On her first equestrian trip to Florida, Italian Grand Prix rider Silvia Rizzo has promised herself to make the best out of this once in a lifetime journey and soak up as much sun and show experience as she possibly can. Participating in the prestigious invitation-only CDI 5* World Dressage Masters in Palm Beach this weekend, Rizzo decided to travel to Florida well beforehand and get herself as well as her Oldenburg licensed stallion Donnerbube II (by Donnerhall x Pik Bube II) acclimatized to the weather, show grounds and exciting atmosphere of the Florida show circuit.
Based at Hof Marabunta near Osnabruck, Germany, Rizzo and her horse flew from Amsterdam to Miami last week. Her dark bay stallion had to undergo the required quarantine procedure before being released to travel to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Centre in Wellington, Florida.
"The flight and quarantine were quite eventful, but as soon as I arrived at the Jim Brandon I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It's so great to be here," said an ecstatic Rizzo who is renowned on the European circuit for her big smile, bleach blond hair and blue sunglasses.
Rizzo got her feet wet in preparation of the 2013 World Dressage Masters by competing in the Gold Coast Opener, the first CDI show of the season. While pleased with the scores she achieved last weekend, Rizzo hopes to collect more in the 5* competition.
"Bubi is in excellent shape now and totally recovered from the long flight. He felt really fresh and enthusiastic today," she said.
Accompanied by her life partner and eyes-on-the-ground Michele Betti, Silvia will stay in Florida until mid February and hopes to ride at a few more shows before flying back to Germany, including the CDI 3* at the Jim Brandon on 7-10 February 2013.
"I want to make the best out of this incredible journey," she confirmed. "It's been an amazing experience already and I feel that Bubi and I are ready to take it to the next level here in Florida."