Silvia Rizzo and her Lusitano stallion Sal half-pass in the Grand Prix. Photo by Susan J. Stickle.
Wellington, FL – February 6, 2014 – Italy’s Silvia Rizzo and her new horse, Sal, are steadily solidifying their budding partnership while continuing to compete in Florida this winter show season.
The pair, who have been working together for only four weeks, scored a 69.100 percent to win Sunday’s Grand Prix Open at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 4 National show, an improvement over the previous week’s Grand Prix score. Sal is a 15-year-old bay Lusitano stallion (Mississipe-Maia, Golegã) Rizzo imported from Portugal.
Rizzo said she is pleased with the results and with how quickly they have improved, adding that her partner and trainer, Michele Betti, the former chef d’equipe of the Italian eventing team, has been helping her prepare technically and mentally for the show.
“I slept a little bit in the first competition,” she said. “I just wanted to do a clean test. This time, I entered and said, ‘OK. Now I ask.’ He was absolutely with me all the time.”
Betti was also pleased with the results.
“As a trainer, with a horse like Sal, my job is much easier because he understands really quickly and Silvia is much more relaxed on the horse,” he said. “I am happy with the way Silvia rode the competition because this was the first time she really rode it movement by movement. She really focused on showing the judges the correct exercise while also showing power.”
They also worked on the rhythm and cadence in the canter.
“We worked a lot on the piaffe too because one thing I have to learn is to stay in the piaffe without worrying about having to go out of it,” Rizzo said. “He is able to do it and I am learning to trust him to do it.”
“I want to practice, practice and practice,” she added. “I practice every day, but it’s good that at the end of the week, I can compete in a test so I can understand better where I am. We still have to improve a lot, but I’m really happy. It’s good that I have this chance.”
The next competition for Rizzo and Sal is the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 5 CDI3*, where they will ride the Grand Prix on Thursday, Feb. 6, and the Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday, Feb. 7. They also plan to show in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 6 National show Feb. 15-16.
Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International