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Gemma Paternoster hits it off in Florida

Monday, 04 June 2012

Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) hosted the first of several weeks of competition in its summer horse show series this weekend at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).  The $25,000 Equine Tack and Nutritionals Grand Prix was held on Saturday evening under the bright lights of the International Arena at the PBIEC. Nineteen entries came out to compete over the course set by Catsy Cruz of Monterrey, Mexico. Four entries were able to clear the first round course without fault to advance to the jump-off, and it was a race to the finish as the top four ladies each went double clear.  

Candice King (USA) and Eva Castegren's mare Valencia were first to jump-off and stopped the clock in 44.869 seconds to finish fourth. Liza Finsness (USA) and Ormsby Hill were next to compete and their time of 44.035 seconds would finish third. Russia's Ljubov Kochetova increased the time once more riding Lapsus Du Lavoir through the timers in 40.963 seconds to earn second place honors. The time got faster with each round until Great Britain's Gemma Paternoster and her veteran partner Osiris entered the ring, last to go. The pair earned the victory, crossing the timers in 39.736 seconds. Paternoster also finished fifth with the fastest four-fault round aboard her young mount Zonneglans. 

Paternoster's winning mount Osiris is a 16-year-old gelding by Polydox x Lucky Boy. Paternoster and Osiris have been together for eleven years after she purchased the horse as a five-year-old, and she now owns him in partnership with Julia Harrison Lee. "He is the most amazing horse," Paternoster praised after the class. "He has done eleven Nations Cups with me. I have done more than I ever dreamed of doing when I was seventeen years old on that horse."

"He is always a little hot head because he is a really small horse," the rider described. "Everybody thinks that because he has jumped all of the Super Leagues that he is really big because he's got this big stride, but he is actually not even sixteen hands. He is always a little bit hot and I always get a little over-protective of him in the jump-off because he is my baby, but tonight I actually just let him off. I was like 'If you want to run, run.' I had nothing to lose. I was last to go and everyone was clean. He was amazing. Everything I just pointed him at and let him loose and he just stayed careful. It was fabulous; he gave me a great ride."
The 26-year-old Paternoster, originally from England, is now based in Wellington full-time. "I moved here 18 months ago; I just came for the Nations Cup not meaning to stay and I ended up meeting Julia Harrison Lee, who owns half of Osiris, and we just hit it off," she explained. "Julia has a place here and I just stayed. I didn't go home, and it is absolutely great. This is the first season that I am down here all summer. Last year I went up north and went Calgary with the team, but I have a lot of young horses this year so we are staying in Florida."
"I am trying to buy a little house for myself at the moment," Paternoster added. "I am trying to make some roots here because I am a long way from home and I need to make a home here. I'm going to nip off to Atlanta for a bit and I might pop back and forth to Europe if we need to look at various horses, but I am basically going to stay here. My family is in England, so I am hoping to get a little trip in August when it's really hot to go see them."
"Osiris will stay here and chill. He did a lot last year, a lot of World Cups and a lot of Nations Cups. He is sixteen this year and I just want him to have fun," Paternoster noted. "I said at the beginning of this year, 'I just want him to be able to go in a grand prix, have fun and win it', and that is just what he did tonight. I am so happy for him. It was a perfect class for him. A smaller grand prix, six holes smaller than he normally jumps, and he just had his ears pricked, running around having fun."

Final Results: ESP June I $25,000 Equine Tack and Nutritionals Grand Prix

1. Osiris, Gemma Paternoster, Gemma Paternoster & Julia Harrison Lee: 0/0/39.736
2. Lapsus Du Lavoir, Ljubov Kochetova, Ljubov Kochetova: 0/0/40.963

3. Ormsby Hill, Liza Finsness, Liza Finsness: 0/0/44.035

4. Valencia, Candice King, Eva Castegren: 0/0/44.869

5. Zonneglans, Gemma Paternoster, Gemma Paternoster: 4/77.786

6. Belle Blue S, Kaely Tomeu, Spy Coast Farm & M/M Sweetnam: 4/78.644

7. Aslan, Ljubov Kochetova, Ljubov Kochetova: 4/78.760

8. Campbell VDL, Candice King, Hyperion Stud LLC: 4/81.933

9. Accordance, Juan Ortiz, Juan Ortiz: 4/82.832

10. Naomi 152, Manuel Lecuona, Quail Run Partnerships: 4/84.096

11. Zimbabwe, Diego Muyshondt, Diego Muyshondt: 6/86.098
12. Lola, Julianna Fischer, Julianna Fischer: 8/73.977

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