Tag Archives: Rebecca Hart

US Para Dressage Team Maintains Their Spot after First CPEDI3* in 2021

Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall for the USPEA.

Wellington, Florida – February 4, 2021 – Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team maintains their stride as the number one ranked FEI Team in Para-Dressage after a solid weekend (January 27-30, 2021) at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI3*. The Wellington, Florida venue was an excellent location for the launch of an important Paralympic Year. Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline and USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor led the four-woman squad to top results. The Team included Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) with All In One, Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.) riding Fortune 500, Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.) with Solitaer 40, and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) aboard Dolton.

Bronze Medal (2018 WEG) rider Trunnell, who recently received the USET Foundation award of the 2021 Whitney Stone Cup, rode Dolton who also earned the US Equestrian Federation Award of 2020 International Horse of Honor Award to the High Point Para-Dressage athlete at the CPEDI3*. Dolton is owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Trunnell (USA Grade I) has had a fantastic year leading the FEI Rankings as the number one Para-Dressage rider in the world.

U.S. Teammate Kate Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 earned the Reserve Champion High Point in the CPEDI3*. With an extra year to prepare not only were the top combinations earning their best scores, but new horses and rider pairs were seen giving the judges the best view of the United States Para-Dressage high performance depth. Even athletes in the national para-dressage show earned outstanding test percentages over the weekend.

The ground jury included Kjell Myhre (Norway), Anne Prain (FRA), and Adrienne Pot (USA). Athletes will prepare in the next few months for the March 24-28, Wellington Para-Dressage National Competition, followed by the June 17-20, 2021, Tryon CPEDI and final Paralympic Observation Event which takes place before the Tokyo Paralympic Games August 24 – September 5, 2021.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline and USEF Head of Coach Development & Para Dressage Technical Advisor noted, “All went beyond expectations. I would expect for athletes in Tokyo contention to not peak too early and be fairly conservative since we have a long way to the Games. The judging panel was of particular interest to me as both Anne Prain (FRA) and Kjell Myhre (NOR) are both part of the future Tokyo Paralympics official jury. It will give our selectors and coaches a solid evaluation of their performances. The team of four, Roxanne Trunnell, Sydney Collier, Rebecca Hart, and Kate Shoemaker, did well. Rebecca Hart had a personal best with Fortune in the Freestyle with a score over 76%, Roxanne Trunnell continues to impress with scores hovering the 80% mark, maintaining her FEI World one strong hold, Sydney Collier was consistent, riding conservatively as there is still a long way to the June Tryon CPEDI, and team rider Kate Shoemaker also rode a soft ‘economical’ test to save her horse for this long road to selection towards Tokyo.

“However, even with this approach in mind, our team achieved a remarkable average of 74.45%. That is keeping the US Para Dressage in its first FEI ranking position. A dream for all involved. Eyes were on the new partnership of Charlotte Merle Smith (Grade III) with her lovely grey mare Guata. She really impressed the judges in their first international; scores were solidly around the 72% mark each day. Beatrice De Lavalette also rode her new partner Clarc, very promising horse indeed, with the same level of score quality. All the other riders improved their performances throughout the three days with most moving to the magic 70% in the freestyle. We received a special accolade from our foreign judges about the ever-increasing quality of horses and riding in the US. Happy team and coaches.”

To view this press release in full, please visit: http://uspea.org/category/recent-uspea-press-news/.

For more information, please visit www.USPEA.org.

CDI World Cup Winners and Para-Dressage National Champions Command Centerline

Abraham Pugh and Elfenperfekt ©Sharon Packer Photography.

 Mill Spring, NC – October 27, 2020 – Abraham Pugh (USA) and Elfenperfekt grabbed their first career CDI wins together at Tryon Fall Dressage 3 at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC), claiming the FEI Grand Prix on a score of 68.109% and topping the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 74.010%. Julio Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Rosali, Aileen Daly’s 2005 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanov x Mosegardens Ratina), claimed second in both the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle and the FEI Grand Prix, scoring 73.990%, and 67.022%, respectively. Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon, the 2008 Connemara Cross gelding (Gun Smoke x Kynynmont Tara x Greystone McErrill) owned by Pam Liddell, claimed third in both CDI competitions, scoring 66.261% in the FEI Grand Prix and earning 71.150% in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.

Pugh and the 2006 Trakehner stallion (Peron x Elfentruam x Zauberklang) owned by Alice Drayer have been together for seven years now, he said, and they keep “getting better and better” as they go. “My weekend went really well. This is our first time winning an international competition like that, so it’s pretty special. He just keeps getting better, and I keep getting better, so it’s really exciting. He really is a great partner,” Pugh shared of his mount. “He really will try his heart out for me day, in and day out; he doesn’t tell me no. He comes to work the same horse, whether we are at a show, whether we are in a big environment or a small environment.”

Rebecca Hart Is the 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para-Dressage National Champion

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel ©Leslie Potter/US Equestrian

The Adequan®/USEF Para-Dressage National Championship named Rebecca Hart (Wellington, FL) and Rowan O’Riley’s El Corona Texel at the 2020 Champions, earning a total composite score of 77.029%, with the Reserve Championship awarded to Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, MI) scored a personal best in her freestyle with Going for Gold LLC’s All In One in the Grade I division with a 78.711%, which gave her a composite score of 76.147%.

“I’m so blessed to have him,” said Hart, who led all weekend and produced consistent personal bests with the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel x Goodtimes). “He’s such a fun ride. He’s very dynamic and powerful. He was just awesome all week for me. I couldn’t have asked for more. He gave me the best birthday present ever! All three days were his top scores. Each test was the best it’s ever been for that test.”

With the 2020 season drastically impacted by COVID-19, Hart relayed that she focused on “getting back to basics,” so that their debut performance this weekend would be a strong one. “It was a crazy year! We went back to basics. We [sometimes] get so set on this date and that date with all of the shows, so we took the break as a silver lining. We caught our breath and really focused on the training and keeping our horses happy and healthy,” she emphasized. “We’ve done a lot of training at home working on certain things while in lockdown. This is our first time back out, so to have him be so happy and strong was fabulous.”

Sydney Collier and “Alle,” the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin), produced personal best after personal best to finish in reserve, and shared that she was searching for words other than “incredible” to describe her experience:

“It has been just so fun, and I wish I had better words to describe how good it feels to be back in the show ring, and to see all of our hard work during quarantine pay off. To step in there and be better than we ever have been is something that is really beyond words, and it invigorates me for going home and continuing on the same path and polishing up on some things before heading to Florida.”

For more competition information, visit www.Tryon.com/dressage.

USEF Para Dressage National Championship Results in Win for Team USA

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2019 – Day Two of the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship saw a win for Team USA at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort, consisting of Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Sydney Collier combining efforts for a total score of 439.585. In second, Team Canada, including Lauren Barwick, Lee Garrod, Jody Schloss, and Winona Hartvikson, finished on a score of 416.079. David Botana and Lord Locksley currently lead in the Individual competition, with Trunnell just behind heading into the final day of competition.

Hart and “Tex” claimed a win in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade III on a score of 73.775%, but Hart revealed that the weekend was about much more than the current competition for her just a year following her double-medal achievements at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) hosted at the venue last September.

“This arena has so many emotions for me. I’ve had some monumental moments – the epitome of my riding career here. I rolled in to the venue on Monday and all the emotions came back,” she recalled. “And I was having the memory of meeting up with my parents – because my parents don’t get to come to shows that often, and my dad was here – and I was telling myself, ‘don’t get weepy, you just got in the driveway!’

“But revisiting the place where I saw my dad, and where I was waiting in the chute for the final rides when we realized I had gotten the bronze and the first medal ever for US Para Equestrian in a WEG, was just fantastic,” Hart continued. “To have Tex here again with me, and to have him perform so well for me again in this arena… Tryon has such a special place in my heart.”

Hart is now focused on 2020, and admitted, “We’re Dressage riders – we always want more and want to get that extra little tenth of a point that we can get anywhere! Heading into next year we’ve got a lot of little things to work on.”

But it was a significant change in routine that has helped deepen Hart and her mount’s connection, she detailed: “We had actually changed up our routine coming into this event, which was a little intimidating, because changing anything before a big championship can go one of two ways, but it has really worked for us. I now do all the warm-up myself with Tex, which has made for a much more symbiotic relationship with my horse.”

Hart elaborated, “Before, I had my trainer doing the warm-up, because I don’t post, so I liked to give him a bit of a warm-up with an able-bodied rider to get his back moving, but I always felt like there was a bit of translation period from the two rides, and I would basically have to re-warm him up all over again. And then, any issue they had would translate into my ride as well, so me handling him from the start myself makes it my own ride, and it gives us a lot more confidence in the ring.”

Trunnell and Dolton, the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Danone I x Unknown) owned by Flintwood Farm LLC, claimed second behind Botana in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade I test Saturday, scoring a 73.571%. “It was a wonderful weekend,” Trunnell said after the Team USA win. “We really have been working on solidifying them [our tests]. It feels like they’re really coming together. I love how he just kept marching.  We’re hoping to make it to Tokyo, so that’s what we’ll be working on.”

Collier and All In One grabbed third place in the CPEDI 3* Individual Grade I Competition to help earn the win for Team USA, and shared that she was impressed with her mount’s reliability in their first CPEDI competition together: “For this weekend, we wanted to come out, be consistent, and I personally wanted to work on my geometry. With him being as great of a horse as he is, I have to step up to his amount of talent! Being a visually-impaired rider, geometry can be one of the most difficult things to nail, so I’ve really been working at home on perfecting my step counts, because that’s how I do my geometry.”

Collier continued of the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin) owned by Going For Gold LLC, “Being here in the big ring with different lighting and situations, I was very impressed with how ‘Alle’ stepped up his game. He was like, I’ve got your back! Really, we had no idea what to anticipate going into our first CPEDI.”

Working towards Tokyo 2020 and hoping to be named to next year’s team, Collier emphasized that competing at TIEC has been a valuable learning experience for such a new combination. “[Going forward] I just want to work on fine-tuning the little things we’ve observed here. It’s been an amazing learning experience for us, and for only having him since mid-June, I think there is so much room to improve on so many things, which is just – I keep using the word exciting, but I don’t think it really sums up the feeling that I feel about our partnership. We connected so quickly, and I can’t wait for the future with him,” Collier concluded.

Shoemaker and Solitaer 40 presented solo once again in the CPEDI 3* Grade IV Individual competition, scoring a 73.049% and putting in what she felt were “personal bests” for her team this weekend regardless of scores: “I think this was really the best work we’ve gotten in the arena – we’ve been together for five years now, and every show has been a step in the right direction: we get it at home, then we get it in the warm-up, then we get it around the arena, and then we get it in [the arena], so I felt like we had some really amazing moments in the arena this week. So, that’s what I’m really excited about, and regardless of the scores, they were personal bests.”

“I just want to keep adding more cadence, self-carriage and balance into the work, so we can show the expressiveness that he has,” Shoemaker said of the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sandro hit x Dynastie x De niro). “There’s so much in there, and he’s just waiting for me to tap into it.”

The Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Katherine Bateson and Alcazar Kick Off Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3* with a Win

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar ©Susan J. Stickle Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2019 – Tryon Fall Dressage 2 CDI 3*/CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan® and the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) kicked off Friday when Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) piloted Alcazar down centerline to win the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* after capturing a total score of 69.196%. Michael Pineo (USA) and his own 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz x Belalussi x Samba Hit), Farrington, were awarded second place in the class with a score of 63.63%. Third-place honors were then awarded to Julio Cesar Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Aileen Daly’s Rosali, a 2005 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Horse Romanov x Mosegardens Ratina x Ragazzo), with a score of 63.587%.

Chandler explained that she and the 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cantango x Polina x Ferro) owned by Jane Forbes Clark have been working together for seven and a half years now, during which they have had to face many challenges: “It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs, but he’s a horse that we’ve always believed in and I’m excited for him to start to come into his own.

“We’ve just come off a European tour with a lot of atmosphere, and a lot of big shows. We were on the Aachen Nations Cup Team and he was really super there. He actually is one of those horses that the bigger the environment and the bigger the show the better he gets and sort of rises to the occasion,” Chandler continued, “I’m super happy with him [today]. He was so honest and made no mistakes — I couldn’t be happier with him!”

Chandler, who competed in the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG), but missed coming to Tryon in 2018, is aiming at Tokyo in 2020 and enjoyed a Grand Prix win on her first-ever trip to the venue, she detailed: “Our next goal is Tokyo, so that’s why we’re here. To qualify we have to do four Grands Prix, and I wanted to get one in, so I didn’t have all the pressure of getting them all during Florida, and to get one score under my belt. My goals [for this weekend] are to get in the ring and get experience, and to get my scores as high as I can before going into the Florida season. I’ve never actually been here before; I’m so impressed, and it’s a beautiful facility.” Chandler concluded, “After this show, I’ll go back to Wellington where we’re based, and then in January, the circuit starts!”

USEF Para Dressage National Championship Team Competition Sees Tight Competition between the USA and Canada

After the first half of Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship Team competition, the Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team, consisting of Roxanne Trunnell, who currently leads Individual competition, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, and Sydney Collier headed into Individual Tests on Saturday in Tryon Stadium. Team Canada, consisting of Lauren Barwick, Lee Garrod, Jody Schloss, and Winona Hartvikson, are close behind with a chance to make up the difference in day two of competition.

Rebecca Hart (USA) and El Corona Texel topped Grade III Team Test competition on a score of 71.226%, while Canada claimed second via Lauren Barwick and Engelbrecht, her own 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vivaldi x Regina x Rimini), scoring 70.098%. USA also claimed third, with Meghan Benge and Worth the Trip, the 1998 Welsh Cross gelding by Anjershaf rocky, bringing home a score of 68.137%.

“This is kind of our first technical qualifying event for Tokyo. He felt amazing today,” Hart said of the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wynton x Urieta Texel x Goodtimes) owned by Rowan O’Riley. “We had created a plan leading up to this event on how we wanted everything to go, and so far the plan has worked accordingly and we’ve been able to do everything that we wanted to.”

While she’s “actively campaigning for Tokyo,” Hart explained, for now the plan is to continue their progress this weekend: “I just want to continue with the progress we have made. I hope he has very confident and encouraging rides moving forward so that we can build and bring in the dynamic and expressiveness that I know we can. We’ve got two more events in January in Wellington, and then a final observation event after that.”

Hart is no stranger to the venue, as just a year ago she made history as the first U.S. Para Dressage athlete to claim a medal at WEG, later securing a second medal in the team competition. “I love showing at Tryon,” Hart emphasized. “The arena we are competing in this weekend has special memories for me, as it’s where we received our medals from the Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games last year, so it’s always nice to come here. It’s a great feeling and it has a nice vibe to it.”

CPEDI 3* Grade I Team competition saw the day’s high score as Roxanne Trunnell (USA) and Dolton, received a 74.881% to dominate the field. David Botana (USA) and Lord Locksley, the 2001 Trakehner stallion (Unkenruf x Lida x Enrico Caruso) owned by Margaret Stevens, scored a 73.274% to claim second, while Sydney Collier (USA) and All In One, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Abanos x Dauphin) owned by Going For Gold LLC, scored an even 71.000% to achieve third.

“Dolton is a seven-year-old; he’s just a little baby,” said Trunnell. “He felt really good today! I love showing here at Tryon! It is so pretty and I love the mountains. We hope to continue to have great rides and help build his confidence even more this weekend. We’re hoping to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade V results saw Canada top the podium, with Lee Garrod (CAN) taking top honors on a score of 69.225% with Question, the 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Quaterback x Evita) owned by Lee Garrod. Cayla van der Walt (RSA) and Daturo II, her own 2006 Andalusian gelding (Merlito XI x Daturna x Pestillo), scored a 68.217% for second, while Cynthia Screnci (USA) and her own Eragon VF, the 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Don romantic x Ujinja), landed in third with a 63.101% score.

In CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade II competition, Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) claimed first on a score of 69.495% with Duna, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Vivaldi x Nicola x Amethist) owned by Nicolas De Lavalette, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) rode Phoenix, a 1999 Westphalian gelding owned by Cynthia Nugent, to a score of 69.192% and second place. Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) and El Paso, her own 2004 Dutch Riding Pony gelding (Elegant x Karin x Carl), earned third with a total score of 67.778%.

CPEDI 3* Para Dressage Team Grade IV competition saw Kate Shoemaker (USA) present solo for a score of 73.083%, riding her own Solitaer 40, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Sandro hit x Dynastie x De niro).

CPEDI 1* Para Novice Test A Grade IV saw Emma Jameson (USA) make her FEI debut aboard Cortesana La, a 2007 PRE mare owned by Misha Marshall, to score a 50.052%.

The Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

US Para-Dressage Secure Top Scores at Hartpury Festival of Dressage

Kate Shoemaker, Michel Assouline, and Rebecca Hart. Photo courtesy of Michel Assouline.

Gloucestershire, United Kingdom – July 9, 2019 – International athletes Rebecca Hart and Kate Shoemaker of the United States competed at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage CPEDI3*, located at Hartpury University in Gloucestershire, July 3-7, 2019. Hart, a three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and three-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014, 2018), rode her horses El Corona Texel and Fortune 500, both owned by Rowan O’Riley. Hart earned top placings with both horses including a second place in the Grade III Freestyle with Fortune 500 earning a 73.113 and a second place with El Corona Texel in the Team Test. Kate Shoemaker, a 2018 World Equestrian Games medalist and Grade IV para-dressage athlete, earned a Freestyle score of 74.080 and top Team Test score garnering her two second places on her horse Solitaer 40. The U.S. riders were led by USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Technical Advisor and Head of Coach Development Michel Assouline.

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.

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel Win FEI Para Freestyle Grade III-CPEDI 3* at AGDF

Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – January 20, 2019 – Week 2 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), presented by Adequan®, Mission Control, Nutrena, and Fair Sky Farm, concluded on Sunday, January 20, with a win for Rebecca Hart (USA) and El Corona Texel in the FEI Para Freestyle Grade III – CPEDI 3*.

Hart and El Corona Texel, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Wynton and owned by Rowan O’Riley, earned a score of 75.278% in the Grade III Freestyle. Grade III is for riders who have severe impairments in both lower limbs with minimal or no impairment of the trunk or moderate impairments of the upper and lower limbs and trunk. Some riders in Grade III may use a wheelchair.

Hart is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and moved to Wellington, FL. “I have loved this horse from the moment I saw his video on YouTube. I love his personality and his intelligence,” said Hart about El Corona Texel. “He’s quite a fiery horse, but he’s an incredibly kind horse. I love how we can have a true conversation when we’re riding, and it just makes it a very unique, special partnership.

“Marlene Whittaker put the freestyle together for me, and we worked really hard on that one,” continued Hart of her freestyle music and choreography. “It’s actually the one that we rode at [the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games], so it’s a special freestyle for us. We actually all played [the music] for him so he could have a little bit of input. He would just be like, ‘Oh yeah’ and he’d start to get a little more exuberant, and we were like, ‘Okay, Tex likes this one!’”

Hart has been coming to AGDF for seven years and said, “I love having such a great facility for the 12 weeks. They have shows on the weekend, and we can just come and do a test and then go home. Having that availability, and in addition having the big three-stars and the four-star and the freestyles under the lights, that variety of atmosphere so that you can do a smaller national show or you can do a big three-star all within your backyard, is fantastic.”

Kate Shoemaker (USA) and Solitaer 40 won the FEI Para Freestyle Grade IV – CPEDI 3* with a score of 75.458%. Grade IV is for riders who are impaired in one or two limbs or have some visual impairment.

Shoemaker travels back and forth between her home in Phoenix, AZ, where she is an equine veterinarian, and Wellington to train. “He’s my heart horse, so just every day having the opportunity to ride him and to have that partnership is special. He’s a horse that when I got him I was told that I was never going to be able to ride him and that he would never be successful in Para,” said Shoemaker about Solitaer 40. “So to come this far with him – we’re now starting our fifth season together – I feel like it’s all about the partnership. He gives me so much that it’s just unbelievable.

“His elasticity is definitely his strength, and it was something that the judges noted this weekend that they really appreciated in him. Now we’re really starting to bring together a little bit more power and more balance in the arena, which is what’s been the big change,” added Shoemaker about her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Sandro Hit. “As much improvement as he’s had, he still gives me those moments where there’s the next step up that we’re working on. It’s really an exciting journey that we are on right now.”

Shoemaker said of her choreography, “Last summer I got together with Tom Hunt, and asked him if he would be willing to do a freestyle for me. I was ecstatic when he said yes. He actually custom composed the music to fit to ‘Solly’ and the choreography that we put together.”

Alanna Flax-Clark (USA) won the FEI Para Freestyle Grade II – CPEDI 3* with a score of 68.222%. Flax-Clark rode her horse El Paso, a 15-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding by Elegant.

Roxanne Trunnell (USA) ended the day with a win in the FEI Para Freestyle Grade I – CPEDI 3* with a score of 77.889%. Trunnell rode Dolton, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I and owned by Kate Shoemaker.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

US Olympic Committee Announces Best of September Finalists for Team USA Awards

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Colorado Springs, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee announced finalists for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of September, which recognize the outstanding achievements of Team USA athletes from last month. Fans are invited to vote for their favorite athletes and teams at Awards.TeamUSA.org through midnight Monday, Oct. 8.

A total of eight sports – including basketball, equestrian, Para-equestrian, paratriathlon, shooting, triathlon, volleyball, and wrestling – are represented among the 13 finalists across men’s, women’s and team categories. The finalists’ collective accomplishments tell the inspiring story of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes year-round.

In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by Dick’s Sporting Goods and USG.

SEPTEMBER FINALISTS

Male Athlete of the Month

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, New York), Indoor Volleyball
Named best opposite at the FIVB World Championship, finishing as the second-leading scorer and second-leading attacker and helping lead Team USA to its first world championship medal – a bronze – in 24 years.

Mark Barr (Davis, California), Paratriathlon
Capped his undefeated season with a gold medal in the men’s PTS2 at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.

G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Wrestling
Earned the gold medal in the 97 kg. division of the Pytlasinski Memorial International after pinning 2016 Olympic champion and three-time world champion Artur Aleksanyan in the semifinal in 27 seconds.

Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia), Shooting
Won his fourth world championship title in skeet shooting at the ISSF World Championships, tying the world record in qualification by shooting a perfect 125-125 targets, and tying the finals world record by missing only one target.

McLain Ward (Brewster, New York), Equestrian
Aboard Clinta, anchored the U.S. Jumping Team at the FEI World Equestrian Games, helping Team USA win the gold medal in a jump-off to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Female Athlete of the Month

Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), Shooting
Won her first career international gold medal in skeet shooting at the ISSF World Championships, edging six-time Olympic medalist and U.S. teammate Kim Rhode in the final, 57-56.

Laura Graves (Geneva, Florida), Equestrian
Aboard Verdades, claimed the grand prix special individual silver medal and the team silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games, becoming the first U.S. dressage combination to lead the FEI Dressage World Rankings.

Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Florida), Para-equestrian
Earned the bronze medal in the individual test and silver in freestyle at the FEI World Equestrian Games, marking the first-ever WEG medals won by a Team USA para-equestrian individual rider.

Allysa Seely (Glendale, Arizona), Paratriathlon
Earned the gold medal in the women’s PTS2 division at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, completing her season sweep of the ITU World Paratriathlon Series.

Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Maryland), Triathlon
Finished third at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, capturing the ITU World Triathlon Series overall silver medal.

Team of the Month

USA Women’s World Cup Team, Basketball
With just two practices with its complete, 12-member team, won its third straight world cup title – and 10th overall – at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, becoming the second women’s basketball team to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

U.S. Jumping Team, Equestrian
Won a historic gold medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games in a thrilling jump-off against Sweden – marking the first world title for the U.S. since 1986 – and secured a national team quota spot for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

U.S. Men’s World Championship Team, Indoor Volleyball
Earned a historic bronze medal at the FIVB World Championship, marking the first world championship medal for the U.S. in 24 years.

SELECTION PROCESS
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male, and one team per sport discipline. An internal nominating committee selects finalists to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via Awards.TeamUSA.org.

From the United States Olympic Committee Communications Department

US Equestrian Announces Para-Dressage Team for World Equestrian Games 2018

Lexington, KY – US Equestrian has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team presented by Deloitte for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018, which will take place September 11-23, 2018. Following the 2017-2018 selection period, the US Equestrian Board of Directors approved the following combinations for the FEI Nominated Entry List.

Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.), Grade III, with El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Reilly’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding

Angela Peavy (Wellington, Fla.), Grade IV, with Royal Dark Chocolate, Rebecca Reno’s 10-year-old Oldenburg mare

Kate Shoemaker (Peoria, Ariz.), Grade IV, with Solitaer 40, the 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion she owns with Craig and Deena Shoemaker

Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas), Grade I, and Kate Shoemaker’s Dolton, a six-year-old Hanoverian gelding

For more information about FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, visit Tryon2018.com.

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 Qualifies for Freestyle as Team Competition Concludes at Rio Paralympic Games

Rebecca Hart and Romani (Alexandre Loureiro/Stringer)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Following five days of Team and Individual tests, Paralympic equestrian team competition concluded Thursday afternoon at the Deodoro Equestrian Center. Rebecca Hart was first down centerline for the U.S. Team in the Grade II Individual test, scoring 67.714%. In the Grade Ia Individual test, individual competitor Roxanne Trunnell produced a score of 69.565%, while team representative, Margaret McIntosh, scored 66.217%. The U.S. finished 12th in team standings. Great Britain secured their 10th consecutive Team Gold medal, having topped the team competition since para-dressage’s inception at the Paralympic Games in 1996. Germany won Silver, while The Netherlands took Bronze.

The Grade II Individual tests kicked off Thursday morning at the Deodoro Equestrian Center. Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and Romani, her own 2002 Danish Warmblood mare, executed a respectable test and qualified for Friday’s Freestyle. Though the pair never quite found their rhythm, it was a clean test that placed them ninth in the class.

“It was not the test that I wanted so I am disappointed. Everything is a learning process though and you go with what you have at the moment; we did the best we could with it. I couldn’t have done anything differently, it was just not our moment,” Hart explained.

Speaking to her experience at her third Paralympic Games, Hart said, “It has been wonderful. It’s been a pleasure to be here in Rio where everyone has been so hospitable, welcoming, and very gracious.”

Riding as an Individual for the U.S. in the Grade Ia Individual test, Trunnell delivered a solid test aboard Royal Dancer, Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding. The pair overcame a bobble during the first centerline to perform a harmonious test that placed them 10th in a very competitive field.

“I thought the test was good,” said Trunnell. “Royal was a good boy, especially in the free walk. We have been working on relaxing and he just flowed with it. Compared to the Team test, he felt more relaxed in the arena.”

This was Trunnell’s first Paralympic Games and she commented on the event, saying, “It is also Royal’s first Paralympics so it’s nice that we are going through it together. It’s not something I could have ever imagined, there are so many more people here than I expected. The crowds have been really respectful of the lower grades which we don’t always get, so that has been really nice.”

Riding as the final member of Team USA, McIntosh and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare, placed 20th in the Grade Ia Individual test.

“The weather was so beautiful today in comparison to how hot it has been, so my horse was very happy out there,” said McIntosh.

Competing in her first major championship of any kind, McIntosh stated that while the actual competition experience was similar to a normal horse show, the exciting part of the Games for her has been staying in the Athlete Village. “I am in awe of the courage, determination, and effort that these athletes put into their daily lives, let alone what it takes to compete at this level and excel at their own sports. It’s been overwhelming to walk around the village and to see so many vibrant people at the top of their game.”

Live and detailed scores

From the USEF Communications Department

US Paralympic Equestrian Team Fit and Ready for Competition in Rio

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Equestrian competition at the Rio Paralympic Games got underway at the Deodoro Equestrian Center Saturday with the horse inspection. A total of 76 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 29 countries, including 14 in the team competition, are set to compete over the course of the week for Paralympic medals and national pride. The U.S. will be represented by the team of Sydney Collier, Rebecca Hart, Margaret McIntosh, and Angela Peavy. Roxanne Trunnell will represent the U.S. in Individual competition. The U.S. squad is led by U.S. Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt.

The U.S. athletes will compete as follows:

Sunday, September 11

Pathfinding for the U.S. will be Grade III athlete and first-time Paralympian Peavy (Avon, Conn. and Wellington, Fla.) riding Heather Blitz and Rebecca Reno’s Lancelot Warrior, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding. Peavy was the 2016 and 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division Reserve National Champion. She and Lancelot Warrior were Team Gold medalists and Grade III Individual Champions at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January.

Grade Ib athletes will perform their Team tests Sunday afternoon. Representing the U.S. will be the youngest athlete in the field, Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.), competing in her first Paralympics with Wesley Dunham’s 2003 Oldenburg mare, Western Rose. The pair began the year with strong placings at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and went on to become the 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage High Performance Division National Champions in June.

Monday, September 12

In Grade Ia, the U.S. team will see Margaret “Gigi” McIntosh (Reading, Pa.) and her longtime partner, Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare. Though Rio will mark the pair’s first team appearance in a Paralympic Games or World Championships, they have had consistent top results over the past three years. During this year’s winter season in Wellington, Fla., they posted five wins in Grade Ia CPEDI3* competition, including as members of the Gold medal-winning U.S. Team.

Also riding in the Grade Ia will be individual Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas) in her Paralympic debut, aboard Royal Dancer, Julia Handt’s 2005 Westphalian gelding. The pair has been competing at the international level together since early 2015 and have always placed within the top four. They were a part of the U.S. Team that clinched the Team Gold medal at the Wellington CPEDI3* in January.

Tuesday, September 13

Anchoring the U.S. Team will be two-time Paralympian Hart (Wellington, Fla,) with her own Schroeters Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare. Competing as a Grade II athlete, Hart won in all of her outings with Schroeters Romani during the winter season, also contributing to the Gold medal-win for the U.S. Team at the Wellington CPEDI3*.

Team medals will be awarded on Friday based on the top three scores from each team in both the Team and Individual tests. Individual tests begin on Tuesday with Grade III on Tuesday and continue Wednesday with Grades IV and Ib, and Thursday with Grades II and Ia. Medals will be awarded for the Individual tests. Freestyle tests take place on Friday with another set of medals being awarded to each grade.

From the USEF Communications Department