Mill Spring, N.C. – The top of the leaderboard remained unchanged after the second day of competition at the 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship. Thirteen horse-and-rider pairs completed the FEI Para Individual Tests on Saturday at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in pursuit of a national championship title.
In a repeat of yesterday’s success, Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) rode Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, El Corona Texel, to a 76.861% and first place in the Grade III division. Hart and Tex have had a long partnership, and the rapport they have with each other was evident in their smooth and accurate test.
“We’ve been here since Monday, and normally I have Melissa [Velix] help with the warm up just because I don’t have the leg strength to do that,” said Hart. “But I’m really happy with how my body has been holding up. And Tex was right there with me. He could kind of sense that, and he didn’t take advantage at all. He stepped up to the plate, which is super special. It just felt great today.”
Hart and Tex will be debuting a new freestyle tomorrow that she says is a bit more powerful than their previous freestyles.
“[Tex] actually picked the music himself,” said Hart. “He’s very musical. He’ll go to whatever music is playing, he’ll pick that tempo up. We played him a whole bunch of songs and he picked it all. It’s just fun, kind of dramatic music that I think fits him well.”
Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Going for Gold LLC’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, All In One, turned in another phenomenal ride to score a 75.893% in the Grade I and maintain their second place standings. For Collier, the big scores she’s earned at this year’s National Championship are the payoff for a highly focused regimen in pursuit of her goals.
“I’ve worked so hard with my trainer, Katie Robicheaux, and all through quarantine I was working out, working on my nutrition, doing everything possible so that I could come down here and get the scores I needed to secure my potential team spot for Tokyo,” said Collier. “Last year in Florida, we had just started training with Katie and we really had to make things work in a short amount of time. So we really took the time when we got back home to focus on the details, like dressage is. It’s really awesome to get down here and see all that hard work pay off.”
On Sunday, Collier and Alle will perform their freestyle to music from the movie Kung Fu Panda. Collier says the music tells her story of enduring through rocky waters to eventually find her stride.
“Katie has been awesome about helping me to really understand the nuance and the different cues in the music, which is an understanding that I haven’t had previously,” said Collier. “Getting to show off that new knowledge here tomorrow with Alle, I’m so looking forward to that.”
Competition in the 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship continues on Sunday with the FEI Para Freestyle Tests starting at 9:30 a.m. EDT.
The 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship will be streamed live on USEF Network throughout the weekend. Click here to watch.