Sydney Collier Claims U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance National Championship

Sydney Collier and Western Rose. Photo by Erich Linder.

Grass Lake, Michigan – June 6, 2016 – Grade Ib rider Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Western Rose, owned by Wes Dunham, captured the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Championship, sponsored by Deloitte. The duo maintained consistent scores over the weekend, earning a final Freestyle score of 73.167 percent to secure the victory.

Grade III rider Annie Peavy (Avon, Connecticut) and Lancelot Warrior, owned by Rebecca Reno and Heather Blitz, turned in the highest-scoring freestyle on Sunday at the Waterloo Hunt Club show grounds with a 75.833 percent. Peavy’s final score placed her as reserve champion in the high performance division.

In the national division, Grade III athlete Pam Hardin (Evans, Georgia) and Quaterjack, owned by Hardin, Kara Hardin, Kasey Hardin and Rachel Bryant, earned the championship. Grade Ib rider Laurietta Oakleaf (Malvern, Pennsylvania) and Niekele fan Busenitz, owned by Oakleaf and Laura McGinnis, took home the reserve honors in that division.

Thirteen horse and rider combinations competed in front of ground jury members Kristi Wysocki 4* (USA), Kathy Amos-Jacob 5* (FRA), and Carlos Lopes 5* (POR) during the championships. For 10 of those duos, the competition represented their final chance to secure a spot on the U.S. team for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in September. The short list/ FEI Nominated Entry will not be released until a later date.

Sydney Collier is looking forward to the potential opportunity to represent her country in Rio. As a member of the U.S. team at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, Collier is no stranger to international competition. She rode both Western Rose and Wentworth at the championships.

“Winning yesterday meant the world to me,” Collier said after the weekend. “It was an affirmation that all of my hard work and training has really been paying off. It also makes me so happy to be able to make everyone that has been riding alongside me on my journey proud. In addition, getting to ride down centerline in Jonathan Wentz’s honor meant so much to me. He is who started me on this path, and although he can’t be with us in person I know he is riding alongside all the riders as the sport of para-dressage grows.”

She added, “It seems like everything has really come full circle, seeing the growth and development that training with Wes (Dunham) and my two amazing mounts Wentworth and Rosie has made in my riding. I cannot even tell you how proud I am of the two of them for performing so well with me.”

Annie Peavy and Lancelot Warrior. Photo by Erich Linder.

Reserve high performance champion Annie Peavy is also no stranger to international competition. Peavy and Lancelot Warrior have traveled the world competing together, and Peavy was also an individual rider at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

“This weekend was great for Lance and me; he was truly a warrior,” Peavy said. “After a long trip from Wellington, he got off the trailer ready to compete. It was a very tough competition, and I couldn’t have asked any more of him.  I am anxious for the team to be named, but if we are on the team, I know it will be a summer of doing what I love with intense focus.”

Peavy continued, “I have to thank Heather (Blitz) for once again helping me train and also helping me take the judges’ impressions and translate that to the show arena. Both horses are so well taken care of by Alex Philpin, a happy healthy horse makes my job much easier. But most importantly I have to thank my parents for their support and passion for me to achieve my dream.”

Pam Hardin and Quaterjack. Photo by Erich Linder.

In 2015 the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships added the High Performance and National divisions. The 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Division Championship went to Pam Hardin and Quaterjack. The pair took the lead after the Individual Test and maintained that lead to obtain the tricolor rosette. Hardin was also competing in the selection trials over the weekend as was the reserve national division champion, Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele fan Busenitz.

“When I can no longer ride a horse and my days are filled with more memories than new beginnings, I will remember this week and how proud I was to have the chance to compete with such amazing women athletes for a chance to represent my country and to become the para-equestrian dressage national division champion,” Hardin said. “I will remember reconnecting with friends and beginning new friendships. I will remember the partnership that was created with a ‘horse of a lifetime,’ and I will cherish the support I received from both friends and family as I pursued this dream.”

The overall national champions in each division were determined by weighting the tests with the Team Test and Individual Test each counting for 40 percent, while the Freestyle Test counts for 20 percent.

The U.S. Paralympic Dressage Team selection rankings will be based on a combination’s overall performance in the selection event and on the combined overall score from its best two CPEDI3* events taking place between Jan. 1, 2015, and May 16, 2016. The selection procedures also include discretionary criteria.

Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele Fan Busenitz. Photo by Erich Linder.

2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Championship

Champion: Sydney Collier and Western Rose (Grade Ib champion)
Reserve: Angela Peavy and Lancelot Warrior (Grade III champion)
3rd Overall: Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 (Grade III reserve champion)
4th Overall: Sydney Collier and Wentworth (Grade Ib reserve champion)
5th Overall: Kelly Boccia and Donauwalzer CSF (Grade II champion)
6th Overall: Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (Grade Ia champion)
7th Overall: Roxanne Trunnell and Royal Dancer (Grade Ia reserve champion)

2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Division Championship

Champion: Pam Hardin and Quaterjack (Grade III champion)
Reserve: Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele fan Busenitz (Grade Ib champion)
3rd Overall: Mary Jordan and Rubicon 75 (Grade IV champion)
4th Overall: Riley Garrett and Cappi (Grade II champion)
5th Overall: Katie Jackson and NTEC Giovanni (Grade IV reserve champion)
6th Overall: Katie Jackson and NTEC Wembley (Grade IV)

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