NTEC Richter Scale

Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman/USEF Archive
(1994 – )
Owned by Kai Handt
Inducted: 2013
It takes a special kind of horse to give a person with a disability the opportunity to compete as an athlete and be judged on their abilities, mindful that this special horse will need to make special efforts to help the person with their balance, coordination and posture. It takes a special kind of horse, one with immense heart and kindness, to compete in Para-Equestrian dressage and be a champion. It takes a very special kind of horse to give a person with a disability the opportunity to compete at the highest level of the equestrian sport.

NTEC Richter Scale, the 17.2-hand, Shire Cross, owned by Kai Handt, demonstrated all these attributes. All that was required was for the paths of NTEC Richter Scale and Jonathan Wentz to cross for history to be made.

Wentz, who began riding at the age of two for therapy to combat the loss of strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance caused by cerebral palsy, was making great strides toward his equestrian goals, but, in the fall of 2008 he found himself without a horse and needing to find a new place to train in order to reach the next level in his competitive riding.

Wentz found both at the North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC) - the trainer, coach, and horse sponsor, Kai Handt, and the horse, NTEC Richter Scale.

Six months after beginning training with Handt, Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale competed in their first CPEDI3* and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Para-Equestrian Nationals as a Grade II rider, where he earned his certificate of capability and placed seventh. He also received High Point Individual at the Region 9 Junior Team Championship and qualified for the 2009 Region 9 United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Championships.

Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale had a very successful showing at the USEF Selection Trial/National Championship for the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, earning a 68.167% in the Freestyle on the way to an overall sixth-place finish.

NTEC Richter Scale and Wentz completed their 2010 campaign by representing the U.S. at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, where they rode as part of the Team.

The pair earned numerous top placings throughout 2011, including earning the 2011 USEF National Para-Equestrian Championship.

In 2012, Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale started off the year with strong performances earning Wentz a #10 ranking on the FEI World Individual Ranking list and top ranked USA rider.

Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale went on to claim the USEF National Para-Equestrian Reserve Championship and earned a place on the U.S. team at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale led the U.S. team to their most successful Championship finish in recent years.

In two instances during the games, the pair came extremely close to standing on the Individual medal podium. In the Grade 1b Individual Test, they finished fourth with a 70.348% and in the Grade 1b Freestyle Test, they cended up fifth with a 73%.

The picture of consistency and willingness, NTEC Richter Scale excelled on the field of play and off, giving his rider the gift of freedom and movement that could only be enjoyed on horseback. But, it was Richter's athletic talent that earned him the accolade of United States Equestrian Federation Horse of Honor in 2012.

Richter was the perfect match for Wentz. He took care of him, and like the best therapy horse and equine athlete, used his talent, kind heart, and sound mind to perform to the best of both their abilities.

Even before his tragic death in 2012 at the age of 21, Wentz achieved many of his lofty goals by partnering with Richter, not the least of which was riding on the world's grandest stage in London "“ a great victory for a wonderful young man and an equally wonderful horse.