Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Para-equestrian dressage competition continued on Monday at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with day two of Team tests. Riding as an Individual in the Grade Ia Team test, Roxanne Trunnell gave a strong performance to score 69.348%. Competing in Grade Ia for the U.S. Team was Margaret McIntosh, who scored 68.087%. Currently ranked 11th in the team standings, the U.S. Team will see its final representative, Rebecca Hart, Tuesday in the Grade II Team test, while Angela Peavy will perform the Grade III Individual test. The Individual test is the final test in team competition, in which placings are determined by combining the top three scores of each team from both the Team and Individual tests. Individual medals are awarded to the highest placing combinations in the Individual test. Great Britain currently leads the team standings, while Belgium sits in second place.
The afternoon session at the Deodoro Equestrian Center saw 26 athletes representing 19 nations in the Grade Ia Team test. Riding for the U.S. as an Individual, first-time Paralympian Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and Royal Dancer, Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding, showcased poise and determination. Trunnell rode an accurate test that earned high marks for the transitions and final medium walk, placing her and Royal Dancer 14th in the class.
“Royal felt amazing during the test,” said Trunnell. “I couldn’t help but smile during it because he was so forward and marching in his walk! I was thrilled with his free walk. I’ve been working on letting the reins go more which is a bit of a weird feeling for me since with Nice Touch [Trunnell’s partner at the 2014 World Equestrian Games] I always had to keep a hold of her a little, but I’m getting better about it. Overall it was a fantastic first Paralympic showing. I couldn’t bring cookies with me [for Royal], but I snagged him some apples and I was sure to give him one after that lovely test.”
Representing the U.S. in team competition, McIntosh (Reading, Pa.) rode down centerline in her Paralympic debut with confidence aboard her longtime partner, Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare. The pair was rewarded for an expressive free walk and the overall feel and skill exhibited throughout the test to place 19th.
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