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The ladies shine in $32,000 Legacy Hunters & Jumpers CSI3* 1.45m Classic

Monday, 19 February 2024
CSI3* Desert International Horse Park 2024

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Nicole Haunert (USA) and My Lady Lavista. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.


Press release from Desert International Horse Park



Sunday morning’s $32,000 Legacy Hunters & Jumpers CSI3* 1.45m Classic saw an entirely female jump-off, with four ladies going head to head for the top prize. As the first to go, Nicole Haunert (USA) and My Lady Levista, owned by Cherokee Show Horses, ultimately were crowned the winners.

Haunert, of San Diego, CA, has been partnered with My Lady Lavista for nearly four years now, and to see the 10-year-old mare (Mylord Carthago x Levisto) progress to this level and earn a CSI3* victory is quite meaningful.

“We bought her from one of my closest friends, and business partner actually, when she was 6 and she’s always been opinionated,” Haunert said of the enthusiastic mare. “We just let her be who she is, but yes, she’s spicy and hot. She has her opinions but never not a moment does she not try. Everything she does, she tries hard at.”

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Nicole Haunert (USA) and My Lady Lavista in their winning presentation, pictured with Shelly Karron of Legacy Hunters & Jumpers. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.

Since the beginning, the horse has been competitive, but she’s really coming into her own at a higher level. The mare won the West Coast 7-Year-Old Finals, then they stepped back and didn’t ask her to jump as big during her 8-year-old year. Now stepping into two- and three-star action, she’s proving she is ready.

“She’s such a winner,” Haunert continued. “I think I have to be a little faster, but I think [it will come] in good time. This is good progress so I’m really excited. I am still a little careful with her because she’s just stepping into three-stars. I’m just not ready to take any chances. We protect her a little bit too much sometimes.”

Haunert, first of the four pairs, toed the line between quick and risky, but still protecting My Lady Lavista. Her time of 45.73 seconds was a fast one, but she thought she would get beaten.

“I was a little careful to the black-and-white [jump]; I walked it and I thought for sure there was a seven [striding] and then I jumped in the eight, so I thought someone was going to get me there,” she explained of her jump-off. “I think someone did do seven but they had it down.”

The rest of the riders coming after Haunert did have rails down on course trying to catch her time. Ali Ramsay (CAN) actually had the time with Godfather B Belesbat, owned by Britt Scheifele, but with one rail for second place. Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Valentino D’Elte finished third.

“I love jumping on this field; it’s fantastic,” Haunert said of being out on the grass again. “They’re always monitoring it, and I am blessed to jump on grass quite a bit being from Southern California. I have to say this is one of my favorites. My horses all jump fantastic, and our client horses jump fantastic, whether they’re young, green, old, seasoned, or unseasoned. It’s phenomenal. They’ve done an amazing job, but they do take really good care of it and it really shows. I’ve not had a horse that doesn’t like this field.”

The season so far has been an excellent one with the still-young mare My Lady Lavista, with some stellar results and some big moves in the right direction. “We’ve been close a couple times,” Haunert said of scoring a win. “She’s just stepping into this level and it’s early in the year and we have a very big season ahead of us, but she’s been in the ribbons almost every class. She’s pretty special. She’s a dream come true. When you buy them at 6, it’s such a journey but she’s she’s never disappointed once.”


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