Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Update From Jessica

Blue Hill Farm has been very busy with the Para riders. First was a long but successful trip to Toronto, Canada for a the Windreach 3 star dressage competition for our riders. We were very proud of Becca Hart, who placed 2nd in all three of her classes, right behind the Canadian Olympic gold medalist!

James Dwyer won two of his three tests and nicely qualified for the WEG, for his home country of Ireland. Our wonderful, colorful Carlingford JD, an Irish Sport horse of color, won all of his classes at grade 1A with his para rider, Laura Goldman, new to competition. She qualified for the US para selection trials, held at the end of June in Illinois. JD’s owner, Trudy Phillips, was kind enough to offer him to Laura for the ride.

The next important event was the Selection Trials in Illinois at the beautiful Lamplight Equestrian Facility. Becca outdid herself riding two horses; her own Nortessa and a new ride on Kazan, offered by Kerri Sowers (one of Jessica’s long time students). Nortessa, otherwise known as “Pippin”, Becca’s Para-Olympic mount, was just back from resting a slight strain. He placed just behind Kazan, who Kerri successfully rode to the Individual Bronze Medal at the 2001 Young Rider Championships. Kerri also kindly groomed for Kazan and James’ horse, Orlando, in Canada and at the Trials. Becca was really on top of her game, with her first place on Kazan and second with Nortessa, She became overall Champion and Reserve! 

James, competing for Ireland, rode at the Selection Trials in an open class, but had the same international judges. His scores in the Grade IV Division were the highest of all Grade IV riders! Carlingford JD again won all 3 classes at the 1A Grade Level, which put him squarely in the group of riders able to ride at the WEG. What a weekend for Blue Hill!

With these long trips behind us, we returned home for a two week rest before showing again at the NJ Horse Park. During the two weeks at home, I made a short trip to Florida to give a judging and short riding clinic for the riders from the Dominican Republic preparing for the Central American Games. These riders were hard working and dedicated to their sport. My purpose was to provide judging analysis through the Prix St George level tests, and to facilitate a clinic on how to raise their test scores on movements that were easiest to improve.

July 16th - 18th we were at the NJ Horse Park where the Blue Hill riders did very well in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd Level tests. Missy rode Taldi at 2nd Level, placing 1st in three out of her four rides and on Saturday was Reserve Champion. Rachel won all three of her rides and was Champion at 3rd Level, riding Carlingford JD.

Elizabeth Baries on Margarita was Reserve Champion at 1st Level on Saturday, winning one of her tests, placing 2nd on another and then taking two 3rd place prizes as well. We were very proud of her, considering this was Elizabeth’s first recognized show! Kerri Sowers rode her young horse Amigo, placing first in one of her First Level tests, and Silva Martin rode a powerful Grand Prix test on Jeff the Chef, scoring a 63% and placing second! Our Para riders stayed home to prepare for the Morven Park Dressage Show, which is taking place this upcoming weekend.

When reflecting on our efforts in Canada and Illinois, were were very pleased that three of the WEG judges got their eyes on our riders at these competitions. It was an important effort to show the judges that our riders were working to improve their tests, and we hope that the judges kind words and helpful insights will be remembered while competing at the WEG!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hart Places First And Second In 2010 USEF Para-Equestrian National Championships

Rewritten with Permission of the Chronicle of the Horse June 27, 2010

Hart Places First And Second In 2010 USEF Para-Equestrian National Championships
By: Lisa Slade (More Photos)

She placed first and second in the Para-Equestrian Selection Trials to put her in a strong position for the U.S. team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Rebecca Hart remained unbeaten at the Para-Equestrian Selection Trials for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2010 USEF Para-Equestrian National Championships by placing first and second on Kazan and Norteassa, respectively, in today’s freestyle test for Grade I, II and III riders, and then sweeping the overall championship with Kazan (69.74%). The Para-Equestrian National Championships were held in conjunction with the Selection Trials at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill.

“I was really happy with him because it’s a relatively new ride,” Hart said of Kerri Sower’s Kazan. “It was only the second time we did our freestyle. The music suits him so well—it’s dainty, it’s jumpy and it’s nice.”

Norteassa, Hart’s partner of almost eight years, was reserve champion in the Para-Equestrian National Championship on 69.01 percent and second in the freestyle for Grade I, II and III riders on 72.50 percent.

“He was just kind of consistent and went in and did what he needed to do,” Hart said.

Next Hart, 25, will head back to trainer and Para-Equestrian coach Missy Ransehousen’s farm in Unionville, Pa., for additional training before the WEG.

“Missy has been fabulous, just getting the conditioning and working on getting them both ready to go through an entire week like this,” Hart said. “These can be incredibly grueling and long weeks, especially when it’s hot and humid like this.”

Robin Brueckmann, Summerfield, N.C., and Elly Schobel’s Raison D’Etre finished first in today’s freestyle test for Grade IV riders (69.83%) and third overall in the USEF Para-Equestrian National Championship.

“The walk was really good,” Brueckmann said of her freestyle ride. “I had some trouble with the changes, and that was my fault—I needed to have set him up better. We went out back in the warm-up, and it was all wonderful, so it’s only going to get better from here.”

Brueckmann used Simon & Garfunkel music from a freestyle she created for her previous Grand Prix horse, Richmond.

“[The music] is light and airy and fluffy and elegant, and so is he,” Brueckmann said of Raison D’Etre. “It’s really good music for him.”

The official list of team members and individual competitors for the World Equestrian Games will be released in approximately four to six weeks. There are four team spots and six individual spots available. The first seven will likely be filled from the top seven finishers in the National Championships, and the others are left up to the discretion of the selectors.

Results for the 2010 Para-Equestrian National Championships