Friday, September 25, 2009

Maine Equestrian Competes in European
Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship

FEI Para Dressage Equestrian Mary Jordan of Wells successfully competed at the 2009 FEI European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship held in Kristiansand, Norway Aug. 19-23, competing with 78 riders from 22 countries. Her scores there qualify her to ride in the United States selection trials for the 2010 FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games to be held in Kentucky next year.
Para-Equestrian dressage is an international and Olympic equestrian discipline for riders with disabilities. Jordan became the third person in her family diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2002 and is classified at the Grade IV level –the highest level for Para riders. Jordan competed on “Bohmer’s As,” a Hanoverian stallion (Brentano II- Weltmeyer) loaned to her by Martina Bohmer of Bohmerhof in Lingen, Germany. The pair was coached overseas by Paulien Alberts, an FEI dressage trainer, competitor and musical freestyle specialist from Emmen, Holland. In the United States Jordan trains with FEI Competitor Susan Jaccoma.
“This truly was a dream come true to compete internationally, and I had help getting there from every corner of the world! With a German horse, a Dutch and US coach, being an American rider, and having supporters from Kansas City to Great Britain we dubbed ourselves ‘Team International.’ I could not have achieved this without everyone’s help, it truly was a team effort!” Jordan said. “Being diagnosed with MS seven years ago I never imagined at the time I would one day be riding in competition internationally. We truly live in a new age of hope with MS, and I am riding for a reason to show what a person with MS can do.”
In Para-Equestrian Dressage, riders compete by doing three non-jumping riding tests from memory: a team test, an individual championship test, and a musical freestyle. At Grade IV, the highest level for Para riders, the technical requirements are the equivalent to the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) third level, although the musical freestyle may have more technical requirements incorporated. According to Hope Hand, Executive Director of the U.S. Para Equestrian Association (USPEA), Jordan earned the highest scores of any American to compete at the Grade IV 4**** level internationally.
“Changing disciplines from eventing to competing at the international level in dressage in a few short months is not an easy task. I found out when Mary makes up her mind that she is going to do something there is no stopping her. Off to Holland she went to learn all she could to ready herself for the challenge of a lifetime. The competition was tough against some of the best Para dressage riders in the world. I am very proud of Mary’s accomplishments and know with her determination that she would make a great addition to our Team,” Hand said.
Jordan, who has ridden in dressage and eventing (a three-phase horse triathlon) at the regional and national levels competitively since childhood, was introduced to Para Dressage this year. She won her first two tests at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club dressage show in Connecticut, which qualified her to compete at the National U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship and CPEDI 3 * (international level) competition in Chicago aboard her horse Paxton Abbey. From there she was encouraged to compete in Norway, and Alberts helped her locate a European horse to compete upon to help defray the expenses of an international trip. To prepare for the European Championship, Jordan spent the summer training in Holland and Germany.
For more information, visit
Photo caption: Mary Jordan of Wells successfully competed in the European Para-Equestrian Dressage Championships this summer. ( photo)