Wayne, Il. – Aug. 12, 2017 – A competitive field of horses and riders gathered to vie for the blue ribbon in the $25,000 Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon during Equifest III. The course, set by designer Steve Stephens, required riders to navigate skillfully clear under the time-allowed of 81 seconds to make it to the jump-off.
Giavanna Rinaldi and Always Me, owned by Carben Farms LLC, were first to go, and set the standard high with a clear first round in 70.384 seconds. Out of the remaining horse-and-rider combinations that followed them, a total of five made it to the jump-off to battle it out for the top prize.
The jump-off course proved to be challenging, with a tight design and several roll-backs that asked riders to finish under a time-allowed of 50 seconds. Rinaldi and Always Me were first to go once again, but unfortunately knocked a rail on the second fence. The pair completed the jump-off in a speedy 38.172 seconds with 4 faults.
Jordan Gilchrist and Happyboy Van De Doornakkers entered the ring focused on a clear round, but lowered the height of a fence to incur 4 faults and finished in 43.471 seconds. Holly Shepherd and Loretta Patterson’s Sky High completed the jump-off just behind Gilchrist with 4 faults and a time of 46.834 seconds.
The last combination to go in the jump-off, Thomas Cerra and McGregor, seemed to have the win within their grasp throughout the entire course until they had a heartbreaker at the final fence, costing them 4 faults. Finishing with a time of 49.661 seconds, Cerra and McGregor took home fourth place.
Once Cerra and McGregor also received 4 faults in the jump-off, it was then the fastest time that determined the winner. Rinaldi and Always Me’s quick round earned them the blue ribbon in the $25,000 Grand Prix.
Equifest III competition resumes Sunday, Aug. 13 at 8 a.m. in the SmartPak Grand Prix Arena.
$25,000 Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / Time / R2 Faults / Time
1. Always Me / Giavanna Rinaldi / Carben Farms LLC / 0 / 70.384 / 4 / 38.172
2. Happyboy Van De Doornakkers / Jordan Gilchrist / Jordan Gilchrist / 0 / 79.746 / 4 / 43.471
3. Sky High / Holly Shepherd / Loretta Patterson / 0 / 78.042 / 4 / 46.834
4. McGregor / Thomas Cerra / Thomas Cerra / 0 / 75.797 / 4 / 49.661
5. Compis / Stephen Foran / Lauren Robishaw / 0 / 75.304 / 21 / 58.643
6. Harley David / Nicole Bellissimo / Bellissimo LLC / 4 / 70.131
7. Seasoned / Richard Rinehart / Showcase Limited / 4 / 72.507
8. Bull Run’s Levi / Bryn Sadler / Showcase 81 LLC / 4 / 74.002
9. Quilotta 2 / Taylor McMurtry / Windridge Farm LLC / 4 / 74.085
10. Winchester / Emma Sargent / Emma Sargent / 4 / 74.578
11. Quite Dark 2 / Haley Gassel / Westwind Equine Training Center / 4 / 74.667
12. Haribo / Emma Sargent / Emma Sargent / 4 / 77.194
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Giavanna Rinaldi – $25,000 Grand Prix Winner
On Always Me:
“I recently paired with Always Me a couple weeks ago at the Colorado Horse Park. I started out by showing her in the High Juniors and the U25, and we actually won our first two classes together. We started to click really soon in our relationship and it just kept blossoming from there. We came here and started doing the high juniors, the Welcome and the grand prix. I really enjoy riding her, she’s a joy. She’s always in top shape and wants to do well.
It’s so funny, every time that we are in the schooling ring she will buck after every single fence. She gets so excited. Then when we go into the show ring, she’s all game. She wants to do well and she wants to win – you can see it in her eyes. She never bucks in the ring, she’s just all game.”
On her winning rounds:
“We skipped the Welcome this week to save her for the grand prix, and it was a really good decision on my trainer’s part because she really shined today. You could tell in the first round, she just really had her game face on and was ready to win. I could feel it the moment we jumped the first jump. She jumped it two feet over, I was blown away. I was so ready for her to do the jump-off, right after the first jump of the first round. She was ready too.
I really liked the jump-off. We got a slight rub in the schooling ring and she never does that, so she was really trying hard. I didn’t get to the triple-bar how I wanted, but she tried her heart out. I figured even after we had a rail down, we would still have to gallop fast because there were fast people behind me. I didn’t expect to win this and it was a really great day. My junior hunters were awesome earlier in the day too, which made it that much more exciting.”