Wellington, Florida, USA – March 05, 2022 – It was a busy Saturday at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival. Held before the $150,000 Premier Equestrian Nations Cup CSIO 4*, forty-three horse-and-rider pairs tackled a course of 16 obstacles on Saturday in the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m National Grand Prix which took place in the International Arena. The course was set with an allowed time of 76 seconds over a challenging track which included a triple combination.
Riding second to last in the jump-off, Karl Cook (USA) and Ircos IV, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Helen Signe Ostby. Cook and Ircos IV finished their jump-off round in a time of 33.234 seconds for the win.
“He’s one of those [horses] where if he’s feeling like he wants to jump clean, he’ll jump clean,” said Cook of his partner of two years. “Even on a course that you might think, ‘Oh this is definitely not his thing,’ if he wants to jump clear, he’ll jump clear.”
Cook noted that his unique style comes from his unique personality.
“He’s just a funny guy. He’s got such a weird character,” described Cook. “In general, courses that require more rideability are harder, because you can see we don’t really have much of that. But he still can do it.”
He went on to note, “When I first got him, I tried more traditional flat work, trying to get him between my legs and my seat and my hands. I could do it, but then we actually jumped worse in the ring. Over time, you say ‘Do I want rideability, or do I want to be clear?’ We just figured it out.”
The secret to the jumper by Nabab de Reve x Echo De Thurin, seems simple.
“The key that we found with him,” said Cook, “is just keeping him as happy as we can, and then [the win] is more likely, even if it’s completely weird looking and the head is all over the place. He’s kind of that horse that is always there and fills in the blanks. When we’re trying to rest some of the bigger jumpers, he fills in. It’s very valuable to have that because he’s easy to keep, and he’s always there.”
The second place on the podium was claimed Shane Sweetnam (IRL) with Indra Van De Oude Heihoef, owned by The Blue Buckle Group, who clocked in at 33.339 seconds.
First in the ring was Francis Derwin (IRL) who would go clear aboard Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Ricore Courcelle. The pair would ultimately come in third after being only one of 13 to post no faults in the first round. In the jump-off, they recorded a time of 34.292 seconds as one of five double clears.
Final Results – $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors National Grand Prix
1) Karl Cook (USA) & Ircos V – 0 / 0 – 33.234
2) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Indra van de Oude Heihoef – 0 / 0 – 33.339
3) Francis Derwin (IRL) & Ricore Courcelle – 0 / 0 – 34.292
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot