Jonathan Wentz, the highest-placed U.S. rider at this year’s Paralympics in London, passed away on Sept. 30. He was 21.
Tina and James Wentz posted the following update on Jonathan’s Facebook page today, Oct. 1: “It is with a heavy and numb heart that we notify everyone of the tremendous loss of our precious son and Paralympian Jonathan. He was taken suddenly from us and has left a hole in our lives that will never be filled. He loved life and lived it each day, giving his all toward his riding, school, family and friends. He lived to ride horses and enjoyed it immensely, pushing to be his best and pushing to improve para-dressage.
"He LOVED getting to fulfill his dream of representing the USA at the Paralympics. He soaked in every minute in London enjoying getting to meet new friends, hang with his team, see new sights, and compete against the best in the world. He was extremely grateful for the opportunity and determined to bring home a medal next time out. We do not understand why his life on this earth was so short, but we celebrate every day we were given to love, laugh, and enjoy our amazing son, and we rejoice in the knowledge that he is with his Lord riding and running like never before. Thank you to everyone who shared a part of his life, it was an amazing ride.”
Jonathan, who was born with cerebral palsy and classified under the Grade 1b designation for para-dressage classes, was studying medieval studies, history and political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He piloted NTEC Richter Scale, owned by trainer Kai Handt, to fourth in the Individual test, fifth in the Team test and fifth in the freestyle at the 2012 Paralympics. “Richter” and Jonathan won the 2011 USEF Para-Dressage National Championship (N.Y.), and the pair also competed for the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.).
A celebration of Jonathan's life will be held Oct. 6., 2 p.m., at Grace Bible Church located at 11306 Inwood Road, Dallas, Texas 75229.
For those interested in donating to Jonathan's memory, the family has set-up a scholarship fund in his name at the United States Para-Equestrian Association. Jonathan was an advocate for the sport and was dedicated to helping grow the discipline as a whole.
Donations in Jonathan's honor may be mailed to the United States Para-Equestrian Association:
Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund
3940 Verde Vista Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
The USPEA is a 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax-deductible. You may also donate through the USPEA website by clicking the red "Donate Now" button at the bottom of the page. Please specify that the donation is for Jonathan Wentz Scholarship Fund. Any questions about donating can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org