Alanine De Vains was never meant for Cassio Rivetti.

The 11-year-old Selle Francais mare, originally campaigned by Egypt’s Abel Said, was purchased earlier this year for his 19-year-old student, Violet Barnett. The pair had a spectacularly consistent season, highlighted by individual bronze and team gold medals at the FEI North American Youth Championships, hosted by Traverse City Horse Shows, in August.

When Barnett went to college in the fall, Alanine De Vains had a three month break.

But the mare’s season isn’t done just yet.

Rivetti was given the ride three weeks ago and promptly won the CSI3* Grand Prix and a 1.40m ranking class at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) in Thermal, CA. It was their first international appearance together.

On Sunday, the newly minted pair collected their first 5* Grand Prix win, topping the $230,000 Adequan Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Grand Prix CSI5*, presented by Essence Art Gallery, at the Horse Park.

“She is a very special mare and one of the best I have ever ridden in my life. She has everything a rider could want in a horse. She has the mindset; she is careful, brave, and fights for a win with the rider. She is the kind of horse that every rider wants to ride,” said the Brazilian Olympian.

A field of 35 took to the new grass field for the penultimate Grand Prix of the 2021 MLSJ tour. Nine pairs found a clear path around course designer Michel Vaillancourt’s 1.60m track.

First to return for the short track, Rivetti set the time to beat in a blistering 43.87 seconds.

“She always plays between the jumps in the lines so it makes it a little difficult and she has a huge stride. The first seven [strides] down the line were great and then we were a little tight to the second jump but she cleared it for me and I would have liked to have gotten to the red vertical in one fewer stride but she was strong. The last line was just going and going. She was fighting for me to win and I almost fell off at the last fence,” he smiled.

Eight more would try to catch their time. Speed specialists Conor Swail and Count Me In came the closest, but a stumble after the last fence placed them five costly hundredths of a second behind Rivetti (43.92s).

Adrienne Sternlicht and Bennys Legacy took third.

“It’s a big win for me,” said Rivetti. “Thank you, Violet Barnett, Sloane Barnett for letting me ride to this mare. She’s special.”

The MLSJ Final takes place this week, December 9–11 at Desert International Horse Park. Watch it live on