Alex Granato looks to build on stellar career after big weekend

Alex Granato and Mad Season in Palm Beach in 2013
Credit : Sportfot

Tuesday 05 February - 10h43 | Ian Clayton

Alex Granato looks to build on stellar career after big weekend

Alex Granato has declared in the past that he enjoys watching Netflix and eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. But this past weekend, the 36-year-old show jumper was all business at the CSI4*-W CP Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, Florida, with two big victories, including in the penultimate $208,200 World Cup qualifier on the East Coast of North America.

 - Alex Granato looks to build on stellar career after big weekend

George Morris and Alex Granato
Credit : alexgranato.com

The Salt Lake City native is in fact based out of the Western league on the continent, but riders can compete across regions as they chase points toward a place in April’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

“Coming into the season, World Cup Finals was a big goal,” Granato explained after his $68,706 victory in the grass arena at Deeridge Farms, “but after jumping at the Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona, I missed many of the early qualifiers. I’ll take a look at my points, and if I’m in contention, I’ll go to Live Oak.” The Live Oak competition in Ocala from March 6–10 will be the final opportunity for riders to pick up points after this week’s qualifier in Leon, Mexico.

And with this victory on his 11-year-old gelding over riders like Elizabeth Madden, Mario Deslauriers, Ben Maher, Beat Mändli, Conor Swail and Devin Ryan, Granato picked up 20 points, leaving him with 24 overall, good for ninth place in the west. The current big picture for qualifying in North America will be provided in an ensuing article.

As FEI News noted, “Granato has had [winning horse] Carl, an 11-year-old Mecklenberg gelding, for five years. Originally meant to be a sales prospect, he put together a partnership with owner Paige Tredennick to develop the horse for top sport.” And that decision certainly paid off in Florida: “He’s a naturally fast horse, so I got to play that to my advantage and let him run at his pace and stay focused on my track and turns. We got a bit lucky with a rub in the jump-off, but my horse is very fresh, and we were gearing him toward this week. He came out fresh and strong and ready for it.”

While Granato, who has trained with the legendary horseman George Morris, described this week as an ‘amazing’ one, the rider has of course had extensive previous experience and success at the top level in the sport. Looking back, his career really took off early on when the up-and-coming athlete crossed paths at a New York State sales barn with Mad Season, “a hard case horse [whose owners] were having trouble getting rid off”. The two clicked instantly and the mount was purchased for $6,500. 

Over the next 12 years, the duo went on to win more than 20 Grand Prix events and rack up over $500,000 in prize money, a fruitful history which Granato paid tribute to by naming the hunter jumper showing barn he co-owns with Josh Dolan in Wellington and Tryon, North Carolina Mad Season, LLC. Some other notable achievements over the years include a Global Champions Tour Grand Prix win in Miami and representing the United States in Nations Cup competition on the international stage. 

Together, Granato and Dolan also created The Peeps Foundation, whose main mission is to rescue and rehabilitate miniature horses. The Foundation was created after they were traveling en route to a horse show in Kentucky and discovered a group of around 60 ‘minis’ in a field, with some in very bad shape. More information on the organization can be found here. Photo below: Alex Granato and Carlchen W in the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona (Scoopdyga)

 - Alex Granato looks to build on stellar career after big weekend


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