Ali Ramsay (CAN) took over the ride aboard Godfather B Belesbat at the beginning of the circuit, and it hasn’t taken the pair long at all to begin racking up FEI victories together. On Sunday of Desert Circuit 7, presented by TALUS, the pair picked up another win, this time the biggest one so far, in the $32,000 San Marcos Training CSI3* 1.45m Classic.

“My client owns the horse, Britt Scheifele, and she bought it to be her Junior/Amateur horse,” Ramsay said of the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion. “She had a broken hand at the beginning of the circuit so I took over the ride during that time, and then was able to move him up to this level.”

Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Godfather B Belesbat in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

The horse has exceeded expectations since Ramsay took over the ride, so they’re pivoting accordingly since the horse’s ability took them by surprise. “We realized how even more incredibly amazing he was, so we decided for me to keep going,” Ramsay explained. “It wasn’t the perfect match for those two. Now the goal is to get him sold but now I want to keep him forever.”

In Sunday’s class, Ramsay was one of six to jump clear over Alan Wade’s (IRL) course, and they were up against some steep competition, including Conor Swail (IRL) with Count Me In. With that pair out of contention with a rail, Ramsay went in and put in a neat and efficient clear round, and it was good enough for the win ultimately. Cassio Rivetti (BRA) took second with Billy Dorito, owned by Monarch Farms LLC, and Ingrid Gjelsten took third with Nevado de Toluca.

“With ‘Billy’ I have a very large stride,” she explained of her approach to the jump-off. “He’s maybe not the quickest horse – he spends a lot of time in the air – so I have to use his stride to my advantage. Conor had one down but he was still faster than me.”

Godfather B Belesbat, or “Billy,” is not a super new ride to Ramsay, but their time in the ring has been very limited.

Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Godfather B Belesbat. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“The horse has been in my barn for two years,” she continued. “When his rider is away I ride the horse a lot at home so I know him really well. I’ve never been able to take him in the ring before. I feel like we just get each other. We clicked pretty instantly and were able to move up quite quickly.”

The feeling Ramsay got early on has not subsided, and she enjoys each day more and more that she gets to pilot the horse. “Every day he gets better and we get to know each other better,” she shared. “I think it all came together this week. He feels amazing, like he can do anything. It’s a really cool feeling. that ‘s what the sport is all about, finding the perfect match. When you can find that it’s pretty special.”

The pair has taken wins on both the grass and the sand so far during Desert Circuit, so the horse has proven versatile, but Ramsay believes he felt more at ease on the sand this week.

“Because we jumped the three-star on the grass last week, he was a bit impressed out there and was jumping a bit high,” she explained. “We practiced in the warm-up softening at the jump but I wasn’t quite comfortable doing that in the ring. I thought being able to come out this week in the 1.40m with no pressure in a smaller class we practiced that softer ride. He jumped very well off that and I was able to apply that throughout the week as we jumped a bit bigger. Now he’s jumping in a very good manner.”

Ramsay is continuing to compete through the final weeks of circuit with her very strong string of horses, also including Conrado 12 and Bonita VH Keizershof Z, both owned by Ramsay Equestrian Inc. Despite the same classes and same venue for weeks on end, each week still brings something new for her.

“We’re here for so long, but to have both rings that are world class arenas – to be on the sand and then go out on the grass – it never gets boring,” she reflected. “It doesn’t feel like you’re at the same facility for months on end. It keeps it refreshing. I just love it here so much. I live [on the East Coast] now and any normal person would go to Florida from the east but I find it so much more worth it to drive out here for what they have to offer. It’s a really great place to be.”

Alison Locke and Betty Boop De Vidau Shine in $5,000 Antares 1.15m Mini Prix

Alison Locke and Betty Boop de Vidau in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Alison Locke and Betty Boop de Vidau are hard to beat. So hard, in fact, that out of over 80 entries in Sunday’s $5,000 Antares Sellier 1.15m Junior/Amateur Mini Prix, they took the win as the last pair on course.

Locke and her horse topped not only the Amateur section, but the entire field with the overall fastest time. Siena Beabout and Bonito F were the winners in the Junior section, plus second overall. For her win, Locke was awarded a brand-new Antares saddle. Beabout was awarded a jumper bridle for overall second place.

“I got her as a 6-year-old,” Locke said of her 14-year-old Indoctro mare. “She has won so many classes. She’s brave, she’s careful, and she’s got a huge personality. She’s just amazing. I wish I’d kept track of the blue ribbons she’s won. I’ve had her for eight years and it’s the best partnership I’ve ever had. Our personalities suit each other so well.”

Led on the ground by James Chawke, who also pilots another mount of Locke’s Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z, Locke knew what she had to do, with 83 entries having already done their thing in the special Sunday event. She went in and made victory her own.

Siena Beabout and Bonito F in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“It was my plan,” Locke said of winning the class. “She is just deceptively fast. You never have to adjust her really, she’s just with you so much that you’re not having to wrestle or get the balance back much. She’s just really fast across the ground and super super careful. You can take a lot of risk with her and make it work. And she’s very forgiving for a very careful horse.”

Chawke, a very fast rider as well, had wise words sending her in for her first round and jump-off. “He said basically just get in a rhythm and pick your spots to rebalance slightly,” Locke shared. “And stay out of the way, keep riding forward. The main thing is that sometimes I get too handsy with not enough leg and that’s always my problem. I keep my leg on when I ask her to come back and she comes back really well.”

Among all the juniors and amateurs that came out for the $5,000 Antares Sellier 1.15m Junior/Amateur Mini Prix, the consensus was that it was a very exciting class with a lot on the line, which is a privilege for the riders jumping 1.10-1.15m.

“I think it’s amazing that Antares put this together and then split the class, the prize money and the gifts,” she shared. “It’s so generous of them. Any time you come out and ride for more money and prizes like that it feels special. Ten weeks here is sometimes the same old, same old, and when something can make it special – I can tell you – the riders really appreciate it. You can tell by how many entries there are.”

Georgia Knight is Crowned Winner in $25,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.40m Open Classic

Georgia Knight and Ecolano VS Romano. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Georgia Knight did not think the cards were going to fall in her favor on Sunday of Desert Circuit 7, presented by TALUS, but she ended up as the winner of the $25,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.40m Open Classic in an extremely competitive jump-off. Against riders like James Chawke, Gregory Wathelet, Cassio Rivetti, and more, Knight brought home the fastest clear time and earned the win aboard Ecolano VS Romano.

“I’ve had this horse for about a year and a half,” she said of the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Corland x Indoctro). “He was a big step up for me and it took a lot of learning and he really taught me to ride better. Once it clicked, he’s been the most amazing horse.

“He’s so fast, you wouldn’t think it but the way he moves across the ground is so quick, and we have this connection now where he’s my best friend and he is just so fun to in jump-offs on because he’s so competitive,” she continued.

Knight was second in a field of 15 jump-off contenders, so she went in with high hopes but also had to wait for 13 rounds after she posted hers to know what her fate would be.

Georgia Knight and Ecolano VS Romano in their winning presentation, pictured with Daran Lockhart of Marshall & Sterling. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“Going into it I was going to try my best and see what happened,” she said of her mindset going into the jump-off. “James Chawke went first, and my plan was to watch him and do exactly what he did, but try to go faster. I thought I could go faster than him, and I really expected someone else to beat me at some point but I got lucky. Romeo is so competitive, and I’ve worked really hard to be able to ride him, and it feels really good to beat some of those riders.”

Chawke was still very fast on One Edition, owned by Vanessa Mannix, taking third overall. In between them, for second, was Savannah Jenkins and Forastero 2, owned by Proper 12, LLC.

Knight is somewhat of a regular here now, escaping the cold back home and enjoying every minute in the desert. “I’ve come down here two years in a row now and I really love it because – first of all –I’m from Canada so the weather is awesome. It’s also so well organized and every class is so great. There’s always so much competition so that makes it fun, and when you do end up winning something ike this it just means a lot and it’s something I’m always going to remember.”

Show jumping resumes for Desert Circuit 8 on Wednesday, February 28.

Olivia Carusi and Bonbon Score a Win in Their Favorite Place

Olivia Carusi and Bonbon in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Olivia Carusi and Bonbon share a common favorite horse show, and it’s DIHP. The pair did their thing Sunday in the Adult Amateur Hunters and were awarded for their efforts, taking the win in the Struck Apparel Adult Amateur Hunter Classic. Their scores of 84.5 and 80 showed ultimate consistency and kept them atop the leaderboard through the entire class.

“I started riding him a year ago,” she said of Bonbon, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Millennium Farm, Inc. “I had a couple horses that colicked and got injured, so I took a break but then he came to the barn and my trainers wanted me to start riding him. This is our first weekend back in the 3’ so it’s a good debut.”

Carusi is taking her riding slowly at the moment, with her goals to stay consistent and not focus too much on moving up too quickly.

Olivia Carusi and Bonbon. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“I used to show in the Junior Hunters when I was younger, but now that I’m an amateur I just want to take a step back and show consistently in the Adult Amateurs and get solid,” she explained of her current trajectory. “There are so many older amateurs I look up to, like Amy Brubaker and [her horses], and I try to emulate them every time I ride. My goals for him in the future are just to keep cruising in the Adult Amateurs.”

The venue likely had a little something to do with a solid performance Sunday.

“This is by far my favorite horse show to come to because the environment is so beautiful, the rings are so beautiful, and the people who work here put in so much effort to make sure the riders are having the best time that they can,” Carusi elaborated. “I think it’s Bonbon’s favorite show too.”

Hunters resume for week 8 on Wednesday, February 28.