Fifteen-year-old Izzy Beisel was one of four riders to make the jump off in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix (Ohio), but she knew who her competition was and did not expect to come out on top. After all, for all the fences she’d jumped and all the times she’d watched her father David Beisel jump grand prix classes, she’d never won a grand prix herself.
“I almost cried,” she said of the moment she realized her time aboard her own Diaz Barbotiere was the fastest. “My dad’s friend [Richard Rinehart] was the last to go after me. He’s such a good rider; I really thought he would beat me. I didn’t think I would win.”
Izzy, who is based out of Goshen, Ohio, with her parents and trainers Paige and David Beisel, delivered an unbeatable time of 35.85 seconds in the jump-off and came away with her first grand prix win Aug. 14 at World Equestrian Center—Ohio. But time is never really a concern of Izzy’s when it comes to “Diaz.”
“He’s very quick on his feet,” she said. “If anything, sometimes he gets going too fast. There were a few places [on course] where there wasn’t a lot of time to get him put together like I normally do, but it also kind of helped because of the size of the jumps. Where I needed the extra pace and power, that got built into his canter.”
According to Izzy, Diaz is smart: Once he’s jumped a course, he remembers. She credits that and the 9-year-old Selle Français (Messire Ardent—Quambera Barbotiere, Allegreto) gelding’s ability to turn for their lightning-fast time.
“When we went back for the jump-off, he knew exactly some of the same turns that were in the first round,” she said. “He can turn so well. There were a few inside turns where other horses got stuck on the backside, and he just cantered so nicely through it.”
Beisel met Diaz at the beginning of this year, also at the World Equestrian Center in Ohio.
“I saw him in the schooling ring one time, and I just loved the way he floated around,” she said.
At the time, Izzy was riding her father’s ex-grand prix horse, Amaretto, moving up in the jumper ranks with a more experienced horse. After trying Diaz, and with the help of her parents, Izzy was able to buy him, and he joined their team shortly before the start of the spring season.
“He’s a blast to ride, and we’re still figuring each other out,” she said. “I’m just grateful for how understanding he is, because he’s not as experienced as the Amaretto horse I got to ride. We’re both kind of learning at the same time, and it’s just lots of fun to get to ride him.”
Besides Diaz, Izzy has a young horse named Contigo that she hopes to eventually show in the hunters. She often rides—and jumps—her horses bareback at home, one of her favorite activities.
“It took [Diaz] a minute to figure out how to go bareback, but I’ve jumped over some pretty big jumps at this point, and he’s just always willing to do anything,” she said.
As the children of trainers, she and her brother, Cooper Beisel, are frequently on sale horses as well.
Izzy’s rides increased after David suffered a severe neck injury from a fall in mid-March this year. After surgery and significant recovery time, David started riding again in early July.
“He’s doing well,” Izzy said. “Every morning he rides one or two horses. I get to ride around with him every morning in the rings, and it’s just lots of fun.”
Asked about her father’s thoughts on her first grand prix win, Izzy laughed.
“I’d like to say he’s proud of me,” she said. “He’s always been one of my biggest supporters. I don’t think it was as unexpected for him as it was for me.”
Izzy recognizes that she and her father have a special relationship when it comes to riding and training.
“I know a lot of people whose parents train them, they get in fights with their parents and things like that,” she said. “But we’ve always just kind of understood each other. Diaz is not an easy horse, and there were a few times where I thought I wasn’t going to be able to ride him, and dad just said, ‘No, you can do it.’ I think he was really excited to see me do that with Diaz.”
From WEC—Ohio, the Beisels traveled to the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show (Kentucky) over the weekend, where Diaz and Izzy showed (and won) in the medium junior jumpers to avoid overfacing the horse his first time at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“We’ll kind of keep progressing and keep getting to know each other and hopefully do some bigger grand prixs in the future,” she said. “I’d love to get another horse to do grand prix events on and to have in the class. It makes it a lot easier to ride, and if you have a rail down on one, you still have the other. But I’m so, so grateful for every horse I get to ride.”