Tag Archives: Rebecca Hart

Rebecca Hart Earns 7th USEF High Performance Para-Dressage National Championship

Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani. Photo (c)SusanJStickle.com.

Annie Peavy garners reserve, Kate Shoemaker takes home the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and competitors top the ranks in the Katy, Texas CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*

Katy, Texas – November 3, 2015 – Accomplished Grade III athlete Rebecca Hart once again took home the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance National Championship. Hart maintained the lead over a large field of competitors at the 2015 Championship earning the Leading Athlete award. She also topped the ranks of Grade II in the Katy, Texas CPEDI3* event. Hart is a two-time Paralympian (2008, 2012) and two-time World Equestrian Games athlete (2010, 2014). Annie Peavy earned the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian High Performance Dressage Reserve Championship with Ozzy Cooper, owned by Rebecca Reno. Winning the 2015 National Para-Equestrian Dressage Championship was Kate Shoemaker and her own Solitaer 40. Kelly Boccia and her own Donauwalzer CSF won the Reserve National Championship. Running concurrently with the National Championship was the Katy, Texas CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*, October 30 – November 1, at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. Para-Dressage athletes in Grade Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV competed in front of CPEDI ground jury President David Schmutz 4* USA, Eva Maria Bachinger 5* AUS, Gudrun Hofinga 5* GER, Sarah Leitch 5* GBR, and Kristi Wysocki 4* USA, with national judges David Schmutz, “S”, Kristi Wysocki, “S”, and Susan Mandas, “S”. Following a successful Championship, riders will next head to Wellington, Florida for the 2016 Para-Dressage shows at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

The weekend went well for Rebecca Hart and her partner, Danish Warmblood Schroeter’s Romani, owned by Rebecca Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolos, and Bill and Sandy Kimmel. In addition to winning the High Performance Championship and earning the Leading Athlete Award, the duo topped the Grade II CPEDI3*.The pair has been campaigning around the world perfecting their tests and earning valuable feedback from judges across Europe. This championship showed Hart that even after a top score she felt Schroeter’s Romani could give even more. She noted, “Having a 74 and finding there is more to get out of her is a great feeling.” They completed the weekend with a Freestyle score of 77.650%.

Hart noted, “I am ecstatic with the National Championships in Houston. It was my lucky number seven. It was a fantastic feeling to retain my title with Romani and win this event for the seventh time. Para-Dressage has grown so much and it has been a pleasure to watch it develop over the years. One of the exciting things has been watching the depth of the field increase as many more talented horses and riders join the sport and raise the bar every year for this competition. I am excited for the future of U.S. Para Dressage. I am incredibly grateful for the support from the awesome team around me. It is a privilege to represent them and share in this victory. A huge thank you to Margaret Duprey, Bill and Sandy Kimmel, and Barbara Summer for partnering with me and seeing the potential in Romani and me. Without their support, I wouldn’t have this amazing horse.”

Hart added, “I just recently moved to Florida full- time and I am honored to ride for Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm under the tutelage of Todd Flettrich. Todd has been paramount in helping me build my relationship with Romani over the last year and Margaret has been a longtime friend and supporter of me and the whole sport of Para-Dressage.   It is because of their guidance and support that I am able to ride at the level I do. It’s exciting to see the progress Romani and I have made and I look forward to training intensively in Florida as we continue to ride toward Rio.”

Annie Peavy and Ozzy Cooper. Photo (C) Lindsay Y. McCall
Annie Peavy and Ozzy Cooper. Photo (C) Lindsay Y. McCall

World Equestrian Games athlete Annie Peavy and Rebeca Reno’s nine-year-old Trakehner Ozzy Cooper took home the 2015 USEF High Performance Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Championship.

Peavy noted, “I am very pleased with Ozzy’s performance. We are getting a stronger connection each show and I know there is a bright future for us. I couldn’t have done this without the help from my parents and wonderful groom, Alexia. Thank you to my trainer Heather Blitz for getting us prepared for this championship.”

For the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship Kate Shoemaker and her own eight-year-old Hanoverian, Solitaer 40 earned the Championship while Kelly Boccia and her own Rheinlander Stallion Donauwalzer CSF garnered the Reserve Championship.

Kate Shoemaker noted, “Solitaer really impressed me this weekend. We’ve been partnered for 6 weeks and every day we made improvements. This weekend we continued that trend as our half halts came through better each day while we developed better communication and improved the self-carriage. I’m excited as both of my horses have not experienced the big and fantastic atmosphere that the facility, Houston Dressage Society and the countless individuals behinds the scenes provided. Dachstein and Solitaer flourished with the experience and I’m looking forward to getting back to work in preparation for their first CPEDI three star in Wellington. The five judges provided great feedback on each ride. I’d like to extend a special thank you to USEF, the volunteers, show staff, and officials for the fantastic event.”

Kelly Boccia commented, “I am very happy with the outcome for my first CPEDI show. My horse Donauwalzer CSF is a new horse for me and this is our second show so we are still learning how to be a cohesive team. He (Donauwalzer CSF) has an impressive show record thru 4th level. Now I need to improve on my technical accuracy so I can show him to his ability. I want to thank Kai Handt for his support and coaching during this show. In addition, a special thank you to Susanne Hamilton for her encouragement and support in allowing me to own this exceptional horse.”

Riders also competed as a team in the CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*. The USA teams were led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. The CPEDI3* USA Team included Grade Ia athlete Roxanne Trunnell and Royal Dancer; Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio in Grade Ia; Sydney Collier and Wentworth for Grade Ib, Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani in Grade II*, and reserve position Grade III rider Angela Peavy and Ozzy Cooper. The CPEDI 1 * USA Team included Grade III riders: Eleanor Brimmer and London Swing; Lara Oles and Bella; Kate Shoemaker and Dachstein; Kelly Boccia and Donauwalzer CSF in Grade II; and reserve rider Pamela Hardin and Quaterjack in Grade III. The CPEDI3* Team scored a 424.764 while the CPEDI1* scored a 402.240.

USPEA President Hope Hand noted, “I am so proud and honored that our U.S. Para-Dressage riders represented their country by showing such high standards of quality horses and riding. This was the best National Championship, bringing together all the high performance riders from both the East and West Coast to meet at the Great South Western Equestrian Center in Houston, Texas. Thank you show management for the Texas warm welcome and for making our stay a wonderful experience.”

USA Team rider and Grade III athlete Ellie Brimmer competed over the week not only in the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship but the CPEDI1*. Brimmer noted, “As we continue to grow the sport of Para-Dressage, having these l star opportunities create a great stepping stone between our national shows. Rather than having to immediately jump into the deep end of the three star level, horse and rider combinations have an opportunity to gain experience before presenting themselves as a team candidate at the three star level.”

Riders from Grade Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV competed for multiple accolades including the supreme title of National Champion, Leading Athlete, Grade Champion, and the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship Award. Earning the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship Award was National Championship winner Kate Shoemaker.

The Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship is awarded at the USEF Para Equestrian National Championship each year. The Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship Trophy is to be awarded annually to the Para-Dressage Athlete competing at the USEF Para Dressage National Championship who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper and unselfishness. This award is selected through the organizing committee and officials of the competition. They may nominate up to three competitors exemplifying the award definition the day before the final awards ceremony. The athletes participating in the event vote for the winner (one vote per athlete) once the slate has been announced. The winner shall be presented the award during the final awards ceremony. The Perpetual Trophy will be engraved with the annual winner’s plate and maintained by the USEF. A take-home trophy will be given to the recipient of this coveted award. This award was first given in 2014 to Marsha Cullen.

Following a successful 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship, international Para-Dressage athletes will next compete at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, in January 2016.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

To view an online version of this press release, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.

The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.

Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.

In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Hart and Shoemaker Dazzle during Freestyle to Win USEF Para-Dressage National Titles

Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani (Moonfyre Photography)

Katy, Texas – It could not have gone more perfect for Rebecca Hart. After posting spectacular scores in the Team Test and Individual Test, Hart wowed the judges in the Freestyle to earn her seventh USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship today. Hart topped the CPEDI3* Championship High Performance division with an overall score of 73.333%. Kate Shoemaker edged out the field in the CPEDI1* Championship National division to win the National title on an overall score of 71.435%, also due to a fascinating Freestyle. In addition to her title, Shoemaker was awarded the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship Award for exemplifying good sportsmanship throughout the competition.

CPEDI3* Championship High Performance Division

Hart (Unionville, Pa.) and her own Schroeter’s Romani started the competition with a stellar Team Test. The Grade II athlete and the 2002 Danish Warmblood mare remained focused despite a storm rolling in to score a 73.118%. They moved into Saturday’s Individual Test on a high and followed it up with a magnificent showing to score a 74.314%. Sitting comfortably on top of the standings, the combination put together a flashy performance to score a 77.650% in the Freestyle. Hart changed the music around to match Schroeter Romani’s tempo, and it paid off.

“It was a good week and it feels amazing. This was a good way to give back to everyone who has been on this adventure with Romani and me. I would not be doing this without them. Without the support and guidance of Margaret Duprey and my trainer Todd Flettrich we wouldn’t be as solid of a team. We’re going to take everything we learned here and prepare for the CPEDI competitions in January,” said Hart.

It was a close competition for the Reserve National Title. However, an amazing Freestyle performance allowed Grade III athlete Angela Pevy (Avon, Conn.) and Ozzy Cooper, Rebecca Reno’s 2006 Trakehner gelding, to solidify the honor with a score of 74.950% and an overall score of 71.278%. Pevy started the competition with a wonderful Team Test for a score of 70.866%. They continued with a consistent performance during the Individual Test to score a 69.854%. Grade Ia athlete Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) also had a wonderful Freestyle for a score of 70.850%. She and Royal Dancer, Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding, finished on an overall score of 69.352% for third place.

CPEDI1* Championship National Division

Shoemaker (Edmond, Okla.) did not know what to expect going into the Freestyle. This was her first one with Solitaer 40. No one would have known as they performed like seasoned veterans scoring a 74.700%. The Grade III athlete and her own 2007 Hanoverian gelding had an outstanding competition, overall. Each day Shoemaker asked her mount to give a little more, and he delivered. They began the competition with a solid Team Test for a score of 70.237%. They posted another laudable score in the Individual Test for a score of 71.122%.

Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 (Moonfyre Photography)
Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 (Moonfyre Photography)

“This was like a dream come true. We are going to use the feedback from the judges and work to improve especially on bringing more power and brilliance in the movements, while maintaining accuracy. There were dozens of people who came together to make this championship happen; I could not have done this without them,” said Shoemaker.

Kelly Boccia (Phoenix, Ariz.) maintained her lead after the Freestyle to be named the Reserve Champion with an overall score of 68.556%. She and her own Donauwalzer CSF had a terrific performance to score a 70.350%. The combination found themselves barely in third place after the Team Test with a score of 67.471%. They moved into second place after having a respectable Individual Test for a score of 68.743%. Shoemaker finished in third place, overall, on a score of 67.791%, with her own Dachstein, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding.

Complete 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship Results

From the USEF Communications Department

Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani Consistent at Mulhouse CPEDI3*

Left to Right – Rider Deborah Stanitski with ribbon and trainer Lauren Palmer; Rebecca Hart (sitting) with Todd Flettrich; and Annie Peavy with Heather Blitz. Photo By: Rebecca Reno.

Mulhouse, France – June 23, 2015 – Consistency is key for two-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart (Grade II) and Schroeter’s Romani who kicked off her European tour this past weekend at the Mulhouse CPEDI3*, representing the United States well with no less than a trio of top finishes.

“Basically what we’ve been working on is getting the consistently and the strength, which is what we’ve always been working on,” Hart described. “Because she is so dynamic of the horse we want to show off that brilliance, but keep it consistent at the same time, which is always challenging for every rider. I’m very excited to say we’ve finally got the program and everything straightened out, and figured out what really works for her. It’s so important for my own body and for her to figure out what we need in the warm-up, and what we need to shine in the ring. I think we’ve got the system down that works for both of us, and it’s nice because the timing is working out for us.”

The Mulhouse CPEDI3* began with the Team Test on Friday, June 19, where Hart and Romani earned a 69% to capture the third place finish. She duplicated her efforts during the Individual Test on June 21, where they once again finished in the third place with the score of 68.371%. Although Hart was disappointed with the score, she admitted that she felt more confident when riding the test, and that they showed more expression.

The Mulhouse CPEDI3* Ground Jury included Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA) 4*, Jan Holger Holtschmit (GER) 4*, Sarah Leitch (GBR) 5*, Eva Maria Bachinger (AUT) 5*, Sarah Rodger (GBR) 5*, Jose Baud (FRA) 4*, Marco Orsini (GER) 5*, and Genevieve Pfister (SUI) 3*.

Hart returned Sunday afternoon to put in an impressive 71.9% Freestyle-score, earning the high percentage from Pfister on “E” who scored Hart the highest during the Freestyle with a score of 76.750. Hart is excited to use the feedback from their first show to grow as an international contingent as they prepare for Rio 2016. Hart was joined by trainer Todd Flettrich, and Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc. will join the team at the Iberherrn, Germany CPEDI3*, scheduled July 2-5, 2015.

Hart said, “These are both the 3-star events as well as Olympic qualifiers. They help give you ‘street cred,’ which I think is important in getting you seen by the international judges while also giving you confidence with your horse. I think it’s really important to experience those things before you get to a major championship such as Rio.”

Hart’s name is a familiar one in the dressage sphere, earning the title of National U.S. Paralympic Champion in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. She competed last year at the World Equestrian Games for the United States Equestrian Team, and has also shown in two Paralympics for the USA. She now has her sights set on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

For more information about the Mulhouse CPEDI3* please visit, http://www.shm-waldeck.fr. For more information on Cherry Knoll Farm and Rebecca Hart, please visit www.CherryKnollFarmInc.com.

Media Contact: Kendall Bierer
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Rebecca Hart Earns Third Place Finish at Mulhouse, France CPEDI3*

Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. Photo (C) Lindsay Y. McCall.

Mulhouse, France – June 20, 2015 – It was the second day of competition for the three U.S. Para-dressage riders competing at the Mulhouse, France CPEDI3*. Equestrians include Annie Peavy with horses Lancelot Warrior and Ozzy Cooper and coach Heather Blitz; Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani with coach Todd Flettrich; and Deborah Stanitski and Biara G with coach Lauren Palmer. These athletes traveled to Europe to compete in both the Mulhouse, France CPEDI3* scheduled June 18-21, 2015 and the Iberherrn, Germany CPEDI3*, scheduled July 2-5, 2015. The Mulhouse CPEDI3* began with the Team Test on Friday, June 19, followed by the Individual Test on June 20, and the Freestyle Test on June 21. The Mulhouse CPEDI3* Ground Jury includes Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA) 4*, Jan Holger Holtschmit (GER) 4*, Sarah Leitch (GBR) 5*, Eva Maria Bachinger (AUT) 5*, Sarah Rodger (GBR) 5*, Jose Baud (FRA) 4*, Marco Orsini (GER) 5*, and Genevieve Pfister (SUI) 3*. The U.S. Para-Equestrians enjoyed a second day of feedback from the FEI Ground Jury and Rebecca Hart earned a consecutive third place finish in Grade II. Peavy maintained her scores in Grade III with both horses and Stanitski followed suit with Biara G in Grade II.

Two-time Paralympian (2008, 2012), two-time World Equestrian Games athlete (2010, 2014), and six -time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion Rebecca Hart (Grade II) with Schroeter’s Romani (owned by Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolos, and Will and Sandy Kimmel) earned another third place ribbon in the Individual Test, with a 68.371%.

Rider Deborah Stanitski scored a 63.457 and the first place duo of Grade II, Barbara Minneci and horse Barilla from Belgium, earned a 70.2% and Lauren Barwick and Off to Paris earned a 68.429% for second place.

Grade III, 2014 World Equestrian Games individual, Angela Peavy and her Trakehner gelding Ozzy Cooper earned a sixth place ribbon with a 67.854%. Hanoverian horse Lancelot Warrior earned a 66.878%. First place went to Roberta Sheffield and Double Agent from Canada with a 70.805.

For more information about the Mulhouse CPEDI3*, please visit: http://www.shm-waldeck.fr.

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.

The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.

Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.

In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Hart and Schroeter’s Romani Post Highest Career Score at 2015 AGDF CPEDI3*

Becca Hart with Schroeter’s Romani shined during the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* winning all three Grade II classes. Photograph by Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2015 – The 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* featured 13 para-dressage athletes from Grades Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV competing in the Van Kampen Arena at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds, and it was Grade II rider and two-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart who shined with Schroeter’s Romani.

Hart earned the highest score of the day on Friday during the Team Test, riding to a score of 73.284 percent. She duplicated her efforts on Saturday for the Individual Test with a score of 72.857 percent, and returned Sunday to ride her Freestyle to her highest career score of 77.917 percent.

“I was really happy with how Romani went,” Hart said after the final day of competition. “She was very relaxed in her body and her back, which is what we have been working on from her comments yesterday. To have her rise to the occasion on the third day of competing when she is tired is really great.”

Schroeter’s Romani is owned by Rebecca Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, the Ruffolos, and Will and Sandy Kimmel. They edged out Lauren Barwick of Canada to take the Grade II victory on both days of competition. If their consistent rides this weekend are any sign of the future for Hart and Schroeter’s Romani, the 2016 Paralympic Equestrian competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 7-18, is definitely in sight. The Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* is one of the qualifiers for the 2016 USEF Paralympic Equestrian Selection Trials.

“I’ve been asking her to follow through and work with me on the days that my body is tired and she really needs to help me out,” Hart said. “She really did that today. A month ago, she really needed me to be there for her, but now she has my back. We both help each other out now, which has been great.”

Hart continued, “It was a great feeling. In the warm-up my body was tired since it was the third day. She really had to carry me. I asked her if she could do it for me, and she did it.”

Hart is a two-time Paralympian (2008, 2012), two-time World Equestrian Games athlete (2010, 2014), and six-time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion. The 2016 Paralympics are high on her list of goals. She began working with Schroeter’s Romani only a year ago after importing the bay mare from Europe. Just a few months later they qualified for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Team, riding in their first international championship together and earning the highest scores for the United States.

Hart trains with Missy Ransehousen of Blue Hill Farm while home in Pennsylvania, and when she travels to Florida for the winter, she maximizes training by working alongside Todd Flettrich of Cherry Knoll Farm.

With their partnership stronger than ever, Hart knows that her success wouldn’t be possible without such a solid team behind her.

“I’m so happy with how things are going and none of it would be possible without my sponsors and my support team at Cherry Knoll Farm,” Hart said. “A big thanks to them and the Ransehousens.”

For more information on Rebecca Hart and Cherry Knoll Farm, please visit http://www.cherryknollfarminc.com/.

Media Contact: Kendall Bierer
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani Start Season with High Score at White Fences

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani rode to the high score of 78.382% during the Polar Express Show at White Fences.

Success Continues with Katie Cooper and Sandlot Winning First Year Green Hunter Championship

Wellington, FL – December 17, 2014 – Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani shined Saturday afternoon during the Polar Express show held at the White Fences Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. The talented duo rode to the score of 78.382 percent for the FEI Para Team Grade II test during the national show, kick-starting their season as they prepare for the Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in January 2015.

Hart traveled to Florida in early December to work with Wellington-based international dressage trainer Todd Flettrich out of Cherry Knoll Farm, which is also a partial owner of Romani. Hart and Flettrich have worked consistently on warm-up and preparation with Romani after taking a break from showing when the mare returned from the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France. White Fences offered the ideal venue for Hart to prep for the upcoming CPEDI3*.

“She felt really good,” Hart smiled. “We wanted to come out and use this show as a schooling session to get her ready for the CPEDI3* that we have in about three weeks. I just wanted to get her out and about because she had a little bit of a break after WEG. This was her first time out at a recognized show since then.”

Hart continued, “I am really happy with the direction we are going. She was looking at the atmosphere and looking at everything, but she was able to keep her focus, which was really nice. We are definitely growing as a pair. I am more confident in my ability and my cues with her. It’s nice to be able to give her that confidence.”

The pair rode a fluid test with great relaxation and expression, and they earned the highest score of the weekend at White Fences. Hart, a two-time Paralympic dressage rider, has her eyes set on the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There are still many more strides to make before their journey to the podium, but Hart feels confident in their growing partnership.

“Leading up to the next event, I have been working on getting the rhythm, the cadence and the relaxation in order to sustain it through the test. I am working on really getting her to focus on me during the ride. I want to get us into our own little bubble out there so that we can block out everything. We are really going in the right direction, and I want to keep building on what we did here. I think this is a good baseline, but we can be even better,” Hart concluded.

The success for Cherry Knoll Farm didn’t stop with Hart, however. In Charlottesville, Virginia, Katie Cooper and Sandlot captured their second First Year Green Working Hunter Championship in two weeks. They showed at The Barracks Horse Show, putting in four consistent rounds over fences to take home two first place ribbons, two second place ribbons and a fourth in the under saddle.

“It was very good competition this week,” Cooper said. “There were so many people that the schedule was delayed and we had to show much later than expected, but I think it was a good test for his maturity. He handled it really well. Truthfully, he jumped probably the best he has ever jumped. He was very careful, thoughtful, he measured and really made it easy. He was a delight and really is just the best jumper.”

For more information on Cherry Knoll Farm, please visit http://www.cherryknollfarminc.com/.

Media Contact: Kendall Bierer
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Rebecca Hart Trades Pirouettes for Spins during 2014 Para-Reining Demonstration

Rebecca Hart riding Spookanne, a 2006 mare by Smart Spook and out of Annieote Freckles by Colonel Freckles. Photo Courtesy of: The American Quarter Horse Journal.

Oklahoma City, OK – November 24, 2014 – The atmosphere was electrifying at the 2014 American Quarter Horse World Championship Show. On Nov. 15 the Jim Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fair Park welcomed not only the best reiners in the business, but also six high performance para-equestrians to demonstrate the developing discipline of para-reining, including two-time U.S. Paralympian and Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games athlete Becca Hart.

This was the third opportunity for spectators, organizers and athletes to experience para-reining on an international stage. The 2013 event was the pilot event for the discipline, and USA Reining and the United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) are working together to develop the discipline even further for 2015 and beyond. Hart was among the riders who competed at the American Quarter Horse World Championship Show in 2013 and returned for more in 2014.

“It was quite impressive to see the growth from 2013,” Hart said. “The discipline is still in its development stages, and USA Reining and USPEA are still working on the classification system, but it has been quite impressive.”

Each of the six riders was paired with a top reiner and worked alongside them to learn the ropes. Hart’s trainer was Martin Muehlstaetter, a member of Team Austria at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Hart rode Spookanne, owned by Rosanne Sternberg of Sterling Ranch.

“The American Quarter Horse Association and National Reining Horse Association have been so supportive of this initiative, and inclusive in Para,” Hart described. “It is really nice to have the support of the community behind us. The audience was on their feet, and they all know what they are looking for. These top reiners, they make it look easy out there. It definitely isn’t.”

Hart continued, “It was so much fun to go out there and try it. There is definitely a lot to it, and the horses were amazing. They were so understanding and they tried to figure out what we, as para-equestrians, need.”

USA Reining took steps to ensure that the riders were able to utilize many of the same staples they use during their dressage tests, including adaptive reins and rubber bands. The associations are working together to develop the classification system for the different levels, and they are using high technological research to correctly identify the proper patterns and abilities of riders in each of those classifications. As a part of an on-going research study undertaken by USA Reining, motion capture technology is being used with the able-bodied reiners, allowing researchers to see the key physical elements needed in order to perform certain movements.

Hart admitted that this is something that she sees herself pursuing in the future, but first she has to dig a little deeper into the developing discipline.

“It is all about balance, fluidity and harmony, very much like dressage. Even though you are doing it in a western saddle it is the same principles. Instead of doing a pirouette you do a spin,” Hart smiled. “I can definitely see myself competing in this in the future. This has been a fantastic taste. It is everything I love about dressage with speed added to it – it adds adrenaline.”

Hart concluded, “A big thank you to Brad Ettleman and everyone for hosting and promoting the sport. I think it has a good place in the horse world, and I am excited to see it go further. To do it at the inaugural event was very special. I also want to say thank you to the AQHA for opening their arms to the para discipline by hosting the event at their World Championship Show. Anytime we can grow the para-sport is spectacular.”

For more information on Becca Hart and Cherry Knoll Farm, please visit http://www.cherryknollfarminc.com/.

Media Contact: Kendall Bierer
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Long-Time Partnership Brings Para-Dressage Rider’s Dreams to Fruition

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani. Photos by Lindsay McCall.

Unionville, PA – November 18, 2014 – Competing at an international level requires much more than just being a good rider; it takes a village. For para-dressage rider Becca Hart, three of the prominent members of that ‘village’ are Jessica and Missy Ransehousen and Todd Flettrich.

The support and tutelage of the three trainers has helped propel Hart to where she is today: riding down centerline at the highest levels of para-dressage competition, including two Paralympics and two World Equestrian Games (WEG).

Rewind back before her successful Paralympic and WEG rides in Hong Kong, London, Normandy and Kentucky, and Hart was just gearing up for the 2008 Paralympics, her first Paralympics event.

It was at that time that the Ransehousens, of Blue Hill Farm, decided to host the 2008 para-dressage riders and offer them all, including Hart, free training and board leading up to the Paralympic Games.

At that time, the training relationship that had begun to develop in 2006 between Hart and the Ransehousens continued to flourish into one that would truly help springboard Hart’s career. In Missy, Hart has a trainer well versed in teaching para-riders and in helping them compete at the highest level of the sport.

“My involvement with the para-riders started back in 1999 when Hope Hand, who lives locally in the Malvern [Pennsylvania] area, asked me to teach a clinic,” Missy said. “I had to very quickly adjust my training technique because many of the riders weren’t able to use a strong leg so they compensated in other ways. Hope was very patient with me, and she helped me gain a better understanding into coaching para-riders. While I was teaching her, she was also teaching me.”

Missy Ransehousen jogs Lord Ludgar at the London Olympic Games
Missy Ransehousen jogs Lord Ludgar at the London Olympic Games

Working with Hand further fueled Missy’s interest in the sport of para-dressage, and in 2000, she traveled to the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia as a coach. Since that summer in 2000, Missy has traveled to the Paralympic Games in Athens, Hong Kong, and London as, not only a trainer, but also as the Chef d’Equipe of the United States Paralympic Dressage teams.

That background and knowledge that Missy brought to the table has proved invaluable to Hart, who continued on with Blue Hill Farm after her positive 2008 Paralympics experience and following her graduation from school. There the Ransehousens provided, and continue to provide, Hart with free board and lessons, allowing her to more easily continue to pursue her goals.

The combination of Missy and Jessica’s generosity and coaching and Hart’s talent was becoming a force to be reckoned with in the para-dressage ring, but as the 2010 World Equestrian Games approached, Missy too was competing and with conflicts in coaching Hart in Florida, she felt it was time to bring in an added reinforcement. Missy knew that longtime friend and professional international dressage rider Todd Flettrich would be just the man for the job.

“When Missy asked me, I was skeptical because I had not taught a para-rider before,” Flettrich admitted, but he was not one to say no to the Ransehousens, with whom he had been like family for some time.

“Going back to the 1980s, I met Todd, and he was my scribe when I judged a show in New Orleans,” said Jessica, a three time Olympic dressage rider herself. “It was very cute because he kept breaking in while scribing and saying that he really wanted to get to Young Riders. He pressed that he wanted to get somewhere where he could have the chance to compete on an international level.”

Jessica saw the passion that Flettrich had for the sport and offered to have him train with her at Blue Hill Farm, much like the current day situation between Hart and the Ransehousens.

“I said to him, if you get permission from your parents and have a horse to ride you can come and live with us. I can take you there. So he came to live with us, and I took him to the North American Young Rider Championship in 1989 and then again in 1990. He was the gold medal winner in 1990.”

With the unyielding generosity of Jessica and through their mutual respect, the two grew to have a wonderful relationship, and Flettrich came to be like a son to Jessica, often joking that Jessica is his other mom. The dynamic duo considers themselves to be family, as Jessica stays with Flettrich when she attends the shows in Florida.

And so, Flettrich was brought into the picture as a vital part of Hart’s growing team.

“As an FEI level rider and trainer, his is another opinion that I really respect,” Missy said. “That is one of the reasons I thought he would do well with Hart. She needed some guidance, but she didn’t need to be talked through every second of her ride. He says a lot of encouraging words, and he is there to back you up.”

Then, with Flettrich on board and leading up to the 2012 London Paralympics, Jessica offered Hart another exciting addition to the team: Missy’s talented PSG dressage mount, Lord Ludgar.

Hart had retired Norteassa, who had been quite competitive and helped her reach her goal of going to the Paralympics, but Jessica knew that Lord Ludgar would be the perfect next step in helping Hart be competitive in the top tier of the sport.

By the time the 2012 London Paralympics actually arrived, Hart had an outstanding selection trial at Gladstone in 2012 and had been named the national champion aboard Lord Ludgar. At the Games, with the assistance of Missy who rode Lord Ludgar every morning, Hart delivered two beautiful tests for the team, placing fourth in the first team test and fifth in the freestyle.

The time came for Lord Ludgar to retire, and a top-level horse of her own was just what Hart needed, and that is just what another vital member of Hart’s growing team, Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm, was able to offer her.

Duprey currently backs and supports Flettrich, and she presented the opportunity to Missy to do the same for Hart.

“Margaret came to me and told me that she was interested in helping Becca [Hart] buy a horse, and that was great,” Missy said. “She definitely has done a lot for the para-dressage program, and I hope that she stays with it and continues to sponsor Becca. Margaret is upbeat and supportive, and it is really great to have her as part of the team.”

Duprey, with additional sponsors, purchased Schroeters Romani, a Danish Warmblood mare, for Hart, and it was on Schroeters Romani that Hart competed this summer at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France. From there, their relationship has only continued to grow and improve with every ride.

“I recently went with [Hart] to a nice schooling show at Dunmovin where she rode really well and got a nice 67 percent in her third level test,” Jessica said.

With the support of the powerhouse team behind her, the future looks bright for Hart as she continues to climb the ranks as a top international competitor.

For more information about the Ransehousen family and their Blue Hill Farm, click here.

To learn more about Becca Hart visit, http://www.teamusa.org/para-equestrian/athletes/Rebecca-Hart.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Cherry Knoll Farm’s Dressage Powerhouse: Todd Flettrich and Rebecca Hart

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani. Photos by Susan J. Stickle Photography.

West Grove, PA – September 26, 2014 – Todd Flettrich is an internationally recognized dressage rider and trainer. Rebecca Hart is one of the brightest stars of Para-Dressage. When the two joined forces, they became an unstoppable team of positive energy and excellent horsemanship.

Hart, a Grade II Para-Dressage athlete with birth-onset hereditary spastic paraplegia, is a two-time paralympian and an incredible six-time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion. Prior to the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Rebecca’s primary trainer, Missy Ransehousen, asked professional dressage rider Flettrich to help polish Rebecca’s performance during her final preparations for the event. Since then, he continues to work with Hart before many major events.

“When Missy asked me, I was skeptical because I had not taught a para-rider before,” Flettrich acknowledged. “Yet it wasn’t as difficult as I thought because it all comes back to the basic riding principles.”

The relationship between Hart and Flettrich has grown and strengthened over time and through several mount changes for Hart. They work together because they feel it’s a mutual learning experience.

For Hart, the first meeting with Flettrich actually swept her off her feet.

“I went to Florida to hang out with Margaret Duprey and Todd. When Missy dropped me off at the barn, I literally fell out of the truck at his feet,” Hart said laughing. “I told him to teach me as if I were an able-bodied rider and I will adapt it to my body. If something doesn’t work we’ll have a conversation about it.”

Todd Flettrich and Otto
Todd Flettrich and Otto

Flettrich’s training style worked well for Hart. She enjoyed great success competing one of her early international horses, Norteassa (nicknamed Pippin).

“Todd is impeccable with his timing and his finesse with the aids to get the horse responding at exactly the right moment,” said Hart. “He makes you very aware of what’s going on beneath you and ensures you’re able to keep it playful, light and energetic. Pippin really responded.”

Hart qualified for the 2012 London Paralympic games with her new mount Lord Ludger and, again Flettrich was there to polish and perfect Hart’s riding prior to the big competition. With his help, Hart finished in fourth place, just shy of a medal.

After his impressive career, Lord Ludger retired and Hart began the challenging search for a new international mount. With the generous support of Margaret Duprey, owner of Cherry Knoll Farm, they purchased the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, Schroeters Romani.

“I had to have a skillset in mind when finding a horse that would work with my disability,” Hart explained. “My disease is a progressive one that causes muscle wasting and paralysis from your mid-back down; what I could do six months ago with my body I can’t do now. So I need a horse that is adaptable so I can start somewhere and progress, and that’s what I fell in love with Romani for.”

Flettrich shares Hart’s confidence in her new mount and said having Romani has made teaching her easier.

“Rebecca having the right horse allows her to really excel,” said Flettrich. “We focused on the basics like fixing her balance and since she knew my riding principles, it was easy to jump in and start helping.”

This March, Hart and Romani tackled their first big CDI at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 12 CPEDI3*, with Flettrich helping to train them prior to the event once more.

Through hard work and training with Flettrich, Hart and Romani solidified their bond and began to set sights on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

After she claimed her sixth U.S. National Championship in June, Hart took Romani to France for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). The pair qualified for the Freestyle after finishing in seventh place with a score of 67.486 percent individually.

While Flettrich could not be in Normandy, he was confident about Hart’s abilities and said he didn’t need to give her any advice.

“Working with Rebecca has been a wonderful experience. Sometimes I think Rebecca has taught me more than I have taught her,” Flettrich laughed. “That girl has an unbelievable work ethic and she does not allow her disability to run her life.”

With the help of her trainers and mentors, Hart has climbed to 25th position in Para-Dressage on the FEI’s World Individual Ranking List.

“I’m so grateful to all of the people who have helped me along the way, Margaret, Todd, and Missy,” Rebecca said.

For more information on Cherry Knoll Farm, please visit http://www.cherryknollfarminc.com/.

Media Contact: Kendall Bierer
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386
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Hart, Trunnell Contest Freestyle Finals at World Equestrian Games

Roxanne Trunnell and Nice Touch. Photos copyright SusanJStickle.com.

CAEN, NORMANDY, August 29, 2014 – To be selected to represent one’s country at a world championships is an honor that few riders ever experience. To not only compete but to perform well enough to advance through the rounds of competition to qualify for the finals is a rare achievement, indeed.

Not one but two U.S. representatives in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ para-equestrian dressage competition claimed that achievement today: Roxanne Trunnell, Grade Ia rider; and her WEG teammate Rebecca Hart, Grade II.

For Trunnell, 29, of Rowlett, Tex., today’s freestyle aboard the nineteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Nice Touch was a high note in several ways. For one, this is Trunnell’s first time on a U.S. equestrian team. For another, it was the ride of a lifetime aboard the horse she’s been paired with since Trunnell was 13. And to top it off, this was Nice Touch’s swan song.

“It was fantastic. She is a good girl,” a beaming Trunnell said afterward. “This was her grand finale.”

Trunnell was proud of her freestyle routine, appropriately set to George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and to music from the musical Gigi, including “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” The highlight, she said, was Nice Touch’s relaxed free walk, which helped the pair earn a score of 62.400 percent for a seventh-place finish.

Schedules are tight for the para-equestrian dressage athletes: Trunnell returns home tomorrow, Saturday, which unfortunately leaves her no time for sightseeing in France. But “I’ll be back,” she said.

Rebecca Hart and Schroeter's Romani
Rebecca Hart and Schroeter’s Romani

The 2014 U.S. WEG para-dressage team veteran, Rebecca Hart, 30, of Unionville, Penn., found herself in the position of showing her new mount, Schroeter’s Romani, the ropes of international competition. The twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare “was definitely enthusiastic” in her Grade II Freestyle, Hart said with a laugh, referring to occasional tension and loss of focus that left the 2014 United States Equestrian Federation Para-Equestrian Dressage national champions with a score of 65.400 percent and seventh place.

“As we move along, I’m hoping for more power and relaxation,” Hart said afterward. “The enthusiasm is appreciated, but maybe just a little bit more controlled enthusiasm.”

Of the freestyle choreography, Hart said: “We were trying to play to her walk a little bit because she has such a great walk. Mostly we were trying to make the walk a little more technical in that you have to hit it exactly with the music, or else the rest of the choreography will be slightly off. When it comes off, you really see that.”

The WEG was the debut performance of this freestyle, said Hart. Freestyle choreographer Marlene Whitaker helped Hart put the routine together – but according to the rider, it was Schroeter’s Romani who approved the music selection.

“She loves this music; she actually picked this music herself,” Hart said. “It’s ‘The Journey Begins,’ which is fairly fitting, since this is the beginning of our journey together.” The melody is the anthem from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, she said, and “We used that with some other pieces as well that we mixed together.”

Looking to the future, Hart added: “This was our original choreography, but if we want to change out leg-yields for half-passes or increase the difficulty later on, we can.”

And Hart may be doing just that as she focuses on her next big goal: the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. First things first, however: “Between now and then, we’re going to get her out and about quite a bit so she gets used to different venues and different atmospheres. We can work on building our trust together so she comes to me and looks to me for support and guidance instead of being distracted, and so we have more of the harmonious relationship that you’re looking for in any dressage horse and rider.”

After Hart returns home to Pennsylvania, her mare will get a bit of a break; then the rider is “hoping to do the winter season in Florida.” Then “the para-dressage [competitors and supporters] are looking to do a European tour in the spring. We feel that European exposure is so important, not only for us as individuals but for the country as a whole so our team can get out there and be seen.”

With the 2014 WEG, the young U.S. para-equestrian dressage team has taken a major step toward the medal podium on the international stage. It will be exciting to follow this talented group of horses and riders as they proceed on their journey.

Learn more about the Para-Dressage discipline at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy, France: http://www.normandy2014.com/the-disciplines/8/para-dressage.

Support the Team and its future to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with the USET Foundation’s Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge: http://uspea.org/the-jonathan-wentz-memorial-challenge/.

Learn more about the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage discipline or give a tax-deductible donation to support the development of the sport with the USPEA 501(c)(3)t: www.USPEA.org.

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.

The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.

Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.

In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.