The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Para-dressage competition at the Paralympic Games will take place September 11-16, 2016, at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Grade Ib, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose, a 2003 Oldenburg mare
Collier is making her Paralympics debut this year. However, she previously represented the U.S. at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy riding Willi Wesley when she was just 16 years old. With Wentworth, Collier won the Grade 1b Championship at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship as well as team and individual gold at the NAJYRC in 2015.
In 2014, Collier was awarded the FEI’s Against All Odds Award for overcoming obstacles and achieving her dreams. Her service dog, Journey, has a fan following of his own (although he reportedly will be staying home during this year’s Paralympics.)
Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade II, and her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare
Hart is a veteran competitor, having represented the U.S. a the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics as well as the 2010 and 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Schroeters Romani has been her equine partner in competition since 2014. Together they’ve won team and individual gold at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in 2015 and 2016 and have been competing successfully in Europe.
Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.), Grade Ia, and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare
McIntosh is a former eventer making her Paralympics debut this year with the appropriately named Rio Rio. Together, this pair won a USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Reserve Champion title in 2014, and this year won team gold and the Grade 1a Freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, and Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding
20-year-old Peavy has been riding since she was four. She represented the U.S. at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in France riding Ozzy Cooper. The pair were also reserve champions in the FEI Junior Team Championship at the Great American/USDF Region 8 Championships, competing in able-bodied dressage. Peavy’s Paralympic mount for this year, Lancelot Warrior, was also her partner in 2014 when she won the Grade III individual championship at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship.
For information on how to watch the 2016 Paralympic Games, visit Paralympic.org.