The National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) has named the six-member team that will represent the United States in the fifth International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (I.P.E.C.) Dressage World Championships, September 2-7, 2003 in Moorsele, Belgium. The team includes Robin Brueckmann of Summerfield, NC; Barbara Grassmyer of Placerville, CA; Kathryn Groves of Winter Garden, FL; Rebecca Hart of Erie, PA; Cynthia Ruiz of Houston, TX; and Lynn Seidemann of Coppell, TX.
Brueckmann, a member of the U.S. Paralympic Team in Sydney in 2000, earned two Gold Medals and a Bronze at the I.P.E.C. World Championships in 1999. Grassmyer placed second overall in her grade at the Open Belgian Invitational last year and is a two-time NDSA Champion at the Bayer/U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack.
Groves, a United States Dressage Federation Bronze Medalist, was the Reserve Champion in the “Own Horse” division at the 2002 Inner Vision Championships for Riders with Disabilities. Hart earned a fifth place finish in last year’s Belgian Open Championships as well as a team Gold Medal in the Mills Team Challenge at the 2002 North American Young Riders’ Championships.
Ruiz rode hunters and jumpers at the national level until a car accident several years ago left her paralyzed. She began riding dressage three years ago and recently tied with Seidemann for eighth place in the NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities at the 2003 Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack. Seidemann was also a member of the U.S. team at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney.
The U.S. riders will join the more than 125 others with similar disabilities from 35 countries expected to compete at the four-day World Championships. Participants will compete in Individual Championship tests and Musical Freestyles as well as a Team test. Competitions will be open to riders at all four recognized Grades of physical disability.
In addition to the prestige of winning at such a high-level competition, top-finishing teams and individuals at the I.P.E.C. World Championships will earn places for their country’s athletes to participate in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.
The NDSA is the national governing body for equestrian sport for riders with disabilities. The non-profit organization is responsible for the development and selection of riders for national championships and international competitions, including World Championships and the Paralympic Games, and provides training, competition and advocacy for riders of all levels with physical disabilities. For more information about NDSA and opportunities to support the programs, please visit our website at www.ndsaequestrian.org or contact Denise Avolio at (914) 949-8166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.