Kai Handt

Practical Horseman - - The Ride of Your Life -

is the U.S. Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion para-eques­trian dres­sage chef d’équipe, a role that cul­mi­nates more than four decades of suc­cess­ful rid­ing, com­pet­ing and train­ing at the in­ter­na­tional level across dres­sage, show jump­ing and event­ing.

Kai grew up in a horse fam­ily—his par­ents rode for leisure in their home­town of Kas­sel, Ger­many. His grand­fa­ther was a horse dealer with a farm in Meck­len­burg. Kai started rid­ing when he was 6 and was com­pet­ing on jumpers by the time he was 8. He “dis­liked ponies” be­cause as a de­vel­op­ing rider in Ger­many at that time “you tried to ride the big­gest and fastest horse you could get on. We used to line up our horses on the river bot­tom and race as fast as we could.”

An avid com­peti­tor through­out his ado­les­cent and teen years, Kai was awarded his Ger­man bronze, sil­ver and gold medals be­fore reach­ing the age of 18. He spent five years em­ployed at Pres­tiges Verein fuer Reit­spor, one of Ger­many’s most re­spected train­ing fa­cil­i­ties at the time. He re­lo­cated to the United States in 1985 and a year later pur­chased a fa­cil­ity in Wylie, Texas, which would be­come the North Texas Eques­trian Cen­ter, where he is cur­rently the owner and head trainer.

NTEC trains riders in all dis­ci­plines from begin­ner to Grand Prix level. NTEC is also a ma­jor train­ing ground for para-dres­sage. Kai was the U.S. chef d’équipe for the Para-Eques­trian Dres­sage Team at the 2016 Par­a­lympics and at the 2014 All­tech FEI World Eques­trian Games and the in­di­vid­ual coach for one or more riders at the 2009–2012 and 2014 USEF Na­tional Para-Dres­sage Cham­pi­onships.

Kai spon­sored and coached the late para-dres­sage rider Jonathan Wentz with re­mark­able suc­cess. Jonathan com­peted as a U.S. team mem­ber at the 2010 World Eques­trian Games, was the 2011 U.S. Para-Eques­trian Na­tional Cham­pion and earned a spot on the U.S. Par­a­lympic Team that com­peted at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics. Jonathan and his part­ner, NTEC Richter Scale, were the high­est-placed U.S. eques­trian com­bi­na­tion in Lon­don and nar­rowly missed an in­di­vid­ual medal.

Kai lives with his fam­ily in Wylie, Texas. His daugh­ter, Julie Handt, is a com­pet­i­tive dres­sage rider and has com­peted at the Grand Prix level. His wife, Rachel Zent Handt, com­petes in the Am­a­teur-Owner jumper divi­sion.

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