Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisschop Cap Off the Chicago Festival of the Horse with $7,500 Cavalor

Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Victory
Colby Hassfurther and Optimized Closes Out Chicago Festival of the Horse with Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion

Wayne, Ill. – August 14, 2016 –  Giavanna Rinaldi, a local up-and-coming star, has sealed off her fantastic three-week stretch at the Chicago Festival of the Horse with a victory in the $7,500 Cavalor Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic. The 17-year-old rode three horses in the final class on Sunday, qualifying two for the speed round and riding away with the win aboard Dulf Van Den Bisschop in a time of 33.041 seconds.

“Danny [Dulf Van Den Bisschop] felt awesome, but pretty tired,” Rinaldi said as she patted her horse for a job well done. “These last three weeks have been really long. He jumped the first round like a hunter derby. He jumped it so easily, but then he kicked it into gear for the jump-off. He knows when to go fast.”

Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisschop

The recent Auburn University signee went clear over the Steve Stephens-designed first round course aboard Little Gun 17 and Dulf Van Den Bisschop, as did Caelinn Leahy and Tzargazer.

The three horse-and-rider combinations were the only contenders in the jump-off. Rinaldi attempted the course first with Little Gun 17, but incurred 4 faults in a time of 33.377 seconds. She exited and re-entered aboard the bay Belgium Warmblood and tripped the timers at nearly the same speed in 33.041 seconds, but in an faultless effort to set the new time to beat with Dulf Van Den Bisschop.

Leahy was last to go with Tzargazer, and the pair successfully left all rails intact, but were a second too late. Clocking in a time of 34.131 seconds, the duo was forced to settle for the red ribbon.

“Danny and I had almost the same exact time as Little Gun,” Rinaldi said. “He was really good, too. They’re polar opposites. Little Gun is always moving forward and speedy. Danny doesn’t have as much as a motor, and I really have to get him going, especially after three long weeks. Thalys Z was awesome, too. We just had an unfortunate rail in the first round.”

Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisschop

She continued, “It’s been a tiring three weeks, but it went by faster than I thought. It doesn’t feel like it’s the last week. All the horses I’ve ridden have done so great. They have been so good and jumped really well. They’re ready for some time off.”

The Illinois native has had a busy three-week stint of competition, securing victories each week in multiple divisions and arenas. Her most notable wins were aboard Dulf Van Den Bisschop, a 13-year-old stallion, in the $50,000 and $75,000 Grand Prix events during Weeks I and II against some of the countries’ top professional athletes.

“I’ve definitely surprised myself,” Rinaldi smiled. “At Spring Spectacular, I didn’t have as much success as I did here. We really clicked here at Chicago Festival of the Horse, especially for the grand prix events. I still can’t believe it, honestly.”

Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisschop

With an opportunity to show so close to home, Rinaldi has been a local favorite and has sported a fan base throughout the competition.

“They’re all at the other end of the ring,” Rinaldi laughed as she spoke about her friends and family in attendance. “My dad brought some friends and my grandparents are here. They all enjoy coming, and I enjoy having them here. We live so close. It feels like this show is in our backyard. I’ve always loved coming to Lamplight. It’s great prize money and has beautiful show grounds. I just really love it here.”

Sharing similar sentiments was local Celia Bresch, who earned a blue ribbon in the $1,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic earlier Sunday afternoon. Bresh and Zalicia, an 11-year-old Warmblood, earned the win with a double-clear effort in a time of 35.242 seconds.

“Our barn is about 10 minutes from here,” Bresch shared. “This is our home show. I love the Grand Prix ring. It’s so big with nice footing. It makes you realize how spoiled we are when we go to other shows.”

The young athlete came in for the day to show in the classic and went home with a blue ribbon aboard her 2015 Christmas present.

Celia Bresch and Zalicia

“I got Zalicia for Christmas,” Bresch said. “I had tried her a few times before that, and when I jumped her, I knew she was the horse for me. She had to be mine. She’s been my step up into the low juniors.”

Securing the second-place finish and the division’s championship was Brooke Saltzman and Don Perion. The duo has only been together since March, but have earned their fair share of success.

“He jumped fantastic today,” Saltzman said. “It was a pretty consistent week for us. He’s a baby, so it’s really best for me to ride him forward and into my hand. We’re both learning and growing together.”

Sunday’s High and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classics marked the conclusion of the Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest Show Series. The Lamplight Equestrian Center hosts multiple equestrian events throughout the year. For more information, please visit

Colby Hassfurther and Optimized Closes Out Chicago Festival of the Horse with Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion

During the final day of Equifest III at the Chicago Festival of the Horse, competitors in the Amateur-Owner Hunters and the Junior Hunters vied for their respective championships to end the three-week series. It was Colby Hassfurther that earned the championship in the Amateur-Owner division, while Giavanna Rinaldi clinched yet another champion in the Junior Hunter division at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Colby Hassfurther and Optimized

Hassfurther and her mount, Optimized, earned a total of two firsts, a second, and two third place ribbons to receive the championship at the close of the division. Hassfurther has been with Optimized for four years, and their partnership has become stronger with each passing year.

“I’ve had [Optimized] for about four and a half years now, and we have a really good partnership,” Hassfurther said. “We were doing the 3’6” for awhile and decided to go down to the 3’3” because he’s getting a little older, he’s 14-years old now. He’s awesome to ride and I can just hop on and go in the ring without needing much prep. He goes to all of the jumps great; he’s basically perfect!”

Hunter competitors were faced with a different obstacle during their handy round course on Sunday’s portion of the division, tackling a bounce line at the far end of the ring. The handy round offered a nice change of pace for competitors.

Colby Hassfurther and Optimized

Hassfurther said, “I thought the handy round was really fun actually. We had the bounce in there, and you don’t normally see that, so it was a little bit different. Our strategy was just to be as tidy as possible and do what we normally do, and it worked out great!”

Hassfurther rides with Connie Stevens out of Matchmaker Farm in Chicago, and the Lamplight Equestrian Center has been a regular stop for them. She said, “We come to Lamplight quite a bit. We’ve come here for Spring Spectacular and over the summer. It’s such a nice facility and we really love it.”

Elizabeth Wexler took home the reserve championship ribbon in the Amateur-Owner Hunter riding Zurch. Over the span of the division, Wexler took home two first place ribbons and two third place ribbons.

Giavanna Rinaldi also closed out the Chicago Festival of the horse with an impressive championship win in the Junior Hunter. Rinaldi was aboard Alex Jayne’s Bugsy Malone, sweeping all five classes and bringing home nothing but blue to clinch the tricolor.

Giavanna Rinaldi and Bugsy Malone

“[Bugsy Malone] felt awesome today!” Rinaldi said. “After the first round he was really good, and I knew in the handy I could be tidy. I don’t think I’ve ever done the bounce with him, but I trusted him to figure it out, and he was great.”

Rinaldi and Bugsy Malone came back to the hunter ring week after week constantly bringing home first place ribbons and impressive scores. Rinaldi was fond of her three weeks at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, and enjoyed competing throughout the three weeks of Equifest.

“It’s been an awesome experience showing here, I really love it. Especially for three weeks, it went by so quickly. But I’ve had a lot of success here, and I really like the show and the horses have been super.”

Abbey Hamann and Superfly

The reserve championship in the Junior Hunter division went to Abby Hamann aboard Superfly. Hamann and Superfly earned a total of two seconds, a third, and two sixth place ribbons during the division.

The Chicago Festival of the Horse will return for the Summer of 2017. For more information on Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest Show Series, please visit A downloadable prize list is accessible online.