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Press Release


Colby Hassfurther and Optimized

Colby Hassfurther and Optimized

Elizabeth Wexler and Zurich

Giavanna Rinaldi and Bugsy Malone

Abbey Hamann and Superfly

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Colby Hassfurther and Optimized Close Out Chicago Festival of the Horse with Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion

Written by: Allyson Lagiovane
Client: Lamplight Equestrian Center
Release Date: 2016-08-14

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 14, 2016 – During the final day of Equifest III at the Chicago Festival of the Horse, competitors in the Amateur-Owner Hunters and the Junior Hunters vied for their respective championships to end the three-week series. It was Colby Hassfurther that earned the championship in the Amateur-Owner division, while Giavanna Rinaldi clinched yet another champion in the Junior Hunter division at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.  

Hassfurther and her mount, Optimized, earned a total of two firsts, a second, and two third place ribbons to receive the championship at the close of the division. Hassfurther has been with Optimized for four years, and their partnership has become stronger with each passing year.

“I’ve had [Optimized] for about four and a half years now, and we have a really good partnership,” Hassfurther said. “We were doing the 3’6’’ for awhile and decided to go down to the 3’3’’ because he’s getting a little older, he’s 14-years old now. He’s awesome to ride and I can just hop on and go in the ring without needing much prep. He goes to all of the jumps great; he’s basically perfect!”

Hunter competitors were faced with a different obstacle during their handy round course on Sunday’s portion of the division, tackling a bounce line at the far end of the ring. The handy round offered a nice change of pace for competitors.

Hassfurther said, “I thought the handy round was really fun actually. We had the bounce in there, and you don’t normally see that, so it was a little bit different. Our strategy was just to be as tidy as possible and do what we normally do, and it worked out great!”

Hassfurther rides with Connie Stevens out of Matchmaker Farm in Chicago, and the Lamplight Equestrian Center has been a regular stop for them. She said, “We come to Lamplight quite a bit. We’ve come here for Spring Spectacular and over the summer. It’s such a nice facility and we really love it.”

Elizabeth Wexler took home the reserve championship ribbon in the Amateur-Owner Hunter riding Zurch. Over the span of the division, Wexler took home two first place ribbons and two third place ribbons.

Giavanna Rinaldi also closed out the Chicago Festival of the horse with an impressive championship win in the Junior Hunter. Rinaldi was aboard Alex Jayne’s Bugsy Malone, sweeping all five classes and bringing home nothing but blue to clinch the tricolor.

“[Bugsy Malone] felt awesome today!” Rinaldi said. “After the first round he was really good, and I knew in the handy I could be tidy. I don’t think I’ve ever done the bounce with him, but I trusted him to figure it out, and he was great.”

Rinaldi and Bugsy Malone came back to the hunter ring week after week constantly bringing home first place ribbons and impressive scores. Rinaldi was fond of her three weeks at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, and enjoyed competing throughout the three weeks of Equifest.

“It’s been an awesome experience showing here, I really love it. Especially for three weeks, it went by so quickly. But I’ve had a lot of success here, and I really like the show and the horses have been super.”

The reserve championship in the Junior Hunter division went to Abby Hamann aboard Superfly. Hamann and Superfly earned a total of two seconds, a third, and two sixth place ribbons during the division.

The Chicago Festival of the Horse will return for the Summer of 2017. For more information, please visit A downloadable prize list is accessible online.


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