by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Rosa DiPiazza rode the course with a big grin.
And that was before she won the jump-off November 11 at the AQHA World Championship Show to pick up her first world championship.
“Amazing!” she says. “We all drove all the way out here and I missed so much school for it, and to come out here and actually make it is amazing.”
The amateur jumping finals had 13 competitors making their way through a challenging Mike Christian-designed course. Rosa wasn’t worried. She was riding Generals Investment, aka “Leia.”
“I have a really good horse and she never lets me down,” Rosa says. “I’ve had her since she was 2, and so 10 years and she’s never let me down. She’s bred from cutting horses and she’s not supposed to jump, and she’s little – and she’s a ride.”
Leia is by Generals Snakers and out of Jags Galleo by Corkys Wimpy Leo. She was bred by William C. Hartman of Taneytown, Maryland.
Leia's compact body carried her through a clean round in the first go then to first place in the jump-off. She has been to the World Show with Rosa before. They qualified for open and youth in 2010 and 2011. This year’s contest was their first appearance in amateur.
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“Last year, I came out (here) and I kept pulling the first draw and she’d go around clean, and I’d be the first in the jump-off and I wouldn’t know how to ride it,” Rosa explains. “And so I’d ride it careful. I kept pulling fourths and fourths and fourths.
“This time, I got a good draw, watched the people ahead of me and I went out there and trusted her, and she did it for me.”
Rosa’s goal on her long drive from Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, to Oklahoma City was to place in the top 10 with both of her horses. She made it: Her younger horse, Diva Gone Gray, placed seventh in addition to her world championship with Generals Investment.
“I wanted to win, but you just never know with this,” she says. “I wanted to come back knowing I’d done my best and had some good runs. Everyone told me that I was going to get it, and I didn’t believe them.”
The Franklin and Marshall College student said her first world championship owes itself in part to her mother, Tonia Hockman.
“My mom’s my coach,” Rosa says. “She’s my biggest supporter. She always has been. She’s fantastic. I think a lot of people couldn’t deal with their moms as their coaches, but we never argue. I always trust her advice. I trust her tack adjustments, I trust her riding coaching, and she never lets me down either.”
Rosa DiPiazza rides Generals Investment to a world championship in amateur jumping. (Journal photo)