Dressage community.
Barbara Grassmyer and her mom, dad, and Mibis photo by Lindsay McCall
Grassmyer noted, "I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point. I especially want to thank my trainer Mike Steele. I wish we had found him right away when we bought Mibis. I also want to thank my mom and dad for this amazing journey, and my sister for her support."
Grassmyer hopes to continue to compete nationally at USDF recognized competitions within Third and Second Level.