Susan Treabess fought for a coveted spot on the United States Equestrian Team to compete in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to held in Normandy, France.
Susan Treabess, daughter of Ron and Marilyn Treabess, earned that spot.
Tahoe City born and bred, Treabess has been riding her entire life. Since her early start with the Truckee Donner Junior Horsemen, she competed in western riding, jumping, combined training and gymkhana. Susan is now a professional horse trainer operating out of Somerset Farm; a 70-horse, 120-acre training facility in Winters, Calif.
Susan was born without her left hand, but was very active in sports growing up, participating in everything from skiing to fast-pitch softball. Her disability never slowed her down. She met her husband, Scott Stanley, at North Tahoe High School more than 20 years ago, and they now have a 2-year-old son, Logan.
WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES
The World Equestrian Games (WEG), celebrated every four years alternating with the Olympic Games, are the biggest equestrian event in the world. The finest athletes from 76 nations will compete in eight official Fédération Equestre Internationale disciplines, including Para-Dressage. The WEG attracts more than 500,000 spectators, 1,000 competitors, 1,000 horses and more than 500 million television followers.
Para-Dressage provides competitive opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities. Many disabled athletes compete — and even excel — in sports designed for the able-bodied, but Para-Dressage opens a world of competition to riders with even severe disabilities that might preclude them from other forms of sport, while providing a structured, focused and highly competitive environment.
Para-Dressage is also part of the Summer Paralympics, which follow directly after the Olympics at the same venue.
THE PERFECT PARTNER
Kamiakin, Susan’s equine partner, is the kind of horse stories are made from. “Kam,” as he’s referred to in the barn, is a 9-year-old Pure Raza Espaῆol (PRE) which is a noble horse breed originating in Spain.
Kam came to Susan in late 2011 as a training-level 6-year-old when his owners sought to sell him due to their family move to the Netherlands. Susan and Kam developed an instant partnership. Instead of selling him, the owners gave Kam to Susan as a competition horse.
Kamiakin is the first PRE to represent the United States in a WEG event. Together, they are a 100 percent product of the USA. “I’m a U.S. rider, riding a U.S.-bred horse, coached by a U.S. coach, with U.S. co-owners,” said Susan, “and we all get to represent our country against the world’s best in Para-Dressage. We’re living the American Dream!”
International and U.S. coach Dennis Callin is incredibly proud of the team’s accomplishment. Dennis introduced Susan to Para-Dressage at a clinic in 2007. Three years later, Susan was selected for the United States Para-Equestrian Dressage team and competed at the 2010 WEG in Lexington, Ky.
That year she was ranked fifth in the world and was the highest scoring American in the WEG.
“Through much dedication, hard work, extreme focus and a very willing equine partner, we are very much looking forward to our journey of the World Equestrian Games,” said Dennis. “It takes an entire village to make this possible. A big thank you to all the professionals, sponsors, friends and family who are making this possible. As her coach, I am filled with pride and look forward to continuing our goal of producing the best horse/rider combination possible.”
When asked how she thinks she’ll do at the WEG, Susan said, “I’m not focusing on just the outcome: I’m focusing more on the day-to-day needs and training of myself and the horse. After the 2010 WEG, I realized I might not be able to afford the horses that were earning medals in my division. But it shouldn’t be about that anyway. It has to be about finding a partner you believe in and bringing out the best in each other.
“I want to win a medal for the U.S. by doing things right; hard work, determination and becoming the best I can be with and for my horse on any given day. In Kam I saw a lot of raw potential with a bright future if channeled correctly.
“We are a young partnership for FEI dressage and for Para-Dressage. With the help of others I have brought Kam along from an undeveloped youngster to a promising international competitor. I will feel good at the end of the day because I know this is just the beginning for us and I’m very proud that we are a home grown product!”
A LITTLE HELP FROM HER FRIENDS
Although the United States Equestrian Federation provides limited funding for the USA athletes, the athletes themselves must raise a significant portion of the funds needed to travel to Europe and compete at the Games.
Treabess has already secured 70 percent of what is required, and is currently trying to raise the remaining $15,000 to offset travel and training expenses. Current fundraising efforts include online donations, a crowdfunding campaign and generous individuals who have committed support.
For more information or to contribute to Susan and Kam’s effort, visit www.susantreabess.com/support or call Susan at 916-201-2560.
“I want to win a medal for the U.S. by doing things right; hard work, determination and becoming the best I can be with and for my horse on any given day.”