January 12, 2015--Thirteen Para-Dressage horse and rider combinations made their way to Wellington, Florida, this January for the first CPEDI3* of the 2015 show season. Para-Equestrians from Canada and the United States in Grades Ia, Ib, II, III, and IV, competed at the spectacular Global Dressage venue in the Van Kampen Arena. FEI Ground Jury members Mr. Freddy Leyman (BEL), Mr. Kjell Myhre (NOR), and Ms. Kristi Wysocki (USA) were on hand to offer their expertise for each Para-Dressage duo. This CPEDI3* is one of the qualifiers for the 2015 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships, 2016 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships, and 2016 Paralympic Equestrian Selection Trials. The 2016 Paralympic Equestrian competition takes place in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil, scheduled September 7-18, 2016.
The United States brought forward four out of the five 2014 World Equestrian Games (WEG) athletes for this competition. Those riders included 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 with Schroeter's Romani, owned by Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolos, and Will and Sandy Kimmel; 2014 WEG U.S. athlete Sydney Collier riding her own Wentworth.This is the first time in two years that Wentworth has stepped into International competition. Collier also rode NTEC Roulette, owned by Kai Handt. Riding a new horse was 2014 WEG team member Roxanne Trunnell aboard Westphalian NTEC Royal Dancer, owned by Julia Handt; and individual WEG athlete Angela Peavy rode Ozzy Cooper in addition to Lancelot Warrior, both owned by Rebecca Reno.
These United States riders, led by Chef d'equips Kai Handt, earned a top score of 415.438 to capture the team championship over Canada teammates Lauren Barwick and her own Ferdonia 2, Robyn Andrews and her own Fancianna, and Jody Schloss and her own Inspector Rebus. Canada was led by Chef d'equips Elizabeth Quigg. The team scores are calculated by combining each team athlete's team test score and individual test score. Each of those tests took place on January 9 and 10.
U.S. Chef d'Equipe Kai Handt commented, "The team did excellent this weekend. The horses look a whole lot better this year compared to last year and the horses look fitter this year. We still have a really young team but they are a great group of riders that get along well. Their performances this weekend is a result of the showing paying off. We also have a great group of riders. Some with new horses, some new classified riders, and some new developing athletes. It's early in the season for many of them but I hope they are all getting out there, getting their rides in, and earning their qualifying scores. We have new qualifying criteria this year for the national championships including two divisions. We hope having these two divisions will get more riders out showing, increasing our Para-Dressage program and helping the future of our discipline."
Not only did Rebecca Hart and Schroeter's Romani contribute to the top team ranking but she also earned the highest scores overall at the 2015 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3*. Hart garnered the blue accolades on both the individual and team championships tests in addition to scoring a 77.917% on her freestyle test. "I was really happy with my tests," said Hart. "Compared to the team test, the individual test is a harder test for me because it has the walk pirouettes in it. We tried to add a little more oomph to her trot in that test. We were going for a little more and it still came out in the same place. I was happy she let me push her a little bit. I was really happy with the entrance on my individual test and the turns for the first part of the test with the half circle.I was able to maintain her rhythm throughout those and keep her consistent though those circles. Usually on the first part of the test I kind of like to rush the turn because I am excited to get into the test it was nice to have the confidence in ourselves as a pair to relax and really flow through that first turn. With the freestyle I just love doing it. We are changing her freestyle and hope to bring out the new one next year. We have changed as a pair this year and really want to highlight all of those changes. But for this weekend we did our WEG freestyle which was a great freestyle."
Less than one year ago, Hart was debuting her new partnership with Schroeters Romani. After multiple international competitions and a World Equestrian Games, Hart is on her way to competing at the 2016 Paralympic Selection Trials.
Hart added, " I am really pleased with where we are going as a pair because I can push Romani in the ring now where as before I couldn't really do that. I can now ask for more and she'll let me push those buttons a little which is exciting to see. It's been a wonderful collaboration between Blue Hill Farm and Cherry Knoll Farm to figure out what the new program needed to be and I am glad it's working out so well."
Canadian Grade II competitor Lauren Barwick also had top scores over the weekend with her past partner Ferdonia 2. Barwick expressed, "
Im supposed to be on a break. The plan was to take 10 months off so I didn't ride for 3 months and the horses were lightly schooled. I even retired Fergie in 2014. Then at the beginning of December I was offered a sponsorship to come to the show. Canada had 2 riders coming so to have a 3rd rider come whose only 4 hours away, required no thought. So I pulled Fergie out of the field, clipped her up, and did pretty well. This year was so intense with every point being so important. So this was a great opportunity to enjoy my horse and have some fun. I retired Fergie because the international travel was pretty hard on her. I was going to let her be a horse at home, maybe have a baby, and teach students. But she has come out so well, even at 17. If Canada has another rider they want to use for her, then absolutely. Paris is still my number one. She did six international shows last year and I didn't think it was fair to bring her out at this point.
Barwick added, "I am excited to see the future of our team. We have some new riders that were recently classified, as a team we are in a regrouping position. We have a lot of riders whose horses are retiring so we have some new horses in the works. However with new partnerships comes learning. I am excited to see the future of our team and I am hopeful."
Canada team member Robyn Andrews had a great show over the weekend capturing two blue ribbons in Grade Ia. Armed with new coach Amanda Kalvoda Andrews is looking forward to the 2015-2016 show season. Other riders in Grade Ia include Paralympian and WEG athlete Jody Schloss (CAN) and Inspector Rebus; Roxanne Trunnell and her new partner Westphalian NTEC Royal Dancer, owned by Julia Handt; and U.S. Air Force Veteran Derrick Perkins and Hanoverian Gracias Juan, owned by Stephanie Dubicki.
Grade Ib athletes competing included 2014 WEG team member Sydney Collier and Wentworth, Collier and NTEC Roulette, owned by Kai Handt, and Mr. Bockman ridden and owned by Paralympian Dale Dedrick. Dedrick did not compete in the freestyle test.
U.S. Grade III athlete Annie Peavy captured multiple top placings this weekend with Ozzy Cooper. Peavy rode both Lancelot Warrior and Ozzy Cooper for the team and individual test. Peavy rode only Ozzy Cooper in the freestyle.
Peavy noted, "This show felt great. It was our first show in Wellington and both my horses have changed and improved so much this year. They listened to me very well and they did everything I asked of them. It was a great start and we still have room to grow this season. Overall I am very happy with it. In December 2014, I moved down to Wellington and since then we have been working on our young rider movements and practicing some of the para-dressage movements as well. Since showing at WEG I am not nearly as nervous now. WEG was such a learning experience and everyone was so helpful and supportive and Ozzy was amazing for me. I am proud of how far Ozzy has come. He has more muscle, strength, and confidence in himself. I can tell he's gone from a 7 year-old to a 9 year-old since we bought him. My tests have been pretty good this weekend. On Saturday's individual test, I enjoyed that he was very forward. Although he was excited he payed attention to me very well. I also enjoy noting the face that he goes well in a snaffle now. With Lancelot I have enjoyed his canter work. It is his stronger gate and because of that he felt very steady. He's a great horse calm in mind and body."
Peavy continued, "My horses have been so wonderful and I look forward to competing with them more this season. I would love to thank my parents, my trainer Heather Blitz, and my groom Krystal Johnstone for everything they did for me and my horses. I am enjoying every moment."
In the Grade III freestyle test, Ellie Brimmer and London Swing earned the first place ribbon on Sunday, January 11.
Grade IV athlete and 2010 WEG rider Mary Jordan (USA) and Rubicon 75, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, completed their first U.S. CPEDI3* event together. Less than a year ago, Jordan and Rubicon 75 became a pair. The duo traveled to Europe and back before competing at the 2014 WEG Selection Trials and National Championships. Jordan explained," This weekend has been really exciting for me and my coach Jim Koford. I have had many people who are in key positions tell me I am sitting on world class horse and because of that he is larger than life on a number of different levels. He is a developing horse, a young horse, and I think people forget that when they see his stature and his talent. He 's actually pretty green. I am very proud of him. in such a short amount of time we have gone to London, Europe, Kentucky, and Saugerties and we have had some good results and some results that our less than what I am hoping for. I know we are on the right track and we will absolutely get there this is a building block as much as anything else. When we get it right it's like something we have never felt before. When you unlock it it's magical. I feel the same partnership with him psychological that I did with Sebastian and Paxton. I am very grateful to Vinceremos and Catherine Haddad for sharing this gift with me. These types of horses don't grow on trees. You want to be a custodian of the gift and represent your country and your organizations well."
Sunday, January 11, 2015 FREESTYLE TEST
1. Robyn Andrews and Fancianna 67.917
2. Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus 65.250
3. Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Royal Dancer 65.000
4. Derrick Perkins and Gracias Juan 58.917
1. Sydney Collier and Wentworth 66.417
1. Rebecca Hart and Schroeter's Romani 77.917
2. Lauren Barwick and Ferdonia 2 75
1. Eleanor Brimmer and London Swing 65.250
2. Angela Peavy and Ozzy Cooper 63.750
1. Mary Jordan and Rubicon 75 66.583
Saturday, January 10, 2015 INDIVIDUAL TEST CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Robyn Andrews and Fancianna 66.304
2. Roxanne Trunnell and NTEC Royal Dancer 64.928
3. Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus 60.072
4. Derrick Perkins and Gracias Juan 58.623
1. Sydney Collier and Wentworth 66.552
2. Dale Dedrick and Mr. Bockman 66.379
3. Sydney Collier and NTEC Roulette 61.839
1. Rebecca Hart and Schroeter's Romani 72.857
2. Lauren Barwick and Ferdonia 2 70.048
1. Angela Peavy and Ozzy Cooper 68.008
2. Angela PEavy and Lancelot Warrior 67.805
3. Eleanor Brimmer and London Swing 60.894
1. Mary Jordan and Rubicon 75 61.349
Friday, January 9, 2015 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