Pilot Point, Texas – October 10, 2016:  World Para Reining is holding its first ever International Team Championships hosted by the AQHA at the 2016 AQHA World Show November 12th-14th in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The competition will be in World Equestrian Games format including a draw and jog (Nov. 12th), team competition (Nov 13th) and individual competition (Nov 14th) as riders compete for medals and thousands of dollars in prizes, including a saddle to the winner of the Individual competition, donated by Continental Saddlery.  Riders attending the International Championship will also have the opportunity to participate in a clinic at Apex Ranch with Lisa Coulter, founder of WPR, November 8-11th.

Photo credit:Waltenberry

Photo credit:Waltenberry

Para reining is a competitive sport designed for riders with physical disabilities. World Para Reining (WPR) is an organization organized by para-equestrians for para-equestrians and has gained momentum in countries across the world and created the foundation for para-reining.  The sport is judged on the performance of the horse and rider as a team. Riders are NOT judged on their level of disability.  Per Lisa Coulter, founder of WPR in 2013, “There were some great organizations getting involved, but as they’re so busy with their current programs, Para was important to them, but time-consuming. There needed to be an organization dedicated solely to fostering the Para Reining program.” Thus began the start of WPR. “One of my visions was to get Para Reining to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).  As an FEI rider myself, I know the AQHA and NRHA programs would not meet the FEI criteria, so to get the FEI’s attention we would need to create an organization that showed Reining could fit into the FEI Para program. On top of that we also needed to create a Para program that was inclusive and international. You can now take part in WPR classes in US, Canada, Germany Austria and Japan and they are currently in talks to hold classes in UK, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Italy and Poland among others!”  With this year’s International event, they are well on their way to reaching their goals!

The International Team Championship is hosting 30+ riders from 6 different countries. Each team is working hard to be ready, and given the history of these riders, the competition will be fierce. Teams include:
 
WPR Team USA Masters - 2015 WPR World Champion Briana Bartlett and 2015 Res. Champion Heather Smith, and multiple WPR winner and former National and International USA Para Dressage winner Erin Alberda
WPR Team Canada - Gold Medal Para Olympian and Para Hall of Fame athlete Lauren Barwick, Janice Boucher and current WPR Year End leader Courtney Braun.
WPR USA Team Rookie - Danielle Koeppen, JoDee Peterson-Lochner, and Angela Meyer
WPR Team Germany - Susanne Brinkmann, Elinor Switzer, and Ramona Waltenberger
WPR Team Netherlands - Roy Jaspers and Kimberly Olivetto
WPR Team Austria - Lucas Fiedler and Julie Olson
WPR Team South Africa - Nicole Sanders and Wendy Moller
WPR Stable Strides Team 1- Reyna Taylor, Stacey Johnson, Joel Haltom
WPR Stable Strides Team 2- Spencer Roberson, Amanda Webber, Forrest Terry
USA Para Reining Team (2 teams tbd) - 2015 USA Para Reining Champion Cole Jacobs, 2015 Wild Card Para - Reining Challenge Winner Frederick Win, Former US Para Dressage team members Dale Dedrick and Holly Jacobsen, Beth Kelly, Jennifer Flanagan, and Cullen Santino LaRoy
 
Please stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for further event information and information from the World Show, and join us to cheer on the future of Para Reining!

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