By Sydney Lowe
THERMAL, Calif. – March 19, 2021 – The newly landscaped Grand Prix Stadium played host to the $36,600 FEI 1.50m, sponsored by STX Vans Friday morning. Riders are preparing for the feature class on Sunday, the $250,000 FEI 1.55m CSI4*. The final week of competition at the Desert International Horse Park (DHIP) includes some of the biggest classes to date with top quality athletes hailing from all over the world.
Forty-five horse and rider combinations challenged course designer Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) well-constructed 1.50m course. With sixteen total jumping efforts, riders were tested against a triple bar, a triple combination, and multiple rollbacks. The track kept riders looking forward and towards the next fence while keeping their mounts balanced and powerful.
Eric Navet (FRA) was first to go clear in the first round and shortly after Mavis Spencer (USA) aboard Con Calle posted a clear and lead the way for a jump-off round. Joining them would be Will Simpson (USA), Darrin Dlin (IRL), Luis Sabino (POR), Lindsay Archer (USA), Kyle King, (USA), Richard Spooner (USA), Chandler Meadows (USA), and Aly Ramsay (USA).
In the jump-off, riders had ample space to gallop their horses and cover the ground between fences. Navet posted the first double clear round at 40.39 seconds and claimed the Roeckl Time To Beat. Navet piloted his long time partner Cadillac Jack (Cantoblanco x Cordina), an eleven year old Oldenburg gelding owned by Signe Ostby. The pair finished fourth overall in the class.
Galloping to victory with an impressive jump-off time of 38.16 seconds was Sabino and Argan De Beliard (Mylord Cathago*hn x La Bella Normande), an eleven year old Selle Francie gelding owned by Equivarandas II, LDA.
“He has a lovely character and he is very intelligent. He is a pleasure to ride, just really easy and quality. He has all the top qualities. He is a winner. With a great horse, you become a great rider,” expressed Sabino. “When I make a mistake, we have a mistake but he doesn’t make mistakes.”
With such a consistent horse underneath him, Sabino is able to compete at all the top competitions around the world. He has competed throughout Europe and is enjoying the change of scenery from his usual plan. Desert Circuit is the first time Sabino has competed in California and he is thrilled with his decision to come out here.
“For me, it is a pleasure to be here. I love to change my schedule. I have experience in my life and have competed at all the shows in Europe and the majority of the world and I just did Tryon two years ago and with Europe closed, I took the risk to come here and I think it was the correct decision,” continued Sabino. “The people are very nice. The facilities are really good and they do a great job at creating a family atmosphere. It is fantastic to be here.”
Sabino intends to head to the Olympics in the future with this horse and believes he has all the potential in the world to perform at such a prestigious event. The duo’s next feat will be the $250,000 FEI 1.55m CSI4* held on Sunday of Desert Circuit VIII.
Taking home the second place honors was Simpson aboard his own Chacco P (Chacco-blue x Cera P), a twelve year old Mecklenburg gelding. The duo crossed the timers at 39.20 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Ramsay and Ramsay Equestrian Inc’s Lutz with a jump-off time of 40.30 seconds. Lutz is a twelve year old Westfalian gelding by Loradnos out of Parodie.