U.S. Para-Dressage Individual Athletes Complete European Tour

Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani (Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Hart)
Rebecca Hart and Schroeters Romani (Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Hart)

Unionville, PA - It is imperative that international high-performance athletes competing for the U.S. travel overseas especially with the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in Normandy, France. When a para- dressage rider travels abroad with their horses they are able to compete in front of multiple FEI judges alongside their future competition. With the amount of riders that travel to the European CPEDI3* events, a rider can get a good idea about where they stand, what they need to work on, and what their competitors are looking like. This feedback will help them on their road to the next international show. Although this is important, financially traveling overseas can be difficult in addition to the travel and scheduling commitment that it can take. This April 2014, three individual para-dressage riders took the opportunity to fly to France and Belgium during the multiple para-equestrian dressage CPEDI3* competitions. These riders all left just days after competing at the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in Wellington, Florida. Athletes included two-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart (Grade II) and her horse Schroeters Romani; Margaret McIntosh (Grade Ia) and her own Rio Rio; and Mary Jordan (Grade IV) with Oldenburg gelding, Rubicon 75, owned by Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center of Loxahatchee, Florida, and formally owned and ridden by Catherine Haddad Staller of International Dressage. The competitions included Deauville, France, CPEDI3* April 4-6, 2014, and the Moorsele, Belgium, CPEDI3* April 25-27, 2014. These events were the final preparation before the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. The National Championship/ Selection Trials will be held June 2-5, 2014, at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ.

Rebecca Hart truly enjoyed the experience in Europe with her new mount 12 year-old Danish Warmblood Mare, Schroeters Romani who was purchased from Straight Horse in Denmark in partnership with Hart's family, Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Sycamore Station Equine Division, Barbara Summer, The Ruffolo's, and Will and Sandy Kimmel. Hart explained, "It was a truly humbling experience. To have people believe in me enough to enable me to go over and compete on that level was astounding. The experience really helped me to learn about my horse and myself as a competitor. It feels a little bit like a roller coaster in events like this when the stakes are high. I was very very happy with being in the top five, and making it into the freestyle at both competitions; especially with all the top riders and countries there. I felt it was so important, since we are a new combination, to get over there and give my horse the exposure to the international judges that we can't do here in the states due to the lack of CPEDI's. My horse traveled beautifully and held her composure in some very atmospheric arenas. The judges were all very complimentary and gave us good guidance on what to work on as we head towards selection trials for the 2014 World Equestrian Games."

Hart continued, "It was phenomenal to get to focus so specifically on my horse over the last three months. I got to go into a "professional horse bubble" starting with Florida and then continuing on to Europe. It was great to get to step away from my normal everyday stressors like work and concentrate completely on my horse, fitness, and riding. It was a gift and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do it. Having the time to focus like that, when it is still such a new relationship with Romani has helped to bring us together as a team. Especially with all the travel and fluctuations with the competitions. She is beginning to trust that even if we move around and the schedule or routine changes I am going to be the constant. She is a horse that likes to know what's happening and have a routine. Getting her to trust me is the key to this partnership, and we are on our way."

Hart added, "Having Margaret (Gigi) McIntosh and Rio come and compete with us was lovely. We were a traveling unit and it was great to have the camaraderie and support. It made the whole experience that much more fun. Gigi and I have been teammates for the last year and a half. We went horse shopping together and got our horses at the same time. It has been lovely to share the adventure with her. Having someone else to be able to bounce ideas off and share the experiences with has been huge. We train together at Blue Hill Farm and it has been fun watching as our relationships with our horses grow from the first ride to maturing to the point that we were able to successfully compete and hold our own in Europe. We are both looking forward to competing at the National Championship and Selection Trials."

Hart concluded, "This trip would not have been possible without the amazing support team that surrounds me. I can't thank them enough for this opportunity. A huge thank you to Margaret Duprey, William and Sandy Kimmel, Missy and Jessica Ransehousen, Todd Flettrich, Sycamore Station and everyone associated with Team Hart."

Margaret McIntosh and her own Rio Rio (Photo Courtesy of Margaret McIntosh)
Margaret McIntosh and her own Rio Rio (Photo Courtesy of Margaret McIntosh)

Margaret McIntosh and her Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar Mare, Rio Rio enjoyed their time overseas she explained, "The last leg of our European tour found us in the small town of Moorsele, Belgium, at the magnificent equestrian show venue, Quadrille. Mary Jordan, Rebecca Hart and I shared our stabling with three lovely British riders and a very boisterous Italian Paralympic team. As a bonus, our dear friend James Dwyer from the Irish team and his lovely "new" wife, Phillipa Johnson-Dwyer (South Africa) were stabled nearby, adding to the familiar atmosphere."

McIntosh continued, "The club-like atmosphere at Quadrille, incorporating a restaurant just behind the judges' tables and a lot of activity around the ring was challenging but once again, Rio proved her worth as a no-nonsense competitor, completing her first team test at Grade 1a with a 69.2% for sixth place. A 68% (6th) in the individual test on day two highlighted my weak points but found us still competitive. The freestyle class presented a new set of challenges. As I was newly reclassified as a 1a (due to gradually but markedly increasing spasticity), I had not prepared an appropriate freestyle. The multi-talented Rachel Gross drew on her extensive musical knowledge to cobble together lovely music from the movie 'Spirit'. Missy provided the choreography and we rode through the test once on Saturday evening. Rio delivered a very technically correct test (as I struggled to keep up with the music) to finish with a 69.9% in fifth place."

McIntosh concluded, "We left Belgium having successfully accomplished the goals set many months ago. The riders and horses gained experience at very electric venues not found anywhere in the United States. The exposure to the high level of competition, so daunting in Deauville, became a matter of course in Moorsele. Rio's scores have improved and become more consistent at every competition this spring. We have been judged several times by the same European five-star judges who have rewarded us with markedly higher scores at each outing. We are well-prepared for the June 2-5, 2014, National Championship and selection trials at the USET Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. I want to thank Missy Ransehousen and Rachel Gross for their inestimable coaching and horsemanship and to Rebecca Hart for her philosophy. I also want to thank all of our supporters and friends whose encouragement helped launch this trip of a lifetime, I am eternally grateful."

Mary Jordan and Rubicon 75
Mary Jordan and Rubicon 75

Mary Jordan, who competed with Rubicon 75 explained the importance of competing in Europe, "Many words come to mind when I think about the experience of the two times I've gone to Europe to compete (European Championships in Norway 2009 leading up to the 2010 World Equestrian Games) and this spring (leading up to 2014 World Equestrian Games): incredible, thought-provoking, challenging, rewarding, intense, inspiring, enjoyable, and necessary. I say necessary because the scope of para-dressage overseas is much larger in terms of countries participating, the number of competitive riders involved, the public understanding of the sport, and the exposure riders get to FEI international judging panels. In the USA we may have between 5 to at the most 20+ rides at a CPEDI3*. Our selection trials for Beijing in 2008 accepted all five of the competitive riders. In 2010 there were about 14 riders prior to the World Equestrian Games and 25 in 2012 for the London Paralympics. In the U.S., we may only see riders from Canada or Mexico and maybe Bermuda. Contrast to Deauville, France and Moorsele, Belgium this year was like a mini-World Equestrian Games, with up to 70 riders from 19 countries participating. The Grade IV's, for example, had 19 horses entered and one was a Paralympic medalist with two horses. Another distinction In the USA, anyone can ride in a CPEDI3*. In Great Britain, for example, any para-dressage rider has to first successfully complete the novice para-dressage tests to earn the scores to allow them to ride the FEI Team and Individual tests. Then they have to compete at those levels with consistent scores to be considered for anything further at a national level. Certain performance thresholds have to be met before people are allowed to ride at a CPEDI3*. Few countries do one selection trial for selecting teams and a greater emphasis is placed on consistent and demonstrated regular performance at top shows."

Jordan continued, "I was blessed with the honor and opportunity to ride a new competition horse Rubicon 75 (Royal-Hit x Edelkarin/Absinthe) to compete overseas and develop a long-term partnership. Rubicon was owned by FEI dressage rider Catherine Haddad Staller and she donated him to Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. I am grateful for the opportunity and truly enjoyed developing the partnership with this phenomenal horse. We spent our time getting to know each other and training with top medal-winning coaches and got the opportunity to ride before top international judges for some vital feedback to develop this young FEI horse's future career. We won our first class in the UK in an able-body competition run by British Dressage in a class of 16 and were 2nd in a second class out of 22 entries with score in the 70s. We also earned our scores to compete in the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship. The feedback from the judges was fantastic, supportive, and I was told he is a world class horse. He will be our prospect for the 2016 Rio Paraympics; I am so excited. The process and opportunity to compete gave me a truly valuable experience, confidence, a new sense of direction, organization and purpose, with key insights I can apply to future competitions and in my development as a rider. I felt an incredible sense of camaraderie meeting new riders and friends from Greece, Denmark, Canada, Holland and Great Britain. We are blessed to be in a unique sport where you can compete against people that inspire you."

The United States Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes next stop will be the 2014 USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championship and Para-Dressage Selection Trials for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in August held in Normandy, France. The National Championship/ Selection Trials will be held June 2-5, 2014, at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ.

Results from Moorsele, Belgium, CPEDI3* April 25-27, 2014

(Full results may be found here 

To view USA results from Deauville, France, CPEDI3* April 4-6, 2014, click here 

Judges Included: M. Orsini (GER), J Robinson (GBR), Marc Urban (BEL), S. Cunningham (AUS), P. Imshoot (Bel), E. Ebert (GER), and Anne Prain (FRA)

Placing, National Federation, First Name, Family Name, Horse's Name, Final Overall %

Grade Ia Individual

  1. SIN Laurentia TAN Ruben James 2 75.261 
  2. GER Elke PHILIPP Regaliz 74.261 
  3. ITA Sara MORGANTI Royal Delight 73.913 
  4. SIN Laurentia TAN Dambeldor 71.043 
  5. BEL Eveline VAN LOOVEREN Exelent 70.435 
  6. USA Margaret MCINTOSH Rio Rio 68.000
  7. FRA Thibault STOCLIN Laurent de Beaumee*ENE-HN 67.565
  8. CAN Robyn ANDREWS Fancianna 64.261 
  9. CAN Jody SCHLOSS Inspector Rebus 64.087 
  10. JPN Mina CHINJU Sandro's Serendipty 62.391 
  11. RUS Maria ZAGORSKAYA Tamerlan 62.391 
  12. POL Magdalena CYCAK Samanta 59.478 

Grade Ib Individual

  1. BEL Jose LORQUET Fly Over 0009 69.931
  2. NED Nicole DEN DULK Fifty Fifty 69.621
  3. FRA Anne-Frédérique ROYON J'Adore 68.517
  4. CAN Ashley GOWANLOCK Collegiate Sweet Leilani 66.931 
  5. SIN Maximillian TAN Don's Day Dream 65.172 
  6. RUS Nina ANUFRIEVA Elastika 62.724
  7. FRA Valérie SALLES Diamond du Loing 62.552 

Grade II Individual

  1. CAN Lauren BARWICK Off to Paris 73.086
  2. CAN Lauren BARWICK Ferdonia 2 72.029 
  3. NZL Anthea GUNNER Doncartier 69.771 
  4. ITA Antonella CECILIA Ubacho 69.286 
  5. ITA Franscesca SALVADE Come On 68.829 
  6. USA Rebecca HART Schroeters Romani 68.029 
  7. TWN Yu-Jen SUN Miss Finnland (Finja) 65.429 
  8. GER Bärbel HICK Rigoletto 146 63.943 
  9. RUS Sergey KULIKOV Silva la Andro 63.914 
  10. FRA Chloé MISLIN Ours de B'Neville 61.743 
  11. POL Mariusz WOSZCZEK Ingria 60.943 
  12. RUS Sergey KULIKOV Truffaldino 60.657 

Grade III Individual 

  1. GBR Heather BENNETT Zavailantika 69.439 
  2. NED Lotte KRIJNSEN Rosenstolz 69.293
  3. CAN Roberta SHEFFIELD Bindro T 68.707
  4. FRA Louise STUDER Esmeralda Tanz 68.537
  5. BEL Bert VERMEIR Tiramisu 68.439
  6. FRA José LETARTRE Warina Ene HH 68.293 
  7. CAN Roberta SHEFFIELD Double Agent 67.463 
  8. ISR Yonatan DRESLER Flylight 66.610 
  9. FRA Vladimir VINCHON Rockford 17 66.463 
  10. FRA Samuel CATEL Royal Classic 63.683 
  11. NED Lotte KRIJNSEN Zarienta 63.073 
  12. POL Karolina KARWOWSKA Emol 61.024 
  13. POL Tomasz ZDANKOWSKI Rimel 60.878 
  14. GER Martina BENZINGER Picaro 67 59.732 
  15. ITA Federico LUNGHI Jalianska A Menjoulet 59.244 

Grade IV Individual

  1. BEL Michele GEORGE Fbw Rainman 75.714
  2. BEL Michele GEORGE Sagane 71.000
  3. AUS Nicole BLANKS Vledder 69.238 
  4. BEL Ciska VERMEULEN Rohmeo 68.810
  5. BEL Ciska VERMEULEN Whooney Tunes 68.500
  6. RSA Philippa JOHNSON Lord Louis 67.500
  7. NED Cleo VAN GORKOM Ultra Light 66.429
  8. NED Ellen VAN DEN BERG Showdiva 66.405
  9. IRL James DWYER Orlando 66.214 
  10. NED Daphne MEULENBROEK Zazia 66.024 
  11. BEL Anneke DE VREE P'S Panta Leone 65.690 
  12. GBR Nicola NAYLOR Klein Roderijs Cocktail 65.690 
  13. NED Trudy DERKS Spectra 65.071 
  14. GBR Tamsin ADDISON Don Proviano 63.857 
  15. USA Mary JORDAN Rubicon 75 62.976 
  16. RSA Victoria FORD Zolansky 62.024 
  17. GER Carolin SCHNARRE Feodora 96 59.762 
  18. ITA Silvia CIARROCCHI Royandic 58.952 
  19. RUS Svetlana CHIBISOVA Fazan 56.262 

Grade Ia Team Competition 

  1. SIN Laurentia TAN Ruben James 2 76.609
  2. GER Elke PHILIPP Regaliz 75.783
  3. ITA Sara MORGANTI Royal Delight 74.087
  4. SIN Laurentia TAN Dambeldor 72.348
  5. BEL Eveline VAN LOOVEREN Exelent 70.043
  6. USA Margaret MCINTOSH Rio Rio 69.522
  7. FRA Thibault STOCLIN Laurent de Beaumee*ENE-HN 66.913
  8. CAN Robyn ANDREWS Fancianna 65.739
  9. CAN Jody SCHLOSS Inspector Rebus 65.261 
  10. JPN Mina CHINJU Sandro's Serendipty 64.957 
  11. RUS Maria ZAGORSKAYA Tamerlan 64.478 
  12. POL Magdalena CYCAK Samanta 59.087 

Grade Ib Team

  1. AUS Pepo PUCH Fontainenoir 73.640
  2. BEL Jose LORQUET Fly Over 0009 69.040
  3. CAN Ashley GOWANLOCK Collegiate Sweet Leilani 68.240
  4. NED Nicole DEN DULK Fifty Fifty 68.040
  5. FRA Anne-Frédérique ROYON J'Adore 67.800
  6. SIN Maximillian TAN Don's Day Dream 67.720
  7. FRA Valérie SALLES Diamond du Loing 62.760
  8. GER Axel SCHMIDT Harun 16 61.440
  9. RUS Nina ANUFRIEVA Elastika 61.040 

Grade II Team

  1. CAN Lauren BARWICK Off to Paris 70.882 
  2. CAN Lauren BARWICK Ferdonia 2 70.118
  3. USA Rebecca HART Schroeters Romani 69.882
  4. ITA Franscesca SALVADE Come On 68.206
  5. NZL Anthea GUNNER Doncartier 67.882 
  6. ITA Antonella CECILIA Ubacho 65.647
  7. RUS Sergey KULIKOV Silva la Andro 65.500
  8. GER Bärbel HICK Rigoletto 146 63.824
  9. FRA Chloé MISLIN Ours de B'Neville 61.676 
  10. RUS Sergey KULIKOV Truffaldino 61.265 
  11. TWN Yu-Jen SUN Miss Finnland (Finja) 60.441 
  12. POL Mariusz WOSZCZEK Ingria 58.794 

Grade III Team

  1. FRA José LETARTRE Warina Ene HH 69.421 
  2. GBR Heather BENNETT Zavailantika 69.079 
  3. CAN Roberta SHEFFIELD Bindro T 67.263 
  4. FRA Louise STUDER Esmeralda Tanz 67.263
  5. CAN Roberta SHEFFIELD Double Agent 66.605 
  6. NED Lotte KRIJNSEN Zarienta 65.605
  7. BEL Bert VERMEIR Tiramisu 65.553 
  8. FRA Samuel CATEL Royal Classic 64.316
  9. FRA Vladimir VINCHON Rockford 17 64.237 
  10. ISR Yonatan DRESLER Flylight 63.763 
  11. POL Karolina KARWOWSKA Emol 63.658 
  12. NED Lotte KRIJNSEN Rosenstolz 62.947 
  13. GER Martina BENZINGER Picaro 67 61.237 
  14. ITA Federico LUNGHI Jalianska A Menjoulet 59.737 
  15. POL Tomasz ZDANKOWSKI Rimel 59.737 

Grade IV Team

  1. BEL Michele GEORGE Fbw Rainman 76.024 
  2. BEL Michele GEORGE Sagane 73.429 
  3. BEL Ciska VERMEULEN Rohmeo 70.690
  4. AUS Nicole BLANKS Vledder 69.190
  5. RSA Philippa JOHNSON Lord Louis 68.548
  6. NED Trudy DERKS Spectra 67.000 
  7. NED Ellen VAN DEN BERG Showdiva 66.595 
  8. GBR Nicola NAYLOR Klein Roderijs Cocktail 66.048 
  9. NED Cleo VAN GORKOM Ultra Light 65.762 
  10. GER Carolin SCHNARRE Feodora 96 65.143 
  11. IRL James DWYER Orlando 65.000 
  12. GBR Tamsin ADDISON Don Proviano 64.095 
  13. RSA Victoria FORD Zolansky 63.476 
  14. NED Daphne MEULENBROEK Zazia 63.024 
  15. BEL Anneke DE VREE P'S Panta Leone 61.905 
  16. USA Mary JORDAN Rubicon 75 61.214 
  17. ITA Silvia CIARROCCHI Royandic 61.119 
  18. RUS Svetlana CHIBISOVA Fazan 53.429 

Grade Ia Freestyle

  1. ITA Sara MORGANTI Royal Delight 79.450 
  2. SIN Laurentia TAN Ruben James 2 77.800 
  3. GER Elke PHILIPP Regaliz 75.850 
  4. BEL Eveline VAN LOOVEREN Exelent 70.800 
  5. USA Margaret MCINTOSH Rio Rio 69.900 
  6. FRA Thibault STOCLIN Laurent de Beaumee*ENE-HN 66.250 
  7. CAN Mina CHINJU Fancianna 66.250 

Grade Ib Freestyle

  1. NED Nicole DEN DULK Fifty Fifty 72.850 
  2. BEL Jose LORQUET Fly Over 0009 70.700 
  3. FRA Anne-Frédérique ROYON J'Adore 70.600 
  4. CAN Ashley GOWANLOCK Collegiate Sweet Leilani 68.000 
  5. SIN Maximillian TAN Don's Day Dream 64.300 

Grade II Freestyle 

  1. CAN Lauren BARWICK Off to Paris 79.150 
  2. ITA Franscesca SALVADE Come On 73.500 
  3. ITA Antonella CECILIA Ubacho 71.800 
  4. NZL Anthea GUNNER Doncartier 71.000 
  5. USA Rebecca HART Schroeters Romani 66.950 
  6. GER Bärbel HICK Rigoletto 146 64.550 
  7. RUS Sergey KULIKOV Silva la Andro 61.550 

Grade III Freestyle 

  1. GBR Heather BENNETT Zavailantika 73.850 
  2. CAN Roberta SHEFFIELD Bindro T 73.350 
  3. FRA Louise STUDER Esmeralda Tanz 71.750 
  4. FRA José LETARTRE Warina Ene HH 70.850 
  5. BEL Bert VERMEIR Tiramisu 70.150
  6. NED Lotte KRIJNSEN Rosenstolz 69.600 
  7. FRA Vladimir VINCHON Rockford 17 69.200

Grade IV Freestyle

  1. BEL Michele GEORGE Fbw Rainman 74.850 
  2. AUS Nicole BLANKS Vledder 72.800 
  3. BEL Ciska VERMEULEN Rohmeo 71.550
  4. NED Tudy DERKS Spectra 69.500 
  5. NED Cleo VAN GORKOM Ultra Light 68.550 
  6. NED Ellen VAN DEN BERG Showdiva 65.550 
  7. RSA Philippa JOHNSON Lord Louis 63.100



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