Grade II rider, Two-time Paralympian (2008, 2012), two-time World Equestrian Games athlete (2010, 2014), and six -time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion Rebecca Hart is on track for the 2016 Paralympic Selection Trials with Schroter's Romani. One year ago, the pair had just started working together. Months later they qualified and were selected for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Team. Hart commented, "It has been a roller coaster of a process to get here. It's been a whirlwind. We got her (Romani) a year ago before making the WEG team. We knew that was pushing the relationship and rushing it a little bit but she kept doing what she needed to do. We learned a lot from the World Equestrian Games experience. Romani has the talent and the presence for a good international horse. We learned where those relationship holes needed filled and that just takes time. So this year I am much more comfortable and she's comfortable with me. Now we can enhance the performances and ask for a little more from her. We are now in that exciting stage where I can visualize what our partnership can be so it's fun to work towards that." Hart is working together with Missy Ransehousen of Blue Hill Farm and Todd Flettrich of Cherry Knoll Farm maximizing expertise for this partnership.
Following in Grade II for the second place position in the Team Test was Paralympian, WEG athlete, and gold medal rider Lauren Barwick (CAN) and her own Oldenburg Ferdonia 2. Barwick and Ferdonia 2 have been working together to create a harmonious partnership.
Topping Grade Ia was Paralympian and WEG athlete Jody Schloss (CAN) and long time partner Inspector Rebus with a 68.333% Earning the second place finish was Roxanne Trunnell and her new partner Westphalian NTEC Royal Dancer, owned by Julia Handt. In third place was Robyn Andrews (CAN) and her own Fancianna, followed by U.S. Air Force Veteran Derrick Perkins and Hanoverian Gracias Juan, owned by Stephanie Dubicki.
Since the 2012 London Paralympics, Grade Ib athlete Dale Dedrick purchased a new partner named Mr. Bockman, took some time off health reasons. and is now back in the Para-Dressage world at her best. Dedrick explained, "My ride on Mr. Bockman today was astonishing. I was really pleased with him. He was the same horse he is at home; he looks at stuff, you give him a thump with your calf and he goes, "ok." We bought Mr. Bockman 18 months ago but I was quite ill so I didn't ride for the first year. So in June we went to our first horse show together and now this CPEDI3* is only my 4th show with him. He's a great horse, very straightforward to ride, and not complicated." Dedrick had a solid test and had an exceptional free walk. Dedrick commented, "That free walk is my favorite part because it really relaxes him. Even if he gets tense, you just drop the reins and he gets comfortable. He lived out in a field as a pet on a big farm so to him that is natural. I am looking forward to the rest of this weekend and really improving each rider and having a good time." Dedrick rides with Roz Kinstler in Michigan.
Taking home both second and third place Grade Ib ribbons was 2014 WEG U.S. athlete Sydney Collier and her own Wentworth and NTEC Roulette, owned by Kai Handt. Collier was happy with each of her horses in the team test competition. Collier expressed, "I was really really happy with my tests and it's always a great learning experience. This is my first time out with Wentworth at a CPEDI in two years because we decided to wait with him and not push him too hard. We really accomplished the consistency that we wanted to with Wentworth in the Team Test. I loved everything about each movement in that test. Roulette was great too. I was really happy with how he went today. I have only ridden him 7 times so it's still a new partnership for both of us."
As a WEG Team rider Collier flew back to the U.S. from France only to turn around and head to Baku, Azerbaijan to receive her Against All Odds award at the FEI Awards Gala 2014 presented by Longines. She then earned the 2014 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year accolade, came back to the U.S., flew to Texas to train with Chef d'Equipe Kai Handt and NTEC Roulette for a week, then Collier headed to New York to train with Wes Dunham and her horse Wentworth. Finally they headed south to prepare for this Florida CPEDI3*. Collier joked, "I am not sure what state I am in anymore, but this is all worth it and I am having fun doing it. I am especially enjoying training with both Wes and Kai. They have both been amazing working with me and adapting to me body's needs. I love them as trainers and they make a good team."
2014 Individual WEG athlete and young rider Angela Peavy, who trains with Heather Blitz, was showcasing her high performance partners Ozzy Cooper and Lancelot Warrior. Peavy topped Grade III with Ozzy Cooper earning a 68.070, followed by Lancelot Warrior with a 67.237. Ellie Brimmer and Hanoverian London Swing rounded out the Grade III's with a third place finish. Brimmer trains with Roz Kinstler and Shelly Francis. Athlete Mary Jordan and Oldenburg Rubicon 75, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center took home the blue in Grade IV. Jordan and Rubicon 75 began their partnership in Spring 2014 and since their first ride together they have been working with trainer Jim Koford to bring out the best Dressage combination.
Friday, January 8, 2014 TEAM TEST CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus 68.333
2. Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Royal Dancer 66.304
3. Robyn Andrews and Fancianna 65.145
4. Derrick Perkins and Gracias Juan 58.768
1. Dale Dedrick and Mr. Bockman 69.333
2. Sydney Collier and Wentworth 66.667
3. Sydney Collier and NTEC Roulette 59.267
1. Rebecca Hart and Schroeter's Romani 73.284
2. Lauren Barwick and Ferdonia 2 72.157
1. Angela Peavy and Ozzy Cooper 68.070
2. Angela Peavy and Lancelot Warrior 67.237
3. Eleanor Brimmer and London Swing 63.465
1. Mary Jordan and Rubicon 75 63.730