Thursday, September 29, 2016

Missy Teaches At Twin Fox Farm in Versaille, Ky!

Many thanks to Brigitte Aikelin for her report from last weekend's clinic with Missy in Kentucky!
If anyone is interested in scheduling a clinic with Missy, she is an amazing instructor.  Please call her directly for  scheduling and fees.  484-576-3947

This past weekend Twin Fox Farm in Versailles, KY welcomed Missy Ransehousen for a 2 day clinic. There were many participants, some who we're excited to ride with her for the first time.

Day 1 was dressage. It started just as the sun came up and finished as the sun went down. Missy had a busy day but that didn't stop her from giving fantastic lessons and advice to all the riders! Even the auditors learned bits and pieces to take home and try on their horses.

After a long dressage day and setting the jump course for the next day, a few of the riders and crew from Twin Fox took Missy out for dinner. Everyone reminisced about Rio and past Olympics and WEG. It was a fun time for all!

Day 2 was stadium day, once again starting as the sun came up.  After the waters were done spritzing the arena, the first group took flight.  Everyone had successful rides and left the arena grinning from ear to ear, making new friends from their jump pairs.  After our goodbyes and many thanks, we sent Missy off to the airport.

It was such a successful weekend for all. The facility was fantastic with perfect footing both days. Twin Fox Farm would gladly welcome Missy back any time! Everyone was thankful to Missy for the extended knowledge that she has given each of us to take away from the weekend. ~ Brigitte

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gigi Looks Back On Rio!

Looking back over my notes from the first team conference call at the end of March when we were still at Cindy Torbeck's farm in Ocala, I find it hard to believe we actually made it to Rio! Through the dark days at the National Finals desperately doing the math to figure out if we still even had a chance to the final role calls in the #1 spot on the team to the Opening Ceremony, the depths of my emotional roller coaster made the high points even more satisfying.

One of the most rewarding aspects of this Paralympic Games was the bond we developed as a team. We shared a three bedroom, three bathroom apartment in a nineteen story high rise in the village. We also shared the elevators with 300 USA teammates from all disciplines, truly a challenge at peak times. The main dining hall was a huge tent.  I mean like airline terminal huge! With an incredible variety of food from pizza and various hot dishes to abundant fruit and salad and delicious ice cream bars, everyone found something to eat and, remarkably, none of us suffered any ill effects!  

We shared lots of giggles over our coordinated efforts at locomotion around the Village, two of us on one scooter and powered scooters towing the wheelchairs. Some efforts were more successful than others. The opening ceremony almost ended in a wreck but Annie swooped in to save me from a near-disaster caught on International TV!

We all cheered for each other's rides, owners, grooms and trainers sitting together as an American contingent replete with waving fłags.

Photo Duncan Peters

My first ride in the Deodoro stadium was so exciting! I literally could not stop smiling! The venue looked like a huge expanse on TV but the small dressage ring was artfully surrounded by shrubbery delineating the competition area and assuaging my agoraphobia. The stadium was festively decorated with International flags, brightly colored blue and green seating, and abundant flowers all reinforcing the Rio carnival atmosphere. We took our time noting the landmarks that would help me keep my 8m circles regular.

Two days later, Missy's great coaching experience led Rio and me to produce a solid first test at the Paralympic Games. I didn't ride till late in the afternoon on a very hot day, leaving too much time to ponder all aspects of this momentous occasion. Around noon, I had a total panic attack followed by an epiphany. I had already accomplished my goal in making it to the Paralympic Games. Suddenly calm, I resolved to just enjoy riding my horse and felt very confident walking around the outside of the competition ring with Missy, greeting the judges as we had done so many times before. I wasn't nervous at all and rode Rio in a consistent test with great halts and wonderful free walks for a respectable 68% despite the oppressive heat.

Preparing for my second test, the Individual Championship, to be held two days later, involved a slight change in strategy. In order to encourage Rio to show more forward energy, I rode her on a little longer rein. The coaches found her much improved in the subsequent test but from the judges' perspective, not enough to significantly impact her score.

I enjoyed the support of a great team in Rio! Missy Ransehousen did double duty as groom and trainer, keeping Rio well fed and beautifully turned out as well as totally tuned up for competition. Alex Philpin was a great help, especially on competition days when time was a factor. Charlotte McIntosh Tarr, my daughter, was exceptional in her ability to keep me organized, hydrated and focused with energy and a sense of humor that benefitted the whole team. It was a delight to have her there! I was overwhelmed by the cheers and good wishes of my FaceBook friends. I'm so sorry that none of the live feeds panned out!

It is hard to capture the sense of cameraderie our group shared. Missy summed it up saying it was a "No drama" experience. There was mutual support from the team's actual moms sewing the Paralympic buttons on our show coats to our Personal Care Providers, Laureen Johnson and Tina Wentz jumping in to push our powerless power chairs when necessary. We all benefitted from the years of advanced planning, foresight and attention to detail by the USEF's Will Connell and Christy Baxter and the support of the USET Foundation. Duncan Peters and the grooms kept the horses remarkably happy and healthy. Our State Department liaison, Stacey Berg, instantly became part of the team, pushing wheelchairs and fetching dressage whips as well as ensuring our safety!

Team Photo Holly Jacobson
My fellow teammates, Becca Hart, Sydney Collier, Annie Peavy and Roxie Trunnell, as well as being serious competitors, contributed a lot of humor to their overarching team spirit.

I can't begin to thank Missy enough for her determination in making my dream come true. I am very appreciative of all the hours she and Jessica have spent whipping Rio and me into shape.  It was lovely to come home to the congratulations of all of you who have followed my quest for all these years! Thank you all!

For full results:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

USPEA Press Release and Update from Paralympics.

Trunnell and McIntosh Represent the USA in Deep Grade 1A Division

By: Eleanor R. Brimmer

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - September 12, 2016 -
The largest class of 26 athletes from 19 nations in the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Games contested the 1A division on September 12, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Margaret "Gigi" McIntosh from Reading, PA, made her Paralympic Team and major championship debut at Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center with her aptly named mare Rio Rio. The pair acquitted themselves well, finishing on a 68.087% for 19th place.

Roxanne Trunnell of Rowlett, Texas, also made her Paralympic debut representing the United States as an Individual with Rachel Zent and Julia Handt's Royal Dancer. The 2014 World Equestrian Games team member scored a 69.348% for 14th place. Roxanne commented,  "Royal felt amazing during the test. I couldn't help but smile during it; He was so forward and marching in his walk and I was thrilled with his freewalk. I've been working on letting the reins go more which is a weird feeling for me since with my previous mount Touché you always had to keep hold of her, but I'm getting better about it. Overall it was a fantastic first Paralympic showing. I couldn't bring cookies with me but I snagged him some apples and I was sure to give him one after that lovely test."

 Winning the Grade 1A Individual Test was Great Britain's Sophie Christiansen riding Athene Lindebjerg to a 77.522%, her teammate Anne Dunham followed her into second place with Ljt Lucas Normark with a score of 73.975%.

Also competing this morning, September 12, was the Grade IV division, which did not have any representation from the United States. Belgium's Michele George won the class with her 2012 Paralympic Gold Medal partner Fbw Rainman on a score of 75.286%. Second place finisher for Grade IV was Great Britain team member Sophie Wells riding Valerius to a 74.405%.

Tuesday, September 13, we will see Rebecca Hart and Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm's Schroeter's Romani compete in the Grade II Team Test at 11:20 AM local time. Entering the Equestrian Center for her second day is Annie Peavy aboard Becky Reno and Heather Blitz's Lancelot Warrior to contest the Grade III Individual Test for a possible medal at 4:06 PM local time.

The 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Games run from September 11-16, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center.

Full results and live scoring can be found here:

Timeline of Events at the Paralympic Games:

September 13 
10:00 AM      Grade II Team - Rebecca Hart (11:20 AM)
2:00 PM        Grade III Individual - Annie Peavy (4:06 PM)
5:05 PM        Grade III - Victory Ceremony

September 14   
10:00 AM    Grade IV Ind.
12:20 PM    Grade IV Ind. - Victory Ceremony
2:00 PM        Grade Ib Ind. - Sydney Collier
5:05 PM        Grade Ib Ind.  - Victory Ceremony

September 15   
10:00 AM    Grade II Ind. - Rebecca Hart
1:00 PM        Grade II Ind. - Victory Ceremony
2:00 PM        Grade Ia Ind. - Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell
4:55 PM        Grade Ia Ind. - Victory Ceremony

September 16
9:00  AM    Grade III FS - Annie Peavy
10:10 AM    Grade IV FS
11:16 AM    Grade III FS - Victory Ceremony
11:31 AM    Grade IV FS - Victory Ceremony
1:00 PM        Grade Ib FS - Sydney Collier
2:10 PM        Grade Ia FS - Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell
3:10 PM        Grade II FS - Rebecca Hart
4:16 PM        Grade Ia FS - Victory Ceremony
4:31 PM        Grade II FS - Victory Ceremony
4:46 PM        Grade Ib FS - Victory Ceremony
5:01 PM        Team - Victory Ceremony