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National Disability Sports Alliance Announces Riders for NDSA Championship at Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, Presented by State Line Tack

Gladstone, NJ—June 5, 2003— The National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) has announced the list of riders who have accepted invitations to participate in the NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities at the Bayer/United States Equestrian Team (USET) Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack, June 19-22 at the USET Headquarters and Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, NJ.

This year, the Championship will serve as the final selection trial for the USA Disabled Equestrian Team that will compete at the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (I.P.E.C.) Dressage World Championships being held in Moorseles, Belgium in September.

The NDSA Championship, presented by the National Horse Sports Foundation and sponsored by Turner Construction Company, brings together this country’s top riders with physical disabilities, including several members of the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Team.

They will compete in a Team Test, Individual Championship, and Musical Freestyle on Friday, June 20, Saturday, June 21, and Sunday, June 22 in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena. The overall placing of the NDSA Champion and Reserve Champion will be based on the combined scores of the Individual Championship and Freestyle class. The national championship will be awarded, and the members of the 2003 World Championship U.S.A. Team will be named, at the completion of Sunday’s competition.

Riders with disabilities are “graded”, Grades I through IV, which is determined by their level of physical ability, not by their riding skills. There are different tests for each Grade, dependent on the level of disability. Grade I and II riders compete in Walk/Trot tests only, but are required to perform more difficult movements, such as 10 meter circles, shoulder-in and medium trot. Grade III and IV tests require walk, trot and canter, with the most difficult test equivalent to approximately a fourth level test. Riders are permitted to include higher-level movements in their musical freestyle.

The following riders have qualified and accepted invitations to participate in this year’s NDSA Championship:

Grade Name Hometown

I Lynn Seidemann Coppell, TX
I Keith Newerla* Seaford, NY
II Cynthia Ruiz Houston, TX
II Darlene Wirth Overland Park, KS
II Margo O'Callaghan* Seattle, WA
III Barbara Grassmyer Placerville, CA
III Rebecca Hart Erie, PA
IV Robin Brueckmann Summerfield, NC
IV Kebbie Cannon Mineral Springs, NC
IV Kathryn Groves Winter Garden, FL

* Denotes riders not competing for World Championship berth

This is the sixth year that riders with disabilities have the privilege of competing at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack. The first three years, riders participated in the Bradshaw Challenge of Champions, with the NDSA Championship premiering in 2001. This year’s event is expanded to three days of competition and includes 10 of the best riders from around the country.

Turner Construction Company, sponsor of the NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities, is a long time supporter of riders with disabilities. Turner has sponsored many events with NDSA, including the 2000 Paralympic Selection Trials, which were also held at the USET Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, and the 2002 Inner Vision Championships, held in Huntington, New York.

In addition to the NDSA Championship at the Festival, the National Disability Sports Alliance is also pleased to be managing the 2003 Mills Team Challenge at Dressage at Lamplight, July 17-20 in Illinois. Four young riders with disabilities have been invited to compete in this event, from which one individual will emerge as “Young Rider Champion.” At the Mills Team Challenge, young riders with disabilities will join with able-bodied competitors to form teams and compete in an overall “Team Challenge” competition. In 2004, the Mills Team Challenge will return to being part of the North American Young Riders Championships, at Tempel Farm in Illinois.

Dressage at Devon has also joined with NDSA and will host the first ever NDSA Grade IV Championship on September 26-28. Four of the country’s top Grade IV riders will be invited to compete in an overall championship at this prestigious East Coast event.


The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for equestrian athletes with disabilities. The non-profit organization is responsible for the development and selection of riders for national championships and international competitions, including World Championships and the Paralympic Games, and provides training, competition and advocacy for riders of all levels with physical disabilities. For more information about NDSA and opportunities to support the programs, please visit our website at or contact Denise Avolio at (914) 949-8166 or




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