Devon, Pa.—May 25
Last time Giavanna “Gia” Rinaldi came to Devon, she was excited to ride in the pony jumper ring. A lot’s changed over the last year.
This year, the 14-year-old stepped up—way up—to the junior jumper ring, winning the junior jumper championship and leading junior rider award aboard GPS Brilliant Disguise.
“I never thought I’d get this far in the junior jumpers, especially at Devon,” said Rinaldi.
Rinaldi claimed the tricolor over Lucy Deslauriers and Hester despite ticking a rail in the first round of today’s $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic to finish seventh. She topped the junior jumper class earlier this week, and finished second behind Deslauriers in the junior jumper gambler’s choice.
Addison Gierkink won the top prize in today’s class aboard the 20-year-old Holsteiner Promised Land (N Eingetragen—Vorr). Promised Land was a consistent contender in the grand prix classes with Christine McCrea and then spent a few years picking up junior jumper honors with Charlotte Jacobs, too.
“I think this is probably his 10th Devon, and he’s done this class multiple times,” said Gierkink, Lexington, Mass. “I just feel really confident on him because he knows how to do everything. I know he’ll take care of me. He’s a really great horse.”
Four riders made it around Olaf Petersen’s first round course fault-free. Lillie Keenan set the pace out of the gate on Balance in that horse’s first night class, but each rider managed to shave a little time of the last ride. Gierkink’s final ride took blue over Michael Hughes and Luxina, with Virginia Ingram taking third on Urban. Ingram also took home the Shalanno Style of Riding award.
Rinaldi’s been riding GPS Brilliant Disguise for just over a year, right around the time she started training at Our Day Farm with Alex Jayne and his family.
“We bought him when he had just turned 9,” said Rinaldi, who lives in Wayne, Ill. “He was with Hunter Holloway and we saw him in Ocala last year. He just really stood out.
“He needs a strong rider with a lot of arm because he gets really excited, but when you pull him back too much then he falls behind your leg,” she continued. “So it’s getting used to that, then he’s really straightforward. He’s just such a nice horse. I love him.”
Rinaldi’s already started stepping up to the grand prix level, and wants to focus on that ring next. She’s already won her first grand prix class on GPS Brilliant Disguise. But at home she has another equestrian hobby as well. She’s taken an interest in Haylie Jayne Rolfe’s herd of young, unbroken horses, and has helped back a few youngsters.
“I definitely want to go back and try that again, it was really cool,” she said. “That’s why I love the Jaynes: they’re really all about the horses first and foremost.”
To get in-depth coverage from all of Devon Junior Weekend, check out the June 9 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse print magazine.