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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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