Rebecca Hart and Romani Return from Europe Ready to Rock Gladstone
Wellington, FL – May 7, 2014 – Para-equestrian dressage rider Rebecca Hart just arrived home from European competition ready to kick into high gear
for the June 2-5 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships and selection trial for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy,
Hart and her equestrian partner, Schroeters Romani, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Lobster-Manique, Come Back II), competed in CPEDI3* shows in
Deauville, France, April 4-6, and Moorsele, Belgium, April 25-27, to gain valuable competition experience.
“I am so glad that we did go because it was such a great learning experience,” Hart said. “We were competing in front of five judges and in Florida we
compete in front of three. They were the two largest para shows that have ever happened. It was very well attended with the best of the best out and about
and getting ready for the WEG. So, we got to see where we stood and what we need to work on, which was huge.”
“When we are competing in the States, we are sheltered and such a small group,” she continued. “The Europeans are very good at what they do—they’re
the top dogs at this sport. If you want to play over there, you have to go and get in their world. It’s only going to get better from here.”
Hart said Romani traveled like a pro and has taken all the changes in stride since the mare’s purchase in Denmark five months ago with the help of Hart’s
supporters: Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm, Hart’s family, William and Sandy Kimmel and Sycamore Station Equine Division.
“I’m very excited for Rebecca,” Duprey said. “She took the ‘bit’ and went to Europe to see how she compared to her competition there. Now she knows what
her homework is before the selection trials next month.”
Duprey not only helped Hart with her dream to purchase Romani, but she also helped create the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para
Dressage through the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation. She and the Barnfield Foundation will match leadership gifts made to the USET Foundation
for para-equestrians to compete in international competition including the World Equestrian Games and Paralympics to meet the $800,000 goal.
“Hopefully, this challenge will raise the funds that will allow para-equestrian riders the chance to go to Europe and compete as Rebecca did,” Duprey
Hart returned home to Unionville, PA, and continues her training with Missy Ransehousen, who traveled to Europe for six weeks to coach. Hart and Romani
spent time in Florida to train and compete in the CPEDI3* in Wellington March 12-16, and while in Florida, she trained with Todd Flettrich. Hart said Romani
has coped well with moving so often in the past several months.
“She is a trooper,” Hart said. “Her life has been turned upside down. She got settled in Pennsylvania and then we moved her to Florida and then off to
Europe we went.”
“In Deauville, she stayed focused and together,” she said. “She can be very nosy — she likes to see what is going on around her. She has always
been an able-bodied horse and at a para competition there are wheelchairs and crutches. There’s a lot to look at and it can be intimidating for a horse
that’s not used to that. She was aware of it but she kept her cool.”
In France, the pair qualified for the freestyle with scores ranked in the top five in their division, Grade II. Then, in Belgium, they made the cut again.
“She loves her freestyle and she gets into the music,” Hart said. “The technical aspect was good. It was quite high. But the music−in Belgium we had issues
with the sound system. It ended up skipping part of the music and then it got stuck on the loop and it only did her trot music. It ruined the artistic
presentation of her freestyle. It was disappointing but the technical was strong.”
Hart will unveil a new freestyle in Gladstone created for the pair by Marlene Whitaker from Custom Freestyle.
“We’re looking at something a bit lighter, a bit more feminine,” Hart said. “A bit more emotional, softer music because of the way she is. She can’t carry
a heavy, dramatic music. It’s going to be a fun freestyle.”
Hart said she plans to work on connection and artistic expression with her horse between now and the National Championship.
“All the technical aspect is there,” she explained. “Now we want to add to the overall performance and the connection I have with her so that there is
something to keep her focused and keep her moving without having the obvious distraction of the test. I want to get that flow and harmony to be able to
support her and really show her off to the best of her ability. I feel that she’s quite phenomenal.”
For more information on the Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge, contact the USET Foundation, 908-234-1251.