Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 13, 2018 – After finding her new mount, El Corona Texel, in Belgium during summer 2017, little did three-time Paralympian Rebecca (“Becca”) Hart know that their partnership would develop into a force to be reckoned with so quickly. The 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is owned by Rowan O’Riley and the pair made a successful CPEDI debut in September in Tryon, North Carolina and won all their classes. Recently, the talented horse-and-rider combination continued their winning streak at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) and they remain undefeated in all of their CPEDI tests thus far.
In the first CPEDI of the 2018 AGDF season, Hart and the talented gelding, known as “Tex” in the barn, won all three of their classes with top scores and ended that competition with an impressive score of 74.167 percent in their freestyle.
“At the first show of the year, Becca coped with difficult circumstances with the weather as it was very chilly and windy, and it showed a side of Tex that we had not encountered before but she handled it beautifully,” explained O’Riley. “When I look at Becca, I see a very experienced and successful competitor. The fact that she’s done so well with Tex really shows her skill in training a new horse to understand her cues and form a successful partnership.”
Not to be outdone by their previous impressive scores, the duo came out better than ever for the CPEDI3* during the third week of the AGDF and once again swept the top spot in the Grade III division. Hart and El Corona Texel earned a score of 71.912 percent in the team test, a 71.618 percent in the individual test and a 74.444 in the freestyle.
“Now that we’ve been training together for the last five months, I feel like the harmony and the cohesion of our cues and aids have really started to fall into place,” Hart said. “When I first took Tex to Tryon I’d only had him for two weeks and we were evacuating from a hurricane. However, over the last two CPEDIs, I have really learned a lot about this horse. We’ve been developing our partnership together and I’m thrilled with how fast he’s progressing. The results have just been fantastic.”
With the results Hart and El Corona Texel have been earning in steep competition, they have shown that they are strong contenders for the upcoming 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina. O’Riley couldn’t be happier with the partnership between Tex and Hart and the performances they have been delivering so far in the CPEDIs at AGDF.
“I am so proud of Becca for adjusting to her new horse, Tex, and winning all of her classes in such a short period of time,” said O’Riley. “The horse has superior gaits and a world-class presence in the show ring, and Becca has been wonderful with him.”
Hart and trainer Melissa MacLaren Velix feel confident they are headed in the right direction to achieve their goal of representing Team USA at WEG in Tryon in September. To prepare, the pair will continue to train at home and attend a few national shows to improve the presentation of their test riding in the ring. They will also compete in a handful of WEG qualifying competitions to solidify their place on the 2018 U.S. para-equestrian team.
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to be able to ride this horse and to have the support of Rowan O’Riley,” Hart explained. “She has been absolutely phenomenal in her support and belief in our goal of making it to Tryon and competing for the United States. I’m really looking forward to trying to bring that dream to completion.”