Edited Press Release
Sixteen-year-old Zayna Rizvi (USA) kicked off her weekend in Traverse City with a bang, racing to an international win aboard Excellent in Friday’s $37,000 North Face Farm CSI2* Welcome Stake. With her partner over the past year, she bested eight pairs in the jump-off for the top prize at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.
Over Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) first-round course, 46 entries tried their hand but only eight navigated to clear rounds within the time allowed. Among those eight were top athletes at the international level including 2019 Pan-American Games team bronze medalist Alex Granato (USA) and U.S. Olympian Margie Engle.
Age proved to just be a number for Rizvi, who shaved nearly two seconds off the leading time as she came in aboard the Peacock Ridge, LLC-owned Excellent. She and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cicero Z Van Paemel x Ahorn) saved precious seconds on the clock by leaving out strides and cutting tightly between fences.
Setting the pace prior to Rizvi and ultimately taking second place was David Oberkircher (USA) and Vulkato, owned by Southfields Farm LLC, in 37.05 seconds. Just behind in third by two one-hundredths of a second in 37.07 was Granato and Helios vd Nosahoeve, owned by Kisma Equestrian, LLC.
“It was the beginning three or four jumps where I took fewer strides that made the difference,” Rizvi, who hails from Wellington, FL, commented. “That helped me get ahead so I could relax to the last line and gallop to the last [fence].”
Despite the big names coming forth in the class, Rizvi held her own and has learned quite a bit from the international levels over the past few years. “It was really cool,” she said of landing the top spot Friday. “I’m the youngest one. It’s awesome to compete against all these professionals. It’s a great experience for me and I learn so much from it.”
Since partnering with Excellent, Rizvi has moved up into the CSI2* levels and aims to move into more CSI3* classes throughout the coming year so she can step up to higher levels in years to come. The pair jumped to a team and individual gold medal at the 2021 North American Youth Championships and will contest their first CSI3* grand prix at GLEF next week.
“He is amazing,” Rizvi said of Excellent. “He’s brave, awesome, and so much fun to ride. He’s also so sweet in the barn and we have a really great bond. We trust each other, which is what I think makes it go well for us in the show ring.”
Final Results: $37,000 North Face Farm CSI2* Welcome Stake
1.EXCELLENT: 2009 KWPN gelding by Cicero Z Van Paemel x Ahorn
ZAYNA RIZVI (USA), Peacock Ridge LLC: 0/0/35.15
2.VULKATO: 2011 BRAND stallion by Vulkano x Charismo
DAVID OBERKIRCHER (USA), Southfields Farm LLC: 0/0/37.05
3.HELIOS VD NOSAHOEVE: 2012 KWPN stallion by Numero Uno x London
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Kisma Equestrian, LLC: 0/0/37.07
4.FRASIER: 2010 KWPN gelding by Carambole x Padinus
SAMANTHA SCHAEFER (USA), Bonne Vie LLC: 0/0/37.44
5.SONIC BOOM: 2012 SWB gelding by Seacoast Wonderful
HAILEY ROYCE (USA), Double Clear LLC: 0/0/37.70
6.MORRIS HORTA: 2012 BWP stallion by Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Vigo D Arsouilles STX
MARTIEN VAN DER HOEVEN (USA), Luccirelli International, LLC: 0/0/38.50
7.ASTON DES ETISSES: 2010 SF gelding by Mylord Carthago x Quidam De Revel
MARGIE ENGLE (USA): Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/0/38.40
8.CLIFF Z: 2008 ZANG gelding by Canturano x Quasimodo Z
MATTHEW BODDY (GBR), Gotham Enterprizes, LLC: 0/4/36.02
9.MAESTRO VAN HET BINNENVELD: 2012 BWP stallion by Hunter’s Scendix x Conan Z
WESLEY NEWLANDS (CAN), Weslands Farm: 1/76.10
10.SEMPA FIDELIS: 2009 HANN mare by Stakkato Gold x Concetto Famos
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes, LLC: 4/71.22
11.CHADINA: 2009 OLDBG mare by Conthargos x Narew
MCKAYLA LANGMEIER (USA), Rafferty Farm LLC: 4/72.28
12.CONTHARGOS: 2011 OS stallion by Conthargos x Quidam’s Rubin
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), The Berry Group: 4/72.28