Training & Competition
Initially riding for therapy at age four, Genevieve began riding under the tutelage of Megan McQueeney at the California-based Ride-On, a USEF Paraequestrian Center of Excellence.
Currently training with Annie Sweet in Utah, Genevieve has developed into an accomplished rider with her sights set on representing The U.S. at the 2024 Paralympics.
Officially classified nationally at age 9, Genevieve is a Grade IV rider and has been the youngest U.S. classified paraequestrian for four years. She is focused and passionate about being a competitive para equestrian. When she begins showing at her first CPEDI in 2022, she will become the youngest globally classified para dressage competitor.
At 12 years old, Genevieve earned two spots on the USEF Para Emerging Athletes list and also earned blue ribbons at the 2020 Para Dressage Championships, her first national event. Working with Button Baker, Genevieve earned scores up to 69% from international judges at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, on Penny Neault's mare, Viessa (Cross Creek Farms).
2018 was her first season in rated shows. The only para rider and two to five years younger than all her competitors, she trained on one horse in Utah and competed on another in California. She qualified for the California Junior Championships, CDS Regionals and USDF Regionals at Training level, placing 5th and 6th overall in each competition and earning a CDS Top Ten placement.
The goal of Para-Dressage is to display the gracefulness, balance, and attentiveness of the horse. In Para-Dressage, the rider tells the horse to perform precise movements founded on three basic gaits—walk, trot, and cantor—using very subtle signals in a show ring. The horse and rider are then judged on how well they can complete these movements and how easily they can transition from one movement to the next. There are three dressage events; in the first, the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special, the elements that the horse and rider have to complete as well as the path they have to take around the show ring—the figures—are outlined in a set order by the judges. In freestyle, the rider and horse decide the order of the elements and their path to best showcase their abilities. In this event, their movements and figures are choreographed to instrumental music. Para-Dressage first became part of the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, GA. At the Paralympics, riders can compete individually or as a team.
Genevieve Rohner is a triplet, born at 28 weeks. As a premature infant, her underdeveloped nervous system led to a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Processing Disorder, Amblyopia and misaligned right leg bones. One of her brothers had a stroke at birth and also has Cerebral Palsy. At four years old, he was in a Hippotherapy clinical trial with Ride-On Therapeutic Horsemanship, an International Para-equestrian Center of Excellence in Southern California. Genevieve decided to try Hippotherapy as well, and she fell in love the moment she sat on Sadie, the first horse she rode.
Horses changed everything for Genevieve, who was not social, and over the past 10 years, she progressed from Hippotherapy to Therapeutic riding to Para-dressage. She discovered not only a love of horses, but a love of competing, and looks forward to each opportunity. The connection between horse and rider provides a sense of calmness and freedom for her and feeds her system in a way nothing else does. She has developed into an accomplished rider under the tutelage of Megan McQueeney, Sydni Peterson, and now, Annie Sweet, with mentoring from elite and fellow Grade IV rider, Kate Shoemaker.
Classified at age 9, Genevieve has been the youngest classified U.S. para equestrian for four years. She is now 13 and competes FEI tests in Grade IV. When she competes at her first international shows in 2022, she will become the youngest classified para dressage competitor globally.
Genevieve is focused and motivated, at 12 she earned two spots on the USEF Para Emerging Athletes list with two horses and placed first at the 2020 Para Dressage Championships in Tryon, NC, her first national show experience.
In 2018, she competed in her first recognized shows, winning most and placing 3rd or higher in others, and earned Reserve Champion. Her scores qualified her for the CA Junior Championships, California Dressage Society Regional Championships and the U.S. Dressage Federation Region 7 Championships. She placed 5th and 6th overall, in fields of 14 competitors. In all of these Championships, her competitors were older than her by 3-5 years. She was the youngest competitor of every competition, the only Para- equestrian, and the only competitor without her own horse. What is even more remarkable is that she trained on one horse in Utah and competed on a different horse in California.
She currently rides her beautiful six-year old equine Hanoverian partner, Donut.
With big dreams of becoming the youngest Paralympic Equestrian competitor, Genevieve is aiming for Team USA and the 2024 Paralympics.