The Dressage Today team would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in our Win-a-Day contest with U.S. Olympic dressage rider Adrienne Lyle, and to our sponsor, Vita Flex PRO, who made this opportunity possible for our fans.
We were overwhelmed by the number of entries and struggled to narrow down our choices. Ultimately, with the help of Adrienne, we selected Lexi Rohner, who entered the contest on behalf of her daughter Genevieve Rohner.
Genevieve is a 12-year-old grade IV para-equestrian from Park City, Utah, who stole our hearts with her big dreams and inspiring story. Scroll down to learn more about Genevieve.
Genevieve Rohner’s Story
The Winning Essay
I, Lexi Rohner, am the official entrant. I am entering on behalf of my daughter.
Hi Adrienne! My name is Genevieve. I’m 12 and I am a grade IV para-equestrian. I love to compete, and I want to be on a horse more than anything in the world. My parents started my brother and I in Hippotherapy when we were four because we have Cerebral Palsy. I loved it so much I decided riding horses was for me forever. When I was five, I told my mom I was going to the Olympics, even though I didn’t know there was a Paralympics. My current coach, Sydni Peterson, is amazing. She has taken me from Training 3 to working at Second level in one year. She knows how much I want this, and she supports my goal to make the 2024 Paralympic team and represent the U.S. I am very dedicated.
In my first recognized shows in 2018, I qualified for the USDF Region 7 Championships, the California Dressage Society Regional Championships and the California Junior Championships. At the shows, I earned scores between 62 and 68 percent in Training Level Tests 2 and 3 and placed fifth and sixth overall. I even got second in one of the qualifying rides. My goal wasn’t to win, but to see how I fit in for competition. I competed with 14 riders and I was the only para-equestrian. I was 10 and everyone else was over 12. Also, I trained on a quarter horse named Cody in Utah where I live and competed on a Morgan named Karamel in California. At one of the competitions, I was the youngest and the oldest competitor was Hilda Gurney. We got to take a picture together.
Now I ride a beautiful Arabian/Saddlebred mare named Star. She is the best horse ever and I love her so much. Last year we showed our first FEI test and scored 67 percent! My goals for the next two years are to learn more Grade IV FEI tests and compete them in Tryon in October and Wellington in the winter. I also want to earn scores toward my USDF bronze medal.
In Utah, I am the only American para-dressage rider. When I go to shows now, I am usually the only child and there are no other para-dressage riders. Right now, I am the youngest classified para-equestrian in the U.S. If I make the 2024 team, I will be the second youngest ever in the whole world to make it to the Paralympics. That’s my goal and I would be so excited if you came to my barn to help me in any way toward that!