|Giavanna Rinaldi and Thalys Z|
“My goal is always to put the pressure on everyone else,” Rinaldi explained. “I just want to go out there, go smooth, quick and clear and have the result that I hope for. When we got to the jump-off, I knew there was a lot of fast people behind me, so I wanted to set the pace and get it done from the start.”
Hanley Morrison and SCS Luigi led the day in the jumper arena, setting the tone early with a faultless effort in the first round. Keeping all the rails intact, she was the first rider to go clear in the speed round and set the initial time to beat at 50.345 seconds.
Eight riders came and went, before Morrison’s spot on the leaderboard was taken by none other than Rinaldi and her Zangersheide mare. The duo entered the arena on a mission to stay out of reach to the field of competitors that were left to ride.
|Giavanna Rinaldi and Thalys Z|
Rinaldi explained, “Thalys felt really great today. We had a really nice first round. She was listening well, jumped really good and did not touch any of the jumps. I knew she wasn’t going to want to touch anything in the jump-off and I knew there was tough competition behind me, so we went for it. I feel like I made up time at the beginning, we left out some strides that others didn’t. She turned well and stepped up to the task. I feel like that’s our strong suit. Thalys gave a really nice overall effort.”
The only athlete that came close to stealing away the win from Rinaldi was second-place finisher Holly Shepherd. The Accolade Farm owner and her Canadian Warmblood, Skymiles crossed the timers a fraction off the pace, finishing in a time of 36.881 seconds.
“It’s really hard to try and catch Gia,” Shepherd said. “I honestly did not think I could catch her, but Skymiles felt great today and was truly amazing, so I just tried to give it a whirl.”
She smiled, “I was really close though, only 2/1000 of a second away from catching her.”
|Holly Shepherd and Skymiles|
Shepherd has been riding, training and competing with the 11-year-old bay gelding for five years. Sharing details about her confidence in him, she said, “I’ve had him since he was six and I know him really well. He’s super game for anything and is a good horse for any class he’s entered in. He’s a good speed horse. If he’s getting close to catching Gia, he’s the right horse for the class.”
Shepherd was surrounded by up-and-coming talent on the leaderboard. While Rinaldi was above her, Brian Moggre was just below. The junior rider and MTM Flutterby held on to the red ribbon with a time of 38.225 seconds for three rounds, before Shepherd snuck in and forced him to settle for third place.
|Brian Moggre and MTM Flutterby|
A total of 10 athletes were able to attempt the speed round of the Steve Stephens-designed course, however only five were able to navigate it faultless. While three of those five were Rinaldi, Shepherd and Moggre, Douglas Boyd and Morrison rounded out the top five. Boyd and Berkley III sat in fourth place with a time of 43.229 seconds, while Morrison and SCS Luigi settled for fifth place.
Many of these athletes will face-off again in the anticipated $50,000 Grand Prix, slated to take place on Saturday, August 13 at 4 p.m. For more information on the Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest show series, please visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. A downloadable prize list is accessible online.
RESULTS – $15,000 Welcome Stake
1 THALYS Z GIAVANNA RINALDI 0 0 0 78.415 0 0 0 36.862
2 SKYMILES HOLLY SHEPHERD 0 0 0 76.361 0 0 0 36.881
3 MTM FLUTTERBY BRIAN MOGGRE 0 0 0 76.580 0 0 0 38.225
4 BERKLEY III DOUGLAS BOYD 0 0 0 79.574 0 0 0 43.229
5 SCS LUIGI HANLEY MORRISON 0 0 0 80.946 0 0 0 50.345
6 BACHELOR 4 FREDDIE VAZQUEZ 0 0 0 78.231 8 0 8 39.036
7 S & L ELITE DOROTHY DOUGLAS 0 0 0 80.014 8 0 8 40.717
8 POWERPLAY CAITLIN ZIEGLER 0 0 0 78.286 8 0 8 46.768
9 MTM ERKEL BRIAN MOGGRE 0 0 0 81.493 8 0 8 46.788
10 HAPPYBOY VAN DE DOORNAKKERS JORDAN GILCHRIST 0 0 0 80.955 12 0 12 43.893
11 CUPINA COLADA MAGGIE JAYNE 4 0 4 73.564
12 CARIBE CAELINN LEAHY 4 0 4 74.392
The second portion of the professional hunter divisions finished up for the final week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse. Maggie Jayne brought home another tricolor ribbon aboard Frosted Blue after winning the championship title in the Green Working Hunter division.
|Maggie Jayne and Frosted blue win champion in the Green Working Hunter division|
For the first portion of the division that took place on Thursday, August 10, Jayne and Frosted Blue earned a first and a third place, setting themselves a nice position for the second portion. The pair finished the Green Working Hunters with two more first place ribbons and another third to clinch the championship.
Just last week, Jayne and Frosted Blue won the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, and the pair has been working towards earning points for the upcoming indoor shows. Though Jayne only started Frosted Blue in the First Years division in June, the pair has had quite a successful summer.
“He felt really good,” Jayne said of Frosted Blue. “He was maybe a little tired, but he was willing to work and he was great. It’s good points for indoors since we got a late start, so we’re excited. And now he’ll have a one month break.”
|Maggie Jayne and Frosted Blue|
Jayne and Frosted Blue earned the win in the handy round, impressively navigating the tight turns and narrow trot fence at the end of the ring. “I thought the lines rode really easy, which, now that he’s so quiet and his stride is so opened up it was a little harder for us,” Jayne said. “The handy round was really good, it had a lot of turns and it all came up nice.”
Caitlyn Shiels and Don Stewart’s Cassius received the reserve championship ribbon in the Green Working Hunters after earning a first place, three seconds, and a third over the span of the division. Shiels and Cassius have only been working together since April of this year, but their partnership only continues to grow.
Shiels said, “Cassius is a really smooth, big, scopey mover. He has a really smooth canter and is very enjoyable to ride. He’s just been progressing more and more, every horse show we go to it’s just getting better and better and more consistent. We’re really excited about him!”
|Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius|
She added, “I thought the first round was very good. Yesterday I thought that he was very nice rideability wise, and today he stepped a little bit crisper and was a little bit more awake. He’s been great, and is becoming more and more consistent and every time we go in the ring. He’s a very smart horse!”
In the Conformation Hunters, it was Holly Shepherd and HJ Noteworthy that took home the championship win. Shepherd and Noteworthy earned a first and a third during Thursday’s portion of the competition, finishing up with two firsts and a second to win the division.
The reserve champion ribbon in the Conformation Hunter also went to Shepherd, but this time aboard Loretta Patterson’s Zoso. The pair earned a total of two firsts, two seconds, and a third to best the field of riders and receive the reserve tricolor.
|Holly Shepherd and HJ Noteworthy|
Competition at the Chicago Festival of the Horse continues Friday, August 12, beginning at 8:00 a.m. with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
For more information on Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest Show Series, please visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. A downloadable prize list is accessible online.