August 29, 2012 --International para-equestrian drivers are in Breda, The Netherlands right now ready to compete at the 2012 FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships for Singles. The first vet check took place Wednesday and the three horses that will be driven by Americans passed with ease. Athletes schooled in dressage today and attended the official marathon course walk. Competition begins Thursday.
Three competitors will represent the U.S. driving borrowed horses.
Karen Gorham (Burnet, Texas) will drive the Family De Bryne's New Forest Pony, Rozendaal's Solomon. Gorham has been an equestrian driver since the 1980's. She was involved in a hurricane Rita related truck accident in 2005 and has made use of a prosthetic left arm ever since. Her para-driving career is in its infancy, after the accident she did not resume driving until 2010, but her combined driving experience is sure to help her this weekend in Breda.
Diane Kastama (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) is a veteran para-equestrian driver who has earned success against para and able-bodied competition. She will drive the de Ronde's KWPN, Ruby R Van Stalle De Maurik. A 1991 car crash left Diane paralyzed from the waist down.
The third member of the U.S. team, Pam Johnson (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) will drive Ben Honsbeek's KWPN gelding, Night. Pam, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, is also a veteran para-equestrian driver with international experience.
Together the three women are a well composed team ready to make an impression at the Outdoor Brabant this weekend. You can read more about them and their accomplishments in the USEF media guide. The media guide is available online here.
U.S. Four-in-Hand driver Josh Rector jogged the U.S. Team horses Wednesday morning.
The FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships for Singles is held every two years and 2012 is the second consecutive time that The Netherlands has hosted it. At the 2008 World Championships in Greven, Germany the Dutch team took gold in the team competition. Two years ago the Germans turned that table and left the home team with silver. Both teams will surely be formidable again this year but will face strong challenges from the American and British?teams.
The FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships for Singles is being held in conjunction with the Dutch national four-in-hand driving championship. The para-equestrians will perform their dressage tests Thursday, the Dutch national competitors on Friday. The marathon and cones phases of both competitions will be held on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
You can find results from the FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships for Singles here.
Follow U.S. Para-Equestrian teams here.