My name is Genevieve Rohner. I’m 13 and have been riding almost 10 years. I’m a grade IV Para-Equestrian and was classified at age nine. When anyone tells me it’s a long shot to make the Paralympics, I like it. I’m a triplet. My brothers and I were 11-weeks premature, and almost didn’t live. We beat those odds, so I know I can beat a long shot.
I have been the youngest classified para equestrian in the U.S. for four years. This winter when I turn 14, I will do my first international shows in Wellington, Florida, and I will become the youngest globally classified para equestrian. My horse is a Hanoverian named Donut. He is amazing to ride, and we are learning so much. I cannot wait to show him in Florida! I have worked really hard to get to this point, and my goal is to represent the U.S. at the 2024 Paralympics. Making that team would also make me the youngest ever Paralympic dressage rider. When I was five, I told my mom I wanted to go to the Olympics. There’s no guarantee I’ll make the team or medal, but someone will, so why not try?
My parents started my brother Cole and I in Hippotherapy (with Ride-On Therapeutic Horsemanship, (a USEF Para Dressage Centers of Excellence) because we have Cerebral Palsy. I also have Sensory Processing Disorder (a non-clinical Autism Spectrum condition), Amblyopia, and my right leg bones are incorrectly positioned. I loved riding so much I decided right then that riding horses was what I wanted to do forever.
In 2020 I competed at my first nationals, the 2020 Para Championships in Tryon, NC. It was the first time I showed in front of international judges, and I scored up to 69.98% on a catch ride I had only three hours of training on just a few days before competing. It was pretty exciting to be there with all the elite riders and at a huge arena. In 2020 I was also named to the USEF Para Emerging Athletes list with two horses.
My last coach helped me go from Training 2 to Second level in 10 months and my coach now is going to help me get to the international shows. I’m the only competitive para rider in Utah, and I’m usually the only child at shows. I love competing and being on a horse more than anything. I’m very dedicated and I want to be a high-level rider. There is not much dressage in Utah and no high-level athletes who are competing. I want to be the next one and make Utah proud.
I’m super excited that MET is willing to help. Thank you for considering helping me achieve my goals!
Here’s some of the things I have done recently:
- I am showing my first higher level FEI tests this year
- I am working on my U.S. Pony Club D3 rating
- My horse Star and I showed at Training 3 and competed my first FEI para tests. I was very we scored 67% and also qualified for the Utah Dressage Society Short Tour, where I placed 3rd .
- 2019 Sage Creek Equestrian Para Riders Award of Athletic Excellence (67.5%)
- 2019 Utah Dressage Society, Para Jr/Yr Champion
- I competed in my first recognized shows and qualified for the USDF Region 7 Championships, California Dressage Society Regional Championships and California Junior Championships. All my qualifying and championships scores were 62 - 68% at Training 2 & 3. I placed 5th and 6th overall of 14 riders, got 2nd in one qualifying ride.
- California Dressage Society Top Ten award. I was the only Para-Equestrian, I was 10 and all other riders were 2-5 years older. I trained in Utah on an older quarter horse named Cody and competed in California on a Prix St. Georges Morgan named Karamel.
- At one of the shows, I was the youngest rider, and the oldest competitor was Hilda Gurney. We got to take a picture together!
Park City, Utah