Überherrn, Germany - Rebecca Hart and Schroeter's Romani earmarked a page in history over Independence Day-weekend. Representing the United States overseas, Hart and Romani broke their personal records, riding to their first European scores over 70 percent at the CPEDI3* Überherrn 2015, celebrating the holiday weekend in a unique style. "I am super excited that Romani has brisked the situation and done her job super well," Hart said. "It meant a lot to have all of our hard work show during our tests, and to break a 70 percent during European competition, that was really exciting." On the opening day of the competition, Hart kicked off the Grade II test in top form, riding Romani to the score of 73.137 percent for the second place.
The Ground Jury consisted of Marco Orsini (GER), Jacques van der Harst (NED) and Kathy Amos-Jacob (FRA). She fell just shy of the first place finish behind The Netherland's Rixt van der Horst and Uniek N.O.P., the 2014 World Equestrian Game Grade II Individual World Champions, who scored a 74.657 percent during the Überherrn Team Test.
Hart duplicated her efforts on Saturday when she tied for second place with Steffen Zeibig, both earning an impressive 71.952 percent, with van der Horst ranking first for the second day. Her score qualified her for the musical freestyle test on the final day of competition.
"It feels really good to come off of a show so strong," Hart said. "We changed the warm-up and have been working on moving in this direction for the last year, which is starting to gel and starting to show in the results. Everything came together at the right time for these shows. It is really nice to see the work starting to pay off."
It was the Grade II Freestyle that commenced the third and final day of competition at the Überherrn CPEDI3*. Hart was the sixth in the class to show the ground jury of van der Harst, Dr. Jan Holger Holtschmit, and Amos-Jacob. She was awarded the cumulative score of 75 percent to take the third place only eight-hundredths of a percentage point shy of Zeibig and what would have been her third second place finish of the competition.
"Being over here with Annie and Debbie, and having that great support team with all the other para-riders and their support staff, has made it a true honor to come over and represent the U.S. I definitely met the goals I wanted to, but we have one more show to go, so we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. I am very happy with how Romani has done, the comments from the judges and the feedback from everyone has been really positive, which is nice to see from big shows over here."
Hart just came off of a trio of top finishes during the Mulhouse CPEDI3* in France two weeks prior to her exceptional rides in Germany. She admitted that she is feeling more confident than ever before with Schroeter's Romani, the international competition, as well as the venues and atmosphere.
Trainer Todd Flettrich and long-time sponsor Margaret Duprey, of Cherry Knoll Farm, joined Hart for the Überherrn CPEDI3*, coaching an supporting from the sidelines. Hart also competed alongside fellow U.S. contingent peers Debbie Stanitski and Annie Peavy.
Duprey said, "It is so special to be with Becca not only to support her internationally, but also to see her do so well. I cannot describe the feeling of seeing Becca and Romani make history in their partnership, scoring their first time over 70 percent, and then duplicating that two more times throughout the event, it is indescribable. I could not be more proud to be a sponsor, owner and friend."
Hart would like to thank her generous sponsors, donors and owners who helped her finance the European-tour. She gives all credit to those supporters, especially Margaret Duprey and Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, the Ruffolos, and Will and Sandy Kimmel, all part-owners of Romani, attributing her success at the events, at an international competition of such high-caliber and with a horse that understands Hart's rare progressive genetic disease, Familial Spastic Paraplegia (FSP), would not be possible without them.
"Todd [Flettrich] is wonderful. He has been super supportive and helping me stay the path when the pressure is one, and sticking to our program. He has been instrumental in taking what we work on at home and then producing that in the ring," Hart said thankfully of her trainer.
Hart continued, "It was wonderful to be able to share such a wonderful show with Margaret [Duprey]. Because of her, we were able to do this trip. Without her, and the support of Cherry Knoll Farm, and it was great to share it with her in person and witness all of our hardworking paying off. I am very honored to represent Cherry Knoll Farm and I am really excited to continue with the process to make our bid for Rio."
Hart looks forward to competing at her final European show of the summer, the 2015 Hartpury Festival of Dressage CPEDI3* in Hartpury, England, and will run July 8-10.
Hart's name is a familiar one in the dressage sphere, earning the title of National U.S. Paralympic Champion in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. She competed last year at the World Equestrian Games for the United States Equestrian Team, and has also shown in two Paralympics for the USA. She now has her sights set on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
For more information on Rebecca Hart and Cherry Knoll Farm, please visit www.cherryknollfarminc.com.