Hart Extends Unbeaten Streak as Para Week Wraps Up at 2023 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival
The final day of action in Perrigo CPEDI3* week nine of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) hosted freestyle para action in all five grades. AGDF 2023, which hosts seven weeks of CDI competition over three months, runs through April 2.
The four-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart (USA) added yet another blue ribbon to her trophy cabinet in the Grade III class. She recorded her third victory from three starts this week aboard Fortune 500, Rowan O’Riley’s 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Fidertanz. The 38-year-old posted 75.611% — a full five percentage points clear of second-placed Meghan Beige (USA). They have now won five international classes in a row.
“We had a very successful and very busy week because I’ve been doing three horses through this entire CPEDI,” explained Hart, who also competed her Tokyo Paralympic team bronze medalist El Corona Texel and brought her new horse, Floratina, to school. “I was happy with how everyone went and also how my body held up because I’ve never done that before.”
Hart was born with a rare genetic disease called hereditary spastic paraplegia, which is a progressive impairment that causes muscle wasting and paralysis from the middle of the back down.
“I know ‘Tex’ and ‘Moola’ [Fortune 500] really well and I have an amazing support system that rallied around me to help me pull off seven rides in the CDI atmosphere — I couldn’t have done it without them,” added the rider from Pennsylvania.
“I only got Floratina six days ago, through my friend Lauren Sprieser, so it is brand new. Normally it takes a couple months to get a horse into a para routine because they are so used to able-bodied, but she just took to it very quickly. The organizers and judges’ panel allowed us to do an exhibition HC class just to see the experience of it and she really rose to the occasion — it was such a great opportunity and I’m super excited about her.”
She was grateful to show in the championship atmosphere offered in the main stadium at AGDF.
“This is one of the best arenas to get the exposure and experiences needed for the top level CDIs because it’s a lot with the enclosure, the stands and flowers,” she explained. “It’s fabulous to be able to bring the horses to the kind of environment that you’ll see in the big championships.”
Hart has her eye on the Paris 2024 Paralympics, with a European tour planned for the summer of this year.
In the Grade V, Cynthia Screnci (USA) also landed three wins in AGDF 9 riding her own and Volado Farms’ 16-year-old Sir Chipoli, by Sir Donnerhall. The 55-year-old former jumper rider led the freestyle with 72.192%, despite using music and a floorplan designed for another horse. This extends the pair’s unbeaten international streak to 18 tests.
Global Dressage Festival LLC (coth.com)