The U.S. Para Dressage Team kicked off the 2021 competition season with the first CPEDI 3* of the year at the Global Dressage Festival (GDF).
The U.S. team members for this competition were Sydney Collier (Ann Arbor, Mich.) riding All In One, Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.) riding Fortune 500, Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.) riding Solitaer 40, and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.) riding Dolton. Read more about the team members here.
The CPEDI 3* team competition consisted of the Team Tests on Thursday and Individual Tests on Friday. All four combinations completed their Freestyle tests on Saturday evening under the lights.
Trunnell and Dolton, Karin Flint’s 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding, earned the top scores of the competition across all grades, with an average score of 80% for the FEI Grade I Para Team Test, 79.345% for the FEI Grade I Para Individual Test, and 83.656% for the FEI Grade I Para Freestyle. Trunnell has had an extraordinary career with Dolton already, from winning individual bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018 to reaching the top of the FEI’s para dressage world rankings in 2020. The pair shows no signs of slowing down.
“I was really happy with how Dolton handled the whole weekend,” said Trunnell. “I think he loves the AGDF show grounds more than his own home as he takes zero time to settle in and he is always as calm as can be there. When I ride him he is 100% focused on what I am telling him; he definitely knows his job!”
The U.S. Para Dressage Team is currently the top team in the world on the FEI ranking list, and the pressure is on heading into the postponed 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, scheduled to take place in August of this year. While team members won’t be officially selected until later in the spring, Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline is pleased with the way the Paralympic hopefuls performed at the start of the season.
“All went beyond expectations this week, as I would expect for athletes in contention for Tokyo to not peak too early. Even with this approach in mind, our team achieved a remarkable average of 74.45%, keeping U.S. Para Dressage in its top FEI ranking position,” said Assouline. “Rebecca Hart had a personal best with Fortune 500 in the Freestyle with a score over 76%. Roxanne Trunnell continues to impress with scores hovering around the 80% mark, maintaining her FEI World No. 1 stronghold! Sydney Collier was consistent, and she is discovering how to adjust her horse’s gears more effectively…she was very focused on improving her accuracy, which paid off! Kate Shoemaker also rode a soft, conservative test to save her horse for this long road to selection for Tokyo.
“The judging panel [at AGDF] was of particular interest to me as both Anne Prain (FRA) and Kjell Myhre (NOR) are part of the future Tokyo Paralympics official jury,” said Assouline. “This gives our selectors and coaches a solid evaluation of the athletes’ performances…We received a special accolade from our international judges about the ever-increasing quality of horses and riding in the U.S.”
Scores: 2021 CPEDI Wellington