With Kardenta Van’t Meerhof, Broz was one of six to qualify for the jump-off over Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) difficult track. Of those six, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) had two clear rides, so Broz was up against tough competition. She didn’t let that intimidate her.
“I was thinking that second is great, even the top five is great, but my trainer, Cassio Rivetti (BRA), said, ‘You have to go for the win,’” Broz explained of her plan for the short course. “I just rode the course like we had talked about. I know that there were some big names and amazing riders that were chasing me but I had to ride my own course, ride my horse, and do my best.”
Her best was plenty, as she improved upon Gregory Wathelet’s (BEL) initial leading time with Clarity and saw him drop a rail on Ace Of Hearts, leaving the Belgian Olympian in second and third as the class came to a close.
“She’s my first horse to do the FEI grand prixs,” she continued about her 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Cardento x Concorde). “She’s my top horse at the moment and she’s really brought me up through the ranks. She’s taught me a lot but also has a lot of quality and is super. She’s lots of character but she’s definitely been a blessing.”
Broz, of Freedom, CA, has been climbing the ranks in both National and FEI show jumping, and has her sights set on FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha in April, currently sitting in second place in the standings on the West Coast. In under two years, the duo has risen from humble beginnings to the top.
“I remember jumping her and thinking it was the best jump I’d ever sat on,” Broz said. “I work with those quirks because of how much quality she has. I knew she was the one and she was going to be a good one. It takes time to understand her quality. She’s got a lot of personality and it takes adjusting. She taught me right from wrong very quickly.”
Still just 18, Broz could not participate in the champagne celebration, so Wathelet had the upper hand once awards were presented. Broz was in good company on the podium, seeing a glimpse at what the future could look like if she continues her winning ways.
“I don’t think it’s sunken in,” she reflected on topping a rider of Wathelet’s caliber. “The future is what Gregory is already doing, so to be competitive with him is amazing. I don’t think I could have even imagined this. I’m so thankful for my parents and team at Cassio Rivetti Stables and everyone who has supported me.”
Elisa Broz (USA) and Gregory Wathelet (BEL) atop the podium, pictured with Emma Werner of The Surrey.
Final Results: $145,100 Premier Equestrian Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Elisa Broz (USA) & Kardenta van’t Meerhof: 2010 BWP mare by Cardento x Concorde Hidalgo LLC – 0 / 0 – 37.98
2) Gregory Wathelet (BEL) & Clarity: 2009 HOLST gelding by Clarimo x Ephebe For Ever An Breeding – 0 / 0 – 38.58
3) Gregory Wathelet (BEL) & Ace of Hearts: 2010 ESH gelding by Aliandro B x Ra Ex Romanov ESH
Gregory Wathelet – 0 / 4 – 37.18
4) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Mr. Europe: 2009 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Cassini Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC – 0 / 4 – 38.82
5) Sophie Siegel (USA) & A-GIRL: 2010 SWB mare by A-Dur x Careful 28 Sophia Siegel – 0 / 4 – 42.56
6) Bretton Chad (CAN) & Grandeur WP: 2011 KWPN gelding by Whistler x Vainqueur Stone Ridge FarmsLLC – 0 / 8 – 39.95
7) Ali Ramsay (CAN) & Bonita VH Keizershof Z: 2011 ZANG mare by Bustique x For Pleasure Ramsay Equestrian Inc. – 4 – 76.89
8) Nick Dello Joio (USA) & Chess: 2011 BWP gelding by Bufero Van Het Panishof x Latano I, Wembley Farms Inc. – 4 – 78.87
9) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Copycat: 2013 WESTF gelding by Comme Il Faut x Wogenbrecher, Lost Lake Farm LLC – 4 – 80.06
10) Susan Artes (USA) & California Sunshine: 2013 DSP mare by Captain Z x Bollvorm’s Lauriston, Alix Fargo – 4 – 80.76
11) Mark Watring (PUR) & Limbossini RC: 2011 Holsteiner gelding by Guardus Limbus x San Patrignano Cassini, Mark Watring – 4 – 81.57
12) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Nadale van Dorpeheiede: 2013 BWP gelding by Zilverstar T x Winningmood, Cassio Rivetti (BRA), Ilan Ferder – 8 – 77.75
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas for Desert International Horse Park (DIHP)
Photos: © DIHP / HD – High Desert Photo / MG / ON