Elisa Broz (USA) is wasting no time achieving her monumental goals. At just 18 years old, she captured her first FEI grand prix victory in Sunday’s $145,100 Premier Equestrian CSI3* Grand Prix at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP).
With Kardenta Van’t Meerhof (Cardento), Broz was one of six to qualify for the jump-off over Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) difficult track. Of those six, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) had two clear rides, so Broz was up against tough competition. She didn’t let that intimidate her.
“I was thinking that second is great, even the top five is great, but my trainer, Cassio Rivetti, said, ‘You have to go for the win,’” Broz explained of her plan for the short course. “I just rode the course like we had talked about. I know that there were some big names and amazing riders that were chasing me but I had to ride my own course, ride my horse, and do my best.”
Her best was plenty, as she improved upon Wathelet’s initial leading time with Clarity and saw him drop a rail on Ace Of Hearts, leaving the Belgian Olympian in second and third as the class came to a close.
“She’s my first horse to do the FEI grand prixs,” she continued about her 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Cardento x Concorde). “She’s my top horse at the moment and she’s really brought me up through the ranks. She’s taught me a lot but also has a lot of quality and is super. She’s lots of character but she’s definitely been a blessing.”
Still just 18, Broz could not participate in the champagne celebration, so Wathelet had the upper hand once awards were presented. Broz was in good company on the podium, seeing a glimpse at what the future could look like if she continues her winning ways.
“I don’t think it’s sunken in,” she reflected on topping a rider of Wathelet’s caliber. “The future is what Gregory is already doing, so to be competitive with him is amazing. I don’t think I could have even imagined this. I’m so thankful for my parents and team at Cassio Rivetti Stables and everyone who has supported me.”