Mill Spring, N.C.—Oct. 31
Over the past few years, Rebecca Hart’s World Equestrian Games and Paralympic mount El Corona Texel has garnered lots of attention, but it looks as though her other, younger partner Fortune 500 is going to give “Tex” a run for his money. At the Adequan/USEF Para-Dressage National Championship held Oct. 28-31 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, “Moola” stole the spotlight.
With scores of 72.10% in the Grade III team test, 71.02% in the individual test, and 75.44% in the freestyle, Moola and Hart won the 2021 national championship. Kate Shoemaker, Hart’s teammate at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, took reserve with Solitaer 40.
“It was a very good weekend,” Hart said. “It was really great to have Moola come out and be a rock star every single day, in the cold, in the rain—we’re wimpy south Floridians. He was just a superstar the entire week, so it was really fun to just have him to continue to grow and get better and get more confident in the ring. It was really nice, and it was great to be in Tryon again.”
Hart has been riding Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Fidertanz 2—Weinrose, Don Romantic) for four years now, and she and trainer Jennifer Baumert had high hopes for him going into the weekend.
“I knew he’s been schooling really well at home, so I was kind of interested to see what he was going to do, and he beyond met all of my expectations, actually,” she said. “He came out here way better, and he’s just really coming into his own in the last six months, and it’s been fun to see him kind of grow and develop and give his brother a run for the money.”
Hart’s freestyle features music from “Driving Missy Daisy.” She said that Moola picked the music and that she loves to ride that test.
“It literally feels like you’re just kind of going on a little road trip with him. He just trucks you along,” she said. “He’s got such a metronome for a trot. It’s so consistent. Some freestyles you kind of have to work into and figure out, and his has just been spot on since the first time we rode through it. It’s just nice to be able to get out there and get to enjoy it and not have to over-analyze everything.”
Shoemaker and Solitaer 40, a 14-year-old Oldenburg she owns with Deena and Craig Shoemaker, put in solid performances throughout the weekend and were neck and neck with Hart for the top spot. After earning a 71.56% in Saturday’s Grade IV individual test, the pair went into the final day’s freestyle with a narrow, half-point lead over Hart and Moola. A 73.20% in their freestyle ultimately earned them reserve champion honors.
Roxanne Trunnell, the third member of the bronze-medal U.S. Paralympic Team and a world-record holder for her Grade I scores with her partner Dolton, opted to skip the national championships.
“After winning double gold medals and team bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics we decided to give Dolton and myself a break from the show ring,” she posted to social media several days before the championship. “We are training hard at Helgstrand with Andrea Woodard & Dolton feels like he’s ready to go out and win gold at another Paralympics.”
Watch Hart and Moola’s performance in the FEI Para Team Test Grade III, which kicked off their national championships on Friday and scored 72.10% to give them an early lead: