Inaugural World Para Reining Event Debuts in Arizona

Excitement is mounting for the Arizona Sun Circuit show sponsored by the Arizona American Quarter Horse Association, where the first ever World Para Reining (WPR) approved classes will be held on January 30 and 31, at noon.  The WPR is a new organization dedicated to fostering competitive reining events for disabled riders around the world.   

 
These classes represent the first events in the WPR series, which will award a championship saddle, a world champion title, and top-10 awards at the end of 2015.
 
WPR provides a format for Para riders to enjoy the sport of reining, and for older successful reining horses to have a valuable second career in the show pen.  The WPR will help bring the Para community into mainstream reining by coordinating with AQHA, NRHA, and other approved organizations, to give Para riders many showing options and opportunities worldwide.
 
Most importantly, the WPR will welcome all levels of disabled riders who want to get started in reining.  The WPR will facilitate the spread of para reining by hosting reining clinics, developing a coaching program, coordinating the pairing of riders with suitable reining horses, and connecting riders with people interested in sponsoring the sport.
 
WPR would like to thank all the sponsors for the Sun Circuit Para Classes, especially Stephanie Bjorkman owner of Sami Fine Jewelry from Fountain Hills AZ, who donated the awards – two beautiful custom sterling silver Arizona Four Peaks amethyst pendants designed with Silver Spurs Equine.
 
Para reining competitors at the Sun Circuit Show will include the following:
 
*Brianna Bartlett*
 
Brianna was in a car accident that caused her to become an L4 incomplete paraplegic.  She is completely paralyzed from the knees down, requiring her to wear braces on both lower legs.  She is also and weak from her knees to waist, especially down the back of her legs.  Briana is shown here winning Reserve Champion on her own Chromed Tejon at the NRHA Futurity Para Reining class in December 2014.
 
 *Catherine Sherwood*
 
Catherine was born with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. Her doctors called it 'Toe Point syndrome' as the muscle spasticity results in her toes being in a constant downward flexion. She has decreased control of her lower leg and foot, and the spasticity results in an almost fused ankle and pain.  Over the years Catherine has gone through multiple surgeries to combat the effects of the CP and also acute Scoliosis. She is shown here riding Spark Chocolate owned by Stephanie Bjorkman at the 2014 NRHA Futurity Para Reining class. In the WPR classes, Catherine will be riding Hollywood Acres, who was recently acquired by Lisa Coulter to share with Para riders. Lisa had previously owned Ace and they won an individual silver medal at the WEG test event at the Kentucky Cup in 2010.
 
*Lara Oles*
 
Lara was injured in a skiing accident in 2006 that paralyzed her right arm, damaged her spinal cord, and caused partial paralysis on her right leg. Lara is shown here at the 2014 NRHA Futurity riding Western Whiz, owned by Bob Thompson and Lisa Coulter, where the pair won the first ever Para Reining Championship trophy.  In the WPR classes Lara will be riding Smart N Shiney, owned by Regina Kozlik and trained by Travis Wigen of Ogden, Utah.
 
*Erin Alberda*
 
Erin has a rare genetic disorder that worsened following a severe illness during her college years. She has little to no feeling in her legs below the knee as well as reduced strength and coordination.  Erin is shown here riding Berry Shiney who is owned and lended very generously by Dusty and Royal Worbets.  She and Berry Shiney won the first ever Canadian Para Reining event in Chilliwack BC at the West Coast Classic last July, 2014. They will be competing together again at this Sun Circuit show.
 
You can get involved too!
The WPR is looking for groups, associations, individuals and sponsors to assist in moving this effort forward in the direction it deserves.  Become a part of the movement!
 
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