Brittini Raflowitz Cleans Up Chicago With $7,500 Cavalor High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Victory at Equifest I
RELEASE: July 28, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Ashley N. Williams for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
Brittini Raflowitz cleaned up Chicago on the final day of Equifest I with the $7,500 Cavalor High Junior/Amateur-Owner victory aboard Zacca Zoeloe, riding to the second place with KT Undercover (Ashley N. Williams)
- The final day of Equifest I opened to cloudless skies and strong jumper competition as the Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers took the spotlight in the Grand Prix Arena at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Brittini Raflowitz rode to her fourth major win of the week, this time piloting Zacca Zoeloe to the top of the $7,500 Cavalor High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Raflowitz also picked up the second place award with KT Undercover, cleaning up the jumper divisions for the first week of Equifest.
Manuel Esparaza of Mexico designed a challenging course for the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers Sunday. He included a vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination, liverpool, oxer-vertical double combination, as well as several sharp turns and tight rollbacks. Only one rider was able to master Esparaza's opening course, Brittini Raflowitz. She guided two of her mounts into the jump-off; however, she opted to save them for another day, electing Zacca Zoeloe as the winner. Raflowitz also picked up the second place award with KT Undercover. Stephen Foran and Etienne were awarded the third place award as the quickest of the remaining entrants.
"Zacca Zoeloe just goes in every time and tries harder and harder. He tries his heart out every time he goes," Raflowitz described. "You have to let him do his own thing, and stay out of his way a bit. You have to quietly take care of it, and he jumped amazing today. He is such a phenomenal horse, the feeling is unreal-he is unlike any horse I have ever sat on."
Raflowitz continued, "KT won the High Classic last week, but I felt like it was Jake's turn to win this week. I don't want either of them to go getting big heads," she laughed. "I thought the lines felt like they would walk nice and continuous, but they ended up riding steadier than they walked. There were some place where you had to think about them a little bit more, but both horses jumped their hearts out, and I couldn't have asked for more."
Zacca Zoeloe originally started out with Darragh Kerins, and the 9-year-old has showed great potential under his careful eye. Owner, Maarten Huygens of Wellington, FL, explained that they have been bringing him along slowly over the last year, and while Kerins is showing at Spruce Meadows, it only seemed right to have Raflowtiz take a turn with him.
"Zacca Zoeloe was very green, but showed a lot of potential. Darragh has been very good with him, and he has really taken his time bringing him along. Zacca Zoeloe was very slow and very careful, but a bit of a nervous type in the beginning. We came up with the idea to send him to Brittini for a few weeks, she has been doing unbelievable with him," Huygens stated. "They have been doing so well, that I think Brittini will keep riding him. It is good to see him being competitive. She has been flying with him, I think he is probably the best one she has. If he continues to come together, his scope is endless and he can go very far."
Raflowitz also donned a pair of SSG riding gloves on each of her mounts, riding to the $500 bonus check, sponsored by Saddlers Row, as a part of the SSG Riding Gloves promotion. Riders wearing the SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves with the SSG horse head logo clearly visible during all rounds of competition in the designated event are eligible for the bonus. Raflowitz always has a pair of SSG riding gloves available, bragging about the hand to rein connection she feels she is able to maintain in them. She was thrilled to receive a bonus for a product she believes in so much.
"I have two pairs constantly ready to go," she said. "I usually don't wear gloves, but when I do, I like to have a good connection from hand to rein. The grip is really, really good. I hate with some gloves how you go around the ring and lose your reins a little bit. It is nice to have a good grip where you don't have to worry about shortening your reins while going around the course."
Esparaza presented the same course for the $1,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner NAL Jumper Classic and the $1,000 Modified Junior/Amateur Owner Classic. Similar to that of the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, Esparaza utilized an oxer-vertical-vertical combination, bending lines, rollbacks, a liverpool and the difficult vertical-vertical one-stride.
The first rider to advance to the short course in the $1,500 Low NAL Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers was Haley Banas and Limelight. Although Banas posted a speedy time of 29.582 seconds, room was still left to slice the seconds.
Giavanna Rinaldi was the next to show over the shortened track with her partner GPS Brilliante Design. It seemed as though the pair had all of the answers, laying down a faultless jump-off in 29.426 seconds, narrowly beating Banas. Her time proved fast and good, but one rider was left to challenge her, yesterday's $10,000 1.40m Stake Winners, Stephanie Novas and Aretina M.
Fifteen-year-old Stephanie Novas showcased her talent aboard the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood Aretina M as she navigated the course with a speedy pace and clear finesse. She picked up a blazing pace from the start, and applied her mount's quick speed to set the new target time for her double-clear effort. Her time of 27.980 seconds was astounding, beating Rinaldi's score by nearly two seconds. Novas took the first place finish with only Rinaldi claiming the second place, while Banas and Limelight were presented with the third place award.
"I traveled to Holland and bought her and Amyra R at the same time," Novas explained. "She is just really, really good. She tries hard, is really brave, and she jumps from anywhere. She has just gotten a lot more experience, and can read the course really well now. At the beginning of the year she wasn't like that, but now she has gotten real good at it, and we have become a really good team."
Novas continued, "Honestly, she is a little horse, and she has really good foot speed, but since she is a little horse she doesn't have the big step like the other horses. I had to go pretty fast to make up for that. She is a clearly a lot faster than I thought though, I probably could have even slowed down."
In the $1,000 Low Modified Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, Anna Dulin and Wonderboy Van De Katershoeve were the only pair to master the first round course. Libby Rudolf and Caruso came in second, while Heather Zuber and Steel Magnolia took third.
"He is so easy. When I first got him, he didn't have any brakes, and I was the jerk at the end of the ring making circles, waiting for my horse to stop. Now, he is a babysitter for me. We have been together so long now, since he was 5, that he will try his heart out for me, he knows who his mama is," Dulin described. "It was an interesting course, a couple of times I thought we didn't have it, but we did! I put glitter on his hooves as good luck, they are his happy feet, and they don't hit rails. If I don't put glitter on his hooves we get four faults every time."
"I am single and working, Dean Battaglia takes care of him and prepares him for me. I pay for everything on my own, so he is my entire world, I even have him trick trained to count and shake for treats. I only get to go to three or four horse shows a year, so when I compete it is not about chasing the prize, but it's because I really love it," Dulin concluded. "This is where I started. My first horse show ever was here, so it has a lot of history for me. They have made this show something great."