Edited Press Release
Thermal, Calif. – Dec. 8, 2021 – Week II of Desert Holiday kicked off on Wednesday at the Desert International Horse Park. The feature class of the day in the Grand Prix Arena was the $2,500 CWD 1.35m Welcome Speed, set over an Alan Wade-designed track. Twenty-eight entries came forward to take on the single-round speed format, focusing on keeping fences up but not wasting any time between obstacles in order to secure the fastest clear round. In the end, it was California’s own Joie Gatlin who claimed the win aboard Cruz.
The course featured 12 numbered obstacles with 14 jumping efforts total, including an oxer-vertical double combination and a vertical-oxer double combination, plus rollback turns and lines that cut across the expanse of the Grand Prix Arena. In an attempt to shave valuable seconds off their times, riders jumped directly from fence one, a single oxer, to the line from two to three, then sped around the corners at the far end of the arena to both combinations, taking as few strides as possible along the way.
First to set the pace with a clear round was Allison Kroff with T-Quick Hurricane Z in a time of 68.519 seconds. Only a few rounds later, Gatlin and Cruz, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Kate Hovland, crushed her time, clicking in at 62.071 seconds and setting the pace much faster for anyone following looking to claim the lead. Trying to catch Gatlin, several competitors tried to race through the course but at the expense of rails down.
Cassio Rivetti was the next to give Gatlin a run for her money, but he and Cristal De Menardiere, a 9-year-old mare owned by Delaney Batter, were still off the pace, clocking in at 65.250 seconds and slotting into second at the halfway point in the order. Shortly after Rivetti, who would eventually place third, Kevin Winkel piloted the 15-year-old Warmblood mare Osophia to a competitive time of 63.992 and took second place as the class came to a close.
For full results, click here.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Joie Gatlin – $2,500 CWD 1.35m Welcome Speed
“Cruz belongs to one of my students, Kate Hovland, and she does him in the Junior Jumpers and the Young Riders. Due to school, they are not allowing her to have any more absences and she only comes on Saturday and Sunday, and I get the privilege to show him on Wednesday. I get to have fun in the Wednesday class, and then we hack him for a couple of days and she comes and does her thing on the weekend. He has nice blood and you can put your leg on and still manage his stride but he really comes through the corners. He is really the ideal horse.”
On her plan for the course:
“He is a big mover with a big stride and there was a lot of galloping opportunity [on the course], with just a couple of rollbacks, so I just let his stride get it done. I tried to pick-up a good gallop to fence one, and then to stay on it and not be too technical about anything and keep everything on a nice gallop. We did a particularly tight rollback to fence eight, and he did that nicely and after we sliced that fence, we picked the gallop back up and the jumps just kept coming up and it was awesome.”
On her plans for Desert Holiday II:
“Morley [Abbey] and I have 16 horses here this week, so we have a couple 3’3” AO’s, 3’6” AO’s, Amateur Hunters, Equitation, and then the jumpers on the weekend. We have a mixed bag of things and a few in every ring which is fun.”
On showing at Desert International Horse Park:
“The facility is completely different than when we first came to it 10 or 15 years ago. The changes are just unreal! The landscaping, the footing, and the improvements in other areas are making it wonderful for the horses. It makes the riders’ and trainers’ jobs a lot easier when the horses are happier. It is a special place now. Before, it was just a horse facility in the middle of the desert with a road running through it and now it is beautiful. The grass field has now really put this place on the map and it is amazing. It is turning into a place to be. Hopefully it can be a place where people want to come and we can have some new faces.”
$2,500 CWD 1.35m Welcome Speed
Horse / Rider / Owner / Faults | Time
- Cruz / Joie Gatlin / Kate Hovland / 0 | 62.071
- Osophia / Kevin Winkel / Maplewood, Inc. / 0 | 63.992
- Cristal De Menardiere / Cassio Rivetti / Delaney Batter / 0 | 65.250
- T-Quick Hurricane Z / Allison Kroff / TC Sporthorses, LLC / 0 | 68.519
- Hannibal V / Nicki Willcox / Marjorie Martin / 0 | 68.705
- Chaccrobat / Mitch Endicott / Bridgeport Farms, LLC / 0 | 68.642
- Kingston VH Akenhof / Tyler H. Stewart / Tyler H. Stewart / 0 | 70.114
- Mr. Balue BR Z / Kyle King / Liliah Nakatani / 0 | 70.555
- Imara M / Allison Kroff / TC Sporthorses LLC / 0 | 71.271
- HHA Paden / Kristen Holwick / Kristen Holwick / 0 | 72.548
- Sanvano / Julia Nagler / Kenilworth Sport Horses, LLC / 0 | 72.645
- Connor 69 / Olivia Cliver / On the Mark Equestrian / 0 | 74.545