Riffle Hitch LLC Rides East After Prestigious West Coast Horse Show Victories

Del Mar, Calif. – May 23, 2018 – Following a successful winter show season on the West Coast, the team at Riffle Hitch LLC, led by renowned trainer and athlete Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, continued with their spring competition schedule at the Del Mar National Horse Show and Showpark Ranch & Coast Classic.

Violet Lindemann Barnett is currently one of Riffle Hitch LLC’s talented up-and-coming junior athletes, having secured numerous championship titles and awards in the hunter, jumper and equitation rings thus far this year, including being named circuit champion in the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters at HITS Coachella Desert Circuit with Delightful, a 2008 Hanoverian gelding.

At just 16 years old, Lindemann Barnett, who rides at age 15, is already making a name for herself and is currently leading the WIHS Equitation West standings with her equitation mount Venice, a 2005 Warmblood gelding. Her talent in the saddle is matched by her dedication to her horses and passion for the sport. She carves time out of her busy schedule to ride and compete, while attending school at University High School in San Francisco, California.

“Violet is like a sponge — she is always trying to learn more,” said Shahinian-Simpson. “She is very hands-on, very intuitive of what is going on and really participates in all aspects of the horses and the sport. She is very easy to train and is a really good student because of those characteristics. She really gets to know her horses individually. She is a great communicator and is always very proactive.”

Lindemann Barnett has been training under the expertise of Shahinian-Simpson since fall 2017, and has already proven herself in the short time she has been a part of the Riffle Hitch LLC team. She shares her love for equestrian sports with her mother, Sloan, who also rides and competes in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division.

“I love training with Nicki,” said Violet. “I think she really helps her students balance the competitiveness of the sport with having fun. She’s really taught me how to be an effective rider and how to change my riding based on each horse. With Nicki’s help, in the short-term, I want to keep improving and moving up in the jumpers and continue to compete in the big equitation classes. My long-term goals, for jumpers, would be to show at Young Riders (FEI Jumping North American Youth Championship).”

“We are about six months ahead of where we thought we would be at this point,” said Shahinian-Simpson. “She’s progressed very quickly. Violet moved up right away in the jumpers. She was just starting the children’s jumpers when I began training her, and now she is jumping 1.30m rounds and winning. Violet has a strong foundation and has transitioned to the next level very smoothly. She really is unique in her determination and desire to understand the horses. I think that can be the missing link sometimes, but she really is the whole package.”

The promising young athlete kicked off competition in May at the famed Del Mar National Horse Show, where she accumulated top prizes in the junior hunter ring. Violet rode Luscious, a 2009 Warmblood gelding, to the winner’s circle after a clean sweep, winning all five classes, in the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter division for the championship title and Calgary Junior Hunter Challenge Trophy. Her consistent top performances at the Del Mar National Horse Show also secured her the high-point Old Oak Farm Junior Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy.

“I’ve had Luscious for two years now so I know him pretty well,” said Violet. “He’s really sweet and goofy. He rides really nicely and his jump is super fun and round. He wants to just be a good horse and do whatever you want.”

In addition, Sloan also rode her own Coronation, a 2009 Holsteiner gelding, to championship honors in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division, winning four out of five classes and placing second in one of the over fences classes.

The team at Riffle Hitch LLC competed at the Showpark Ranch & Coast Classic next, where Violet brought home more top ribbons and gained valuable experience in all three rings. After collecting additional prizes in the junior hunter divisions with horses Spectacular and Delightful, Violet excelled in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division, scoring an impressive victory in the 1.20m class and $1,500 1.25m Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic aboard Chip VA to capture the championship. Violet and Chip VA were also awarded the R.C. Zellerbach Junior Jumper Challenge trophy at the Del Mar National Horse Show as the highest placing junior rider in the 1.20m Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper accumulator class.

“Chip VA is super fun,” said Violet. “He’s little so he can turn really tight and go really fast. He has a great personality and just loves people. I’ve been doing the jumpers for about a year now but I just started doing the junior jumpers this year. I love it. I think the jumpers are so much fun!”

Most recently, Violet claimed the 1.30m Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper championship at the HMI Equestrian Challenge aboard her other jumper mount, Cassi, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding.

After great results on the West Coast throughout the start of May, Violet and the rest of the Riffle Hitch LLC team are gearing up to head to the East Coast to compete at the iconic Devon Horse Show May 24–June 3.

“Our results at Del Mar and Showpark were super exciting,” said Violet. “It was nice to have three really solid shows before going in to Devon. I feel like all of my horses are in a really good position right now.”

Violet amassed enough points throughout the year to qualify for the Small Junior 15 & Under 3’6″ Hunter division with two of her mounts, Delightful and Luscious, while her mother qualified for the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division with Coronation and Miss January.

“It’s my first time going to Devon,” said Violet. “I just want to take it all in while I’m there. I want to have nice, consistent rounds and have an overall positive experience. It’ll be the first time my junior hunters have competed there too so I just want them to have good experiences.”

Trainer Shahinian-Simpson also qualified for the Devon Horse Show with Carol Rosenstein’s Akuna Mattata, where she will compete in the prestigious Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4* in the famed Dixon Oval.

Following the Devon Horse Show, the action will continue as the Riffle Hitch LLC team heads to the Upperville Colt & Horse Show June 4–10 as part of their summer competition schedule.

To learn more and to stay up-to-date with Riffle Hitch LLC, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


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