Nicoletta and Trevor find trust in each other

Hood River Classic events bring out the best in local rider and her horse

Nicoletta and Trevor base their relationship on trust.

“He’s so sweet and friendly,” said Nicoletta as she hugged Trevor’s neck. “He has a really big heart, and always listens to me.”

Even the age difference fails to get in the way of their friendship. Nicoletta is 14 and Trevor is only 6 ... but that’s a fine age for a horse, of course!

Nicoletta Marchesi was exposed to horses when she was five, after her godmother, an avid rider, gave her new boots and a helmet. Right away, Marchesi “fell in love with horses and started riding them.”

Last week, Marchesi won a bevy of medals at the Hood River Classic Hunter/Jumper Horse Show, taking first in equitation over fences, sixth in the hunter derby, seventh in under saddle and 5th in the children’s hunter derby (See results, Page A5).

Marchesi started showing horses when she was 8, living outside of San Francisco in Mill Valley. Despite the California weather, it wasn’t the warmest environment to ride in.

“I rode in a barn where there were no kids,” said Marchesi. “It was lonely.”

All of that changed when her family moved to Hood River, and Marchesi had the opportunity to ride with people her own age at von Zimmermann Stables in Lake Oswego, the barn run by last year’s Hood River Classic Grand Prix winner, Mary von Zimmermann.

And who could forget Trevor?

Under the hot sun Saturday, Marchesi leaned against the gate at her stall at the Hood River Classic. Trevor, who goes by “Hi Ho Silver” during shows, kept nudging the gate open with his snout and peering intently at Marchesi.

“Horses like to talk through their owners,” said Jayne Marchesi, Nicoletta’s mother.

Her daughter praised Trevor’s temperament.

“He’s one of the only horses in the stable that doesn’t pin his ears when others go by,” said Nicoletta. “He likes everyone. I trust him to take care of me when I jump.”

Marchesi was one of only several locals who participated in the Classic last week. Still, she saw plenty of friends her age that she had met at other horse shows.

“This is a really fun show to go to,” said Marchesi. “It’s very kid-oriented. The grounds are always nice, and it’s a good setting.”

Her mother chimed in, “And there’s a great view of the mountain for when everything else goes wrong.”

Nicoletta is a member of the Oregon Hunter Jumper Association and USA Equestrian, and rides in shows practically year-round. In two weeks she will ride in the Brawley Farms Summer Classic in Jefferson, July 4-7. Soon after she will head to the Country Classic in Wilsonville, July 10-14. Early August may find Marchesi traveling to Canada or California, and by late August she will be back for the year-end show and awards banquet at the Triple Rise Summer Classic in Eugene.

During her weekend lessons with von Zimmermann, Marchesi hopes to develop her three-foot jumping skills in preparation for next year.

“It’s really not as hard as I thought it would be,” said Marchesi, who hopes to someday compete in the Grand Prix like von Zimmermann did last year.

“The Grand Prix is always very impressive,” said Marchesi. “They jump really high and really fast.”

But with a steed such as Trevor, is that such an unrealistic goal?

As Marchesi put it, “He’s just, like, the best!”

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