From the US Equestrian Communications Department
Mill Spring, N.C. – The Adequan U.S. Para Dressage Team concluded team competition at the Perrigo CPEDI3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center today with the Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship finishing tomorrow with individual freestyle competition beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST. The team, led by Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline, saw Rebecca Hart, Charlotte Merle-Smith, Kate Shoemaker, and Cynthia Screnci complete the final CPEDI3* of the season in the U.S. to conclude the team’s 2021 competition year.
Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.) and Solitaer 40, a 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Kate, Deena, and Craig Shoemaker, rode to the team’s highest score of the day, earning a 71.561 percent from the judging panel in their Grade IV Individual Test. Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and El Corona Texel, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley, earned a 69.804 percent, while Cynthia Screnci (Wellington, Fla.) and Sir Chipoli, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Volado Farms, earned a 68.101 percent in Grade V competition. Charlotte Merle-Smith (Ocala, Fla.) and Guata, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Charlotte Merle-Smith and Susan Merle-Smith rode to a 64.362 percent in their Grade III Individual Test, riding through some spooky moments in their test to close out competition for the team.
Team veteran Hart discussed the team’s season and reflected on her key takeaways from the 2021 competition season, which saw her guide El Corona Texel to help the team earn bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“We’ve really taken what we learned in Tokyo from the judges and have been working on it and changing things. We’re in a nice growing and building stage right now,” said Hart. “We’ve been working on fixing the things that we identified from Tokyo with the easiness and fluidity aspects, and I think that has really showed through this week with both of the horses. It’s great to get out again and compete with the team before looking ahead to 2022.”
Following the team’s performance, the athletes of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Team were honored in the main arena prior to the start of the $215,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington President’s Cup Grand Prix by the Washington International Horse Show to cap a weekend of celebrations and recognition for the accomplishments of the team in 2021.
Looking ahead to the final day of the 2021 Adequan/USEF Para Dressage National Championship, the leaderboard saw Kate Shoemaker narrowly edge Rebecca Hart to hold first place moving into the closing Freestyle test tomorrow. Shoemaker currently sits on a two-day score of 143.603, while Hart and Fortune 500, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Rowan O’Riley, move onto their individual freestyle on a total score of 143.137. A total of nine combinations are in contention for national championship honors, with the champion and reserve champion set to be crowned following their individual freestyles Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.