John Zopatti, Fabio Shine At Gold Coast Dressage Grand Finale 2

For 18 years, dressage rider and trainer John Zopatti and an Oldenburg named Fabio have been an unstoppable horse-and-rider team. Recently, they did it again. Zopatti and Fabio won the FEI Intermediate B Open GAIG/USDF Qualifying Division of the Gold Coast Dressage Grand Finale 2.

“We know each other’s good and bad points, and it’s fun to try to show off the good points,” Zopatti said of his long-time equine partner.

Zopatti, who trains out of Blue Marlin Farms in Wellington, has had decades of experience training riders of all levels to excel at regional and national championships. For the last 14 years, he has also taken time to travel to North Carolina to train top eventers such as Susan Beebee and Charlie Plumb for the dressage portion of eventing competitions.

At the recent Gold Coast Dressage Grand Finale 2 on April 13, Zopatti’s score of 66.786 percent earned him first place in the FEI Intermediate B Open GAIG/USDF Qualifying Division.

“I like showing at the Global Dressage showgrounds. It’s a fun atmosphere, super footing, the stabling is great, and best of all, it is close to home,” Zopatti said.

Zopatti competed on Fabio, an 18-year-old Oldenburg owned by Kristy Truebenbach Lund, who has spent his lifetime working with Zopatti. One of Zopatti and Fabio’s most recent accomplishments was placing sixth in the nation in the United States Dressage Finals in the musical freestyle division last year. Zopatti enjoys working with a single horse for so many years. “It’s just fun now that the training is all done,” he said. “Now it’s just really keeping him fit so that he can keep doing all the Grand Prix movements. I think it’s a good exercise for his body to keep him supple.”

Zopatti keeps the same mindset while working with other horses and riders. He is currently training eventer Rachel Jurgens and her 18-year-old Thoroughbred Ziggy to compete in the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event.

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ABOVE: John Zopatti and Fabio.