Following five days of dressage testing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, the U.S. Para-Equestrian Team finished 12th in Team standings. Great Britain continued their streak of winning the team gold, having won the title in every games since para-dressage’s inception at the 1996 Paralympic Games. Silver went to Germany, and the Netherlands took the Bronze.
The Grade II Individual dressage tests kicked off yesterday morning, and Rebecca Hart was the first to compete for the United States. Hart and her own Romani, a 2002 Danish Warmblood mare, executed a respectable test and qualified for Friday’s Freestyle with a score of 67.714%. The pair placed ninth after struggling to find their rhythm during the test.
“It was not the test that I wanted so I am disappointed. Everything is a learning process though and you go with what you have at the moment; we did the best we could with it. I couldn’t have done anything differently, it was just not our moment,” Hart explained.
In the Grade Ia Individual test, individual competitor Roxanne Trunnell delivered a solid test in her first Paralympic Games. Paired with Julia Handt’s Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding, she received a score of 69.565% that placed her 10th.
“I thought the test was good,” said Trunnell. “Royal was a good boy, especially in the free walk. We have been working on relaxing and he just flowed with it. Compared to the Team test, he felt more relaxed in the arena. It is also Royal’s first Paralympics so it’s nice that we are going through it together. It’s not something I could have ever imagined, there are so many more people here than I expected.”
The final member of Team USA, Margaret McIntosh, and her own Rio Rio, a 2006 Rheinland mare, placed 20th in the Grade Ia Individual test with a score of 66.217%.
“I am in awe of the courage, determination, and effort that these athletes put into their daily lives, let alone what it takes to compete at this level and excel at their own sports,” said McIntosh. “It’s been overwhelming to walk around the village and to see so many vibrant people at the top of their game.”