Wellington, Fla. – April 3, 2018 – With her eyes set on a podium finish at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in September, three-time Paralympian Rebecca (“Becca”) Hart is thrilled to welcome a new mount to her competition string. Fortune 500, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley, will join Hart’s team alongside current mount, El Corona Texel.
“Fortune 500 fell into our laps because we were not actively looking for a second horse,” Hart laughed. “Rowan works with Catherine Haddad Staller, who had him and thought that he would make a really high quality para-horse. We went to try him out and he was a really good boy!”
Hart intends to campaign the new gelding alongside her current horse, El Corona Texel (“Tex”), also owned by O’Riley, for the upcoming WEG in Tryon, North Carolina.
“[Fortune 500] is around 17.1 hands and, although I usually go for smaller, more compact horses like Tex, “Moola” rides like a sports car,” Hart explained. “We had our U.S. head of para-equestrian coach and a technical advisor come watch him go when I rode him a second time and they thought he was special so we went for it. He has a really good mind and a confident, go with the flow personality type. I’m hoping his consistency will play out well in the ring. I’m super excited about our future together.”
O’Riley couldn’t be more excited to provide Hart with the opportunity to train and compete a second mount for this year’s WEG qualifying season.
“Fortune 500 has world-class gaits and is a very good prospect for Becca’s competition goals, not only for this year but leading up to the 2020 Paralympics,” O’Riley said. “She plans on competing him alongside Tex at the test event in Tryon this spring to aim to qualify both of the horses for WEG and let the selection committee decide if one of them will represent Team USA in September.”
Fortune 500 is currently boarded at Havensafe Farm, a high performance training facility in Wellington, Florida, owned by Betsy Juliano. Another monumental sponsor in the sport of dressage, Juliano has graciously offered to waive [Fortune 500’s] stall fee for several months as a sponsorship contribution towards Hart’s goals.
“Betsy has been amazing hosting us and she’s been sponsoring a stall for us at her beautiful farm so we are so happy to be there,” Hart said. “When we brought [Fortune 500] to this new barn that he had never been to, he was so calm and collected. I think that coolness and his consistency is going to be one of his highlights.
“I’m incredibly grateful for Rowan’s continued support and her belief in me and our system as well as her continued support of growing para-dressage as a whole,” Hart continued. “Rowan and Betsy both have been amazing with their support sponsoring Moola and I.”