U.S. Para-Dressage Riders Named for 2010 WEG Selection Trials

The U.S. Para-Equestrian Association has announced riders for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Selection Trials June 24-27.
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The U.S. Para-Equestrian Association has announced riders for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Selection Trials June 24-27.

June 23, 2010 -- The United States Para-Equestrian Association has announced the qualified riders for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Selection Trials scheduled for June 24-27, 2010. The amount of para-dressage participants has tripled in one year, which means more para-equestrians are challenging themselves to international competition. The riders making their way to Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill., for the Para-Dressage Selection Trials include equestrians that, despite their disabilities, have overcome and adapted to showcase their athletic abilities.

Fifteen United States Para-Equestrians have scores that will allow them to compete at the Selection Trials. Out of those 15, ten of the riders will be selected for WEG. Out of the ten riders, four will make the team, and six will ride as individuals.

Riders qualified for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Selection Trials at Lamplight Equestrian Center are:

GRADE Ia
Laura Goldman
Kim Decker

GRADE II
Becca Hart
Kim Jones
Elizabeth Pigott
Jonathan Wentz

GRADE III
Erin Alberta
Wendy Fryke
Barb Grassmyer

GRADE IV
Mary Jordan
Robin Brueckmann
Kathy Groves
Jennifer Baker
Holly Bergay
Susan Treabess

Para-Equestrian is considered a high-performance discipline among the seven other disciplines in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). Therefore, all para-dressage riders and horses must meet national and international standards when competing at sanctioned events. When competing in the United States, para-equestrians compete under the USEF rules and when competing internationally para-equestrians compete under the FEI rules. Riders are ranked into Grades, which have been created to allow riders with the same abilities to challenge each other. The five Grades include Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV. Grade Ia represents the more severely impaired riders and Grade IV represents the least impaired riders. For a comparison to regular dressage, FEI Para-Equestrian Grades Ia and Ib are equivalent to USDF Intro Level, FEI Para-Equestrian Grade II is equivalent to USEF Training level, FEI Para-Equestrian Grade III is equivalent to USEF First Level, and FEI Para-Equestrian Grade IV is equivalent to USEF Third Level.

Chef d'Equipe of the para-dressage team is Missy Ransehousen. Ransehousen is most famous for being successful on an international level in the sport of eventing. Ransehousen grew up with her mother being a three-time Olympic legend. Ransehousen has earned top accolades throughout her career, including the gold medal at the 1988 Young Rider Championships. She was also awarded the Good Sportsmanship Award, received the Markham Trophy, USET's Highest Placed Young Rider at Fair Hill CDI*** in 1989 and then eventually came to focus on a career as a three-day event rider.

Along with being a top competitor, Ransehousen has made an important commitment to give back to the sport through teaching and coaching. For the last three Olympic Games, Ransehousen has been the coach for the Paralympics and was also the 2000 Paralympics Team Coach in Sydney, coached the Pacific Rim Championships in 2006 and served as Olympic coach for Athens in 2004. Becca Hart is a notable name that Ransehousen has taught who has claimed international championships in the para-dressage discipline at top events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics held in Hong Kong. Ransehousen will continue her efforts when she is chef d'equipe at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky.

"Since this country is so big, I do not get to see all of the riders. It will be nice to have everyone together at the Selection Trials, so I can see where everyone is in their training program," said Ransehousen. "It will also be nice to see how the riders are riding under pressure. The riders will be battling for the 10 slots and it should be an exciting week. Usually we have as many riders as we have slots, so it will be a little more competitive this year because we have 15 riders for 10 spots."

She continued,"This is such a big year for us as the para-dressage team. To be included with the other equestrian disciplines is very exciting for us. I look forward to working with the entire team as we make our way towards the World Equestrian Games."

Once the selection trials occur, the para-equestrians will take a few months to train and rest before traveling to Lexington. The para-dressage competitions will take place in the covered arena at the Kentucky Horse Park from October 5-8, 2010.