Keri Potter (USA) aboard Jiminy Cricket prevailed in the $150,000 Diamond Tour Grand Prix CSI3*, presented by Purina Animal Nutrition, with a jump-off time of 39.13 seconds. Erin Davis Heineking (USA) rode October Hill Farms Inc’s Leonie (Leo von Faelz x Chacco-Blue) to a second place finish with a short-course time of 39.61 seconds, while Christian Heineking (GER) and NKH Darco Son (Darco x Voltaire), owned by NKH LLC, finished with a time of 38.07 seconds to land them in third.
Thirty-four pairs challenged the first round set by Bernardo Cabral (POR), with seven returning to test the short-course. “I thought the course today was really good, I thought the time allowed was tight which made us all really ride a certain track to get the time allowed,” Potter commented. “He [Cabral] left some options going into the triple and there were a lot of careful lines that really made you have to ride the correct tracks and have the right speed, it was a challenging course, just as it should be.”
Potter and Melanie Brooks’ 2011 Westphalian gelding (Colestus x Cornet Obolensky) are long-time partners. “I broke Jimmy; we bought him as a three, almost four-year-old and I was the first person to sit on him. I have still been pretty much the only one to ever ride him,” Potter shared. “He is kind of like riding a lighting bolt, he has always been very sensitive to everything – it’s like riding something that’s electrified. He is very shy of people, he only lets me or my groom catch him in the paddock; he only trusts certain people,” Potter continued.
“He’s grown up a lot over the last year, but it has been a very special, slow process,” Potter shared. “I think you don’t want to approach the problem head on, you want to approach it from the side,” Potter explained. “You don’t want to make it a big deal [when they spook] because if you make it a big deal then they become more afraid of it. So, if they’re afraid of something at the end of the ring then don’t go there right away. Work your way to it. Work with them, not against them. They’re animals, they are doing it for a reason.”
Potter shared winning the Grand Prix, sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, was extra special. “It was a special win for Purina because my horses are all eating Purina feed: Ultium, Outlast, treats, everything! The product is great,” Potter commented.
Potter will be taking Week VII off from Desert Circuit to prepare for the final week of competition and the $250,000 Invitational Grand Prix. Both of Potter’s mounts have taken home wins during the FEI competition Week VI, which will give Potter the tough decision of deciding who she will use in the Invitational. “I am not sure who I am going to use for the Invitational. I am leaning towards Jiminy Cricket, but we will see,” Potter concluded.