Months of preparation, competition, and nail-biting has come to an end!

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) named the four athlete-and-horse combinations that will compete for the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team in the 2016 Paralympic Games come September.

Trotting down the centerline at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will be:

  • Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Grade Ib, and Western Rose
  • Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade II, and Schroeters Romani
  • Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.), Grade Ia, and her own Rio Rio
  • Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, and Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding

Here’s a crash course in Team USA inspiring quartet.

The Rookie

Sydney Collier began riding at seven-years-old. She had dreams of competing at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event when a routine vision screening revealed an exceptionally rare congenital birth defect, Wyburn–Mason syndrome. In 2007, Collier underwent medical treatments to get rid of arteriovenous malformations. Several Cyberknife radiation treatments and three unplanned brain surgeries later, she was left with no vision in her right eye. At age 11, she suffered a stroke that caused the loss of the use of the left side of her body.

Despite her physical difficulties, Collier continued to ride and train, turning her attention para-equestrian dressage. At just 16-years-old, she made her first appearance as part of a U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) with Willi Wesley. Collier won the 2014 FEI Against All Odds Award and 2014 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year award. Last year, she captured Team and Individual Grade Ib Gold medals at the 2015 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships.

The Ringer

Rebecca Hart was born with a rare genetic disease called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia [HSP]. A progressive impairment, HSP causes muscle wasting and paralysis from the middle of the back down.

Hart became involved with the Paralympic movement in 1998 at a regional competition in Atlanta, Georgia.
She has represented the U.S. at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. In 2014, she paired with her new mount, the2002 Danish Warmblood mare Schroeter’s Romani. They placed seventh in each of their three tests at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and won back-to-back USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in 2014 and 2015. Hart is a seven-time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion.

The Comeback

Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh had a successful able-bodied equestrian career before a fall on the cross-country course at an eventing competition in 1999 left her with a broken neck, resulting in incomplete quadriplegia. After working hard to regain her mobility, she made a comeback through para-equestrian dressage as a Grade Ia competitor.

Riding the 2006 Rheinland Pfalz-Saar mare Rio Rio, McIntosh earned the Reserve National Champion title at the USEF 2014 Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships. Last year, the pair won the Individual Test at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and were second in the Team, Individual, and Freestyle at the Waregem, Belgium.

The Multi-Tasker

Prior to birth, Angela “Annie” Peavy suffered a stroke, leaving her paralyzed on the left side of her body. She began riding horses at age four as a method of physical therapy and, at age 10, got her first horse.

In 2012, as a high school sophomore, Grade III athlete Peavy won the Youth Dressage Festival Championship, beating hundreds of young riders from the U.S. and abroad. In 2014, she landed a spot on the U.S. Team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) with mount Ozzy Cooper. Peavy is one of the few para-equestrian athletes who also competes in able-bodied dressage. After returning from the WEG, the pair won Reserve Champion honors in the FEI Junior Team championship at the Great American/USDF Region 8 Championships.


Go team!