Traverse City, Michigan, USA – July 22, 2022 – 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 Welcome Stake CSI 2*. 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 (USA).
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 Alex Granato (USA) 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, Florida, USA, 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 CSI 2* levels and aims to move into more CSI 3* 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 CSI 3* 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.”
Competition culminates for international athletes Sunday afternoon in the $72,800 Grand Prix CSI 2*. Saturday competition welcomes national athletes for the $30,000 Bellwyn Farm Traverse City National Grand Prix.
Final Results – $37,000 North Face Farm Welcome Stake CSI 2*
1) Zayna Rizvi (USA) & Excellent: 2009 KWPN gelding by Cicero Z Van Paemel x Ahorn, Peacock Ridge LLC – 0 / 0 – 35.15
2) David Oberkircher (USA) & Vulkato: 2011 BRAND stallion by Vulkano x Charismo, Southfields Farm LLC – 0 / 0 – 37.05
3) Alex Granato (USA) & Helios vd Nosahoeve: 2012 KWPN stallion by Numero Uno x London, Kisma Equestrian, LLC – 0 / 0 – 37.07
4) Samantha Schaeffer (USA) & Frasier: 2010 KWPN gelding by Carambole x Padinus, Bonne Vie LLC – 0 / 0 37.44
5) Hailey Royce (USA) & Sonic Boom: 2012 SWB gelding by Seacoast Wonderful, Double Clear LLC – 0 / 0 – 37.70
6) Martien van der Hoeven (USA) & Morris Hortra: 2012 BWP stallion by Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Vigo D Arsouilles STX, Luccirelli International, LLC – 0 / 0 – 38.50
7) Margie Engle (USA) & Aston des Etisses: 2010 SF gelding by Mylord Carthago x Quidam De Revel: Gladewinds Partners, LLC – 0 / 0 -38.40
8) Matthew Boddy (GBR) & Cliff Z: 2008 ZANG gelding by Canturano x Quasimodo Z, Gotham Enterprizes, LLC – 0 / 4 – 36.02
9) Wesley Newlands (CAN) & Maestro van het Binnenveld: 2012 BWP stallion by Hunter’s Scendix x Conan Z, Weslands Farm – 1 – 76.10
10) Georgina Bloomberg (USA) & Sempa Fidelis: 2009 HANN mare by Stakkato Gold x Concetto Famos, Gotham Enterprizes, LLC – 4 – 71.22
11) McKayla Langmeier (USA) & Chadina: 2009 OLDBG mare by Conthargos x Narew, Rafferty Farm LLC – 4 – 72.28
12) Nick Dello Joio (USA) & Conthargos: 2011 OS stallion by Conthargos x Quidam’s Rubin, The Berry Group – 4 – 72.28
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography