Alexa Pessoa and Charlotte Jacobs with trainer Rodrigo Pessoa during the $15,000 High Amateur-Owner Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classic at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo By: Parker/Russell – The Book LLC.
East Aurora, NY and Wellington, FL – March 26, 2014 – It was an excellent week for “Team Pessoa” as they dominated the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, taking home both of the tricolor honors during Week XI of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Charlotte Jacobs of North Star Ventures, who trains with Rodrigo Pessoa, captured the victory in the first class on Friday with Cyrina Z, and she then went on to place second behind Alexa Pessoa and Levade 35 in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classic. At the end of the day, Jacobs’ efforts were rewarded with the championship title, while Alexa Pessoa rode away with the reserve championship.
On Friday, Jacobs and Cyrina Z kicked off the weekend with a double clear effort in the $2,500 High Amateur-Owner Jumper class. The pair bested the 10-horse jump-off with a smooth track that beat the second place finisher by two seconds. “The first day, I had flown in from school. I hadn’t shown the week before, so I was a little nervous,” Jacobs admitted. “Cyrina showed her true colors though, and she really jumped great and took care of me.”
Alexa Pessoa and Jacobs returned to the ring on Saturday for the Classic. Alexa Pessoa was the first to return for the jump-off with Levade 3, and she managed to lay down an unbeatable round with the quick mare. Having walked the course together, Jacobs and Alexa Pessoa had the same track, and Jacobs came within 3/100ths of a second of Alexa Pessoa’s time, taking home the second place ribbon as the last to go.
“Levade 3 is naturally very fast, and when you do all the right numbers and turns she’s just naturally faster than some,” noted Alexa Pessoa. “I think I just got lucky. For her, it was just a medium-fast round. I am really happy and sort of surprised at the way it turned out.”
Alexa Pessoa added, “Rodrigo [Pessoa] didn’t know who to root for in the end. It was great that it was a one-two finish; it was a great weekend.”
“I watched Alexa, but we are on very different horses,” said Jacobs. “Her horse has a much smaller stride, but she was a lot tighter in the turns. My plan was to leave out strides in all of the lines and hope that would improve my time. She was flying though, so I knew I had to really go for it. I thought I was really on it, but I think I went a little wide to the last fence.”
Jacobs continued, “It’s been really great training with Rodrigo. He and Alexa are so much fun to be around. It’s different, but everything is a lot simpler. I ride my own horses in the mornings before I show. A lot of it is up to me, which is different, but good. He’s a horseman, and he’s teaching me every little part of it back at the barn.”
“It was nice to see them first and second,” smiled Rodrigo Pessoa. “Alexa’s mare is a very fast mare. She was first to go in the jump-off, and she had a good plan that she executed well. It was going to take a good round to beat her. Charlotte was last to go and Alexa maybe left a little crack open, so I told Charlotte to go for it, be competitive and take a shot. She came very close.”
Rodrigo concluded, “Cyrina was doing the Mediums throughout the circuit, and this was the first week that she was in the Highs. We were pretty confident that they would have good result, so on Friday she won, and then on Saturday she went clear again. It was very good because she has been working toward this through the season. The year is still very long, so we’ve been careful not to overuse the horses and still keep horses for the summer and the rest of the year. We were very happy with Cyrina, throughout the circuit, but especially this weekend.”
Team Pessoa will continue to show during the final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival, before traveling throughout the summer to the country’s most prestigious events.
Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International