Past Teams

Team USA Members of the Past:

  • Mary Gray
  • Peggy Benge
  • Megan Benge
  • Carol Wilkinson
  • Michael Muir
  • Kate River
  • Cindy Goff
  • Tom Turner
  • Diane Kastama
  • Becky Merritt
  • Pam Johnson
  • Mary Woolverton
  • Gene Hagberg
  • ‘Karen Gorham’
  • Add Robert Giles
  • Virginia Boo Fitch

United States Driving for the Disabled holds the distinguished privilege of selecting a team to represent the United States of America in international competition. Since 1994, our teams, individuals, and even pair drivers have been wonderfully successful. As of 2006 the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) sanctions and organizes these events, held every two years. The USEF’s Team USA has one of the best medaling histories despite consistently using unfamiliar horses leased in the hosting counties.

USEF’s Team USA World Championships

1994 – First unofficial Demonstration
Championship of Drivers with Disabilities held in Hartpury, England,
Team USA Silver: Mary Gray, Cindy Goff, Tom Turner, Rebecca Merritt
Individual Gold: Mary Gray

1998 – First official IPEC (International Para Equestrian Committees) World
Championship for Drivers with Disabilities held in Wolfsburg, Germany,
Team USA Bronze: Kate Rivers, Mary Gray, Michael Muir
Individual Bronze: Kate Rivers

2000 – IPEC WC held in Stadl Paura, Austria
Individual Gold: Kate Rivers

2002 – IPEC WC held in Greven, Germany,
Team USA Bronze: Diane Kastama, Meghan Benge, Peggy Benge
Individual Silver: Diane Kastama

2004 – IPEC WC held in Hopetoun, Scotland,
Individual Bronze – Pairs Class – Michael Muir

2006 – First FEI WC for Drivers with Disabilities, held in Hellendoorn, The Netherlands,
Individual Gold: Diane Kastama

2008 – FEI WC held in Greven, Germany,
Team USA Silver: Meghan Benge, Diane Kastama, Mary Gray
Individual Gold: Meghan Benge
Individual Bronze: Diane Kastama

2010 – Team not sent due to lack of funding

2012 – FEI WC held in Breda, The Netherlands
Team – USA Fourth

Team 2012 Info
Dressage test FEI 4 is located here.
http://fei.org/disciplines/officials-organisers/organisers/driving-and-para-equestrian-driving/dressage-tests


Team 2012 Photo Gallery

Thanks go to the following for submission of pictures to the Team 2012 Photo Gallery;
Emily Bassett, Marie de Ronde, Wendy Ying, Keady Cadwell. If there are any particular pictures you feel should be added, please send an email to fkastama@yahoo.com with the pictures attached.

2014 – Robert Giles, Virginia Boo Fitch, Diane Kastama.
Individual, Mary Gray
Team Bronze, Robert Giles – Individual Silver

Team 2014 Info
FEI World Para Equestrian Driving Championships 2014 | Horse Canada


Dear USDFD Members and Supporters,

At Sandringham, England the FEI Para-Equestrian World Driving Championships have come to a close today. Germany held on to its overnight lead to take Team Gold. The Netherlands took Silver with the USA a mere 3.29 penalties behind in Bronze. Great Britain finished in fourth place. Robert Giles (USA) won the individual Grade 2 silver medal with Virginia (Boo) Fitch (USA) in fourth!

It is the first time that these championships have been hosted in England and para-drivers from eight nations competed in a very fiercely fought contest for world supremacy. Four of the nations, including the USA, fielded a team of at least three competitors required for the “team medal” awards; the other countries were represented by individual competitors. Individual medals are awarded by “Grade” which is a classification by the FEI according to level of disability (with Grade I being more severely disabled than Grade II – usually wheelchair bound). 60% of the competitors were Grade I. Following are the final Medal scores and awards

Teams:
1st Germany 227.07
2nd Netherlands 244.74
3rd USA 248.03
4th Great Britain 264.91

Grade I:
1st Jacques Poppen (Ned) 107.18
2nd Heiner Lehrter (Ger) 118.46
3rd Markus Beerhues (Ger) 124.25
4th Lucy Barclay (GBR) 131 73

Grade II:
1st Alexandra Roeder 111.61
2nd Robert Giles (USA) 125.21
3rd Mick Ward (GBR) 127.25
4th Virginia Fitch (USA) 131.82

For further detailed scores see:
http://www.hoefnet.nl/en/home/site/uitslagen/d8471a0aa505c1165003032658706598

Additional news is at: http://www.britishcarriagedriving.co.uk/
Germany holds overnight lead to take Team Gold at the 2014 Para-Equestrian World Championships
http://www.hoefnet.nl/en/home/site/news/sandringham-germany-holds-overnight-lead-to-take-team-gold

Attached are photos of the US team and the final parade. Photos by Marie de Ronde-Oudemans and Patricia Kastama. More at www.facebook/usdfd

Special Note of Thanks from Team USA and USDFD: Heartfelt thanks go to Coach Sara Schmitt and Chef d’Equipe Marie de Ronde-Oudemans who each went above and beyond in their help to the team. We would also like to extend our utmost appreciation to all of the individuals and groups over the past many months who have given us their encouragement, backing and support and who have truly been the ones who have made this possible.
THANK YOU all for being a part of this wonderful accomplishment!!


Dear USDFD Members and Supporters,

The team has successfully negotiated the English Channel traveling via ferry from their training camp in Holland to Sandringham, England with Koos de Ronde’s fantastic packing and transport assistance.

The dressage phase was completed today, and the team is in Bronze Medal position, just 8 points behind The Netherlands and Germany. Virginia Boo Fitch, placed 2nd driving her own Kiko in Grade 2 with a 42.10 and Robert Giles placed 3rd in Grade 2 with a 43.70 driving Solo owned by Koos and Marie de Ronde. Diane Kastama placed 11th in Grade 1 with a 52.00. Individual, Mary Gray, driving Rooster owned by an English gentleman, placed 10th in Grade 2 with a 58.30.

The weather was cloudy for the first half of the competition and then thunder, lightning, and hail arrived for the afternoon competitors. Boo enjoyed a lovely downpour while driving her test, while Diane endured the pouring rain while she warmed up Rupert. Pouring rain and a wet camera hampered photos of Boo and Diane, even though the sun did try to come out during Diane’s test. Hence attached is only one dressage photo – that of Robert Giles Driving Solo.

Scores can be viewed at http://www.hoefnet.nl/uitslagen/2014/GBR/SANDRINGHAM.20140626.20140629/TeamsDressageHorses.htm

The team is looking forward to some challenging hazards in the morning. Go Team USA!!!
Best Regards, USDFD Secretary


Dear USDFD members and supporters,

Meghan Benge at the 2008 Disabled Championships in Greven, Germany driving a Welsh Cob named Jack.