Thursday, May. 23, 2024

Watch Why They Won: Screnci Dances To Para Dressage National Championship

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With a score of 76.78%, Cynthia Screnci won her second of three para-dressage classes offered this week at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions and, with it, the 2023 Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship.

Screnci, 56, Boca Raton, Florida, rode Sir Chipoli, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sir Donnerhall—Vivalucienne TKS, Carabas) that she owns with Volado Farms, in a Grade V freestyle that included canter half-pass, flying changes and extended canter that produced her highest score of the week.

“It’s really amazing,” Screnci said of winning the championship. “It hasn’t even sunk in yet. I’m so excited and so thankful to everybody who made this happen: my family, my trainer Andrea Woodard, Michel Assouline, our Chef d’Equipe Laureen Johnson, everybody who put this together and gave us the opportunity for this wonderful event. It’s super exciting.”

Cynthia Screnci and Sir Chipoli. SusanJStickle.com Photo

Screnci said her freestyle music originally was put together for another, larger horse, so they reworked it slightly to suit “Chip.”

“Marlene Whitaker redid the music for us recently, and we changed the floor plan to sort of fit him a little better,” Screnci said. “This is the third time we’ve done it and I’m pretty happy with the results, so we’ll keep going. We still have a lot to polish but it works well for us.”

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Screnci took the championship in the division over three other riders. Elle Woolley finished second overall with Deucalion while Holly Bergay and Niguel took third. See complete scores for the freestyle here.

Screnci talked about the importance of holding the para-dressage championship during the Festival of Champions, as it was for the second time this year, rather than at a separate show.

“It’s so important to show that we are top athletes and that we can and do compete at the highest levels,” she said. “I think it’s also really important for people in the general public to see that the ‘para’ is for ‘parallel,’ not ‘paralyzed,’ and that’s really important that we are parallel to the able-bodied athletes. 

“There’s an opportunity, if somebody has a disability, to become a part of this program and to grow with us,” she added. “The opportunities that this program affords us are super special and really, really exciting.”

Watch her winning freestyle, courtesy of USEF Network and ClipMyHorse.TV:

For more details on Wednesday’s other winners at the Festival of Champions, including Codi Harrison and Katholt’s Bossco in the FEI Grand Prix, Quinn Iverson and Beckham 19 in the FEI Intermediaire II test for the Adequan/USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup, and Ali Potasky and Lord Hennessy in the 7-year-old preliminary test, click here.

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