Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 8
“Just have fun.”
It’s advice trainers give their clients of all ages, but it’s one of those things that’s easier said than done. Amateur dressage rider P.J. Rizvi has made it a bit of a motto, and even when she had mishaps in her test because Breaking Dawn was feeling fresh, the wide smile never left her face.
“I haven’t shown in so long; I’m rusty,” she said. “You know what, just go in there and have fun. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? He’ll take off a little? You’ll gain control back eventually. That’s what I did. I got control back, and we redeemed ourselves and got the ones and everything. He just spooked, what are you going to do? I actually laughed in the ring; the judges saw me. What are you going to do? It’s not like I could get after him. He’s a good boy, and he spooked, and he’s a really hot horse.”
For her part, Rizvi is just glad that she’s still going in the ring on her 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Akiribori—Eveline, L. Ronald). She didn’t show following last year’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival due to her children’s activities, so instead of drilling, she took it easy over the summer.
“I’m so grateful that my horse is sound at 18 years old, and we take really good care of him, and I think it shows,” she said. “We trail ride all summer. He had all summer off, up and down the hills in the grape vineyards, just chilling out and having a good time. At the end of the day, it’s not about going out there every day and doing every movement over and over again and practice. It’s just keeping him fit and happy and wanting to work.”
Just as things were starting to settle down in December and Rizvi could start focusing on competing again, she had a skiing accident that kept her out of the saddle through January.
“My binding was loose, and I was actually on my way to the lodge to tighten my binding,” Rizvi said. “On the way down it got really steep and icy, and I just carved hard into the ice, and my ski popped right off, and then I had to basically go down the hill on my butt. Once I got to the end, I tried to ski slowly back to the lodge, and the moment they took my boot off [you could tell it wasn’t good]; the boot was holding my calf together.”
Rizvi has been doing some walk rides, but she only truly started riding two weeks ago, and Feb. 7 was the first time she’d ridden through the Grand Prix test. Despite the mistakes, she won the three-star with a score of 68.15 percent.
“My right calf isn’t actually all in one piece yet, and I’m like, ‘It’s OK; he’s very forward, I doubt I’ll have to use my right calf at all during the test,’ ” she joked. “I was right!”
Because Rizvi doesn’t get into the ring as consistently as she might like, she’s worked toward taking a relaxed attitude toward showing.
“I was talking to [my trainer Ashley Holzer], and I always talk to a sports psychologist because I get nervous before I show,” she said. “I’m not like all the professionals who are out there doing this all day and stuff. I’ve got four kids. I don’t want to say it’s hard to organize because I’m lucky to be able to do it, but I think I go in with a different mindset. I’m OK with good enough for me. Would I like to do even better? Sure, but I just go out there and have fun.”
We’ll be on site all week for the five-star at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Stay tuned for beautiful photos and stories on all the big winners.