Edited Press Release
Julia Nagler has been working her way up to a major win with her horse Sanvano. She’s always believed in him and they’ve always been competitive, but on Sunday of Desert Circuit 5, presented by Premier Equestrian, all the pieces fell into place and she won the $30,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.40m Open Classic.
“This is our biggest win,” she remarked of the occasion. “We’ve jumped 1.40m consistently. We do a lot of Northern California grand prixs. Lots of double clears but not always fast enough, so this is definitely our biggest win for sure.”
She was up against steep competition, too, with elite riders like James Chawke, Kaitlin Campbell, and more going head to head with her in the jump-off. Out of nine contenders, she proved to be the quickest of only three double clears, taking the win for herself.
“I thought about this before I went into the ring; sometimes you just really feel it in your bones,” she said of the feeling she had going in on Sanvano, one of two entries she had in the class. “I had one down on my first horse and I just felt it on this one. You have to just go in, stick to the plan, and just go for it. He was incredible.”
Just behind Nagler in second was Ransome Rombauer who piloted a seasoned winner Ayade Hero Z to another double-clear effort, only about a tenth of a second off the time. In third was Rachel Fields and Kimberly HX, owned by Sahana Ganesan, the only other fault-free effort.
“I’ve had him a few years now and we’ve been really consistent jumping these classes but usually have one or two down,” Nagler continued of her progression with Sanvano. The 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sanvaro x Caretano Z) was a partner of Uma O’Neill’s up to the CSI4* level. “I got him from Uma, who is a good friend of mine, and I’ve always loved him. I watched him and kind of started stalking him. I said, ‘If you ever sell him let me know.’”
Of all the things that drew Nagler to the horse, it was ultimately his bravery that sealed the deal.
“He’s so brave. He’s always going to go to the other side,” she said. “He’s just awesome that way. He’s a really good boy. He’s got all the scope in the world so if you’re a little deep or a little long, you know he’s always going to cover it. That’s what I’ve always really liked about it, his bravery.”
The duo isn’t stopping at 1.40m, and they have jumped higher in the past, even up to the FEI 1.45m level. Now that the pieces feel that they are coming together even further, they have grand prix action on their horizon.
“I would love to step up and jump a Saturday night class for sure,” she said of her aspirations. “I did it once with him a few years ago when I first got him but never really stepped back up to that height. I’d like to keep stepping up on both my horses.”
Nagler is truly at home at DIHP, and she’s watched the facility grow and evolve for nearly 20 years.
“I’ve been coming here since I was 13, I’m 31 now,” she reflected. “The improvements are incredible and what they’re continuing to do in sport and putting horses first is so important. I like the atmosphere and they’re making it really fun and safe. Footing and atmosphere for me is what does it so I think they’ve done a really good job with all of that.”
Making her win even more special was sharing it with two people who have been along for the ride since the beginning: her trainer, Benson Carroll, and her groom, Rigo Soto.
“I’ve been riding with [Benson] since I was 12 and have had the same groom since I was 12,” she said of the two constants in her riding career. “It definitely boosts my confidence and it’s incredible to have that relationship with someone who has seen you through so many phases of your life. I’m just really blessed that way.”
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