Wellington, FL – January 8, 2018 – In the lead-up to the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), beginning on January 11, Para-Dressage riders were welcomed to Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, to contest their first CPEDI competition of the season on January 5-7. The CPEDI 3* was presented by Mission Control, Adequan® and ProElite®, and sponsored by Rowan O’Riley, supporting athletes in the USPEA & USEF.
In Yorkshire, England, in August 2017, 2016 Paralympian and former top eventer Margaret McIntosh took her first steps down centerline with her new mount Heros. It was her first international CPEDI with the Danish Warmblood mare that Mette and Michel Assouline helped find for McIntosh.
A few months later, accompanied by her coach Missy Ransehousen and the support of the Team USA Para-Dressage coaching squad, McIntosh would dominate Grade I at the AGDF CPEDI3*. McIntosh and Heros posted scores in the high 70s over the weekend, solidifying their partnership for the 2018 year. McIntosh and Heros were one of 19 horse and rider combinations competing at the first week of international FEI competition for Para-Dressage riders at AGDF.
McIntosh, alongside USA Teammates Roxanne Trunnell, Michele Bandinu, and Katie Jackson, earned the Gold for Para-Dressage with consistent scores. The AGDF CPEDI3* shows (Week 0 and Week 2), sponsored by by Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill, are two opportunities for the riders to showcase their mounts in front of the international ground jury. These two shows are also where riders may earn their FEI certificate of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Para-Dressage athletes have through August 13, 2018, to compete and earn the scores they need for WEG. Each of the five Para-Dressage grades had strong representation from both Canada and the USA in Wellington.
McIntosh was delighted that her hard work since the US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in fall 2017 has paid off. McIntosh noted: “We’ve been working really hard since Tryon so I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything we have been working on with Missy came together this weekend. It was nice having done so well in the Team Test that we could relax, concentrate, and really ride my horse for the Individual Test. Taking a step back and experimenting with the warm-up, Missy rode her a little bit deeper and rounder and changed things up to the next higher level.“
Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt and US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline were on hand watching over each of the athletes as they made their way down centerline. Handt commented: “The competition went very well, and our top riders are doing great.” Assouline agreed: “It’s really improving. The next show is in two weeks, so I am hoping for consistency following this show. We have lots of riders in the 70s margin, which is great.“
Despite the inclement weather including unusually cold temperatures and high winds, the AGDF International Arena was once again an outstanding venue for the Para-Dressage riders.
2016 Paralympian Annie Peavy acknowledged: “I want to thank [AGDF management] for having us in their stadium. It can be intimidating, but having that experience is imperative for big competitions.”
Peavy, from Avon, CT, and Royal Dark Chocolate also posted scores in the middle 70s emerging as the top Grade IV duo.
In Grade II, Allana Flax-Clark (USA), from Los Angeles, CA, and Captain Moonlight earned the blue, while Grade III was led by three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014), Rebecca Hart (USA) of Unionville, PA, with her new mount El Corona Texel. Hart finished the weekend with a 74.167% in the Freestyle competition.
Hart commented: “This weekend was an amazing event. I have missed getting in the CDI ring at AGDF. It’s great to be back. It’s been a lot of fun to go down centerline again with a new horse and a new program. I want to thank them for having us again and holding us in the main stadium. It’s great to get the experience we need in this type of environment.” Hart added, “I also want to thank the sponsors, specifically Rowan O’Riley, for all of her support and all the volunteers and staff that have been out here in the cold and wind. They have been phenomenal.“
Katie Jackson of Austin, TX, and her own Royal Dancer were unfazed by the exciting atmosphere and unusual weather. They excelled not only for the team, but in the individual rankings of Grade V. It was only one year ago that Jackson showed in her first CPEDI in Wellington. Jackson is now on her way aiming at the 2018 WEG.
Jackson explained: “We have been working really hard this fall, and it’s rewarding to see it come together in the ring. I am thankful for Kai (Handt) for really helping me and focusing on specific details in my tests. We have plenty to improve on, but I am very happy with how far we have come.“
Para-Dressage riders will be back at AGDF for the Week 2 CPEDI3* on January 18-21, 2018. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com – here -.
Press Release: Equestrian Sport Productions