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Keith Newerla Wins 2004 NDSA Championship For Riders With Disabilities

NDSA Press Release

Kingston, RIóMay 12, 2004óFor the second consecutive year, Keith Newerla of Seaford, NY, won the National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) Equestrian Championship for riders with physical disabilities. Riding Ballyshannon, Newerla won the Championship at Good Horsemanís Dressage in the Horse Park at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, GA, May 1-2.

With a score of 68.947%, Newerla and Ballyshannon sat in first place following the Individual Championship. The pair turned in a score of 65.625% in the Musical Freestyle, the second phase of competition. A fine performance in the Team Test earned Newerla and Ballyshannon a score of 67.105%, giving them a three-phase score of 67.249% which could not be beaten.

It was a close competition throughout the weekend with only about ..8% separating the top four places overall. Kathryn Groves of Winter Garden, FL finished in second place aboard Fleetwood with an overall score of 66.649%. In third was Robin Brueckmann of Summerfield, NC, who had a score of 66.639% riding Richmond.

The NDSA Championship also served as the Dressage Selection Trial to determine the Short List of riders who will represent the United States at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. The Short List of riders comprises Newerla, Groves, and Brueckmann, as well as Barbara Grassmyer of Placerville, CA, Rebecca Hart of Erie, PA, and Lynn Seidemann of Coppell, TX.

Prior to May 23, these riders must compete in one additional event which will serve as their final qualifier for the Paralympic Dressage Team. The Team will comprise a four-member squad plus two alternates and will be named based on a combination of performance scores and subjective nomination.

The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for riders with disabilities. The non-profit organization is responsible for the development and selection of riders for national championships and international competitions, including World Championships and the Paralympic Games, and provides training, competition, and advocacy for riders of all levels with physical disabilities.

For more information about NDSA and opportunities to support the programs, please visit our website at or contact Denise Avolio at (914) 949-8166 or