United States Paralympic Equestrian Team Earns Top Scores at Largest Attended Paralympics With a sold-out equestrian venue at Greenwich Park in London, the United States fielded a team of four Para-Dressage riders who were chosen within the most successful year for Para-Dressage in history
News-Sports.net - Sep 07,2012 - "It has been exciting to compete at the home of Para-Dressage," was the phrase echoed among athletes at the 2012 Paralympic Equestrian Games. It was Great Britain that developed Para-Dressage from the grass roots first and created an entire Para-Equestrian culture. It was Great Britain who aligned with their able-bodied Equestrian association, and it was Great Britain who earned Team Gold every year since the first inclusion of Para-Dressage at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. The growth within Great Britain is an example of the growth around the world and in the United States for the high performance discipline of Para-Equestrian Dressage. Taking risks, riding infallible tests, and suffering unexpected losses were all pieces to their success at the London Paralympics.
The Great Britain team was noted for saying how impressed they were with the other countries. They explained that everyone really stepped-up their game since the 2008 Paralympics and it was unexpected that they would have to work so hard to earn the Gold. With teams like the United States clicking the heels of historically supreme athletes, it is only time before the competition becomes more than just an accurate test.
With a sold-out equestrian venue at Greenwich Park in London, the United States fielded a team of four Para-Dressage riders who were chosen within the most successful year for Para-Dressage in history. The team included Chef d'Equipe Missy Ransehousen, equestrians Jonathan Wentz of Richardson, TX; Rebecca Hart of Unionville, Penn.; Donna Ponessa of New Windsor, NY; and Dale Dedrick of Ann Arbor, Mich.. The United States successfully marched down the centerline each day, which was subsequently the Prime Meridian, from August 30-September 4th completing one of the most successful Para-Equestrian years in history.
The first day of Team Test competition for Para-Dressage competitors was a day of nerves, new sights and sounds, and sold-out seats for spectators. Riders had familiarized themselves and their horses with the venue the prior day before competition, but nothing would prepare them for the ambiance and pressure of the first day of competition. Over six days 78 horse and rider combinations from 26 nations would compete at the 2012 London Paralympic Equestrian Games. The ante had been upped since the 2008 Beijing Games and included impressive horses, well-prepared teams, and top scores that were only differentiated by a thousandth of a point at times. The United States had a thrilling week with riders just missing the chance to step onto the podium for a Paralympic Games Medal.
The Team Test was the first competition followed by the Individual Test. Both of these scores were counted and combined towards the Team Overall score. The top three rides of each team would be added together and compared to the other countries for a Team Medal score. The final day of competition included the Freestyle Test to music. Dr. Dale Dedrick was the first U.S. rider in the ring and drew an early spot in the start order on the first day. Her mount Bonifatius was a