Second-placed Shondel is also a student of Parra’s and Riley was pleased that he did well also. “It’s so wonderful. We have a great group of people. We support each other. I’ve been second to Michael sometimes. It’s great, the feeling of really having a team. No one fosters that better than Cesar. I’m as happy when Michael wins and vice versa. We’re very lucky. We have a fantastic group of people and great horses.”
Her win today was a milestone for Riley. “I’m still a little bit in awe. I’ve been consistent, but this is the first time I’ve won in a CDI. It’s really a fantastic feeling right now.”
Her trainer Cesar Parra was full of joy with two of students taking the top places in the class. "This is so fantastic for Katie," Parra said. "Katie has worked so, so hard for this. When I first came to the U.S. from Colombia, Katie fell off the horse in one of my lessons. She broke her ankle, but next day she came back to work in a cast. She's just the best."
The class was a Qualifying Competition for the 2004 USET Intermediaire I Championship in California, but Riley has not confirmed plans to participate. Parra has qualified to ride in Athens for Colombia. “We have a very busy summer with Cesar going to the Olympics and showing in Aachen, so I may be in Europe for the summer,” Riley explained. “Either way, it’s exciting. It’s a dream come true. Life is good.”