Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Grade IV and Ib Individual tests took center stage at the Deodoro Equestrian Center Wednesday at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Competing in the Grade Ib Individual test for the U.S. Team was Sydney Collier, who scored 67.655%. The Individual test is the second of two tests in Team competition. The U.S. will see its final two team representatives, Rebecca Hart and Margaret McIntosh and individual, Roxanne Trunnell, in Thursday’s Grade II and Ia Individual tests. On Tuesday, the U.S. marked its first Individual test score with a performance from Angela Peavy.
Making the most of her Paralympic debut, Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) rode with grit and determination to improve on her performance from Sunday’s Team test, placing seventh in the class. Aboard Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare Western Rose, Collier executed an accurate and bold test, finishing off with a centerline that received three 8s from the five-member Ground Jury.
“The first day [in the Team test] I toned down my excitement too much and that translated into my ride,” said Collier. “Today, I really focused on allowing myself to be excited, but just enough so that I was still on my game. That strategy worked out so much better and translated very well to Rosie. We were not giving up any points!”
Speaking to the highlights of her Individual test, Collier said, “My favorite part of this test is the medium trot. The horses feel so flowing in this gait and it’s that magical feeling that made me fall in love with riding. I was impressed with our quarter turns on the haunches; we don’t always collect enough setting up for them, but today we clicked and did them right on our mark.”
Collier was the youngest competitor in the Paralympic field and felt honored to have represented the U.S. “It was so fun riding in the biggest competition in the world and just seeing our names up on the leaderboard was really amazing. The whole experience makes me excited for all the things we have to come in the future.”
Pepo Puch (AUT) and Fontainenoir secured the Grade Ib Individual Gold. Taking Silver was Lee Pearson (GBR) and Zion, while Stinna Kaastrup (DEN) and Smarties won Bronze.
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