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July 27, 2012

USEF Names Four to Paralympic Team

The United States Equestrian Federation has named the team for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The four athletes representing the U.S. turned heads at the Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Selection Trial held in Gladstone, N.J., in June.
 
The following two U.S. team veterans and two rising stars will compose the team:
 
Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Pa.) and Jessica Ransehousen's Lord Ludger
Jonathan Wentz (Richardson, Texas) and Kai Handt's NTEC Richter Scale
Donna Ponessa (New Windsor, N.Y.) and Wesley Dunham's Western Rose
Dale Dedrick (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and her own Bonifatius
 
Reigning USEF National Champion Hart makes her second trip to the Paralympic Games after having represented her country at the 2008 Games in Hong Kong. The Grade II rider will utilize the experience that earned her national titles in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 when she competes in Greenwich Park.
 
Hart's teammate from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Wentz (Grade 1b), is making his first Paralympic appearance with NTEC Richter Scale. The Southern Methodist University (Texas) student paired up with the Shire cross gelding to win his first National Championship in 2011 and collect Reserve honors in 2012.
 
Grade 1b competitor Ponessa suffers from Devic Disease, a rare form of Multiple Sclerosis, but has not let the disease deter her. In June she earned third place honors at the National Championship and Selection Trial, earning her spot to compete in London.
 
The fourth team member representing the U.S. in London will be Dedrick. Prior to contracting Lupus, Dedrick competed at the Grand Prix level of dressage and was a successful orthopedic surgeon. In 2011, the Grade II competitor and Bonifatius were the Reserve National Champions and in 2012 they returned to the National Championship, placing fourth.
 
Follow the 2012 U.S. Para-Equestrian Team online. The 2012 Paralympic Games begin Aug. 29 and end Sept. 9.

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