Deauville, France – April 12, 2016 – U.S. para-equestrian dressage athletes Rebecca Hart and Annie Peavy had a successful weekend at the Deauville, France, CPEDI3*, which took place April 7-10 at the Pôle International du Cheval.
Hart and Schroeter’s Romani, owned by the rider in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Barbara Summer, and Bill and Sandy Kimmel, earned a second place in the Grade II Team Test with a 69.912 percent, a first place in the Individual Test on Saturday with a 71.371 percent, and a third place in Sunday’s Freestyle with a 71.15 percent.
Annie Peavy and Lancelot Warrior, owned by Rebecca Reno, competed in Grade III against 25 para-dressage athletes from around the world. The duo garnered a fifth place in the Team Test, a 10th in the Individual, and a fourth place in the Freestyle. Both Hart and Peavy flew over to Europe at the beginning of April for the opportunity to compete on the world stage against their European counterparts before the U.S. Paralympic Selection Trials in June and the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Each rider also knew how important it was for them to be evaluated by the FEI 5* ground jury in Deauville since those judges will also be in Rio in September. The Deauville ground jury included President Anne Prain (FRA), Sarah Leitch GBR, Marc Urban BEL, Marco Orsini GER, Technical Delagate Carlos Lopes (POR), Hanneke Gerritsen (NED), and Kiel Myhre (NOR).
Hart, a seven-time USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Champion, two-time Paralympian (2008, 2012) and two-time World Equestrian Games athlete (2010, 2014), was excited to travel back to Europe for another opportunity to showcase Schroeter’s Romani’s talent and gain valuable feedback from the judging panel.
Hart noted, “It has been a wonderful experience getting to travel and compete with Annie. We are able to keep it light and fun, even when the pressure is on at a major CPEDI. I am so happy to see the results that we have been achieving. Annie rocked it in an incredibly large and competitive Grade III class with top finishes, and I couldn’t have asked for a better result with Romani. She came in strong for this competition. She was super in all three tests, (including) winning the individual, which is the first time I have ever won an individual championship in Europe. It was a great way to start the season, and I hope to get to hear the national anthem again this year.”
Hart continued, “The freestyle was a great learning moment. She felt fabulous throughout the performance. We were in the mid 70s, and we did our new freestyle with a full walk pirouette, which is an unusual element. We had to add some variety and make it different. We have used the choreography before, but it was discussed between the judges here and was deemed disallowed, which is a mandatory hit to the choreography score. It dropped our score to a 71.3 percent for third, but I am still thrilled with the result. We are re-working the choreography, and it was great to learn this now, rather than at our nationals or, if we make the team, in Rio. It was a lovely event and I can’t thank the organizers enough for hosting us.”
Hart credited her team at Cherry Knoll Farm, including the farm’s owner, Margaret Duprey, for supporting her travels to Europe with Romani.
“I think it was an invaluable experience,” she said of the trip abroad. “Without (Duprey’s) amazing support of not only me, but the whole sport of U.S. para-dressage, I would not be able to do this. I also want to thank Todd Flettrich for his wonderful tutelage and guidance through this entire year. He has helped me to build the confidence and partnership with Romani, and it’s showing in the results. I also have to thank my amazing grooms, Hannah Hassinger and Fernando Ortega. They keep Romani at her best at home and on the road. Also to my amazing owners and supporters who believed in Romani and me from the start and put us on the Road to Rio: Margaret Duprey, Bill and Sandy Kimmel, Barbara Summer, Brigitte Byrialsen, and Sycamore Station. This is truly a team effort. Without these amazing people, we wouldn’t be here and sharing in these results.”
Annie Peavy, a 2014 World Equestrian Games individual competitor, said, “Competing at this CPEDI gave me lots of confidence going into the selection trials. It was tough competition with 17 nations. Lance is a partner, and I mean that in the truest sense. He brings out the best in me, and I strive to bring out the best in him and not let him down.”
Peavy continued, “Becca Hart never ceases to impress me with her riding and approach to competition. She is focused and continues to up the game in America. I consider myself fortunate to call her a friend.”
Peavy also thanked coach Heather Blitz and her parents for their support. She will be staying in Europe along with her team and Blitz to attend the Waregem CPEDI3* April 21-24 before heading home for the Selection Trials.
Hart and coach Todd Flettrich will head back to the U.S. to prepare for the 2016 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Paralympic Equestrian Team Selection Trials; Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships; and Open Para-Dressage National Show scheduled June 3-5, 2016, at Waterloo Hunt Club in Grass Lake, Michigan.