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US international Para Dressage rider Sydney Collier began competing at international level at age sixteen when she earned a spot on the US Para Dressage team and became the youngest competitor at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France. At age eighteen, Sydney won the 2016 US Para-dressage National Championships and became the youngest member in the equestrian portion of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio as a part of Team USA where she placed 7th overall in the highly competitive para-dressage grade 1B. Sydney and her amazing horse Bell Bottoms (Beebs) are on the US Paralympic Dressage team shortlist for the Paris Olympics 2024. This truly inspirational woman has dedicated her life to service and  maintains a busy schedule combining competing, athletic, equestrian training, guest speaking, volunteering, and giving riding demonstrations at a variety of events. And as if all of this wasn’t enough, Sydney is also an author. Her book “Beyond Expectations”, published by Trafalgar Square Books is coming out this summer! We wish her every success in achieving all of her goals.

Tell us about your horse

Sydney Collier US paralympic dressage rider
Meet Sydney and her beloved Beebs
My horse’s name is Bell Bottoms, affectionately dubbed, “BB” “beebs” or “Bieber” at the barn, thanks to her Bieber energy and swagger. Beebs is a 10-year-old chestnut Oldenburg mare. She is the first mare I have had the honour of developing a long-term partnership with, and honestly her heart never ceases to amaze me. She is the sweetest on the ground and in the saddle she always has my back, from the moment I first got her, thanks to the help of my sponsors, she always had quite a motherly energy towards me, moulding me into the rider she needed me to be. Every day I get the chance to ride her I feel blown away that I get the opportunity to work with such a talented, thoughtful, and willing mare.

   

How did horses come into your life?

Sydney’s first love was eventing
  Horses came into my life completely by chance, they were always an undercurrent in my childhood, Breyer horses and the occasional pony ride were always my favourite. I tried literally every sport, and none of them clicked, then one day at the age of seven by chance I asked my mom if I could take riding lessons, needless to say, I was hooked. From the moment I rode that first pony I knew it was what I was meant to do with my life, I knew I had found my passion. I began riding as an Eventer with the goal of one day representing the USA in the Olympic Games. Life would have other plans for me, but I always refused to give up, and it was my love for equestrian sport that kept propelling me forward. I never gave up on my goal to one day represent the USA on the world stage, even after my diagnosis and multiple strokes. I am proud to let you know that I represented the USA in the World Equestrian Games in 2014 and the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016.

 

When and where do you ride?

  I ride 5 days a week at Diamante Farms in Wellington, Florida.  

 

Who do you train with?  

Sydney and Beebs with trainer Devon Kane at Diamanté.
  For Para dressage riders it is important to work with a regular coach, since our trainers warm up our horses for us to keep them balanced and working in the gaits that we may not perform in our tests. I currently have the honour of training with my trainer Devon Kane at Diamanté.

What are you and your horses currently working on?

  Relaxation. The pillar for any great dressage test is the horses relaxation, and at the moment my main focus is facilitating Beeb’s ability to swing through her back and to have her biggest swinging walk possible.

What do you love about riding?

  Everything! But ok…. That’s a bit vague, if I had to pick my favourite thing about riding it would definitely be have to be the relationship with the horse, and how every horse teaches you something new about yourself and about life in general. But honestly there’s so many things to love about riding that it’s hard to pinpoint just one.  

 

What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

Sydney’s motto is – Through drive, determination, and adaptability your dreams can become a reality
With my life I hope to motivate others to embrace adaptability, and to not be afraid to strive towards their own goals no matter what odds may feel stacked against them. There is always a way if you work hard enough to accomplish your goals.

It takes a team to do dressage, who is in your support team?

  My trainer Devon. My mom. My whole family always, even if from afar. Whomever is grooming for me at that competition. My sports psychologist Nick. My sports psychologist Laura. My nutritionist Laura. My physical trainer Tony. It really does take a strong support team for success.    

Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?  

  I have for many years, but for many years I lived in denial that I had nerves. I thought I was immune to them, but after the 2016 Paralympic Games I decided to own my nerves. To take ownership of them and to work on them.  

How do you deal with them?

  I sought out the help of a sports psychologist to help me identify my weak spots mentally and to help me work on these weaknesses I was experiencing. The thing about dressage is that it is a very mental sport. So I definitely do not believe I would be where I am today without the help of my work with my sports psychologist.  

Do you have any rituals before competing?

  I always listen to my preshow playlists to get in the zone

Your Top Tip

  Know your routine and stick to it. It’s so easy to get side tracked by different emotions or thoughts going on during horse shows, or even just during life and training, knowing your routine and what works best for you and your horses and sticking to it while staying true to yourself is the most important thing.  

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

  The best piece of advice that I’ve ever been given is definitely to enjoy the ride no matter what!  

 

Down the Centre Line

   

Who would be your dream horse to ride?

  Honestly every horse I am lucky enough to get to ride ends up being my dream horse to ride, as cheesy as that sounds. However, I think that if I could pick my dream horse to ride it would be Glamourdale, his piaffe and passages are really incredible.

 

Who is your equestrian hero?

  My friend and mentor Jonathan Wentz, Jonathan you ride on with me always  

 

If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

  Jonathan Wentz, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Kaley Cuoco  

 

Favourite colour horse?

  At the moment, chestnut, definitely thanks to Beebs

 

Favourite horse event?

  I absolutely love dressage but eventing will always have a special place in my heart, I started out as an Eventer when I was seven and I have been an adrenaline junkie ever since

 

Favourite food?

  Healthy? Salmon Unhealthy… Bacon Cheeseburgers

 

Favourite way to relax?

  Listening to music or watching TV

 

Favourite film?

  Documentary: Crip Camp   Film: the perks of being a wallflower  

Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Sydney you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here .  You can keep up with Sydney’s progress and check out her instagram page here              
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Hi! I am Sharon Howe

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Hello My name is Sharon Howe and I am horse mad. This site is my place to scribble away my…

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