Del Mar, CA - The Del Mar Horsepark busted at the seams with dressage riders Friday morning as the first day of competition began for the 2011 Dressage Affaire CPEDI3*. At 7:45 a.m the first rider entered the ring for the Team Test section of the Para-Equestrian Dressage division. At the end of the day three United States riders earned a qualifying score over 60% gaining their chance to compete at the 2012 Paralympics in London, England. Jonathan Wentz US Para Team member who competed at the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games brought two horses, earning his qualifying scores for 2012. Riders travelled from across the United States for what is currently the only competiton to meet the criterea needed. The CDI in Saugerties in the fall has plans to be the next event in this discipline of high performance para as the United States Para Equestrian Affiliate takes hold bringing strength and support for this rapidly growing segment in dressage.
First in the ring, from the United States (U.S.), was Dena Pate aboard Imagine That. Pate is an experienced show jumper that is just entering the Para-Equestrian sport. After purchasing Imagine That almost four weeks ago this was only Pate's second horse show. "Overall I was very pleased with today," Pate remarked. "I have a plan for tomorrow which includes utilizing an additional aid that I am allowed to have. Since I can't always feel if my right foot is in the stirrup I will be using a dressage whip. I hope that this will help my horse to move onto the bit more and scoot over. I am very happy with how I did today and I now know what I need to correct." As a past show jumper, Pate would love to see more equestrians interested in Para-Equestrian Show Jumping. Pate is looking forward to her future as a para-equestrian with Imagine That.
Jonathan Wentz was next to enter the ring for the U.S. riding the Westfalen NTEC Daytona Beach. Wentz noted, "Daytona came to ring and was really good today. The test went well but Daytona felt a little unsettled at times. I think I can do a lot more with her since today I really only used 30% of her trot. If I could use 70% of her trot then I may be able to earn eights." Jonathan earned his qualifying score of 60.833% for the 2012 Paralympics aboard NTEC Daytona Beach.
Beth Levine, who suffers from a brain injury that is focused in the cerebellum, rode her ten-year-old Prince Hopeful in today's competition. Levine commented, "I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful horse. Eliza Sydnor donated Prince Hopeful to me for my use as a para-equestrian. This weekend my goal is to just do my best."
Vadico Interagro and Eleanor Brimmer were the next pair to showcase their talents. After a crowd-pleasing test the pair earned a 59.198% just short of that key 60% qualifying score. Brimmer explained, "I was very happy with my test today. It's really hard being on the cusp of that magic number but I am excited to try again tomorrow and I hope it all works out."
She continued, "I felt there were some places where I could have been more accurate and there were some places where he could have been more through with his body. I rode a little conservatively today since it was my first time out and I am looking forward to tomorrow. It is an opportunity and you just have to go for it."
The next U.S. equestrian duo was Donna Ponessa aboard Kristi Niblo's Otto. Ponessa smiled, "I am the luckiest person in the world to be able to ride Otto. His owner is currently away at college and she has given me the opportunity to ride him while she is in school."
Ponessa continued, "Otto is a very solid horse. Today I had a lot of nerves so it took me a little bit of time to settle down. Once I settled down I was able to have a nice ride. This weekend I want to have good rides and ride the tests as accurate as I can. I need to focus on being consistent and I would love to set the bar for the rest of the riders." Ponessa rides under the tutelage of Meaghan Byrne.
Laurietta Oakleaf earned her qualifying score as well today aboard Knabstrupper VPRH Pegasus VOM Niehous-HOF. She noted, "I was really proud of my horse today.
Tomorrow I am hoping to move him up a little bit and get him on the bit a little more. I am happy to have this experience and I could not be here without my entire team who help me behind the scenes."
Jonathan Wentz wrapped up the U.S. Para-Equestrian team aboard NTEC Ritcher Scale. Wentz earned a second qualifying score of 68.485% which also earned him the top placing in the Grade Ib Team Test. "Ritcher did really well today," smiled Wentz. "I thought my ride was good overall but there were some errors. For tomorrow I want to be a little more accurate with Ritcher."
Saturday's competition begins with the Para-Equestrian Dressage Individual Championship followed by Sunday's exciting Freestyle competition. On Sunday, following the freestyle competition, an award's presentation will occur. The scores from the Team Test will be combined with the scores from the Individual Championship Test to determine each country's overall team placing.
Grade Ia Team Test:
Name-Horse (Country)-Judge E- Judge C- Judge M- Score%
1. Jody Schloss (CAN)-Inspector Rebus- 62.941%-62.353%-59.706%-61.667%
Grade Ib Team Test:
1. Jonathan Wentz (USA)-NTEC Ritcher Scale-65.909%-69.545%-70.000%-68.485%
2. Donna Ponessa (USA)-Otto-65.455%-67.045%-58.182%-63.561%
3.Jonathan Wentz (USA)-NTEC Daytona Beach-57.273%-65.682%59.545%-60.833%
4. Ashley Gowanlock (CAN)-DonnyMaskell-57.727%-64.091%-58.636%-60.152%
5. Laurietta Oakleaf (USA)-Pegasus vom Niehaus-60.455%-61.136%-58.636%-60.076%
Grade II Team Test:
Lauren Barwick (CAN)-Ferdonia 2-66.429%-71.905%-74.762%-71.032%
Lauren Barwick (CAN)-Off To Paris-70.952%-68.333%-70.952%-70.079%
Erika Baitenmann (MEX)-Sandor-64.762%-61.429%-64.286%-63.492%
Erika Baitenmann (MEX)-Casablanca-65.952%-64.762%-58.571%-63.095%
Grade III Team Test:
Stephanie Ross (CAN)-Wiesenblute-60.926%-62.963%-58.148%-60.679%
Eleanor Brimmer(USA)-Vadico Interagro-59.630%-60.556%-57.407%-59.198%
Beth Levine(USA)-Prince Hopefull-0%-0%0%-E
Grade IV Team Test:
Eleonore Elstone(CAN)-Why Not G-61.406%-67.188%-66.563%-65.052%
Dena Pate(USA)-Imagine That-53.125%-55.313%-55.625%-54.688%
FAST FACTS: The 2011 Dressage Affaire Para-Equestrian Dressage Competition
WHERE: Del Mar Horsepark, Del Mar, CA
WHEN: March 10-13, 2011
CPEDI3* JURY: Ulf Wilkin (SWE), Hanneke Gerritsen (NED), and Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA)
USEF PARA-EQUESTRIAN LIASON: Pam Lane (908) 326-1153
FEI TECHNICAL DELEGATE: Ulf Wilken (SWE)
FEI CHIEF STEWARD: Sandra Rafferty
CLASSIFIERS: Joann Benjamin, Marion Slatter Blitstein
FEI VETERINARIAN: Dr. Mike Tomlinson
MANAGER/CEO: Kim Keenan Stordahl
Phone: 866-933-SHOW ext 703
March 12, 2011- Individual Championship Test
March 13, 2011 - Freestyle Test
About United States Para-Equestrian Association:
The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.
The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.
Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.
In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation(USEF).
For more information about the USPEA please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.