Thermal, California – February 10, 2022 – Show jumping athletes went head-to-head Thursday afternoon in the $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix. Over a track set by Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER), 46 horse-and-rider combinations attempted to conquer the first round course for a ticket to the jump-off and a shot at the lion’s share of prize money. Ultimately taking the top spot was Ireland’s Mark Kinsella (IRL) who piloted Doraindo to the quickest clear effort of the afternoon.
Following a challenging 13-effort first-round course, just eight of the 46 starters earned a spot in the jump-off, including Karrie Rufer (USA), Jessica Gleason (USA), Alec Lawler (USA), Kinsella (IRL), Charlie Jones (GBR) and Kyle King (USA). Kinsella and Rufer would both represent two mounts over the tie-breaking track, giving them an increased chance of taking home the win. The track featured many challenges for competitiors, among them a two-stride featuring a triple bar oxer to a careful vertical, plus a liverpool oxer, a double of verticals, and a vertical-oxer double combination.
First to tackle the second round course, shortened to seven obstacles, was Rufer (USA) aboard her first mount, Mai Tai 2. The pair would roll just one rail to the ground and set the pace at 45.97 seconds. Kinsella immediately followed with his first mount Astrid de B’Neville, also acquiring 4 faults on 44.11 seconds. Jones was next to contest with Gerko III Van de Zeilhoek. A speedy time of 42.11 seconds would impress the crowd, but an unfortunate rail would keep them out of contention. Riding her second mount, Stern Dei Folletti, Rufer would become the clear-round pathfinder on 43.17 seconds. Three others would attempt to overtake Rufer’s lead, but 4 faults on the scoreboard would keep them out of the running until Kinsella stepped back into the ring as the last to go on Doraindo. Kinsella rode a tactful course, slicing and dicing his way to the finish line in 41.35 seconds without knockin any rails to take home the win.
Kinsella, fresh off his win in the $2,500 Whittier Trust Welcome Speed, and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding have only been partnered together for three weeks. As only their second grand prix together and their first time riding a jump-off together, Kinsella was thrilled with the winning result, noting the talented gelding’s desire to win. He’s aiming the horse at FEI competition for the second half of the circuit, which resumes on February 23 after a rest week for the horses and riders.
Settling for second place was last week’s $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix winning pair, Rufer (USA) and Stern De Folletti, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Morning Star Sporthoses, LLC. Third place honors were awarded to King (USA) and Spruce Meadows LTD’s 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, Coffee To Go.
Show jumping competition at the Desert International Horse Park will continue Friday, February 11, with the 1.30m Open Jumpers taking to the Grand Prix Arena at 8:00 a.m. PST. The feature class on Friday, the Silver Oak Jumping Tour – Jump for Kevin Babington 1.20m will take place in the Grand Prix Arena right before Whitethorne Friday Night Lights welcomes back equitation riders for the second time this season.
Final Results – $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix
1) Mark Kinsella (IRL) & Doraindo – 0 / 0 – 41.352
2) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Stern Dei Folletti – 0 / 0 – 43.174
3) Kyle King (USA) & Coffee To Go – 0 / 4 – 41.666
Source: Press Release by Tori Billas / Phelps Media Group for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © Olivia Nazworth