Tag Archives: Rebecca Hart

Hart and Trunnell Close Out WEG with Freestyle Performances

Roxanne Trunnell & Nice Touch (SusanJStickle.com)

Caen, France – Roxanne Trunnell and Rebecca Hart brought FEI World Para-Dressage Championship competition at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to a close with their Freestyle Tests. The La Prairie Racecourse hosted the final tests of the championships as the top third of competitors from Grade 1a, 1b, II, III, and IV looked to ascend the medal podium.

Grade 1a rider Trunnell (Rowlett, Tx.) was making her final competitive appearance with Sidney Trunnell’s 19-year-old KWPN mare Nice Touch and made it a successful one as she closed out her World Championship debut with a seventh place finish. The longtime pair performed a forward, upbeat test set to French flared music to score 62.400% from the Ground Jury of Hanneke Gerritsen, Kjell Myhre, Marco Orsini, Eva Bachinger, and Sarah Leitch.

“She was fantastic, such a good girl; this was her grand finale,” said Trunnell. “(My favorite part was the) free walk. She likes doing those; it was so relaxed.”

Despite these Games being the final test for the pair, Trunnell has her sights firmly set on representing the United States at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Italy’s Sara Morganti and Royal Delight earned the Grade 1a Freestyle Gold medal with a score of 75.783%, with Laurentia Yen-Yi Tan and Ruben James 2 of Singapore clinching Silver on 74.522%, and Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen and Janiero 4 earning Bronze with a score of 74.261%.

Rebecca Hart & Schroeter's Romani (SusanJStickle.com)
Rebecca Hart & Schroeter’s Romani (SusanJStickle.com)

Hart (Unionville, Pa.), a World Championship and Paralympic veteran, closed out her second World Games appearance with a seventh-place finish in the Grade II Freestyle riding her own Schroeters Romani. The 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare earned a score of 65.400% from the Ground Jury of Freddy Leyman, Anne Prain, Hanneke Gerritsen, Kjell Myhre, and Marco Orsini after enthusiasm got the better of her in the Freestyle.

“She was definitely enthusiastic; she loves this music,” said Hart. “In the future I’m hopeful for a little more power but her enthusiasm was definitely appreciated but next time, hopefully have a little more controlled enthusiasm.”

Hart has enjoyed her time in France as well training camp in Aachen, Germany and getting the chance to get to know her teammates better.

“The group of people we have has been great; we’ve really bonded and all my supporters have been wonderful. We really have become a tight knit family.”

Rixt van der Horst and Uniek of The Netherlands won Grade II Freestyle Gold on a score of 76.350%, earning the Silver medal was Canada’s Lauren Barwick and Off to Paris on a score of 76.250%, with The Netherlands’ Demi Vermeulen and Vaness earning Bronze on a score of 71.900%.

By Helen Murray

To learn more about the Para-Dressage Championship at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/8/para-dressage.

Learn more about the Para-Equestrian Team: click here.

Rebecca Hart Earns Sixth USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship

Rebecca Hart earned the 2014 USEF National Championship with Shroeter’s Romani. Photos copyright SusanJStickle.com.

U.S. Para-Dressage 2014 World Equestrian Games Selection Trial Rankings Are In

Gladstone, NJ – June 6, 2014 – For the sixth time in history, Grade II Para-Dressage rider from Unionville, Penn., Rebecca Hart, took home the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship. Hart rode the Danish Warmblood Shroeter’s Romani to the victory. Shroeter’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. Earning the Reserve Championship was Grade Ia rider Margaret McIntosh and her own Rio Rio (Rheinland Pfalz-saar). The 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/ Selection Trial for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) was one of the most competitive Championships/Trials in Para-Dressage history. Para-Equestrians from around the U.S. traveled to Hamilton Farm at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ for their chance to earn a spot on the U.S. WEG Team and achieve top national rankings. The June 2-5, National Championship/Trials ground jury included President Kristi Wysocki (4*) USA, Adrienne Pot (3*) USA, and David Schmutz (4*) USA. Behind Reserve Champion Margaret McIntosh obtaining third place was Grade Ia athlete Roxanne Trunnell and her own Nice Touch. Fourth place overall went to Young Rider Sydney Collier and the Mecklenburg NTEC Cuplee, owned by Patricia Mendenhall. Fifth place overall was earned by 2010 WEG athlete Susan Treabess and the PRE Stallion Kamiakin, owned by Scott and Katie Hill and the sixth place accolade went to Angela Peavy and the Hannoverian Lancelot Warrior, owned by Rebecca Reno. The awards ceremony named the top horse/rider combinations in each of the five Grades in addition to the top horse/rider combinations selected for the long list for the U.S. Para-Dressage WEG Team. Also included in the final accolades was the Sportsmanship Trophy. The Sportsmanship Trophy was awarded to Marsha Cullen. The Sportsmanship Trophy is a Perpetual Trophy awarded to a Para-Dressage Athlete competing at the National Championship who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship, honor, courage, team spirit, good temper and unselfishness. Cullen was presented with a take-home trophy during the final awards ceremony.

It was an exciting week for Para-Equestrian Dressage riders, sponsors, owners, and spectators. Included during the week was the USPEA Welcome Reception and the Kick Off Party for the newly established Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage, hosted by the USET Foundation. The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage was made possible through the generosity of Margaret H. Duprey and The Barnfield Foundation. The goal of the initiative is to raise $800,000 for High Performance Para Dressage. Mrs. Duprey and the Barnfield Foundation have each pledged up to $200,000. They will each match, dollar for dollar, every gift commitment of $4,000 and above made by April 1, 2015.

Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio
Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio

By the end of the week the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship/Selection Trial revealed the top competitors for the 2014 WEG. Once reviewed and selected through the team selection process the 2014 U.S. Para-Dressage Team will be led by U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor Kai Handt.

About the 2014 U.S. Para-Dressage WEG Team Selection:

The 2014 U.S. Para-Dressage Team will be led by U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor Kai Handt and it will consist of four athletes and four horses or three athletes and three horses. One team member must be classified either Grade Ia, Ib, or II. A team may not include more than two athletes from any one Grade. Positions one through three on the Short List/FEI Nominated Entry will be filled by the first through third ranked horse/athlete combination from the Selection Trial. If an athlete competes in the Selection Trial on more than one horse and ranks in the first through third placings at the Selection Trial with both horses, the athlete will be named to the FEI Nominated Entry in that athlete’s highest placed position with both horses. The positions that follow will be taken by the next highest ranking athlete/horse combination from the Selection Trial. Position four on the FEI Nominated Entry will be filled either by the next ranked athlete/horse combination from the Selection Trial or by an athlete/horse combination(s) named as a discretionary choice by the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Selectors. If a discretionary choice is utilized for position four then all athletes following the position filled by the discretionary choice will move down one place in the ranking from the Selection Trial up to the maximum number able to be nominated under FEI rules. If a discretionary choice is not used for position four then the remaining positions on the Short List/Nominated Entry will be filled by athlete/horse combinations in order of their ranking from the Selection Trial.

These selections will not be solidified until the competition has completed on June 5 and each ride is reviewed by the Selection Committee.

For more information about the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and the Selection Trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, please go to USEF.org.

WEG Selection Procedure: https://www.usef.org/documents/highPerformance/paralympic/WEGSelectionProcedures.pdf.

Criteria to Determine Eligibility to Compete in the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship may be found at: https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/allparaequestrian/hpparaEquestrian.aspx.

For more information about World Equestrian Games criteria, please visit: https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/allparaequestrian/hpparaEquestrian.aspx.

For questions about the 2014 Para-Equestrian Dressage season, please contact the USEF High Performance Director of the Para-Equestrian Discipline Laureen K. Johnson at (908) 326-1155 or e-mail lkjohnson@usef.org.

Written by: Lindsay Y McCall

To view an online version of this press release with more photos, 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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Hart Claims Sixth National Title at Historic USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship

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

Gladstone, N.J. – The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship came to a close on Thursday at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, N.J., with Rebecca Hart claiming her sixth National Title in a competition that was widely regarded as the most competitive the sport has ever seen in the United States. The day began under overcast and rainy skies, ultimately clearing at the lunch break to finish out the 2014 event with much more pleasant weather. All 24 entries performed their Freestyles, to earn the remaining 20% of their championship score, in front of the Ground Jury of Adrienne Pot, David Schmutz, and Kristi Wysocki.

“The caliber of riding has gone through the roof,” said Wysocki of the 2014 National Champion field. “It was very exciting to judge because our riders are so good.”

Hart (Unionville, Pa.) and her own Schroeter’s Romani, who she has only been riding since November of 2013 after purchasing the mare in Europe, closed out the week scoring 76.917 for her Freestyle to finish on a championship score of 74.642. The two-time Paralympian rode the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood to her familiar “Classical Gas” melody, increasing the level of difficulty by adding lateral moments.

“When I first rode her, I knew she was very special,” said the Grade II rider of Schroeter’s Romani. “She was really willing to work with me, and her body and my body worked right away, and mentally we were right in sync.”

Hart, who has enjoyed seeing the sport of para-equestrian dressage grow in the United States, believes that all the riders in the program are inspiring each other to reach new competitive heights.

“I think that pressure is always there,” said Hart of her quest to capture her sixth National Championship. “To see the growth (in the sport in the U.S.) from where it was when I first started is amazing. The pressure is always there, but that is a good thing.”

Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (SusanJStickle.com)
Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (SusanJStickle.com)

Earning the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Reserve Championship were Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio on a score off 71.582. The former eventer and her own eight-year-old Rheindlander mare performed an up-tempo Freestyle set to music from “The King and I” to score 73.500 in the final Grade 1A test of the week.

“I came here with very few expectations and I’m very satisfied with my horse,” said an excited McIntosh. “She is a little green, but she was great all week and I’m very happy.”

Finishing the championship in third place were Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and her own 19-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Nice Touch, on a total of 71.582, after winning the Grade 1A Freestyle with a score of 74.

In Grade IV competition, Susan Treabess (Winters, Calif.) and Kathryn Hill’s nine-year-old PRE stallion, Kamiakin, completed a sweep of their division, winning the Freestyle with a score of 73.500 and winning the Grade IV National Championship on 71.128. Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) was the overall winner of Grade III competition, finishing on an overall total of 70.442 with Rebecca Reno’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Lancelot Warrior. Peavy also won Thursday’s Freestyle with her other horse, Rebecca Reno’s 8-year-old Trakehner gelding, Ozzy Cooper, on a score of 74.333. Hart was the overall victor in the Grade II Championship and Freestyle with Schroeter’s Romani. In Grade 1B, Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) won the overall competition with Patricia Mclean Mendenhall’s six-year-old Mecklenburg gelding, NTEC Cuplee, on a total of 71.389. They also won the Freestyle on a score of 74.167. McIntosh won the overall Grade 1A championship, while Trunnell won the Freestyle.

By Helen Murray

For score, results and orders of go, visit: http://www.foxvillage.com/fvdshowresults/(gk5mitujwaurfi55exs2hqvs)/ClassList.aspx?sh=2364&st=1.

Follow the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team here.

Hart Maintains Lead in USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship Following Two Days of Competition

Hart and Schroeter’s Romani on Tuesday (SusanJStickle.com)

Gladstone, N.J. – The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship continued on Wednesday with all 24 competitors performing their second tests of the week. Before the Ground Jury of Adrienne Pot, David Schmutz, and Kristi Wysocki, riders demonstrated the FEI Individual Tests in their respective grade to earn a further 40% of their championship score in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena at the historic USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. Rebecca Hart maintained her overall lead and lies on a championship average of 74.073 as she looks to secure her sixth National Title.

Hart (Unionville, Pa.) and her own 11-year-old Danish Warmblood Schroeter’s Romani performed an accurate, flowing Grade II Individual Test to score 73.048 on Wednesday. With their win on Wednesday the pair, which had spent much of the spring in Europe, earned their second victory of the championship after claiming top honors in the Team Test on Tuesday.

“Today she wasn’t quite as in front of my leg as I would have liked but it was one of those rides where you just have to ride what you have,” said Hart of her Individual Test. “And today it paid off.”

The 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran is enjoying competing at the storied USET Foundation Headquarters and believes this week is a great illustration of how far the sport of para-equestrian dressage has come in recent years.

“Gladstone is so historic and to ride here and in this ring where all the greats have ridden is fantastic. Para has grown so much in the past couple of years, to fill the upper and lower barn and have more than 20 riders when we only had five or six a few years ago is amazing.”

Lying in second place in the Championship following two tests are Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Pa.) and her own eight-year-old Rheindlander mare Rio Rio on a score of 71.159. On Wednesday the combination scored 69.928 in their Grade 1A Individual Test, a mark that would have been higher had they not incurred an error for going off course midway through their test.

McIntosh was pragmatic about the mistake and looks forward to riding her Freestyle with Rio Rio on Thursday.

“I have no good reason for forgetting my test today. Yesterday my test was a dream and I think I got a little caught up in the excitement of that. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, you can’t go off course in your Freestyle!” said McIntosh. “Rio Rio loves the music and it really picks her up and keeps her going forward.”

Grade 1B competitor, Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), stands in third place overall with Victoria Dugan’s 14-year-old Warmblood gelding Willi Wesley on an average of 71.138. On Wednesday they scored 71.609 for their Individual Test.

In Grade IV competition, Susan Treabess (Winters, Calif.) and Kathryn Hill’s nine-year-old PRE stallion Kamiakin secured their second win of the week as they topped the Individual Test with a score of 71.627. Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) also earned her second win of the championship after topping the Grade III FEI Individual Test with Rebecca Reno’s 8-year-old Trakehner gelding Ozzy Cooper on a score of 69.228. Hart and Schroeter’s Romani were the winners of the Grade II Individual Test to help them maintain their overall lead. Collier again bested herself in the Grade 1B Individual Test earning a repeat victory with Willi Wesley. Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) and her own 19-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Nice Touch were the winners of the Grade 1A Individual Test after scoring 70.652.

Marsha Cullen (Claremore, Okla.) and her own nine-year-old Draft cross gelding Latte kicked off the day as they performed their Grade II Team Test. After starting their test on Tuesday they were unable to complete their performance because of lightning in the area. The combinations scored 61.863, finishing in fifth place, to bring Team Test competition to a close. On Wednesday afternoon Cullen and Latte scored 62.286 in the Grade II Team Test finishing in fifth.

Championship competition is extremely close heading into the final Freestyle tests, which will count for the final 20% of the championship score, with less than a point and a half separating second through eighth place.

By Helen Murray

For score, results and orders of go, visit: http://www.foxvillage.com/fvdshowresults/(gk5mitujwaurfi55exs2hqvs)/ClassList.aspx?sh=2364&st=1.

Follow the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team here.

Hart Gains Early Lead in the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Selection Trial

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

Gladstone, N.J. – The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Selection Trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team kicked off on Tuesday in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena at the USET Foundation Headquarters, with 23 of the 24 entries completing the FEI Team Tests in their respective grades and earning the first 40% of their championship score. For the majority of the day competitors, officials and spectators enjoyed picturesque weather until rain and thunderstorms rolled in for the final division of the afternoon. The final competitors of the day, Marsha Cullen and Latte, were forced to stop midway through their Grade II test because of lightning in the area. They will perform their Team Test on Wednesday morning before all entries return to ride the FEI Individual Tests.

Earning the highest marks of the day from the Ground Jury of Adrienne Pot, David Schmutz, and Kristi Wysocki and heading the field after Tuesday is Grade II rider and five-time USEF National Champion Rebecca Hart with Schroeter’s Romani on a score of 75.098.

Hart (Unionville, Penn.) and her own 11-year-old Danish Warmblood mare produced an expressive and flowing effort on Tuesday to hold the early lead in the National Championship. The combination who are in their first competitive season together has continued to progress throughout 2014 and the two-time Paralympian has been working diligently to improve the mare’s performance in the ring.

“I was really happy; it was one of those test you enjoy the whole way through,” said Hart. “We’ve been working on her performance and consistency in the ring because she can be a little distracted and to have her go down the centerline and really focus was great.”

Hart spent much of the spring competing Schroeter’s Romani in Europe and believes the experience was invaluable.

“I think the European tour really helped us on our focus.”

Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (SusanJStickle.com)
Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio (SusanJStickle.com)

Margaret McIntosh (Reading, Penn.) is making her second National Championship appearance this week in Gladstone and impressed with flowing, accurate 1A Team Test. The former eventing rider and her own eight-year-old Rheindlander mare scored 72.391 to hold second place in National Championship competition after Tuesday.

“We’ve been working really hard to get Rio more forward and consistent,” said McIntosh. “And she was the best she’s ever been today.”

Lying in third place in the championship are Grade 1A competitors Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Tx.) and her own 19-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Nice Touch who scored 71.304 in the afternoon session.

Susan Treabess (Winters Calif.) and Kathryn Hill’s nine-year-old PRE stallion Kamiakin, the first combination down centerline in the Dick and Jane Brown Arena, were the winners of Grade IV Team Test with a score of 69.444. As the final entry in Tuesday’s Grade III competition, Angela Peavy (Avon, Conn.) and Rebecca Reno’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Lancelot Warrior proved unbeatable scoring 71.220. Hart and Schroeter’s Romani were the top placing finishers in Grade II competition with just Cullen and Latte needing to perform her Team Test on Tuesday morning. In Grade 1B, Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) bested herself posting a score 70.667 with Victoria Dugan’s 14-year-old Warmblood gelding Willi Wesley. While, McIntosh and Rio Rio were the winners of the Grade 1A Team Test.

By Helen Murray

For score, results and orders of go, visit: http://www.foxvillage.com/fvdshowresults/(gk5mitujwaurfi55exs2hqvs)/Class.aspx?sh=2364&cl=3.

Follow the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team here.

Rebecca Hart and Romani Return from Europe Ready to Rock Gladstone

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani competing in Moorsele, Belgium. Photos by Photo Evenement.

Wellington, FL – May 7, 2014 – Para-equestrian dressage rider Rebecca Hart just arrived home from European competition ready to kick into high gear for the June 2-5 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and selection trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France.

Hart and her equestrian partner, Schroeters Romani, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Lobster-Manique, Come Back II), competed in CPEDI3* shows in Deauville, France, April 4-6, and Moorsele, Belgium, April 25-27, to gain valuable competition experience.

“I am so glad that we did go because it was such a great learning experience,” Hart said. “We were competing in front of five judges and in Florida we compete in front of three. They were the two largest para shows that have ever happened. It was very well attended with the best of the best out and about and getting ready for the WEG. So, we got to see where we stood and what we need to work on, which was huge.”

“When we are competing in the States, we are sheltered and such a small group,” she continued. “The Europeans are very good at what they do – they’re the top dogs at this sport. If you want to play over there, you have to go and get in their world. It’s only going to get better from here.”

Hart said Romani traveled like a pro and has taken all the changes in stride since the mare’s purchase in Denmark five months ago with the help of Hart’s supporters: Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm, Hart’s family, William and Sandy Kimmel and Sycamore Station Equine Division.

“I’m very excited for Rebecca,” Duprey said. “She took the ‘bit’ and went to Europe to see how she compared to her competition there. Now she knows what her homework is before the selection trials next month.”

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani competing in the CPEDI3* in Moorsele, Belgium
Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani competing in the CPEDI3* in Moorsele, Belgium

Duprey not only helped Hart with her dream to purchase Romani, but she also helped create the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage through the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation. She and the Barnfield Foundation will match leadership gifts made to the USET Foundation for para-equestrians to compete in international competition including the World Equestrian Games and Paralympics to meet the $800,000 goal.

“Hopefully, this challenge will raise the funds that will allow para-equestrian riders the chance to go to Europe and compete as Rebecca did,” Duprey said.

Hart returned home to Unionville, PA, and continues her training with Missy Ransehousen, who traveled to Europe for six weeks to coach. Hart and Romani spent time in Florida to train and compete in the CPEDI3* in Wellington March 12-16, and while in Florida, she trained with Todd Flettrich. Hart said Romani has coped well with moving so often in the past several months.

“She is a trooper,” Hart said. “Her life has been turned upside down. She got settled in Pennsylvania and then we moved her to Florida and then off to Europe we went.”

“In Deauville, she stayed focused and together,” she said. “She can be very nosy; she likes to see what is going on around her. She has always been an able-bodied horse and at a para competition there are wheelchairs and crutches. There’s a lot to look at and it can be intimidating for a horse that’s not used to that. She was aware of it but she kept her cool.”

In France, the pair qualified for the freestyle with scores ranked in the top five in their division, Grade II. Then, in Belgium, they made the cut again.

“She loves her freestyle and she gets into the music,” Hart said. “The technical aspect was good. It was quite high. But the music… in Belgium we had issues with the sound system. It ended up skipping part of the music and then it got stuck on the loop and it only did her trot music. It ruined the artistic presentation of her freestyle. It was disappointing but the technical was strong.”

Hart will unveil a new freestyle in Gladstone created for the pair by Marlene Whitaker from Custom Freestyle.

“We’re looking at something a bit lighter, a bit more feminine,” Hart said. “A bit more emotional, softer music because of the way she is. She can’t carry a heavy, dramatic music. It’s going to be a fun freestyle.”

Hart said she plans to work on connection and artistic expression with her horse between now and the National Championship.

“All the technical aspect is there,” she explained. “Now we want to add to the overall performance and the connection I have with her so that there is something to keep her focused and keep her moving without having the obvious distraction of the test. I want to get that flow and harmony to be able to support her and really show her off to the best of her ability. I feel that she’s quite phenomenal.”

For more information on the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge, contact the USET Foundation, 908-234-1251.

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US Para-Dressage Individual Athletes Complete European Tour in France and Belgium

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani at the Moorsele, Belgium CPEDI3*, April 25-27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hart.

Unionville, PA – May 7, 2014 – It is imperative that international high-performance athletes competing for the U.S. travel overseas especially with the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in Normandy, France. When para-dressage riders travel abroad with their horses they are able to compete in front of multiple FEI judges alongside their future competition. With the amount of riders that travel to the European CPEDI3* events, riders can get a good idea about where they stand, what they need to work on, and what their competitors are looking like. This feedback will help them on their road to the next international show. Although this is important, financially traveling overseas can be difficult in addition to the travel and scheduling commitment that it can take. This April 2014, three individual para-dressage riders took the opportunity to fly to France and Belgium during the multiple para-equestrian dressage CPEDI3* competitions. These riders all left just days after competing at the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in Wellington, Florida. Athletes included two-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart (Grade II) and her horse Schroeters Romani; Margaret McIntosh (Grade Ia) and her own Rio Rio; and Mary Jordan (Grade IV) with Oldenburg gelding, Rubicon 75, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center of Loxahatchee, Florida, and formally owned and ridden by Catherine Haddad Staller of International Dressage. The competitions included Deauville, France, CPEDI3*, April 4-6, 2014, and the Moorsele, Belgium, CPEDI3*, April 25-27, 2014. These events were the final preparation before the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. The National Championship/Selection Trials will be held June 2-5, 2014, at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ.

Rebecca Hart truly enjoyed the experience in Europe with her new mount, 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, Schroeters Romani, who was purchased from Straight Horse in Denmark in partnership with Hart’s family, Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, the Ruffolos, and Will and Sandy Kimmel. Hart explained, “It was a truly humbling experience. To have people believe in me enough to enable me to go over and compete on that level was astounding. The experience really helped me to learn about my horse and myself as a competitor. It feels a little bit like a roller coaster in events like this when the stakes are high. I was very very happy with being in the top five, and making it into the freestyle at both competitions, especially with all the top riders and countries there. I felt it was so important, since we are a new combination, to get over there and give my horse the exposure to the international judges that we can’t do here in the states due to the lack of CPEDIs. My horse traveled beautifully and held her composure in some very atmospheric arenas. The judges were all very complimentary and gave us good guidance on what to work on as we head towards selection trials for the 2014 World Equestrian Games.”

Hart continued, “It was phenomenal to get to focus so specifically on my horse over the last three months. I got to go into a ‘professional horse bubble’ starting with Florida and then continuing on to Europe. It was great to get to step away from my normal everyday stressors like work and concentrate completely on my horse, fitness, and riding. It was a gift and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do it. Having the time to focus like that, when it is still such a new relationship with Romani, has helped to bring us together as a team, especially with all the travel and fluctuations with the competitions. She is beginning to trust that even if we move around and the schedule or routine changes I am going to be the constant. She is a horse that likes to know what’s happening and have a routine. Getting her to trust me is the key to this partnership, and we are on our way.”

Hart added, “Having Margaret (Gigi) McIntosh and Rio come and compete with us was lovely. We were a traveling unit and it was great to have the camaraderie and support. It made the whole experience that much more fun. Gigi and I have been teammates for the last year and a half. We went horse shopping together and got our horses at the same time. It has been lovely to share the adventure with her. Having someone else to be able to bounce ideas off and share the experiences with has been huge. We train together at Blue Hill Farm and it has been fun watching as our relationships with our horses grow from the first ride to maturing to the point that we were able to successfully compete and hold our own in Europe. We are both looking forward to competing at the National Championship and Selection Trials.”

Hart concluded, “This trip would not have been possible without the amazing support team that surrounds me. I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. A huge thank you to Margaret Duprey, William and Sandy Kimmel, Missy and Jessica Ransehousen, Todd Flettrich, Sycamore Station and everyone associated with Team Hart.”

Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio at the Moorsele, Belgium CPEDI3*. Photo courtesy of Margaret McIntosh
Margaret McIntosh and Rio Rio at the Moorsele, Belgium CPEDI3*. Photo courtesy of Margaret McIntosh

Margaret McIntosh and her Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar mare, Rio Rio, enjoyed their time overseas. She explained, “The last leg of our European tour found us in the small town of Moorsele, Belgium, at the magnificent equestrian show venue, Quadrille. Mary Jordan, Rebecca Hart and I shared our stabling with three lovely British riders and a very boisterous Italian Paralympic team. As a bonus, our dear friend James Dwyer from the Irish team and his lovely ‘new’ wife, Phillipa Johnson-Dwyer (South Africa), were stabled nearby, adding to the familiar atmosphere.”

McIntosh continued, “The club-like atmosphere at Quadrille, incorporating a restaurant just behind the judges’ tables and a lot of activity around the ring, was challenging but once again, Rio proved her worth as a no-nonsense competitor, completing her first team test at Grade 1a with a 69.2% for sixth place. A 68% (6th) in the individual test on day two highlighted my weak points but found us still competitive. The freestyle class presented a new set of challenges. As I was newly reclassified as a 1a (due to gradually but markedly increasing spasticity), I had not prepared an appropriate freestyle. The multi-talented Rachel Gross drew on her extensive musical knowledge to cobble together lovely music from the movie ‘Spirit’. Missy provided the choreography and we rode through the test once on Saturday evening. Rio delivered a very technically correct test (as I struggled to keep up with the music) to finish with a 69.9% in fifth place.”

McIntosh concluded, “We left Belgium having successfully accomplished the goals set many months ago. The riders and horses gained experience at very electric venues not found anywhere in the United States. The exposure to the high level of competition, so daunting in Deauville, became a matter of course in Moorsele. Rio’s scores have improved and become more consistent at every competition this spring. We have been judged several times by the same European five-star judges who have rewarded us with markedly higher scores at each outing. We are well-prepared for the June 2-5, 2014 National Championship and selection trials at the USET Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. I want to thank Missy Ransehousen and Rachel Gross for their inestimable coaching and horsemanship and to Rebecca Hart for her philosophy. I also want to thank all of our supporters and friends whose encouragement helped launch this trip of a lifetime; I am eternally grateful.”

Mary Jordan, who competed with Rubicon 75, explained the importance of competing in Europe: “Many words come to mind when I think about the experience of the two times I’ve gone to Europe to compete (European Championships in Norway 2009 leading up to the 2010 World Equestrian Games) and this spring (leading up to 2014 World Equestrian Games): incredible, thought-provoking, challenging, rewarding, intense, inspiring, enjoyable, and necessary. I say necessary because the scope of para-dressage overseas is much larger in terms of countries participating, the number of competitive riders involved, the public understanding of the sport, and the exposure riders get to FEI international judging panels. In the USA we may have between 5 to at the most 20+ rides at a CPEDI3*. Our selection trials for Beijing in 2008 accepted all five of the competitive riders. In 2010 there were about 14 riders prior to the World Equestrian Games and 25 in 2012 for the London Paralympics. In the U.S., we may only see riders from Canada or Mexico and maybe Bermuda. Contrast to Deauville, France and Moorsele, Belgium this year was like a mini-World Equestrian Games, with up to 70 riders from 19 countries participating. The Grade IVs, for example, had 19 horses entered and one was a Paralympic medalist with two horses. Another distinction: in the USA, anyone can ride in a CPEDI3*. In Great Britain, for example, any para-dressage rider has to first successfully complete the novice para-dressage tests to earn the scores to allow them to ride the FEI Team and Individual tests. Then they have to compete at those levels with consistent scores to be considered for anything further at a national level. Certain performance thresholds have to be met before people are allowed to ride at a CPEDI3*. Few countries do one selection trial for selecting teams and a greater emphasis is placed on consistent and demonstrated regular performance at top shows.”

Jordan continued, “I was blessed with the honor and opportunity to ride a new competition horse Rubicon 75 (Royal-Hit x Edelkarin/Absinthe) to compete overseas and develop a long-term partnership. Rubicon was owned by FEI dressage rider Catherine Haddad Staller and she donated him to Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. I am grateful for the opportunity and truly enjoyed developing the partnership with this phenomenal horse. We spent our time getting to know each other and training with top medal-winning coaches and got the opportunity to ride before top international judges for some vital feedback to develop this young FEI horse’s future career. We won our first class in the UK in an able-body competition run by British Dressage in a class of 16 and were 2nd in a second class out of 22 entries with score in the 70s. We also earned our scores to compete in the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship. The feedback from the judges was fantastic, supportive, and I was told he is a world class horse. He will be our prospect for the 2016 Rio Paralympics; I am so excited. The process and opportunity to compete gave me a truly valuable experience, confidence, a new sense of direction, organization and purpose, with key insights I can apply to future competitions and in my development as a rider. I felt an incredible sense of camaraderie meeting new riders and friends from Greece, Denmark, Canada, Holland and Great Britain. We are blessed to be in a unique sport where you can compete against people that inspire you.”

The United States Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes’ next stop will be the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in August held in Normandy, France. The National Championship/Selection Trials will be held June 2-5, 2014, at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ.

Results from Moorsele, Belgium, CPEDI3*, April 25-27, 2014

Full results may be found at http://www.quadrille.bz/2012/index.php/EN/results-2014.

To view USA results from Deauville, France, CPEDI3*, April 4-6, 2014, go to http://uspea.org/april-8-2014-u-s-para-dressage-athletes-successful-overseas-at-cpedi3-in-deauville-france/.

Judges included: M. Orsini (GER), J Robinson (GBR), Marc Urban (BEL), S. Cunningham (AUS), P. Imshoot (Bel), E. Ebert (GER), and Anne Prain (FRA)

Written 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: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani Seal Partnership at Adequan Global Dressage Festival 12 CPEDI3*

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani.

Wellington, FL – March 18, 2014 – Two-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart, a Grade II Para-Dressage athlete, and her own Schroeters Romani ended the CPEDI3* at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with impressive results. The pair placed second in the FEI Para-Dressage Individual test with a 70.476 percent and second in the FEI Para-Dressage Freestyle with a 72.667 percent.

Schroeters Romani, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Lobster-Manique, Come Back II), is a new ride for Hart after her 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship mount, Lord Ludger, was retired after the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Romani was purchased with the help of Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm, Hart’s family, William and Sandy Kimmel and Sycamore Station Equine Division.

The mare was a bit spooky on Friday on a blustery South Florida day for the FEI Para-Dressage Team Test, but rallied on Saturday and Sunday to achieve high placings.

“It was our first big CDI and a big atmosphere,” Hart said on Saturday after her Individual test. “It was really good that I was able to ride her through it because we built more trust. I was happy that she came in and settled today and did the test and was actually listening and working with me.”

Missy Ransehousen, Hart’s trainer for eight years, was pleased with the duo’s performance.

“It was great,” she said. “You know, we don’t really know this horse very well and every day is a new day to get to know her. There are always things you have to learn and to fix, but overall it was a really nice ride. I was happy that she walked in and did her job.”

Hart is no longer allowed the use of Velcro straps on her legs as a compensation aid per an FEI ruling passed in January and she said it has been a challenge to learn a new way of riding. She has birth-onset hereditary spastic paraplegia, a degenerative disease that causes muscle wasting and paralysis.

“That’s also a new factor,” she explained. “My legs are less stable but she was really there for me. It’s nice to have a horse with that mentality, especially since we are so new together, that she’s willing to come up and support me when I need it. It’s a two way street: I’ll support her and she’ll support me.”

Sunday’s freestyle, created by Marlene Whitaker from Custom Freestyle, featured trot music to “Classical Gas” and the walk tour is “For You, Matthew.” Hart said she worked on getting more impulsion in the walk as well as more connection and pizazz in her freestyle. The choreography, created for her former mount, Lord Ludger, included half-pass and shoulder-in for added interest and is being used until a new one is created for Hart and Romani.

“She likes it,” Hart said. “She kind of likes to flip her toes a little bit. I love that she likes the music and goes with the rhythm and really gets into it. ”

Hart said the freestyle was a nice way to end the show, noting that the timing and the artistry of the freestyle were highlights for her.

“She was so good for me and she rose to the occasion,” Hart said. “She carried me beautifully. By the third day, my legs are a little tired. I needed her to step up and I really had that.”

Hart thought the two built on their trust this weekend and was pleased that the relationship between her and her horse is growing so quickly.

“She walked in there and she was totally chill,” Hart said. “She figured it out. The first day she was a bit unsettled and little overly exuberant.”

Grand Prix rider Todd Flettrich has been training Hart for the past month while she has been based in Florida. He also trained her the month before she left for London for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

“Missy [Ransehousen] deserves all the credit and Missy is always there for her,” Flettrich said. “Becca has taught me more than I taught her. That girl has an unbelievable work ethic and she does not allow her disability to run her life. I am delighted with her and with the horse. I hope this is the beginning of a long relationship.”

Hart and Romani’s next step is to travel to Europe March 22 to compete in CPEDI3* shows in Deauville, France, April 4-6 and in Moorsele, Belgium, April 25-27.

“We are hitting the ground running as a pair,” she said. “Then on April 29, I come home and we’ll have a few weeks and then we’ll go to selection trials.”

The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship will be held June 2-5 at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. The championship will also serve as the selection trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team.

Hart knows that she wouldn’t be where she is without the help of her trainer and some generous individuals.

“It was a massively joint effort and I am honored to be a part of it,” the equestrian said. “I have a huge support system. It’s as much their victory as mine.”

Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Group Effort Nets New Horse for Para-Equestrian Rebecca Hart

Romani and Rebecca Hart. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hart.

Wellington, FL – February 4, 2014 – Rebecca Hart, a two-time Para-Olympic athlete, has a new horse, thanks to a group of people who believe in her.

Hart’s new horse, Romani, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, was purchased with the help of Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm, Hart’s family, William and Sandy Kimmel and Sycamore Station Equine Division.

“It was a massively joint effort and I am honored to be a part of it,” the equestrian said. “I have a huge support system. It’s as much their victory as mine.”

She hails from Unionville, PA, and trains with Missy and Jessica Ransehousen.

In 2012, she won the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship title aboard Lord Ludger. Her former mount, owned by the Ransehousens, was retired to a life of eating grass, hacking and light riding at the age of 21 after the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Rebecca Hart and Norteassa at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in Chicago, IL, in June of 2010. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall
Rebecca Hart and Norteassa at the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships in Chicago, IL, in June of 2010. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall

Hart and Lord Ludger placed just out of the medals at the both the 2008 and the 2012 Para-Olympic Games and she hopes Romani is the key to future success. The pair will arrive in Wellington in February and will be based out of Duprey’s Cherry Knoll Farm. They will compete in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10 CPEDI3* Para-Equestrian Dressage show in Wellington in March and then fly out of Miami for CPEDI3* competitions in Belgium and France.

Hart plans to qualify for the June 2014 Para-Equestrian National Championship and Selection Trials in Gladstone, NJ, with the ultimate goal of participating in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Beyond that, she wants to go for the gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Hart thinks Romani could be the perfect partner. She said the 16.2 hand mare arrived from Denmark at the end of November and is athletic, supple and fun to ride. She had a comfortable connection with the horse the first time she rode her.

“A para horse has to have something special to make it as an international horse, but at the same time, it also has to understand the disability and have a fantastic brain and personality to go along with that,” she explained. “It was funny. She sized me up when I met her. She looked me up and down – it was the most bizarre experience I’ve ever had with a horse. She’s like, ‘I understand that your legs don’t work. I hear what you’re saying.’ And off we went.”

She said that when she mounted Romani in Denmark, it was the first time in 18 years of riding that sitting in the saddle did not hurt her hip.

Rebecca Hart and Kazan won the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and topped USEF Para-Dressage Selection Trials for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall
Rebecca Hart and Kazan won the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and topped USEF Para-Dressage Selection Trials for 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall

Hart has birth-onset hereditary spastic paraplegia, a degenerative disease that causes muscle wasting and paralysis, and credits riding with her continued mobility and ability to walk. She said that the more people understand para-equestrian riding, the better it will be for the sport.

“Para-equestrian actually means that it’s parallel to able-bodied sports,” she said. “It just happens to be with riders who have disabilities. We compete at all the same venues as the able-bodied riders, and we’re held to the same FEI standards. There are just different aides and compensations.”

Hart added that she’s thankful for her support team who has recognized that she competes in a legitimate high-performance sport.

“I can’t thank them enough for helping me fulfill my lifelong dream and for allowing me to share my adventure with them,” she said. “Every time we succeed, it’s as much their victory as it is my own.”

Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Watch the Full Video of U.S. Paralympian Rebecca Hart on ABC’s Good Morning America with Co-Host Ann Romney

Lara Spencer, Ann Romney, Rebecca Hart, and horse Lord Ludger. Photo (C) ABC/Ida Mae Astute

New York, NY – October 10, 2012 – On Wednesday October 10th, U.S. Paralympian Rebecca Hart of Unionville, Penn. was showcased on ABC’s Good Morning America. Hart and horse Lord Ludger accompanied Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in New York’s Times Square. Mrs. Romney and Rebecca Hart spoke about how horses have provided a unique form of therapy for each of them. Mrs. Romney co-hosted the news hour with George Stephanopoulos where she was filling in for Robin Roberts, who is on extended medical leave.

Rebecca Hart and horse Lord Ludger (owned by Jessica Ransehousen) presented a previously recorded segment from October 8th showcasing the Paralympic Dressage duo at Blue Hill Farm. The previously recorded segment featured Rebecca Hart explaining how equine therapy has improved her quality of life and how it has helped her work through Familial Spastic Paraplegia. Mrs. Romney, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998, began riding as a form of therapy and found equine therapy to benefit her life in many ways as well.

Continue reading Watch the Full Video of U.S. Paralympian Rebecca Hart on ABC’s Good Morning America with Co-Host Ann Romney