Grand Oaks Resort Hosts Ocala Region Paralympian Training Camp!

US Paralympic Team, photo courtesy Grand Oaks Resort
US Paralympic Team, photo courtesy Grand Oaks Resort

The Rio Olympics have concluded and now it’s time for the Paralympians to descend upon Rio!

The US Paralympic Team traveled to Ocala in preparation for their turn in Rio, and their training camp wrapped up with a mock competition at Grand Oaks Resort in neighboring Weirsdale.

The resort was gracious enough to share several photos and updates from last week’s mock competition which was held on Thursday in front of spectators and para supporters. The resort itself is no stranger to equestrian competition, having a long history of hosting dressage, hunter/jumper shows, clinics, polo and driving competitions.

Grand Oaks Resort is “America’s Equestrian Resort®, equestrianism is at the center of what makes The Grand Oaks unique.

In addition, the resort is an appointed USEF facility and Special Olympics host and also hosts an array of activities, including dog shows, agility and field trials and they’re home to the Grand Oaks Carriage Museum.

For more information about the Grand Oaks Resort and Museum please visit their website.

Para-Team Members Western Rose, Sydney Collier & Roxanne Trunnell, photo courtesy Grand Oaks Resort
Para-Team Members Western Rose, Sydney Collier & Roxanne Trunnell, photo courtesy Grand Oaks Resort

The US Paralympic Team consists of 4 team riders and one individual.

Below is the press release from the USPEA about the event that was held on September 1st at Grand Oaks Resort, where the athletes performed their tests in front of 5* Judge Natalie Lamping and a group of spectators.

U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Athletes Head to Florida for Mock Competition

“Weirsdale, FL – August 31, 2016 – In preparation for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, the United States Paralympic Equestrian squad has headed to the Grand Oaks Resort and Museum located in Weirsdale, FL, for a mock competition.

“The Team includes Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt; Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Grade Ib, and Wesley Dunham’s Western Rose, a 2003 Oldenburg mare; Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade II, and her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare; Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.), Grade Ia, and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare; Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, and Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding; and competing as an individual, Grade Ia rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding Royal Dancer.”

“Following the mock competition, riders and their team of veterinarians, grooms, parents, volunteers, and supporters will prepare to fly to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Paralympics. Equestrian will make their way to the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center where they will compete September 11-16.”

Para-Equestrian Team Depart for Rio, photo courtesy USPEA
Para-Equestrian Team Depart for Rio, photo courtesy USPEA

The The United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) is the governing body for all sanctioned Para-Equestrian competition.

“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 USPEA is a small, mostly privately funded organization which depends upon fundraising efforts to keep our countries Para-Equestrian shows and programs heading in a forward direction. They are a tight knit group of riders, trainers, horse owners and supporters who work together to support para-riders who make horses a key part of their lives and their physical therapy.

Ocala Horse Properties takes pride in our region for being so involved in both the US Olympic Equestrian Team’s Training Camp (which was held at Meridyth South in Ocala) and the US Paralympic Team’s Training Camp, which also selected Ocala as their launching pad to Rio.

We wish all of the para-equestrians and their network of trainers, grooms, family members and supporters the best of luck in Rio, and we will be sure to bring Ocala Horse Property friends updates on their adventures during the Paralympics.

Once again, Para competition in Rio runs from September 11th – 15th.

For more information about the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian competition please visit their website, the USPEA website, or follow along on a new Facebook Group that the riders set up for candids on their adventures in Rio!