June 8, 2010 -- This year will be the first time ever that para-equestrians will compete with all of the equestrian disciplines at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Lexington, Ky. The hopeful WEG riders first stop this summer was May 28-30 in Ashburn, Ontario, Canada. While in Canada, riders earned top scores for their performances, including the silver medal for the United States. Riders used this show as their last big qualifier for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Selection Trials scheduled for June 24-27 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill.
The para-equestrians' journey to Ashburn was to compete at the WindReach International Para-Dressage CPEDI*** and WindReach EC Gold Para-Dressage Competition. This FEI event was an official qualifier for WEG.
The WindReach International Para-Dressage CPEDI*** show took place at WindReach Farm. The farm was designed by Paralympian rider Alexander (Sandy) J. Mitchell. The entire facility was designed to meet the needs of individuals with different abilities and is equipped with wheelchair accessible pathways. WindReach Farm is also a member center for the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA), and the Ontario Therapeutic Riding Association (OnTRA).
This competition was the largest para-equestrian competition in North America. There were riders from all over the world including the United States, Canada, China, Bermuda, Japan and Australia. Mary Jordan, a Grade IV Para-Dressage rider used this competition as a practice before the selection trials at the end of June. Jordan rides Paxton Abbey, who is a horse she has bred, raised and trained as an international dressage horse.
"After a long winter of training I wanted the opportunity to be in front of international judges and competitors to be tested in the best way possible on an international stage," Jordan said. "I already had my scores in hand so I wanted to be tested. The motivation for me was to come back in the international atmosphere and really step up my game and be as competitive as possible."
Currently, 15 United States Para-Dressage riders have scores that will allow them to compete at the selection trials. Out of those 15, 10 of the riders will be selected for WEG. Out of the 10 riders, four will make the team, and six will ride as individuals. The para-dressage competitions will take place in the covered arena at the Kentucky Horse Park from October 5-8.