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Newerla Wins 2003 NDSA Championship For Riders With A Disability at Bayer/USET Festival of Champions Presented by State Line Tack

Kingston, RI —June 25, 2003—In his first trip to the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, Presented by State Line Tack, Keith Newerla of Seaford, NY, topped a field of 10 horse-and-rider combinations to win the 2003 National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) Championship for Riders with a Disability. The Championship was held June 20-22 at the USET’s Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, New Jersey.

Twenty-year-old Newerla, and Atticus, a Hanovarian gelding owned by Jenny Sutton, won all three phases of the competition earning an overall score of 70.906% for the weekend. “It’s my first year here,” he said. “I’m the rookie. Somehow I ended up doing well, I guess it was beginner’s luck.”

However, with his highest score of the weekend coming in the Musical Freestyle competition, where he executed more movements than were required in the test, Newerla proved that it was more than luck that landed him on top. “I had a good day. Today was a good day but being lucky helps,” he contested.

The Championship was also used to select the team to represent the United States in Belgium in September at the 2003 Dressage World Championships for Riders with a Disability. Newerla will bypass the competition in Belgium to be at school at Minnesota State University-Moorhead where he studies broadcast journalism. The six riders who were named to the squad are Lynn Seidemann of Coppell, TX; Barbara Grassmyer of Placerville, CA; Rebecca Hart of Erie, PA; Robin Brueckmann of Summerfield, NC; Cynthia Ruiz of Houston, TX; and Kathryn Groves of Winter Garden, FL.

This is the sixth year that riders with disabilities had the privilege of competing at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack. The first three years, riders participated in the Bradshaw Challenge of Champions, with the NDSA Championship premiering in 2001. This year’s event was expanded to three days of competition and includes 10 of the best riders from around the country.

Turner Construction Company, sponsor of the NDSA Championship for Riders with Disabilities, is a long-time supporter of riders with disabilities. Turner has sponsored many events with NDSA, including the 2000 Paralympic Selection Trials, which were also held at the USET Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, and the 2002 Inner Vision Championships, held in Huntington, New York.

Dressage at Devon has also joined with NDSA and will host the first ever NDSA Grade IV Championship on September 26-28. Four of the country’s top Grade IV riders will be invited to compete in an overall championship at this prestigious East Coast event.

The National Disability Sports Alliance is the national governing body for equestrian sport for equestrian athletes 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




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