Lexington, Ky.—Oct. 4
Isabela De Sousa is no stranger to the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover game—the junior rider from Lexington, Ky., has won the show jumping competition at the makeover in 2015 and 2016, and she defended the title with another win in this year’s class aboard Late Night Mark.
“We got him a lot later than we got our last horse; we really started training him in April,” De Sousa, 16, said. “So he’s come a long way for having a month less under saddle than the others, and I’m just really happy I’m here. It’s a great feeling.”
De Sousa’s previous winners, Dewey Square (2015) and Carajillo (2016), have been sold to competition homes.
“My first one, Dewey Square, was actually sold to an eventer, and they think he’s going to be a [Kentucky CCI****] horse,” De Sousa said. “And my second one, Carajillo, is out in California doing the 3′ hunters.”
De Sousa isn’t a trainer (yet, but it’s in her plans!). Her family is involved with Thoroughbred sales in Lexington, and De Sousa shows on the hunter/jumper circuit. But the junior rider loves restarting horses off the track.
“It’s really great because it makes me feel really happy. You repurpose them, and you get to see them go on and have potential to do great things,” De Sousa said. “It’s a really nice feeling to know you helped them out, and you’ve done something for them, because they deserve it.”