Raleigh, NC – For the first time since its inception, the Sport Horse National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Show offered Western Dressage as a championship class. Triple Crown® Nutrition was proud to reward Hillary Rapier and SB Heritage+ (Maranello x Abaskiss), with the coveted Triple Crown Excellence Award.
The Triple Crown Excellence Award is presented to a rider who demonstrates exceptional horsemanship on a fit and healthy mount. Rapier and SB Heritage+, nicknamed “Cricket,” were a shoe-in for the honor as they were also named Western Dressage Basic Level National Champions during the weeklong show held in Raleigh, North Carolina. The pair garnered the national championship with an average score of 69.4%. The impressive performance came after a nearly two-year layup.
For “Cricket,” the win was fitting recognition for his journey from a debilitating illness to being named a National Champion at the Arabian and Half Arabian Sport Horse Nationals.
In 2015, Cricket was diagnosed with EPM after having finished in the Top Ten in Dressage Training Level ATR with his owner, Liliana Nabhan. When Nabhan decided to put him back to work, she sent him to Rapier. “I used western dressage as a way for him to come back,” Rapier said.
“I’ve always called him a comeback kid. He’s seen the worst of the worst and he’s just has the heart and fight to not give up,” she said. “Because he didn’t want to give up, his people didn’t give up and now he’s a national champion.”
Rapier described the event as a whirlwind, especially since the decision to enter Cricket was made the day entries closed. The 10-year-old chestnut gelding had only been in Rapier’s training program for four months.
“It was the perfect combination; everything came together,” she said. “He had one shot and he cleaned up.”
Cricket is currently up for sale and Rapier will keep him in training and progressing him up through the levels until he has new owners. “His future depends on if he stays here with me under new owners or moves on with new owners,” she said. “There is nothing holding this horse back at this moment. He is strong, ready and waiting for next person to take him and continue climbing.”
In addition to winning the national championship aboard Cricket, Rapier also showed WKF Ebony Phoenix, a horse she co-owns, and was the Western Dressage Level 1 Reserve National Champion and finished third in Western Dressage Level 2.
While Rapier trains and competes in a variety of disciplines from sport horse under saddle to traditional dressage, hunters and ranch events, she starts every horse in western dressage. “When they start with that foundation, horses can go in any direction that is chosen for them,” she explained.
Winning the Triple Crown Excellence Award, which includes a tri-colored ribbon and an engraved silver tray, was an affirmation to Rapier’s commitment to maintaining healthy and fit equine partners. Coincidentally, all of the horses in Rapier’s program thrive on Triple Crown feed. Rapier has been exclusively feeding Triple Crown products for well over two years and can’t say enough good things about them.
“I’m absolutely in love with all of their products,” she said.
Based in Wayzata, Minnesota, Triple Crown® Nutrition was the first company to add prebiotics, probiotics, and organic minerals to horse feed. Today, the company continues to deliver the very best in equine nutrition with its revolutionary formulations and premium quality ingredients. Triple Crown is proud to honor success stories like Rapier’s and Cricket’s with the Triple Crown Excellence Award.
To learn more about Triple Crown, the official feed sponsor of the U.S. Dressage Team, the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team, and the Hermes U.S. Show Jumping Team, go to www.TripleCrownFeed.com, call (800) 451-9916 or visit the company’s Facebook page or Instagram @TripleCrownFeed.