Elisa Broz (USA) is wasting no time achieving her monumental goals. At just 18 years old, she captured her first FEI grand prix victory in Sunday’s $145,100 Premier Equestrian CSI3* Grand Prix at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP).

With Kardenta Van’t Meerhof, Broz was one of six to qualify for the jump-off over Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) difficult track. Of those six, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) had two clear rides, so Broz was up against tough competition. She didn’t let that intimidate her.

“I was thinking that second is great, even the top five is great, but my trainer, Cassio Rivetti, said, ‘You have to go for the win,’” Broz explained of her plan for the short course. “I just rode the course like we had talked about. I know that there were some big names and amazing riders that were chasing me but I had to ride my own course, ride my horse, and do my best.”

Her best was plenty, as she improved upon Wathelet’s initial leading time with Clarity and saw him drop a rail on Ace Of Hearts, leaving the Belgian Olympian in second and third as the class came to a close. A pair of Canadians, Bretton Chad riding Grandeur WP and Ali Ramsay with Bonita VH Keizershof Z, placed 6th and 7th in the class, respectively.

“She’s my first horse to do the FEI grand prixs,” Broz continued about her 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Cardento x Concorde). “She’s my top horse at the moment and she’s really brought me up through the ranks. She’s taught me a lot but also has a lot of quality and is super. She’s lots of character but she’s definitely been a blessing.”

Broz, of Freedom, CA, has been climbing the ranks in both National and FEI show jumping, and has her sights set on FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha in April, currently sitting in second place in the standings on the West Coast. In under two years, the duo has risen from humble beginnings to the top.

“I remember jumping her and thinking it was the best jump I’d ever sat on,” Broz said. “I work with those quirks because of how much quality she has. I knew she was the one and she was going to be a good one. It takes time to understand her quality. She’s got a lot of personality and it takes adjusting. She taught me right from wrong very quickly.”

Still just 18, Broz could not participate in the champagne celebration, so Wathelet had the upper hand once awards were presented. Broz was in good company on the podium, seeing a glimpse at what the future could look like if she continues her winning ways.

“I don’t think it’s sunken in,” she reflected on topping a rider of Wathelet’s caliber. “The future is what Gregory is already doing, so to be competitive with him is amazing. I don’t think I could have even imagined this. I’m so thankful for my parents and team at Cassio Rivetti Stables and everyone who has supported me.”

Final Results: $145,100 Premier Equestrian CSI3* Grand Prix

1. KARDENTA VAN’T MEERHOF: 2010 BWP mare by Cardento x Concorde
ELISA BROZ (USA), Hidalgo LLC: 0/0/37.98

2. CLARITY: 2009 HOLST gelding by Clarimo x Ephebe For Ever
GREGORY WATHELET (BEL), An Breeding: 0/0/38.58

3. ACE OF HEARTS: 2010 ESH gelding by Aliandro B x Ra Ex Romanov ESH
GREGORY WATHELET (BEL), Gregory Wathelet: 0/4/37.18

4. MR. EUROPE: 2009 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Cassini
KARRIE RUFER (USA), Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC: 0/4/38.82

5. A-GIRL: 2010 SWB mare by A-Dur x Careful 28
SOPHIA SIEGEL (USA), Sophia Siegel: 0/4/42.56

6. GRANDEUR WP: 2011 KWPN gelding by Whistler x Vainqueur
BRETTON CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 0/8/39.95

7. BONITA VH KEIZERSHOF Z: 2011 ZANG mare by Bustique x For Pleasure
ALI RAMSAY (CAN), Ramsay Equestrian Inc.: 4/76.89

8. CHESS: 2011 BWP gelding by Bufero Van Het Panishof x Latano I
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), Wembley Farms Inc.: 4/78.87

9. COPYCAT: 2013 WESTF gelding by Comme Il Faut x Wogenbrecher
LORCAN GALLAGHER (IRL), Lost Lake Farm LLC: 4/80.06

10. CALIFORNIA SUNSHINE: 2013 DSP mare by Captain Z x Bollvorm’s Lauriston
SUSAN ARTES (USA), Alix Fargo: 4/80.76

11. LIMBOSSINI RC: 2011 Holsteiner gelding by Guardus Limbus x San Patrignano Cassini
MARK WATRING (PUR), Mark Watring: 4/81.57

12. NADALE VAN DORPERHEIDE: 2013 BWP gelding by Zilverstar T x Winningmood
CASSIO RIVETTI (BRA), Ilan Ferder: 8/77.75