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Meet the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team

Deloitte is proud to be the presenting sponsor

Often compared with sports such as ballet and gymnastics, dressage offers athletes an outlet to train in grace and beauty as well as technical skill. Many athletes with physical disabilities enter the sport after discovering a love of horses through equine therapy. Deloitte is proud to be the presenting sponsor of both the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team and U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage national championships.

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The healing power of competition

The word "dressage" comes from the French word for "training," and the sport itself dates to ancient Greece, when riders used codified training practices to prepare their steeds for battle while conveying grace and beauty. Modern competition stays true to this philosophy; horse and rider train together so as to compete as one through a series of tests designed to measure balance, strength, flexibility, and accuracy.

Equine sports are often used as rehabilitation aids for individuals with physical disabilities. As such, many of the world's top Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes initially enter the sport for therapeutic purposes, but once they get in the saddle, they find their calling to compete. Athletes are grouped and compete based on one of five classification categories.

Members of the U.S. team can have opportunities to compete in top-level international events in Australia, Europe, North America, and South America throughout the year. In the United States, the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage national championships presented by Deloitte will continue the sport's tradition of featuring world-class athletes, including FEI World Equestrian Games and Paralympic Games veterans. This sponsorship further expands upon Deloitte’s vision of making an impact and fostering an inclusive environment in our communities.

Deloitte is honored to support the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team and the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage national championships. The dedication and teamwork that Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes demonstrate is inspiring, and the poise and beauty that horse and rider demonstrate in the arena belie the huge amount of hard work required to get there. We look forward to being a part of this organization's story and helping these athletes strive for excellence.

– Judy Sloan, principal, Deloitte Tax LLP

US Para Equestrian Dressage competitor Annie Peavy

Meet Sydney Collier

Sydney Collier, Para-Equestrian Dressage
Born in 1997, Sydney started riding horses at age seven—the same year she was diagnosed with a rare congenital birth defect called Wyburn-Mason Syndrome. Affecting less than 0.14 percent of the population, the disease can cause brain hemorrhaging, stroke, paralysis, and even death. The following year, at age eight, Sydney began a long march in and out of hospitalizations and surgeries; that was when a stroke robbed her of the use of the left side of her body.

At the World Equestrian Games (WEG), Sydney met Jonathan Wentz, an inspirational figure well-known in the Para-Equestrian Dressage community. He encouraged her to try the sport—and she sprang into action.

Caring for and riding horses were the reasons I wanted to be able to walk again. But it was by chance that I even stumbled upon para-dressage, and I owe so much to my family, trainer, friends, and sponsors for their support in helping me reach this level of the sport.

Sydney aspires to continue competing internationally and to become an ambassador for the sport. To learn more about Sydney, and to speak with her directly about what it takes to be a rider, contact her through her website, []

Sydney Collier US Para Dressage competitor
Photo credit: Lindsay McCall
"Para-dressage is the most inspiring sport you'll ever watch," Sydney told Deloitte. "It's this beautiful partnership between a horse and a person who may not be able to walk. I get up on a horse and I feel free from these constraints that my body has put on me. I get on a horse and nothing else matters other than that moment."
– Sydney Collier

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