Rinaldi Rides On

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PHOTO: Zara winning in the medium junior jumpers. Picture: Emma Seving Photography

By TPH Intern Mackenzie Shuman

Giavanna Rinaldi, 17, has made a name for herself in the horse world. Her uncanny ability to guide any horse to a stunning round in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings has made her a popular catch rider everywhere she shows. This year at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Rinaldi showed a total of 33 horses over the 12 weeks at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

“It’s a new record for me,” she exclaimed. Of the 33, 16 were jumpers, 10 were hunters, and 6 were equitation horses. This number baffles many, but for Rinaldi, it’s a huge opportunity to expand her riding abilities and make her a more adjustable rider.

Rinaldi rode Commissario to the circuit championship in the high junior jumpers. Picture: Sassy Strides Photography

“Ever since I started riding with Our Day Farm five years ago, they taught me to be adjustable,” she said. With too many ribbons and championships to count on the multitude of horses she’s ridden, Rinaldi definitely has put in the work needed to succeed greatly, including winning the coveted circuit championship at WEF in the High Junior Jumpers on Commissario.

But the big question is: how on earth does she do it? To enlighten us, Rinaldi described her typical show day. “I wake up at 5:30am and get to the barn at around 6:15am. Then, I’ll hack the horses at the show that I need to get into the ring. I usually have 8am classes, so I’ll go right into that.”

Between running around at the show from ring to ring and horse to horse, Rinaldi takes any spare moment to eat and hang out with friends. At the end of the day, never forgetting the ever-important horsemanship skills needed in this industry, Rinaldi goes back to the barn to clean tack and feed the horses lots of treats. “Mondays are the only day of the week I get off, and so do the horses,” Rinaldi explained. However, her Mondays are still full of activities, usually getting up early to work out at the gym or do school work, and then filling the rest of the day with hanging out with friends.

Staying fit is important to Rinaldi in order to have the stamina and strength to ride all of the horses she does. “I go to classes such as kickboxing, barre class, body works, Pilates, and yoga,” she said. Whether she’s on the road or not, running is her go-to workout to help unwind and stay in shape.

No matter where you go, Rinaldi’s name can be heard in conversations, usually centered around how ‘she’s riding that amazing new hunter’ or ‘she’s so perfect and wins so much.’ For Rinaldi, however, showing is not just about winning ribbons and being perfect every round. “My goal is for every class is to go in expecting to do the best I can, and make sure I have a set plan when I go into the show ring,” she said.

Gia Rinaldi on her own horse, Governor. Picture: Sportfot Photography

She gets in the zone before every class by “visualizing how I want my round to look in my head and it always seems to help. I look at every part of the course, not just the numbers in the lines. It’s the whole picture and, for me personally, it helps to picture it in my head.” This technique has paid off for Rinaldi, as it is hard to find a round where she is unprepared or inaccurate.

For the rest of the year, Rinaldi’s schedule is full. She is excited to first be showing at one of her favorite shows, Devon, then continuing on to the new HITS Balmoral, The Colorado Horse Park, The Kentucky Horse Park, and all of the indoor shows in the fall and winter.