By Sydney Lowe
Featured show jumping competition concluded week four of Desert Circuit with the $75,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix. A roster of thirty-four athletes contested Alan Wade’s (IRL) grand prix course with thirteen riders returning for a chance to win the jump-off. The competition was fierce, but in the end, it was Kyle King (USA) and Enzo who would prevail and capture the lion’s share of the prize.
Wade’s course consisted of twelve stout 1.50m obstacles which featured a triple bar, a double, and a triple combination. Fifth in the order of go, Mandy Porter (USA) aboard WT Leapfrog posted the first clear round and shortly after, Brooke Rose Morin (USA) and NKH Carrido mastered the course giving us a guaranteed jump-off. As the class progressed, eleven additional pairings added their names to the jump-off list including Kasey Ament (USA), Katie Laurie (AUS), Mark Kinsella (IRL), Mitch Endicott (USA), Brian Morton (CAN), Kaitlin Campbell (USA), Eric Navet (FRA), and Will Simpson (USA). Porter and King each had two rides make it into jump-off contention.
The shortened course had riders putting the pedal to the metal to jump clear in the quickest time. The first four riders all had speedy rounds, but unfortunately they fell victim to fences as rails fell. It was Kinsella and his mount Chaplin 92 who posted the first double clear ride and set the Roeckl Gloves time to beat with a time of 39.676 seconds. Only two other riders were able to go fault free, Campbell and King. Campbell put forth an exceptional ride to take over the lead, but King was determined to contend for the top spot.
King’s mount Enzo can cover ground fairly well but isn’t known for his speed. “He is just now in his prime. He never really turned well or anything and I have had him a long time now; I really know him. He is just a great horse, always so consistent. Now we have the speed. If we can get that speed involved more, I think there is a lot this horse can do,” narrated King.
The duo stopped the clock at 38.495 seconds with a stellar gallop to the last fence. Try as they might, the final two riders just couldn’t catch King’s time. “I really wanted to make up the time in that corner between the two verticals,” explained King. “I saw everyone else getting a slow nine [strides]. I was just a little far off on E.T., if I had committed a little bit sooner; that’s where I knew it would show up on Enzo. I think that’s where I was able to knock off some good time.”
King emerged victorious with Enzo and claimed the fourth place title on his second mount Etalon. Enzo, owned by Jim and Maureen Kungle, has been a mount of King’s for some time now.
“Enzo is a really special horse to us. Richard Keller was training the horse. He has had a few different riders; Joie Gatlin rode him for a good, long time,” recounted King. “Richard Keller was one of the most influential trainers out on the West Coast for years. I got the ride and got to spend the last year riding for him. He had cancer pretty bad and we were able to get Richard’s last win on Enzo here two seasons ago. It was a pretty big deal for all of us.”
Second place honors were given to Campbell and Doraindo for her jump-off time of 38.883 seconds. Her mount, Doraindo is a thirteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by SWS Training and Sales. Rounding out the top three was Kinsella and Chaplin 92, a fourteen-year-old Hannovarian gelding owned by Sophie Reiter.
Action will resume during week five of Desert Circuit and will feature the return of FEI CSI3* competition. Highlight classes will include three FEI CSI3* classes ranging from 1.40m to 1.50m throughout the week ending on Sunday with the $137,000 FEI 1.55m CSI3*, sponsored by Kubota.