May 21, 2009 -- Rebecca Hart has had quite an eventful year. In 2008, she won her first National Championship aboard Norteassa in May, 2008, and then the pair went on to Hong Kong to compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games and barely missed winning an Individual medal. This year, Hart bested 16 other riders to defend her title as 2009 Cavalor/United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion. The championship returned to the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne , lll., May 15 through Sunday, May 17.
In addition, the National Championship was held concurrently with the Lamplight CDI; and for the first time ever in the US, a CPEDI3* was held, which is a FEI International Para-Equestrian Dressage competition. Four nations were represented, including Ireland , Mexico , Canada and the US .
"I was excited at the turnout and growth of the championship," said Pam Lane , USEF's Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting. "The championship has doubled the number of entries from last year with riders from all over the United States . We've also added a title sponsor to the event, Cavalor, whose support contributed to the success of the championship and the future of Para-Equestrian. This goes to prove that the program is growing and is on the right track."
Twenty-four year old Hart, from Erie , PA , finished with a final score was 71.665% aboard Norteassa, her 16-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding. Holly Bergay, of Tucson, Ariz., took the Reserve Championship title with a final score of 65.618% riding Grand Ballerina, a 15-year-old bay Oldenburg mare owned by Robin Garrett. This was Bergay's first time competing in the Para-Equestrian National Championships and is being guided by trainer and Olympian Debbie MacDonald.
"I was really, really happy with my horse the entire weekend," said Hart. "Even thought the weather conditions weren't optimal, he just went out, was relaxed, was happy and really did his job for me. I couldn't have asked for anything more from him. I was really excited to be able to hold on to my title, which was very nice."
Hart said that Norteassa is normally bothered by inclement weather, but it was not a factor for him this time.
"He was really good--he just totally keyed into me," said Hart. "Normally he can get a little upset with the weather and that kind of thing when it is not perfect, but he just stayed so focused throughout the entire test. He didn't care about the footing or the mud or the rain. I was just so proud of him. He really settled down and did his job."
Both Hart and Bergay will receive a beautiful cooler from Cavalor. In addition, Cavalor donated gift certificates to the top three finishers: Champion Rebecca Hart received $2,500; Reserve Champion Holly Bergay received $1,500; and third place finisher Barb Grassmyer was given $1,000.
As Title Sponsor of the USEF Para-Equestrian National Championship and CPEDI***, Cavalor was developed by Nutriquine NV (a Belgian company) in close cooperation with veterinarians, scientists and specialists of equestrian sports. Nutriquine's Cavalor< offers a complete line of supplements, care and feed products to address the diverse needs and requirements of top sport horses and breeding stables. For more information on Cavalor, please visit www.cavalor.com.
For the complete results, please visit www.dressageshowinfo.com. For more information about Para-Equestrian, please contact Pam Lane , USEF Director of Para-Equestrian and Vaulting, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (908) 326-1153.