Rinaldi and Soares Earn Blue Ribbons in High and Low Junior/Amateur-Owners at Chicago Festival of the Horse

Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius Win $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Chicago Festival of the Horse

Wayne, Ill. – August 12, 2016 – Giavanna Rinaldi and Jesse Soares rode away with victories in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Friday morning at the Chicago Festival of the Horse. Both riders won aboard mounts they were introduced to at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, continuing their success at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Rinaldi and Little Gun 17 were introduced about seven months ago during the winter show circuit in Florida. Rinaldi rode the WBFSH gelding on behalf of Shader Sporthorses, LLC. and performed exceptionally.

Giavanna Rinaldi and Little Gun 17

“He did the Medium Junior Jumpers with me during WEF and was really good,” Rinaldi explained. “We won some big classes down there. He came with me to Chicago Festival of the Horse to ride and show and has done pretty well these last two weeks.”

Their victory in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner was their first win in Chicago. Sharing her thoughts on his performance, Rinaldi said, “It was a nice win for us. He jumped really well today. He listened and was fast. Actually, really fast. That’s his strong suit. He gets quite a bit of airtime, because he likes to get his legs up there. He was a good boy today.”

The 8-year-old bay is known for his natural speed, which he enjoyed putting on display for spectators. The duo were the final competitors to tackle the Steve Stephens-designed course, and were the fourth pair to successfully clear it.

Their top spot on the leaderboard was earned by a two-second margin. With a time of 33.600 seconds, they forced Brian Moggre and S&L Bon Vivant to settle for second place after they tripped the timers at 35.425 seconds.

Giavanna Rinaldi and Little Gun 17

“Since Little Gun is really quick off his feet, I just let him do his thing,” Rinaldi said. “I don’t need to try to get him going. He can run and turn really quickly and any distance I give him, he jumps. He doesn’t care about any of that, he’s a brave horse. He’s fun to ride. He’s super smooth and careful, and he’s great for speed classes. I really enjoy riding him.”

The junior rider concluded, “Little Gun likes a strong rider. He’s a pretty forward horse. He likes to take me to the jumps, but he also likes having the support of my leg there. We’ve been working on that the last couple of days, and it really helped us pull off the win today.”

Making their Low Junior/Amateur-Owner debut was Jesse Soares and Atlanta Z. The Bermuda-born rider bought the 12-year-old Zangersheide mare in December 2015 and showed her for the first time at WEF the following months.

Jesse Soares and Atlanta Z

“This only our fourth show together,” Soares said. “It was our first time in the Low Juniors, and our first time showing at Lamplight Equestrian Center. It’s a beautiful horse park and I love the ring.”

Sharing her thoughts on her first Low Junior jumper course, she said, “I thought the course was great. It was a good introductory course for me and Atlanta Z. She felt great today. She jumped amazing. I’m pretty sure I got jumped out of the tack a few times, which was great. She had a lot of energy. It was awesome.”

The duo was the sole horse and rider combination to make it to the speed round. Although the pair lowered the height of the final obstacle and incurred 4 faults, they rode away with the victory, tripping the timers at 34.158 seconds.

Jesse Soares and Atlanta Z

“She takes a lot of leg and a lot of hand,” Soares shared. “She likes to be down on her forehand, which is hard to do when you’re jumping that big, but we’re working on it. She’s getting better and better and I feel that we’re more confident now in our rides.

Soares has been living in Canada for the last three years and came to Lamplight Equestrian Center to show under the instruction of Rob Carey, who recently moved to the Chicago area. The two met in Canada and have continued working together.

Heading into the final week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse, spectators will be able to enjoy the $50,000 Grand Prix that is 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.


Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius Win $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Chicago Festival of the Horse  

The final hunter derby of the Chicago Festival of the Horse took place on Friday morning, showcasing top horse and rider combinations in the Main Hunter ring. Caitlyn Shiels and her unstoppable mount, Cassius, took home top honors to finish up the $5,000 UHSJA National Hunter Derby.

Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius

Shiels and Don Stewart’s Cassius have only been working together since April of this year, but their partnership has grown to produce success in the show ring. Shiels and Cassius finished their first over fences round with a score of 88, putting them in third place going into the handy round.

“He was great,” Shiels said of Cassius. “The first round was really nice. There were nice high options, good turns, and a nice bending line. I thought it really made the horses jump really nice, too. [Cassius] was very smooth, very rideable, and I was very happy with him!”

Following closely behind Shiels heading into the handy round was Laura Stern on Harrison. Stern was nicely situated in fourth place with a score of 87, and also followed closely behind with her other mount, Ellie, with a score of 76.

Laura Stern and Harrison

“Harrison is just a blast!” said Stern. “He’s really learned and grown, and this was our first derby this year. He’s just a really good boy. He walks in the ring at any time ready to play. He knows what to do and to go in and jump the jumps, he’s all about it. It’s nice that he’s a good mover too!”

Shiels was the second to last competitor to tackle the handy round, showcasing Cassius’ beautiful form over fences and ability to remain rideable throughout the course. The pair earned a score of 89, enough to move them up in the ranks and take home the first place ribbon.

“During the handy I just wanted to be super smooth,” explained Shiels. “I had a nice score in the first round, so I just wanted to go in and lay down the same trip with a little bit tidier turns. He handled it all very well. I just knew at the end that he was very good and really deserved the scores that he got, so I was very pleased with him today. It’s just been great having the opportunity to ride such a nice horse.”

Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius

Stern and Harrison returned to the ring to earn a score of 88 for their handy trip, securing the second place finish. Stern ultimately rounded out the top three aboard her 8-year old mare, Ellie.

This week marked Ellie’s first week in the hunter ring, and Stern is looking forward to competing the mare in the First Year Green Hunter next year. She commented, “In the first round [Ellie] was really good. I think I was a little conservative with her because I didn’t want to push her too quick, and I got a little long in the line, but in the handy she was all about it and nailed it!”

Laura Stern and Ellie

Stern was pleased with how well her horses finished up the day, saying, “The courses for the class were really fun! It was a little tricky, but I loved it. It made you work both directions both courses. They do such a beautiful job here; we just love it. I’ve come here for years and we really enjoy it.”

Competition at the Chicago Festival of the Horse kicks off on Saturday, August 13, and will Junior and Amateur Owner competitors will conclude their respective divisions on Sunday, August 14, with the championship titles.

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.