LEXINGTON, Ky. — Margaret McIntosh, of Reading, Pa. swept her classes at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*.  

McIntosh is a member of the Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team. She and her teammates: Michele Bandinu (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Katie Jackson (Austin, Texas) and Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) stepped into 2018 with an impressive performance the Festival with a total team score of 420.622. The team completed their FEI Team Test on Jan. 5., and their FEI Individual Championship Test Jan. 6.

Chef d’Equipe and National Advisor Kai Handt led the team in their opening competition of the year.

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Friday’s FEI Team Test counted for 50% of the team’s overall score. McIntosh, a 2016 Paralympian, and her 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare Heros placed first in Grade I with a score of 73.750%.

Saturday started with the Grade I FEI Individual Championship Test, which completed the final 50% of the score contributing to the U.S. team’s top finish. With consistent execution, McIntosh and Heros held onto their lead and contributed largely to the team’s final placing, with a 72.381%.

With a top finish in the team competition, the Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Team went on to compete in the Freestyle Tests on Jan. 7. McIntosh and Heros swept the competition yet again, with a top finish and a 76.267% — a new personal best.

“The Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team had an excellent showing thanks to our sponsors, US Equestrian, USPEA, Adequan, Deloitte, Mission Control, and Rowan O’Reilly,” said Handt. “The team has been improving their scores all week, and finished with 60% of the riders above 70% by Sunday. We have great expectations for our team and trainers in 2018. In the last six months, we have seen a tremendous improvement from our team, which has more than tripled in participation and size over the last three years.

 “We are looking forward to an exciting show season for 2018,” said Handt. “We are seeing that the application of online test judging and intense training seminars at our Para-Equestrian Centers of Excellence and at CPEDI’s, is really getting our trainers on the right track and improving results for the upcoming season. We are looking to be a solid contender team by the end of the qualifying period for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, which requires fine-tuning at our upcoming training sessions. Our para-dressage sport is growing rapidly with a large group of U25 riders, juniors, and young riders attracted to the sport. We are supporting a strong base of experienced and upcoming competitors. 2018 is going to be a good year.”

The team is preparing for the world’s largest equestrian competition, the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 (WEG) in September. Administered by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Games will take place over 14 days and is the major international championship event for the eight core equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage and para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining.

Follow McIntosh on Facebook (@gigimcintoshparaequestrian) and Instagram (@gigi_mcintosh).

Watch the US Equestrian Learning Center video to learn more about para-equestrian dressage. Plus, follow on Facebook (@USAParaDressage and @USEquestrian), Instagram (@USEquestrian), and Twitter (@USEquestrian) for all the latest from the competition.

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