Wellington, Fla. – March 17, 2017 – Competing on a brisk and sunny Friday morning, Giavanna Rinaldi executed fluid and textbook performances throughout two rounds of competition aboard Governor to stand out among the group of talented junior riders, securing her the blue ribbon in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* during Week Ten of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Governor, an 11-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by trainer Alex Jayne, was purchased recently without any equitation experience and won his first class with Rinaldi.
Set in Ring 6, the challenging 1.20m course consisted of 13 jumps and was created by course designer Thomas Hern, Jr. of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Rinaldi was one of few riders in the class of 27 trips that successfully completed the over fences portion without any knockdowns.
“My plan was to have a nice, smooth round and I knew if I wanted to win I had to shine throughout the turns and that’s where we made up some points,” commented Rinaldi. “Governor has such a smooth jump and it’s really suited for the equitation ring.”
Watch Giavanna Rinaldi and Governor’s smooth round over fences!
Judge Christina Schlusemeyer is well versed in hunter/jumping seat equitation, having judged this class for many years at WEF. She noted that Rinaldi had a significant lead going into the flat round based on the control she exhibited over fences.
“The course was very nice, ridable and a little challenging for a 2*. Rinaldi had control of her horse, she knew what she was doing and she balanced up for the end jump, which happened to be a liverpool. Right after the triple bar, the horses got feisty and riders kept galloping instead of setting their horses up. Giavanna and Samantha [Cohen] rode a clean course so they had a huge advantage, which oftentimes counts less than style but today getting it done counted the most. She was very efficient over fences and so was Cohen and they were leading by quite a bit going into the flat,” Schlusemeyer explained.
Entering the flat phase, competitors’ performances were on a more level playing field as judges looked to award the top eight. Riders were instructed to demonstrate a variety of gaits including rising and sitting working trot, working canter with lengthening strides and transitions from a working walk into a counter-canter.
“Rinaldi didn’t make any mistakes in her flatwork and she was empathetic with her horse,” Schlusemeyer observed.
Taking second place was Samantha Cohen and her own Kaskade, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare.
Third to ribbon was Coco Fath and her mount Catachi, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Hillside Farm LLC.
With only two weeks left of WEF competition, equitation riders can exhibit their skills in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search during Week Eleven in a 2* class or in the formidable 3* class during the final Week Twelve.