Paralympian and 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games hopeful Rebecca Hart has found a new partner in Rowan O’Riley’s 8-year-old gelding Fortune 500.
Fortune 500 (Fidertanz 2—Weinrose, Don Romantic) was trained by Catherine Haddad Staller and joins Hart’s string alongside El Corona Texel, also owned by O’Riley.
“We were not actively looking for a second horse,” Hart said. “But Rowan is friends with Catherine, and Fortune 500 was owned by one of Catherine’s clients who was putting him up for sale. Catherine thought he had the right brain and the world class quality gait we need for a para horse, so she asked Rowan if she was interested.”
Hart currently boards “Moola” in Wellington, Florida, at Havensafe Farm, where owner Betsy Juliano has waived the stall fee for several months to sponsor Hart as she sets her sights on qualifying for her third WEG.
“When I first sit on a horse I don’t expect them to give me a right answer,” Hart said. “I mostly just see what my body does with theirs and see if our movement matches up. I never ask for laterals of anything, but Moola showed me all the basics were there no problem, so I thought, ‘Huh, OK, well how about this?’ And I just thought leg-yield, and he gave it to me.”
Fortune 500 and Hart have only been partners for a month, but they’re aiming to make their first big outing at the WEG Para-Dressage test event at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (North Carolina), April 19-22.