laraoles anniesweet bella

Strong Finish For Utah Para Rider

laraoles anniesweet bellaLara Oles, Annie Sweet and Bella • photo by Dan OlesAspiring Paralympian Lara Oles and her mare, Bella, closed out the summer show season with their highest score to date. The team earned a score of 76.4 percent while showing at the Utah Dressage Society – Dressage Days Show in August. 

Oles, Bella and their trainer Annie Sweet, are now preparing for the United States Equestrian Federation Para Dressage High Performance National Championship scheduled for October in Katy, Texas. Peiker Acustic Inc., manufacturers of the CEECOACH Bluetooth Communication System, has provided a generous donation to help Oles pay for the trip to Texas.

Oles was in a skiing accident in 2006 that damaged her spinal cord, leaving her right arm permanently paralyzed and with stroke-like symptoms in her right leg. Oles and Bella train with Sweet at Sage Creek Equestrian in Heber City, Utah. Oles is well known in the Utah horse community as a determined competitor and as the state’s first internationally classified Para Dressage rider.

Dressage is an equestrian discipline where a horse accurately performs a series of precise patterns while receiving subtle cues from the rider. Para Dressage adapts dressage for physically disabled riders and has been a Paralympic event since 1996.

Oles thanked all her other supporters and sponsors, including Brakes Only, Arista and Theraplate Revolution, and said, “All competitive sport is expensive at the high performance level, but when a horse is your teammate the costs are out of reach for middle-income workers like my husband and I. Without financial assistance, we would not be able to afford to compete at the National Championship.”

The next requirement to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, is to show in Wellington, Florida, in January. Oles is determined to get there somehow. For more information, visit www.lope.org.