World Championships Success Is Bittersweet for US Para-Dressage

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After her Grade IV Freestyle silver-medal-winning test, US para-dressage rider Kate Shoemaker on Quiana high-fives her mother, Deena Shoemaker, and other supporters in the “kiss and cry” area at the 2022 World Championships in Herning, Denmark (Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Amid their unprecedented medal success, US medalists, supporters mourn the loss of US para-dressage champion Hope Hand and remember Paralympian Jonathan Wentz

By Kim MacMillan

Some might describe the US para-dressage community as like a family. Celebrating Roxanne Trunnell’s Grade I Individual test aboard Fortunato H2O In Herning 2022 were (from left) USPEA interim president Tina Wentz; Trunnell’s coach, Andrea Woodard; USEF para-dressage director Laureen Johnson; and US para-dressage national team technical advisor Michel Assouline. Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography


At the 2022 Orifarm Healthcare FEI World Para-Dressage Championships in Herning, Denmark, in August, US para-dressage athletes had their best finish ever at a world championships: a trio of medals, with the USA winning team bronze, Grade III athlete Rebecca Hart on El Corona Texel taking home an individual bronze, and Grade IV athlete Kate Shoemaker on Quiana capping the achievements with a freestyle silver.

For complete results of the Herning 2022 para-dressage competition, see below. For competition analysis, insights from a judge, and more photos, see “US Para-Dressage Powers up at World Championships” in the November/December 2022 issue of USDF Connection.)

Yet there were poignant moments among Team USA’s athletes and supporters, even as the riders and horses were reaching new heights of excellence. That’s because two key faces were missing from the US cheering section in Denmark.

One very recent absence felt keenly was that of Hope Hand. Hand, a two-time Paralympian and the founder and president of the US Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA), died at age 73 of pancreatic cancer just two months before competition commenced in Herning. Hand had planned to be in Denmark, and the athletes and support team she had mentored during her long equestrian career expressed their grief and sorrow that fate had intervened with that plan.

“Hope would have been overjoyed to see the US para-dressage team standing on the podium to receive their team bronze medal,” said US Equestrian (USEF) para-equestrian director Laureen Johnson, who had worked closely with Hand since the late 1990s.

“If it weren’t for Hope, these athletes may have never heard of the sport,” Johnson said. “Hope relentlessly sought new talent. She educated and encouraged each rider to excel through the USEF pathway program,” a “pipeline” system that helps to identify and mentor promising athletes and horses. Referring to Team USA’s bronze-medal finish, Johnson said, “This would have been a very proud moment for her, to know the US team has secured their slot for the 2024 Paralympic Games.”

Another US para-dressage figure who continues to loom large in the sport even after his passing is Jonathan Wentz. At the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Wentz, who finished fourth individually and fifth in the freestyle, was the highest-placed equestrian athlete representing the US in any discipline, and his accomplishments helped to bring US para-dressage to the forefront. Sadly, Wentz died shortly after those Games. He was just 21.

But Wentz’s legacy lives on, not only through the achievements of the athletes he inspired, but also through his mother, Christina “Tina” Wentz, who began volunteering in the sport as a result of her son’s involvement. After Hand’s death, Tina Wentz was named interim president of the USPEA.

“Jonathan and Hope first got me involved with para-dressage over 25 years ago,” Wentz said from the sidelines in Herning. “Both were Paralympians, fierce competitors, and strove to educate the public that Paralympic sport is parallel to Olympic—and as such, requires the same amount of dedication in training and funding to achieve success. Success brings recognition, recognition brings funding, and funding continues success. US para-dressage owes Hope a huge debt of thanks. She is and always will be greatly missed, but her persistent smile and determination will always be with us.”

We salute the pioneering achievements of Hand, Wentz, and others who have helped to make US para-dressage the sport it is today, and we celebrate the incredible performances of the horses and riders at Herning 2022. Read on for a complete list of para-dressage World Championships results.

Herning 2022 Para-Dressage Results

Para-dressage team medals: Denmark (silver), Netherlands (gold), and USA (bronze) Sarah Miller/MacMillan Photography

Team Medals

Gold

Netherlands                                                                                                     230.225

Silver

Denmark                                                                                                         229.751

Bronze

USA                                                                                                                225.335

Team Tests (Individual Medals)

Grade I

Gold

Rihards Snikus/King of the Dance (LAT)                                                      78.535%

Silver

Sara Morganti/Royal Delight (ITA)                                                               78.393%

Bronze

Michael Murphy/Cleverboy (IRL)                                                                 74.143%.

6. Roxanne Trunnell/Fortunato H2O                                                             72.571%

Grade II

Gold

Katrine Kristensen/Goerklintgaards Quarter (DEN)                                      75.788%

Silver

Pepo Puch/Sailor’s Blue (AUT)                                                                     75.333%

Bronze

Lee Pearson/Breezer (GBR)                                                                           75.091%

4. Beatrice de Lavalette/Sixth Sense                                                              71.758%

Grade III

Gold

Tobias Thorning Joergensen/Jolene Hill (DEN)                                            78.676%

Silver

Natasha Baker/Keystone Dawn Chorus (GBR)                                             73.970%

Bronze

Rebecca Hart/El Corona Texel (USA)                                                           73.147%

Grade III Individual medalists Natasha Baker of Great Britain (silver), Tobias Thorning Joergensen of Denmark (gold), and Rebecca Hart of the USA (bronze) Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Grade IV

Gold

Sanne Voets/Demantur RS2 N.O.P. (NED)                                                   76.750%

Silver

Demi Haerkens/EHL Daula (NED)                                                                76.000%

Bronze

Rodolpho Riskalla/Don Henrico (BRA)                                                        74.925%

4. Kate Shoemaker/Quiana                                                                             73.900%

Grade V

Gold

Michèle George/Best of 8 (BEL)                                                                   76.419%

Silver

Sophie Wells/Don Cara M (GBR)                                                                  75.279%

Bronze

Frank Hosmar/Alphaville N.O.P. (NED)                                                       75.256%

Individual Tests

Grade I Individual Test

4. Roxanne Trunnell/Fortunato H2O                                                             75.214%

Grade II Individual Test

4. Beatrice de Lavalette/Sixth Sense                                                              73.235%

Grade III Individual Test

2. Rebecca Hart/El Corona Texel                                                                   74.706%

Grade IV Individual Test

3. Kate Shoemaker/Quiana                                                                             75.415%

Freestyle Medals

Grade I

Gold

Sara Morganti/Royal Delight (ITA)                                                               80.653%

Silver

Rihards Snikus/King of the Dance (LAT)                                                      78.400%

Bronze

Michael Murphy/Cleverboy (IRL)                                                                 78.387%

4. Roxanne Trunnell/Fortunato H2O                                                             76.447%

Grade II

Gold

Katrine Kristensen/Goerklintgaards Quarter (DEN)                                      80.354%

Silver

Lee Pearson/Breezer (GBR)                                                                           77.860%

Bronze

Georgia Wilson/Sakura (GBR)                                                                      75.834%

5. Beatrice de Lavalette/Sixth Sense                                                              72.107%

Grade III

Gold

Tobias Thorning Joergensen/Jolene Hill (DEN)                                            86.513%

Silver

Lotte Krijnsen/Rosenstolz (NED)                                                                  76.673%

Bronze

Natasha Baker/Keystone Dawn Chorus (GBR)                                             76.620%

7. Rebecca Hart/El Corona Texel                                                                   72.080%

Grade IV

Gold

Sanne Voets/Demantur RS2 N.O.P. (NED)                                                   82.485%

Silver

Kate Shoemaker/Quiana (USA)                                                                     80.275%

Bronze

Rodolpho Riskalla/Don Henrico (BRA)                                                        78.385%

Grade V

Gold

Michèle George/Best of 8 (BEL)                                                                   82.860%

Silver

Frank Hosmar/Alphaville N.O.P. (NED)                                                       80.775%

Bronze

Sophie Wells/Don Cara M (GBR)                                                                  79.255%

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