U.S. Para-Dressage National Training Symposium Hosted by Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy and Sports

Thursday, May 23, 2013
Posted by Mary Jordan


Lyman, Maine - Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, a premier organization offering comprehensive equestrian educational services, is proud to organize, host and partner with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the U.S Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) and SmartPak, the largest retailer of equestrian products in the United States, to offer the first national joint U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Symposium and Trainers' Forum. Entitled "A Team Approach", the symposium will take place May 29-June 1 at Spring Creek Farm in Lyman, Maine. Offered in two parts, May 29-30 is the "Train the Trainer" program with the "SmartPak Coaches' Forum" will be offered to trainers and instructors. A total of twelve high performance and developing riders,y will then participate in the riding symposium May 30-June 1. The event is open to the public and auditors are welcome.
Eleanor Brimmer and Carino H (Photos: Lindsay Y McCall)
Eleanor Brimmer and Carino H (Photos: Lindsay Y McCall)
The panel of experts for the symposium will include: Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Para-Dressage "O" Judge and Olympic Technical Delegate Hanneke Gerritsen of Holland; Gold Medal Para-Dressage Coach Clive Milkins from Great Britain; USA international dressage competitor and trainer Catherine Haddad Staller; and Gil Merrick, former USEF High Performance Dressage Director and National Clinician. In addition, there will be a panel of symposium lecturers and specialists including: USPEA President Hope Hand; Lora Dow, a fundraising and marketing expert; Tina Wentz, a national classifier and USPEA board member; Susan Grant, OTR/L, HPCS, licensed occupational therapist and hippotherapy clinical specialist; and Janet Smaldone, PT, HPCS licensed physical therapist and hippotherapy clinical specialist.
The focus of this symposium is collaboration between the national governing body and national affiliate on the best ways to develop a team approach to prepare riders and coaches for the rigors of international competition including the upcoming 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in Normandy, France.

Carlisle Academy is the first facility in the country to serve an educational role as a training center for Para-Equestrian Dressage. The educational model they have developed will be a "gold standard" for future USPEA programming transferred to other geographic locations in the country moving forward, including a symposium in California in the Fall of 2013.
"We have a deep commitment to Para-Equestrian sport in the United States and made a concerted effort to include Para-Equestrian training opportunities into our programming back in 2011," said Sarah Armentrout, Head of Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, "The sport has grown so much; we saw and seized the opportunity to get involved with this exciting group of athletes and trainers. It has been wonderful to partner with our national equestrian federation and national affiliate to take performance and education to the next level."
Laureen K. Johnson, High Performance Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting Assistant to Driving at the United States Equestrian Federation agreed, "The USEF is very excited about having the opportunity to synergistically work alongside the USPEA and Carlisle to support the Developing and High Performance athletes by offering this upcoming training clinic at Carlisle."
Johnson continued, "One of the goals of the USEF's Para-Equestrian High Performance Plan is to work more closely with the national affiliates and grass root athletes in order to better prepare them into becoming High Performance athletes capable of winning medals at future World Equestrian and Paralympic Games. It will be an invaluable tool for the developing riders and High Performance athletes to learn from some of the world's top clinicians."

SmartPak is also delighted to become involved in this premier educational initiative for Para-Equestrian Dressage.  "At SmartPak we are committed to supporting equestrians from all disciplines and backgrounds and we're thrilled to be working in conjunction with the U.S. National Para-Dressage Training Symposium and Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports to bring world-class riders, trainers, judges and coaches together for what should be a highly engaging and educational event," Donnie Steele, Chief Marketing Officer at SmartPak, said.
The event will kick-off with a symposium banquet at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport with a Keynote address by Gil Merrick on "A Team Approach." Trainers will then be immersed in educational lectures on how to work with Para-Dressage athletes to maximize performance with compensating adaptive equipment pertinent to their grade levels. There will also be a Coach's Forum to discuss issues related to high performance coaching. Several coaches who attended the 2012 Paralympics in London will be in attendance including: Team USA Para-Dressage coaching veteran Missy Ransehousen, Wes Dunham, Kai Handt, and three-time Olympian in Dressage Jessica Ransehousen.
"The important distinction here is that this is not therapeutic riding," Hope Hand, Executive Director of the USPEA said. "We need to educate trainers on the unique aspects of this sport and what adaptations will allow these athletes to perform at their peak. Our seasoned coaches will be an invaluable resource to provide feedback and insights into their international coaching experiences.”

The following Para-Equestrian Dressage Riders will participate in the symposium:
Laura Goldman, Grade 1A, Ohio
Derrick Perkins, Grade 1A, Texas
Donna Ponessa, Grade 1A, New York
Sydney Collier, Grade 1B, Michigan
Margaret McIntosh, Grade 1B, Pennsylvania
Roxanne Trennell, Grade 1B, Washington
Benjamin Harper, Grade 2, Virginia
Ellie Brimmer, Grade 3, Minnesota
Holly Jacobson, Grade 3, Massachusetts
Lara Oles, Grade 3, Utah
Elle Woolley, Grade 3, California
Mary Jordan, Grade 4, Wells, Maine

Equestrians, trainers and coaches who have questions and who would like more information on the symposium can contact Carlisle’s Training & Leadership Program Director Joyce Brown jbrown@carlisleacademymaine.com, or at 207.985.0374. Questions can also be directed to USPEA President Hope Hand at Hope@uspea.org