is pleased to introduce one of the world's most optimistic equestrians
- and she rides Pintos!)
since 1990 due to diabetes, using a coach directing her on a radio
headset, Sam Madden rode her Pinto mare Sugarplum Vision (Zoe)
to her ROMs in Hunter Under Saddle and English Pleasure in open
competition last year. However, a newly diagnosed clotting disorder
has made her rethink this risky business of showing horses.
was something Sam had to do as part of eventing in order to get
to ride those fun cross-country courses when she was a kid in
Pony Club. But after her doctor recently advised her to minimize
her risk, dressage seemed like the safest form of showing, where
Zoe and she could play in an arena by themselves and not have
to dodge a dozen other horses and riders. But Sam isn't just rediscovering
the beauty of dressage, she's setting her sights high - to compete
internationally as part of the 2004 U.S. Paralympic team!
qualify, Sam must be among riders of all disabilities submitting
the highest scores from nine dressage tests including a musical
freestyle. For Grade 3 totally blind riders, International Paralympic
Equestrian Committee (IPEC) tests encompass First Level movements
including serpentines, voltes, and lead changes.
the precision pattern work of dressage is difficult enough when
you can see; try riding a circle or straight line when you have
no reference as to what "straight" is! Sam can feel
if her horse's spine is straight, but she has no reference to
know if she is parallel to the rail.
in part by Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA), Sam's boyfriend
and coach, Ralph Carr, designed and built a remote-controlled
electronic letter-announcing system called Alphabet-Eyes to orient
Sam to where she is in the dressage arena and give her an audible
reference as to her location. Units are placed at the eight perimeter
letters and are cued by Ralph, a.k.a. Mr. X, the "living
letter" in the center of the arena, to sound off when the
rider is headed their way. This adaptive equipment is allowed
under the USA Equestrian Living Letters Rule 1922.4.1.
Zoe doesn't have the movement to be an upper level dressage horse,
and that is what it is going to take to be competitive on an international
level. If not Zoe, Sam still has her heart set on a Pinto!
Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA), a member of the U.S. Olympic
Committee, is inviting equine owners to make their competitive
dressage horses available for use by the country's top equestrians
who have a disability, with an eye toward competing in the next
Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. Sam would travel to where
the horse is stabled to work with him with his trainer (frequency
depending on cost and distance - out of state a possibility),
continue to receive instruction on Zoe at home, and show the borrowed
Pinto in his local area to aim toward qualifying to compete with
him overseas in 2004. This unparalleled opportunity offers an
outstanding Pinto the potential to receive publicity and be seen
by the Europeans, adding competition abroad and "U.S. Paralympic
Team" to his resume which could increase his value and/or
stud fees and enhance his reputation as having the disposition
to carry a disabled rider to world-class competition!
second option is to buy the Pinto of her dreams with tax-deductible
donations to NDSA provided by corporate or third-party sponsors
(fund raising in progress) - perhaps even a promising, up-and-coming,
lower level horse with refined movement lacking only the miles.
Of course, a more seasoned horse is also a possibility, contingent
only on the generosity of her sponsors!
a third option is for a Pinto owner to acquire tax benefits to
the extent allowed by the IRS by donating a talented horse to
NDSA, a charitable, not-for-profit organization. The Pinto would
receive top-quality training and care with Sam in Phoenix, Arizona,
including daily love and carrots. This might interest someone
with a retired sound schoolmaster or simply too many horses, someone
who would like to take advantage of international publicity for
their horse's bloodlines, someone who wants to see the gifted
and gorgeous Pinto breed kick some butt overseas, or just someone
with a generous heart willing to help a disabled rider follow
you know of a spotted super-star with elegant movement and international
potential whose owners would like to benefit from this unique
opportunity, please contact Sam at 602.862.9069 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also learn more about NDSA at www.NDSAequestrian.org
and learn more about Sam, her Pintos, her accomplishments, and
her vision for the future at www.SamMadden.TVheaven.com.
it send a powerful positive message about colored horses if enough
owners came forward with their outstanding athletes that the U.S.
could send a whole TEAM of Pintos to Greece in 2004?