Tryon Summer Dressage

Debbie and Jolie competing at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Photo: Sue Stickle

Debbie and Jolie competing at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Photo: Sue Stickle

We competed at the Tryon CPEDI over the weekend, at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. On Saturday she was a good girl and we scored 69.2%.

Yesterday I went to sound check three hours before my Freestyle and everything was fine, but he must have had a computer that contained my old Grade II music. So I was ready to go in the ring and he started up the wrong music! He found the right music eventually, but it rattled me and it was enough to bring down my score. Jolie was good but my nerves were rattled, and while I was hoping for a 75% we ended up with 66.4%. That wasn’t terrible considering, but I was not a happy girl!

We’re figuring out the best warm-up regimen for her and think we’ve just about got it. Many thanks to Michelle for all of her help this weekend coaching and reading the tests, and for her ongoing support.

Next up: we are off to Stable View for their show on the 10th-11th of July.


Mullet Hall


Last weekend was a show at Mullet Hall, here in Charleston. My lowest score was a 70.8%, so I’m heading in the right direction. My high score was a 73.3%. I did the Team test twice and the Individual test twice, and I had two different judges. Our next show is in Tryon in June, on Father’s Day weekend. I haven’t confirmed this yet with Michelle but I’m also planning on a show at Stable View in the middle of July. They’ve scheduled two shows back to back, so it’s a very efficient way to plan.

At Mullet Hall Jolie was psychotic on Friday! She was so bad that Michelle didn’t even want me to go into the stall with her. I had visions of waking up Saturday morning and having it be a catastrophe, but Saturday morning she had decided that the dragons weren’t going to eat her and she was fine. When I rode her, she was Miss Perfect. I think that once she is acclimated to a new place, she’s fine on the next visit, so we’ll have to give her time to settle in at our next show. Once she settled down she was really a perfect princess.

I’ve only been riding her regularly since last September, and I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve made.



Sue Stickle photo

Sue Stickle photo

Jolie is beautiful and doing well, and has finished our final show in Florida. We scored 68% on the team test, 65.119% on the Individual, and 67.3% on the Freestyle.

She was feeling a bit stiff in her back in February, so we did Respond laser treatment, chiropractic, and some rest and have her feeling back to her old self. She tends to hold a lot of tension in her back, which makes her stiffer and slower in her gaits, and she has loosened up quite a lot.

Our scores this weekend weren’t our best, but she was feeling good and moving well. When I collect her she starts to get tense, but the test is a medium walk, so if I concentrate on keeping her moving forward she over tracks very nicely. I just have to be careful not to gather her up too quickly or she gets tight. Our goal is to keep her gaits active and her back supple; I also don’t want her to break into trot, so I can’t get after her too much! She did well with the transitions.

Another bonus is Michelle and I won the best-dressed award again! Thanks to Michelle Hunt of Show Chic for sponsoring!


Press Release: USA Para-Dressage Athletes Put Their Best Foot Forward at $10,000 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* Wellington

By: Lindsay Y. McCall for USPEA

Wellington, FL - January 23, 2019 - USA athletes earned top results at the $10,000 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) Week 2 CPEDI3* January 17-20, 2019. In The Stadium at the Global Dressage Festival riders from the USA and Canada showcased many seasoned horse and rider combinations and a few new duos. Equestrians rode in front of the international ground jury including Carlos Lopes (POR), Adrienne Pot (USA), and Elke Ebert (GER). Team USA solidified the win with teammates Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton in Grade I; Deborah Stanitski (Charleston, S.C.) and Skovlunds De Nice Grade I; Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and El Corona Texel in Grade III; and Kate Shoemaker (Peoria, Ariz.) and Solitaer 40 in Grade IV led by USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline. Earning the top rider championship was Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) and Dolton and earning the reserve championship was Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40. This international show was the first show held at the AGDF. Riders will return for the second show during AGDF Week 9 CPEDI3* running March 7-10. The winter equestrian season in Wellington, Florida, is an exciting opportunity for riders and horses to compete at world-class facilities in front of international judges against the best athletes in their sport. USA Para-Dressage is looking forward to solidifying horse and rider duos over the 2019 year. With a little over a year left U.S. athletes are riding towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where Paralympic Dressage will occur August 27-29, and 31.
U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team (Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Deborah Stanitski, Rebecca Hart) at $10,000 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) Week 2 CPEDI3* January 17-20, 2019
USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline commented, "We had a really good start of the season with team scores improved from last year. The three 2018 World Equestrian Games' (WEG) riders Rebecca Hart, Roxanne Trunnell, and Kate Shoemaker had great percentages at Global and Deborah Stanitski, the fourth team member at the CPEDI3*, and newly acquired Danish mare had a decent performance and consistency throughout.  Those same three WEG athletes all finished with personal bests including a 77.889% for Roxanne Trunnell. The other U.S. riders did well too improving day by day finishing with several scores in the seventies in the Freestyle. The U.S. pairs are all looking very promising."
Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton, owned by Karen Flint

Champion rider Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton, owned by Karin Flint, rode to fantastic results including earning a top freestyle score. Trunnell noted, "Dolton was such a superstar at this show. We were trying out doing the tests without a companion horse and I was happy to see that Dolton didn't seem to mind that there was no horse nearby. I was really excited to see how high the freestyle scored because the more I ride to it, the better I'm getting at it. There is a moment in the freestyle after the first halt where the music starts up again and I head over to the letter M. I arrive at the letter at the exact time I'm meant to and it always makes me smile. It's like a little victory for me. A big big thank you to Karin Flint (Dolton's owner) for trusting me to pilot her incredibly special boy to greatness. He is truly a one in a million horse."

President of the USPEA, Hope Hand concluded, "We kicked off the season with the best weather, best group of show management and Jury and to top it off with many personal best horse/rider combinations. Para Dressage in the US has the World's attention."

The USPEA would like to thank everyone involved including the show management, volunteers, athletes, support staff, USET Foundation, US Equestrian, and USOC for a memorable first show for 2019.

Following the Wellington winter Para-Equestrian Dressage shows athletes will head out West to the Golden State Dressage Classic scheduled June 13-16, in Rancho Murieta, Calif. The U.S. calendar year will finish in the fall at the 2019 US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships taking place at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, NC, September 12-15.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.

2019 Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* Wellington, FL January 17-20, 2019

Team USA Riders
Roxanne Trunnell, Dolton Grade I
Deborah Stanitski, Skovlunds De Nice Grade I
Rebecca Hart, El Corona Texel Grade III
Kate Shoemaker, Solitaer 40 Grade IV

2019 Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* Wellington, FL January 17-20, 2019
Team Test

Grade I
1. Roxanne Trunnell, Dolton, 73.690 USA
2. Laurietta Oakleaf, City Girl, 69.583 USA
3. Laurietta Oakleaf, Windsome, 67.202 USA
4. Jody Schloss, Lieutenant Lobin, 66.726 CAN
5. David Botana, Lord Locksley, 66.071, USA
6. Winona Hartvikson, Ultimo, 65.774, CAN
7. Deborah Stanitski, Skovlunds De Nice 65.238 USA
8. Sydney Collier, Fherrigamo, 63.571

Grade II
1. Alanna Flax-Clark, El Paso, 64.899 USA
2. Beatrice De Lavalette, Delegada, 62.525 USA
3. Beatrice De Lavalette, Velvet WD 0

Grade III
1. Rebecca Hart, El Corona Texel, 72.794, USA
2. Rebecca Hart, Fortune 500, 67.598 USA
3. Meghan Benge, Worth The Trip, 64.706, USA
4. Riley Garrett, Piston, 63.186 USA
5. Meghan Benge, Zoey, 61.667 USA

Grade IV
1. Kate Shoemaker, Solitaer 40, 72.333 USA

Grade V
No entries

Individual Test

Grade I
1. Roxanne Trunnell, Dolton, 73.155 USA
2. Laurietta Oakleaf, City Girl, 69.345 USA
3. Laurietta Oakleaf, Windsome, 68.929 USA
4. David Botana, Lord Locksley, 66.964, USA
5. Jody Schloss, Lieutenant Lobin, 66.607 CAN
6. Winona Hartvikson, Ultimo, 65.238, CAN
7. Sydney Collier, Fherrigamo, 65.119 USA
8.Deborah Stanitski, Skovlunds De Nice 64.286 USA

Grade II
1. Alanna Flax-Clark, El Paso, 65.735 USA
2.Beatrice De Lavalette, Delegada, 63.186 USA
3. Beatrice De Lavalette, Velvet WD 0 USA

Grade III
1. Rebecca Hart, El Corona Texel, 69.088 USA
2.Rebecca Hart, Fortune 500, 68.235 USA
3. Meghan Benge, Worth The Trip, 65.784, USA
4. Riley Garrett, Piston, 64.608 USA
5. Meghan Benge, Zoey, 56.853 USA

Grade IV
1. Kate Shoemaker, Solitaer 40, 73.252 USA

Freestyle Test

Grade I
1. Roxanne Trunnell, Dolton, 77.889 USA
2. Laurietta Oakleaf, City Girl, 72.444 USA
3. David Botana, Lord Locksley, 70.778 USA
4. Jody Schloss, Lieutenant Lobin, 69.111 CAN
5. Winona Hartvikson, Ultimo, 67.778 CAN
6. Sydney Collier, Fherrigamo, 66.944 USA
7.Deborah Stanitski, Skovlunds De Nice 66.278 USA

Grade II
1. Alanna Flax-Clark, El Paso, 68.222 USA
2.Beatrice De Lavalette, Delegada, 64.889 USA

Grade III
1. Rebecca Hart, El Corona Texel, 75.278 USA
2. Riley Garrett, Piston, 68.889 USA
3. Meghan Benge, Worth The Trip, 68.500, USA

Grade IV
1. Kate Shoemaker, Solitaer 40, 75.458 USA

United States Para-Equestrian Association Mission Statement
To Help Develop, Promote, Support, and Sustain all USA Para Equestrian Athletes for Regional, National, and International Competition with a focus on Paralympic Equestrian Sport.

United States Para-Equestrian Association Vision Statement
The vision of the United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America for athletes with an eligible physical impairment, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Paralympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national Para Equestrian Association in the world.
The United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) includes every recognized equestrian discipline that is practiced by athletes with an eligible physical impairment with a focus on Paralympic Equestrian Sports. . The USPEA is a network of current and past athletes, owners, officials, event organizers, and equestrian enthusiasts. The Association assists athletes to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Disciplines of Para-Equestrian.

USPEA was created to fill a need to assist Para Equestrian disciplines when they came under the governance of the FEI.  While Para Equestrian disciplines were originally segregated, they now are integrated in international sport.  As each individual Para Equestrian discipline develops, it is USPEA's mission to always serve as an advisory resource with the ultimate goal that the established able-bodied discipline affiliate will integrate within their organization.

In 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status and became a recognized International affiliate association of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) working together to grow the FEI recognized disciplines by helping to provide press, educational information, symposiums and competition opportunities for athletes with eligible physical impairments.

For more information about the USPEA please visit or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.
The USPEA is a USEF Recognized National Affiliate. The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members. For more information please visit US Equestrian at
  To view an online version of this press release please visit:



We Made the US Para Team at the First CPEDI of 2019

I guess the good news is that we were appointed, along with three WEG medalists, to the US Team for the first CPEDI of the year here at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.  The bad news is that, being our first CPEDI together, we have only scored 65.7 and 64.2%.  And unfortunately, as usual in dressage, where the judges have different opinions and perspectives, the halt pictured got an 8 from one judge and a 6.5 from another.  Oh, well- back to the drawing board with my big girl panties on! Thanks as always to my coach Michelle Folden for her unwavering support and guidance.


Michel Assouline Clinic at Vinceremos and AGDF 1

We enjoyed the Para Dressage clinic with US Para Coach Michel Assouline at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center the past couple of days For some reason I was lucky enough to ride both days; it was mostly about coaching in general, not para-specific, and for part of the clinic my regular coach Michelle taught me while he shadowed her and made suggestions.

He also gave some some great lectures about coaching style. When I was a resident way back when, maybe forty years ago, the teaching style was for people to scream and yell at you – but now the focus is on developing a rapport with your student. He said he thinks the program the USEF has for instructor certification is too technique-dependent, so he’s trying to introduce the other part of it about how to be a good teacher, translate what you’re trying to say…sometimes if someone says the same thing a different way, it clicks.

Also, he said that in England and Europe you can’t just hang up a shingle, you have to get some credentials, and he’s trying to make that the same in this country, but I think it’s an uphill battle to make people invest the time and money to get certified.

The clinic was really worth-while, and his wife is just wonderful too, she was here for a few days and helped me a lot too. They’re the ones who found my horse in Denmark and things are going well with her. She hasn’t gotten the memo yet that ‘pretty is as pretty does’, and she is as good under saddle as she is in the barn.

I did the AGDF 1 as a warm-up for the first CPEDI this weekend and our high score was 71.7 and our low was 68.00, which isn’t bad. Natalie Lamping and Marilyn Payne were judging. They want you to halt with all four feet exactly square and if you’re one foot off it lowers your score – so before our next show we’re working on the little details, as well as how to increase her energy and stride length of stride without making her rush. Like every horse she’s stiffer to one side, and I’m right-side dominant neurologically, and my left side is more spastic than my right. I always carry a whip on my right side, no matter which direction I’m going, since I can’t use it with my left hand.

Today is our day off since we did the show and clinic back to back. The barn we’re staying at, Excelsior Dressage, is brand new. The barn is 10 minutes from the show grounds and the house is 5 minutes away, so it’s very convenient. There’s also a clubhouse with a workout room, so I can stay fit without having to join the gym. It’s all very convenient and we’re really enjoying our time here. I’m not getting any younger, and I want to make the most of the trip to Florida so I will be competing at several more AGDF shows as well, through March.

Michelle brought five horses down here so she’s really busy. I’ve just kept my mare at the Global show grounds this week since the CPEDI is starting up soon. Tomorrow we have “observation” with all the team selectors watching – no pressure! We’ll school tomorrow and compete Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Team, Individual and Freestyle tests.

Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic in Wellington

We have arrived in Wellington, Florida where we will spend a couple of months training and competing. Rider Maya Miller borrowed Jolie to participate in the Robert Dover Horsemastership clinic with last week and had a lesson with USEF Developing coach George Williams and Jan Ebeling on Saturday (photos above). On Sunday they performed a mock test (photos below). Many thanks to Maya who did a lovely job riding Jolie!

Jolie's First Show

Last Wednesday I took Jolie (“Skovlund’s De Nice”) to Stable View, in Aiken, SC for their midweek schooling dressage show. This was a good place to start because they have beautiful facilities and footing, but the weekday shows are low-key. I just wanted to get her out and see how she reacted to a new environment before we head to Florida next month.

The good part is that she was fine with the new scenery; the not-so-great part is that she had a lot of anxiety about leaving her buddy! She was unhappy without her friend around at the barn, but she was fine when I rode her. We scored 74.6% in the Grade I Individual Test and 74.8% in the Grade I Team Test.

We will be leaving for Florida on January 2nd and I plan to show her six times: at the CPEDI’s in January and March and at a few other shows as well.