By Brenda Mueller
THERMAL, Calif. – March 18, 2021 – The Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) hosted the first FEI class of the week as the riders in the $5,000 FEI 1.40m, sponsored by Human Touch, took to the newly landscaped grand prix arena for some great competition. The feature FEI class of the week is the $250,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI4*1.55m, which takes place on Sunday. The final week of the Desert Circuit includes the Zone 10 North American Youth Championship Trials, jumper classics for all divisions, the $10,000 U25 Classic, and the $25,000 Farmvet Grand Prix.
Jamie Taylor and Quatar went to the top of the leaderboard in the $5,000 FEI 1.40m. Thirty-nine entries took a swing at the Marina Azavedo (BRA) designed course but it was Taylor (Tarzana, CA) who was the fastest across the track for the win, stopping the clock at 31.40.
“Quatar is 11 [years old] this year. I’ve owned him now almost exactly two years now,” explained Taylor. “He was quite a project in the beginning but at this point in time, he’s just a consistent winner he’s been knocking on the door all circuit. We’ve been second in three grand prixs and finally it was his turn today! I haven’t done FEI in years because I haven’t had the horses for it but it’s really exciting that it’s here now that I have a horse to do it on and be competitive. I couldn’t be more excited!”
“I’ve been here the whole time,” laughed Taylor. “I haven’t left for a day since [the circuit] started, so you know, I’ve just lived here! They’re really trying to make it an enjoyable place to park yourself for the whole winter and that’s really important because two months is very long when you’re not in a place like this!”
Susan Artes (South Pasadena, CA) with Laurence Z took the second place with a time of 31.77 and Matt Archer (Alamo, CA) and Luigi VD Bisschop finished in third, just a hair behind at 31.78.
Following the FEI, riders tested their skills in the $25,000 Farmvet Grand Prix. Shawn Casady (Harriman, TN) and Lyranta Van’t Gebroekt, owned by Neil Jones Equestrian, were the fastest double clear out of a total 29 entries to clinch the victory. Eight horse and rider combinations made it to the jump off round with each one stepping up the pace. Casady stopped the clock in a blazing 64.965, Kasey Ament and Gaia slid in at 66.31 for second and Ben Asselin with Veyron crossed the finish line in 67.605 for third.
“She jumps clear and she’s fast,” said Casady of his mount. “I think we have a good relationship, she’s a little bit special on the ground and in the barn, and I think that I respect her and she respects me. We have good thing kind of going. It’s nice to know that what I’m doing, when I’m not in the show ring, is working, I feel like I have the right program going.”