Gladstone, NJ -June 26, 2012 - After earning the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship title on June 13, 2012, Rebecca Hart, 26, of Unionville, PA, and Lord Ludger, owned by Jessica Ransehousen, were invited back to the United States Equestrian Team Foundation's headquarters at Hamilton Farm. In front of a congregation of press, spectators, and top Olympic Dressage athletes, Hart was awarded the perpetual Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship trophy from presenter Ann Romney. Romney has been a long supporter of Dressage, as an owner and athlete and she is a spokesperson for Multiple Sclerosis, which is one of the many diagnoses that specific Para-Equestrian athletes face.
Rebecca Hart receiving 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship award from Ann Romney during the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions. Photograph taken in Gladstone, NJ (c) Susan Stickle at SusanStickle.com.
In the moment that Rebecca Hart was awarded the 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National championship trophy, she felt honored and humbled to represent the sport she has advocated for since 1998. Hart will add this National Championship to a list of accomplishments that she has achieved since 2003. In 2003 and 2007 she represented the U.S. at the Para-Equestrian World Championships, in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010 she won the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and earned the reserve championship in 2010. In 2008 she represented the U.S. at the Beijing Paralympics, and in 2010 she represented the U.S. again at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Hart expressed, "I have been asked how it feels to have won the National Championship five times. My answer is that it feels great, but I didn't win this alone. It takes a village to compete on this level and this win belongs to everyone who has ever helped me to get this point; From the person who offered the smallest word of encouragement, to family, friends, coaches, and corporate sponsors. I was truly honored to be asked to come back for the awards ceremony and presentation at the able-bodied USEF Grand Prix National Championships and selection trials with Ann Romney. It is fabulous for Dressage to be brought into the limelight and in conjunction, Para-Equestrian Dressage. Gladstone is steeped in history and to have my sport included in that history is truly special. Mrs. Romney was so gracious as a presenter. It was inspiring to have Mrs. Romney present this award because not only is she herself a fellow equestrian, but she also knows what it means to work with physical challenges."
In 1998, Ann Romney was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As an alternative to her mainstream treatments she began participating in Dressage. As with many equestrians, she jumped head first into the equestrian sport and never looked back. In 2005 she earned her USDF Silver Medal and in 2006 her Gold Medal. While working with trainers Jan and Amy Ebeling she developed a desire to achieve the top of the sport. In 2012 at the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions her horse Rafalca, co-owned by Amy Ebeling and Beth Meyers, earned the third position with rider Jan Ebeling on the 2012 USEF nominated entries for the United States Olympic Dressage Team.
As Para-Equestrian Dressage and able-bodied Dressage intertwined at historic USET Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, NJ property, spectators began to learn more about the sport of Para-Dressage. Rebecca Hart trains week in and week out while she maintains a full-time job in corporate at the Starbucks Coffee Company. She trains with Para-Dressage Chef d'Equipe and prominent Event rider Missy Ransehousen, alongside Olympian Jessica Ransehousen at Blue Hill Farm. Hart was born with Familial Spastic Paraplegia, a genetic disease that causes muscle wasting and lack of control from the waist down. Her ability to overcome obstacles has transformed her into an award winning international athlete in both Para-Dressage and able-bodied competition. In the future Hart hopes to reach the top of the Dressage discipline. On June 19, 2012 Rebecca Hart was named to the top of USEF Nominated Entry for U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team for the 2012 Paralympics.
Following the approval of the USEF High Performance Working Group and the USEF Executive Committee, the FEI Nominated Entry for the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team for the 2012 Paralympic Games is as follows.
Athletes and horse are listed in ranked order based on the results from the 2012 USEF Selection Trials & National Para-Equestrian Championship:
1. Rebecca Hart and Jessica Ransehousen's Lord Ludger
2. Jonathan Wentz and Kai Handt's NTEC Richter Scale
3. Donna Ponessa and Wesley Dunham's Western Rose
4. Dale Dedrick and her own Bonifatius
5. Donna Ponessa and Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center's PG Ganda
6. Jonathan Wentz and Michele Miles' Silvano
7. Mary Jordan and Deecie Denison's Sebastian
8. Rebecca Hart and Jessica Ransehousen's Carlingfords Taldi
9. Wendy Fryke and her own Lateran
10. Elizabeth Pigott and Regina Cristo's One Night Stand
11. Mary Jordan and her own P. Sparrow Socks
12. Robin Brueckmann and her own Radetzky
2012 USEF PARA-EQUESTRIAN DRESSAGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL SCORES:
Rebecca Hart and Lord Ludger - Grade II----73.501%
Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale - Grade Ib---73.126%
Donna Ponessa and Western Rose - Grade Ia---73.057%
Dale Dedrick and Bonifatius - Grade II---71.707%
Donna Ponessa and PG Ganda - Grade Ia---71.707%
Jonathan Wentz and Silvano - Grade Ib---70.915%
Mary Jordan and Sebastian - Grade IV---68.223%
Rebecca Hart and Carlingford's Taldi - Grade II---67.147%
Wendy Fryke and Lateran - Grade III---67.093%
Elizabeth Pigott and One Night Stand - Grade II---66.767%
Mary Jordan and P.Sparrow Socks - Grade IV---64.768%
Robin Brueckmann and Radetzky - Grade IV---64.301%
Margarey McIntosh and Carlingford JD - Grade Ib---64.200%
Elizabeth PIgott and Whitney's Willow - Grade II---63.897%
Laurietta Oakleaf and Niekele Fan Busenitz - Grade Ib---63.869%
Kim Decker and Dasher's Destiny - Grade Ia---63.274%
Kim Jones and Ghlenivet - Grade II---61.828%
Sydney collier and Otto Grade II---60.695%
Margaret McIntosh and Idalgo - Ib---60.429%
Lise Yervasi and Brendan Braveheart - Grade IV---58.477%
Eleanor Brimmer and Carino H - Grade III-57.547%
Laura Goldman and NTEC Willi Wesley - Grade Ia---50.816%
ABOUT THE EQUESTRIAN PARALYMPICS (courtesy of FEI)
Host nation Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Canada have qualified the maximum number of riders and will each be represented by a team of four and one individual.
Nine countries - USA, The Netherlands, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, Australia and France - have qualified four riders.
The National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Singapore and Mexico, which had originally qualified four riders, returned one qualification slot each and will be represented by three-rider teams. The unused slots were re-allocated to Norway and Israel on the basis of the Individual Para-Equestrian Rankings of athletes not already qualified with a team. As a result, Norway, which had already qualified two individual riders, will be fielding a composite team consisting of three members.
New Zealand and Finland will be represented by two individual riders apiece. Bermuda, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong and Austria have each been allocated one individual slot.
Three Bipartite Commission invitations have been issued to Thomas Haller of Austria, Lee Frawley of the Virgin Islands and Anita Johnsson of Sweden.
The nominated entries will be published on 18 June 2012 and definite entries on 6 August. A total of 78 Para-Equestrian riders will be battling it out for the 11 sets of medals available. The detailed list of qualified nations is available here.
26 nations - ARG, AUS, AUT, BEL, BER, BRA, CAN, DEN, FIN, FRA, GBR, GER, HKG, IRL, ISR, ISV, ITA, JPN, MEX, NED, NOR, NZL, RSA, SIN, SWE, USA
4 nations with 5 riders (team + 1 individual): CAN, DEN, GBR, GER
9 nations with 4 riders (team): AUS, BEL, BRA, FRA, IRL, ITA, NED, RSA, USA
3 nations with 3 riders (team): MEX, NOR, SIN
NATIONS REPRESENTED ONLY BY INDIVIDUALS
2 nations with 2 individuals: FIN, NZL
6 nations with 1 individual: AUT, ARG, BER, ISR, JPN, HKG
3 Bipartite Commission invitations: AUT, ISV, SWE
*All logos, phrases, and words representing the Paralympics, London 2012, London Olympics, Olympics, and any combination referring to the Paralympics or Olympics are property of the United States Olympic Committee and the 2012 London Olympic Games.*
Photo Credit: Rebecca Hart receiving 2012 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship award from Ann Romney during the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions. Photograph taken in Gladstone, NJ (c) Susan Stickle at SusanStickle.com.
About United States Para-Equestrian Association:
The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.
The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.
Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.
In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation(USEF).
For more information about the USPEA please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: Wheeler966@aol.com or by phone: (610)356-6481.