WELLINGTON, FL - USPRE member Susan Treabess has officially broken the glass ceiling for the PRE horse and PRE riders in the United States – she made the US Para Dressage Team for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France with the PRE stallion Kamiakin, owned by Susan in partnership with Katie and Scott Hill. This is an exciting achievement for the PRE horse and for US breeders and USPRE President Kim Boyer is excited about what this could mean for the future of the PRE horse in the United States, she comments, "The PRE Horse is much loved in the United States, especially in the Dressage Community. It is nice to see one rise to distinction and represent our country, and we expect this to be the start of an irreversible trend."
Susan has been riding horses her entire life. She has competed in many equestrian sports including western riding, jumping, combined training and gymkhana. Susan is a professional trainer, operating out of Somerset Farm; a 70 horse, 120 acre training facility in Winters California. She and her assistant trainer Eva King specialize in Dressage horses of all breeds and ages and they have an extensive clientele of adult amateurs, young riders and the like. She lives on the farm with her husband Scott Stanley and their two year old son Logan.
What many may not realize about Susan is that she was born without her left hand. This has not slowed her down in anything she wants to do. As a result, Susan has earned her spot to represent the United States at the WEG which will take place this August. Celebrated every four years and alternating with the Olympic Games, the World Equestrian Games are undoubtedly the biggest equestrian event in the world and can be equated to the World Cup for Soccer. The finest athletes from 76 nations will compete against each other in the 8 official Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) disciplines, including Para-Dressage. The WEG attracts over 500,000 spectators, 1000 competitors, 1000 horses and attracts over 500 million television followers from around the world.
The primary focus of Para Dressage, the sport in which Susan will compete in, is to provide competitive opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities. Many disabled athletes compete, and even excel, in sports designed for the able-bodied, but Para Dressage in particular opens a world of competition to riders with even severe disabilities that might preclude them from other forms of sport, and does so while providing a structured, focused, and highly competitive environment. Para-Dressage is also part of the Summer Paralympics which follow directly after the Olympics at the same venues for both the Winter and Summer Games.
Susan’s partner Kamiakin is the kind of horse stories are made from. “Kam,” as he’s referred to in the barn, is a 9 year stallion bred by Ami Machugh of Crown J PRE Horses. Kam came to Susan in late 2011 as a training level 6 year old when his owners, Katie and Scott Hill, sought to sell him due to their family moving to the Netherlands for Scott’s line of work. Susan and Kam had an instant partnership and instead of selling Kam, Katie and Scott gave Kam to Susan as a competition horse. “I was so thrilled that Susan believed in him as much as I did,” said Katie, “She was genuinely as excited about his future as I was when I first bought him as a gangly 2 year old. Many people thought I was crazy for thinking this horse could become something, but look at him now: he’s the first PRE to represent the United States at the WEG. It’s a testament to Susan, her trainer Dennis Callin and her support team in putting all the building blocks in place to bring out the best in Kam. And it makes me feel really good that Kam is so happy, he really enjoys his work and you can see the partnership between the two of them.”
Kamiakin is not only the first PRE to represent the United States in a WEG event, he's also 100% a product of the USA. “I’m a US rider, riding a US bred horse, coached by a US coach, with US co-owners,” says Susan, “and we all go get to represent our country against the world’s best in Para Dressage. We’re living the American Dream!”
Dennis Callin, Susan and Kam’s international coach is incredibly proud of their team’s accomplishment. Dennis introduced Susan to Para Dressage at a dressage clinic in 2007 and initiated the partnership with Katy and Dan Peterson and Susan’s lifelong mentor Ellen Eckstein for the ride on Moneypenny, the Dutch Warmblood mare who was Susan’s WEG partner in 2010. Susan was able to ride to a 9th place finish overall at the 2010 WEG, and she and Moneypenny were ranked 5th in the World that same year. Dennis is looking forward to Susan riding once again on the international stage, “through much dedication, hard work, extreme focus and a very willing equine partner we are very much looking forward to our journey of the World Equestrian Games. It takes an entire village to make this possible. A big thank you to all the professionals, sponsors, friends and family that make this possible! As her coach I am filled with pride and look forward to continuing our goal of producing the best horse/rider combination possible!”
When asked how well she thinks she’ll do at the WEG Susan has a very open outlook, “I’m not focusing on the outcome, I’m focusing more on the day-to-day needs and training of myself and the horse. After the 2010 WEG, I realized I would not be able to afford the horses that were earning medals, especially with the level of training and quality I saw in my division. But it shouldn’t be about that anyway. It has to be about finding a partner you believe in and bringing out the best in each other. I want to win a medal by doing things right; hard work, determination and becoming the best I can be with and for my horse on any given day. In Kam I saw a lot of raw potential with a bright future if channeled correctly. We are a young partnership for FEI dressage, and for Para Dressage. With the help of others I have brought Kam along from an undeveloped youngster to a promising international competitor. So no matter what, I will feel good at the end of the day because I know this is only just the beginning for us and I’m very proud that it’s a home grown product! I love my horse and I’m really excited about what is to come.”