Jacksonville, FL — John Zopatti, four-time Gold Coast Dressage Association Trainer of the Year and USDF Gold medalist, rode KWPN-Half Arabian gelding Uwannabeme WH straight down centerline to the Third Level Open Championship at the May Day Dressage Qualifier One hosted at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida. The pair delivered solid performances and scored in the 70’s. Uwannabeme, who has been with Zopatti since February, has been growing in strength and confidence. The pair’s skills were evidenced by their consecutive USEF Third Level winning rides and a final 71.212 percent flourish of a finish to close the show.
“We broke the 70s,” said a pleased Zopatti after only his third show with Uwannabeme WH. Zopatti will bring the horse— known simply around the barn as “Slim”— to Gavilan Farm in Hoffman, North Carolina, to continue developing the horse’s natural talent. Zopatti will be spending the summer in North Carolina at his facility in Pinehurst. He will also be working with another talent, USEF Three-Day Eventing rider Will Faudree, who is making a bid for the summer's Pan American Games and 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“Slim is so smart and willing. We've already qualified for the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in September at Second and Third Level, and with this horse, I think Fourth Level and Prix St Georges will be very attainable,' said the upbeat trainer known for his “Life is Good” motto. Developing a Third Level Freestyle test with Slim is also in the works, he intimated.
“Slim is a very sensitive horse”, explains Zopatti and his training program is all about making the horse comfortable and happy. Zopatti often uses GumBits— the horse-sized treats designed to encourage salivation and soften the mouth— and credits them with contributing to his show ring success. He also keeps Slim comfortable and calm with products from Omega Alpha. And the week leading up to the show, Zopatti and Slim enjoyed their second training session with renowned equine behaviorist, Linda Parelli. “Its exciting to explore new ways to communicate with Slim and help him become a willing partner”, Zopatti says with a smile, “Linda (Parelli) brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding and we are really having fun incorporating her training into the program”.
This summer, Zopatti (who operates out of Blue Marlin Farms in Wellington, Florida in the winters) will also be keeping an eye on an August Grand Prix prize, having qualified amateur student Johnny Robb of Loxahatchee, Florida, for the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association National Championships. “What's more impressive is that she attained her qualifying scores at her first show at the Grand Prix level. It was also the Zerbino Interagro’ first time competing at this level,” Zopatti beamed proudly. Robb is Uwannabeme’s owner, so both trainer and student celebrated the May Day Qualifier 1 success.
As Zopatti heads to North Carolina to continue coaching students to success while also starring in the show ring himself, learn more about this dressage trainer at www.johnzopatti.com or call 561-722-7555.