Updated: Mar 11, 2021
Francesca "Franki" Guidi and Come Monday take on the Big Eq at Fieldstone Show Park. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.
Francesca “Franki” Guidi was nine years old and competing in the short stirrup division when she showed at Fieldstone Show Park for the first time.
In 2020, she took home an individual gold medal at the venue as the highest scoring rider in the Challenge of the States at the New England Equitation Championships.
The 15-year-old’s riding career continues to grow by way of Fieldstone, a venue located just 15 minutes from her home.
“I’ve been going to Fieldstone for probably six years now,” she said. “It’s such a great show for a young rider to have access to such a variety of classes. If you’re new to showing at a bigger venue, as a short stirrup or mini medal rider, you’re able to have a space of your own toward the back of the property in Ring 3. Then it’s so nice to have the Grand Prix classes to watch and everything on the field, like the derbies. Just to have the Big Eq and the bigger jumpers to watch is such a good learning opportunity.”
Guidi, who had her first experiences at Fieldstone with the Marston Mills, MA-based Holly Hill Farm, now rides with Kathy Fletcher at Grazing Fields Farm in Buzzards Bay. Following her top performance at the New England Equitation Championships at Fieldstone in 2020, she went on to finish fifth overall in the highly competitive Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship in Lexington, KY.
Her Big Eq debut came last year, and she qualified for her first ASPCA Maclay Region 1 Final by summer’s end, largely in part to results at Fieldstone. She carried her momentum into the fall, when Fieldstone hosted the New England Equitation Championships, Maclay Regionals, and the Massachusetts Horsemen's Council Days of Champions for the first time. These events moved to Fieldstone in 2020 following the cancellation of many competitions in the northeast due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Fieldstone management was instrumental in getting outdoor equestrian events approved to run under Massachusetts' Phase 2 reopening in late June, offering riders in the area a place to compete and prepare for the fall season.
Guidi made the most of the opportunity, and she shined at NEEC in the Challenge of the States, a uniquely formatted class in which top performing riders in the Open Equitation divisions are partnered on teams representing different states in the New England region. The riders school and compete without the guidance of trainers, and the highest scoring individual riders and teams receive medals.
Riding Michael Fletcher’s Come Monday, Guidi earned her way into the event with a runner-up finish in the Open Equitation, 14 and Under. In the Challenge of the States, representing Massachusetts Team 2, Guidi and Come Monday jumped to a class-best score of 88, which earned Guidi individual gold and led her team to a bronze medal.
“It was great. After spending so many weeks at Fieldstone in the summer, I was super comfortable,” Guidi explained. “We were there that previous week, and I could get my horse in the ring and get familiar with everything. It was comforting knowing the ring, even though I couldn’t have my trainer with me.”
Guidi begins 2021 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, developing her young equitation horse, the 7-year-old Serendipity, and catch-riding other horses in the equitation and jumper divisions. Following the winter season, her next big target will be a return to Fieldstone, whose calendar includes a return of the ASPCA Maclay Region 1 Final, part of the North East Classic. The North East Classic is one of eight USEF nationally-rated hunter-jumper competitions on the venue’s 2021 show calendar.
“I’m very excited about that,” Guidi said. “The horses will get some time off in April, and Fieldstone starts up after that. I’m excited to get back at it and get some more points.”
© 2021 Catie Staszak Media, Inc.