Mill Spring, N.C. – Oct. 26, 2020 – Over the weekend, competitors took to the ring at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for 2020 Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship. Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and Rowan O’Riley’s El Corona Texel held on to the lead through all three days of competition to win the 2020 Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship on a total composite score of 77.029%. Bringing home the reserve championship was Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Going for Gold LLC’s All In One.
On Friday, Hart kicked off the competition strong with a 76.372% for first place in the Grade III Team Test on the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding El Corona Texel.
“This is our third year together,” said Hart of Tex. “He’s the one that I took to [the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018], so he and I have got a bit of history in the ring together, which is super beneficial. I’m here without my coach, which is a first for me, so I had to really trust Tex to go in the ring and trust the plan that we had made, and he really came through for me today.”
Hart also took second place in the Grade III Team Test riding Fortune 500, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding who she says is “a giant, 17.2-hand Labrador retriever.” With the unexpected break from showing for most of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hart was able to enjoy a varied training routine with her horses this year.
In Saturday’s FEI Para Individual Tests, Hart continued her domination earning a 76.861%. The FEI Para Freestyle Tests wrapped up the final day on competition on Sunday and Hart debuted a new freestyle that she says is a bit more powerful than their previous freestyles. She earned a score of 78.478% for her freestyle.
“It’s only the second time I’ve ridden through it,” said Hart. “We trotted in and I hit all my main markers and I was super thrilled with that. We had one little spook in the corner and I got two steps behind, but the power and the energy and the fact that he stayed with me even after that spook was so nice. He is a very powerful horse, and we’ve been working really hard during our COVID lockdown to get prepared and in sync with each other in the ring with distractions and music. This is the first time we’ve gotten to test all of that training, and he has just risen to the occasion.”
Hart and Tex will go home to Florida and have some downtime before competing again at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival in January.
“We’re going to keep carrying on with everything that we’ve been doing at home,” said Hart. “It’s working really well for him. It’s been great to kind of test that and get feedback from the judges. I like to continue working on the basics. He’s got all the talent and the skill, so it’s just keeping him healthy and happy and focusing on the little things.”
Hart gives thanks to her sponsor, Rowan O’Riley, who owns Tex and Hart’s other competition mount, Fortune 500.
“She’s just a phenomenal advocate for the sport and so amazingly generous,” says Hart.
Collier and All in One, an11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, also held on to their overall second place with a 75.119% in the Grade I Team Test and then 75.893% in the Grade I Individual Test.
“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.”
“He’s owned by Georgina Bloomberg and I was lucky enough to be able to work with him because of her,” said Collier. “He’s the most talented horse that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. When we go in the ring, we really click. He eats up the show ring and it’s like no other feeling I’ve felt before. I don’t have to push him. He has that really nice, flowy walk that we’re looking for in a Grade I horse. He’s the best partner I could ask for.”
On Sunday, the pair scored a personal best in their Grade I freestyle with a 78.711%, which gave her a composite score of 76.147% and the reserve champion title in the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship.
“He’s such a special horse,” said Collier. “Any time I get to ride him is just the best time of my life. So to be able to be here, competing against such awesome people is such an incredible experience.”
This year’s national championship is only the second time that Collier has performed this freestyle in a CPEDI competition.
“It’s fairly new to me. I’ve had this freestyle longer than I’ve had Alle,” said Collier. “I had to adapt the freestyle to him and adapt the feel, and Katie [Robicheaux, Collier’s trainer] has really helped me to understand all the little musical cues that are so neat to understand to make it flow the way it did today.”
Collier and Alle will head to Florida in December for the winter competition circuit.
“My plans are to compete at the two qualifiers there and goals are to compete as much outside of those two qualifiers as possible,” said Collier. “Obviously with COVID-19 it’s so up in the air for so many of us, but just to be able to be in the warmer weather and be able to train with Alle consistently is such a blessing. I can’t wait to be down in Wellington—it’s such a camaraderie. I think the horse community is so resilient that we’re going to make it happen.”
Each year, competitors at the Adequan®/USEF Para Dressage National Championship vote for one of their peers to win the Lloyd Landkamer Memorial Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes a rider who best personifies the high standards and virtues of integrity, sportsmanship and team spirit. This year, Cynthia Screnci (Boca Raton, Fla.) received the honor. Screnci competed in the Grade V and won the division with her 11-year-old KWPN gelding, Eragon VF.