Wellington, Fla. – Dec. 12, 2016 – Three-time Paralympian Rebecca Hart and CherryKnoll Farm have announced the retirement of Schroeter’s Romani, Hart’s Paralympic and World Equestrian Games partner. The 15-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Lobster-Manique, Come Back II) is owned by Hart in conjunction with Margaret Duprey, Cherry Knoll Farm, Barbara Summer and William and Sandy Kimmel.
“It has been an absolute privilege to be able to partner with such a high-quality mare for the past three years,” Hart said. “To have all my team, including Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm and my trainer Todd Flettrich, believe in us from the very beginning and make our partnership come to fruition was a dream. Todd has been paramount in creating a training program for me, and looking back at all we have accomplished has been spectacular.”
Prior to Hart, Schroeter’s Romani was extensively competed by her longtime rider and trainer Birgitte Byrialsen, who operates out of the prestigious Straight Horse Stud in Allerød, Denmark. The pair competed through the levels up to international Grand Prix. Martha Thomas and Babsi Neidhardt-Clark of Sycamore Station discovered the talented dressage mount and were instrumental in helping bring Hart and Romani together. Straight Horse Stud generously gave Hart time to find syndication partners in order to make the partnership with Schroeter’s Romani happen.
“The most unique aspect about Romani is how incredibly kind and intelligent she is,” Hart explained. “It was through the generous support of family and friends that we have been able to become a successful team since purchasing her in 2013.”
Under the tutelage of Todd Flettrich, Hart and Schroeter’s Romani have had an exciting career together with top finishes around the world. The pair are two-time United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National High Performance Champions and have won more than 15 CPEDI3* classes in the United States. In 2016, they won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Winter Para-Series, as well as clinching both the Grade II individual championship and team gold at the CPEDI3* in January.
“One of the most memorable moments with Romani was when we had the helicopter land beside the dressage ring in Wellington,” Hart laughed. “It was the first time I was riding without stirrups during a competition, and she flicked an ear back at me to ask, ‘Is everything ok? Can we keep going?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ and we went on to win the class. To have her trust our partnership like that was remarkable.”
In addition to their success in the United States, the decorated pair have also had multiple CPEDI3* wins throughout Europe, including competitions in Hartpury, England, Mannheim, Germany, Deauville, France, and Moorsele, Belgium. Their dedication and hard work was rewarded when Hart qualified Schroeter’s Romani to represent the United States at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normady, France, and at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Hart’s team made the decision to retire Schroeter’s Romani following competition in Rio after a long and successful career as not only an international para-horse, but as an international able-bodied Grand Prix competitor. She will enjoy her retirement at Margaret Duprey’s Cherry Knoll Farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania.
“Thank you to Romani and her owners for this amazing adventure,” Hart concluded. “From finding Romani in Denmark to helping us qualify for the Paralympic team, I could not have done it on my own. It’s worth so much more to be able to share our experiences with my entire support team. It’s the end of a chapter, but it’s a good ending and I’m looking forward to the start of a new chapter.”