September 2019 - Para-Equestrian Beatrice de Lavalette Announces New Competition Mount
Written by CRM
Saturday, 31 August 2019 00:00
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Beatrice “Béa” de Lavalette, 20, is proud to announce that she has acquired Duna, an eleven-year-old KWPN mare by Vivaldi, with the help of her parents Nicolas and Elizabeth. The mare was purchased from Judy de Winter Dressage LLC in The Netherlands.

Béa’s trainer, Shayna Simon, traveled to Europe and tried many horses in Germany and The Netherlands, but Duna, who has been ridden up to the Prix St. Georges level, offered Béa the training and experience she needed immediately.

“Duna was an obvious option for Béa from the first moment I rode her,” said Simon. “She has a stunning walk and a soft, but lofty, trot that Béa can sit easily. She has a mature mind and doesn’t seem to be bothered by any outside influences.”

De Winter said, “I am very pleased to know that Duna went to such an amazing young woman as Beatrice. Duna is a gorgeous mare with super nice gaits and a fantastic character. Beatrice and Duna were a very good match right from the start. I am happy they found each other, and I could provide assistance in selling this amazing horse.”

 

Béa and Duna competing at the CDS San Diego Chapter Summer Dressage show at Del Mar Show Park. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth de Lavalette.

Up to this point, Béa has ridden her PRE mare, Delegada X (by Airoso XXVI), a mount that has been the perfect para-dressage training horse.

“Delegada has gotten Béa so far since her accident because she totally understands Béa’s physical limitations,” noted Simon. “She doesn’t, however, have the impulsion or long strides that FEI-level judges are looking for. This, combined with her age, meant that for Béa to fulfill her goal of winning a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, it was time for me to find her a new dance partner.”

Duna arrived in the United States at the end of July. Béa has been training with her new mare at Arroyo Del Mar since the mare cleared quarantine.

Béa and Duna made their public debut at the CDS San Diego Chapter Summer Dressage show at Del Mar Show Park this past weekend bringing home a 71.60% in the para-equestrian Grade II individual test and 74.69% in the Grade II team test.

“I was really pleased with these numbers for our first steps out in public,” said Béa. “We had really only been working together for five days! It’s just the beginning, and she is learning so fast. Shayna found a great new mare for me; I’m really happy with her and am looking forward to Tryon in September.”

Béa has been riding since she was three, growing up at France’s Haras de Jardy near Paris. When her parents moved to Belgium for a work opportunity, they purchased Delegada, aka “DeeDee”, for Béa.

When Béa was 17, she was travelling home to the USA when her life was dramatically altered. She became the most critically injured survivor of the Brussels Airport terrorist bombing. She lost both lower legs, sustained major internal injuries, suffered second and third degree burns on 35% of her body, and has partial paralysis.

She got back on her mare, DeeDee, five months after the accident and rode in her first show one year after the bombing. She has an FEI para-equestrian classification of 10a, putting her in Grade II.

Béa, who is from Lake Worth Beach, FL, attends the University of San Diego so that she can train with Shayna Simon Dressage, at Shannon and Steffen Peters’ Arroyo Del Mar.

Béa said, “I can’t imagine being anywhere else but at Arroyo Del Mar. The people here are the most supportive family in the entire horse world. Their encouragement is important to me and keeps me focused on winning in Tokyo next year.”

Béa and Duna will compete next at the CPEDI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center on September 12-15, 2019. Béa is proud to represent her sponsors, Asmar Equestrian and Teeter® FreeStep.

For more information on Beatrice de Lavalette and her quest for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, please visit www.beaparathlete.org and follow her on Facebook.