Countries Send Riders With Disabilities to First Inner Vision
NY July 29, 2002 Riding borrowed horses they had
schooled just five times, 24 inter-national dressage riders with
various physical disabilities competed in the first Inner Vision
Championships (IVC) for riders with disabilities on July 1213
at Willow Tree Farm at Caumsett State Historic Park in Huntington,
Inner Vision Championships were organized by the National Disability
Sports Alliance (NDSA) and Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Inc.
championship was a great first effort, said Denise I. Avolio,
chairman of the IVC organizing committee. It was good for
everyone to come to the United States and see we have quality
horses and quality riders in our programs for disabled riders.
Ive done competitions for disabled riders for 10 years,
and I am always thrilled by the skills and abilities of these
riders. They are outstanding.
Riders from Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, and
the United States competed in team and individual events at the
IVC, which is approved and recognized by the International Paralympic
Equestrian Committee (I.P.E.C.). Although the dressage tests at
the IVC are written specifically for riders with disabilities,
they include movements equal to USA Equestrian fourth level tests
for sighted, able-bodied riders.
only concession to the riders with vision handicaps is the use
of "living letters," trained volunteers who call out
their assigned letter so that the riders are able to visualize
where they are in the dressage arena.
to I.P.E.C. rules, riders are categorized in Grades I-IV according
to their disabilities to ensure fair competition. For instance,
a visually impaired but able-bodied rider might compete against
a sighted rider with multiple sclerosis.
179.911 points, the USA South team took first place. Second was
Canada East with 170.229 points. Canada West came in third with
167.622 points, and USA North was fourth with 161.710.
rider Anne Schricker, who is almost totally blind, and U.S. rider
Barbara Grassmyer, who has Aperts Syndrome, were named individual
champions in their divisions. Schricker rode Pacific Lion, owned
by Missy Ransehousen, Unionville, PA, to the top score of 71.249
in the Blind and Visually Handicapped Division. Uri Basha of Israel
was reserve champion in the Blind and Visually Handicapped Division.
of Placerville, Calif., rode Bally Shannon, owned by Trudy Phillips,
Chadds Ford, PA, to the championship in the National Division,
where Kathy Groves of Winter Garden, Fla., was reserve. The National
Division consisted of sighted riders, competing on their own horses
who have other physical disabilities.
also took top honors in the compulsory Freestyle to Music aboard
Pacific Lion. In Freestyle to Music tests, riders and horses are
practically dancing around the dressage arena as they perform
programs that might be compared to gymnastics and figure-skating
were allotted to a grade of riders by a draw, but riders within
the grade then had the option of selecting or rejecting a mount.
Avolio said Schricker could listen to the sound of a potential
mounts hoofbeats to determine if the horse was suitable
for her. Many of the visually impaired riders performed hands-on
inspections of the pool of potential mounts.
was just in awe of their abilities, said Avolio. For
instance, Anne could canter down the side of this 20- by 40-meter
arena and stop just before coming to the end. She led the victory
gallop at the end of competition.
said the popularity of riding as a sport for the disabled is growing,
but that international competitions wouldnt be possible
without the generosity of owners who donate their horses to be
used in the competition.
is prohibitively expensive for riders to bring their own horses
here, so we depend on the horse owners, said Avolio. But
this element of riding a new horse at a high level competition
is what makes the IVC so exciting and a true test of horsemanship.
IVC was held under the auspices of the National Disability Sports
Alliance (NDSA), the national governing body for equestrian sport
for riders with disabilities. NDSA is responsible for the development
and selection of riders for national championship and international
competitions, including the Paralympic Games, and provides training,
competition and advocacy for riders with physical disabilities.
Equestrian, Inc. is a therapeutic riding program located in Huntington,
NY, that provides therapeutic, recreational and competitive horseback
riding opportunities for people with physical, emotional and cognitive
NDSA and Pal-O-Mine are 501(c)3 organizations. Donations and sponsorships
are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
interested in sponsorship opportunities or other ways of supporting
the Championships should contact Denise Avolio at (914) 949-8166
or Lisa A. Gatti, competition manager, at (631) 427-6105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
are the overall winners within their grades (score was determined
by a combined score of their Individual Championships ride and
their Musical Freestyle ride):
Judi Island, Canada East, riding Redford, Pal-O-Mine Equestrian,
Second: Keith Newerla, USA North, riding On the Rocks, Lisa Zimmerman,
Lauren Barwick, Canada East, riding Atticus, Pal-O-Mine Equestrian,
Second: Darlene Wirth, Canada South, riding Chamineux, Linda Fritsch,
South Bend, IN
Anne Schricker, Germany, riding Pacific Lion, Missy Ransehousen,
Second: Jenni Rowe, Canada East, riding Lord Hobbitt, Linda Fritsch,
South Bend, IN
Robin Brueckmann, USA South, riding Follow Me, Kathryn Groves,
Winter Garden, FL
Second: Kyomitsu Kakuta, Japan, riding Weston, Lisa Gatti, Huntington,
website address for the Inner Vision Championships is www.pal-o-mine.org.