Django II and Katie Laurie Conquer $50,000 Kask & Vogel Grand Prix

Katie Laurie and Django II. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Edited Press Release

Katie Laurie started and ended her week with one-two finishes. Sunday’s, however, got her a slightly bigger paycheck. On Sunday of Desert Circuit 8, presented by Kask and Vogel, Laurie took first and second places in the $50,000 Kask & Vogel Grand Prix as the only two double-clear rounds.

Over Colm Quinn’s first-round track, Laurie went first aboard Django II, a horse very special to her heart, and waited to see who else would join her for jump-off action. Only Nicolas Gamboa with NKH Vittorio S and Zoe Brown with Bling VD Zuvelshoeve Z were able to jump clear as well, plus Laurie’s second mount, Cera Caruso.

As a single rail fell for both Gamboa and Brown, Laurie was left at the top with both her rides, a few seconds faster with Django II, putting him in first and Cera Caruso in second. Brown and Bling VD Zuvelshoeve Z, owned by Rooster Run Foundation, took third, as well as The Surrey U25 Classic win.

Overall, Laurie is thrilled with her horses’ initial outing for the season. “They’ve been so good. They’ve obviously come in quite fresh and feeling good,” she shared. “It’s great to have a good start here, it’s such a great place. I’m so proud of them because they’ve come from indoors in Calgary in the winter and they’ve been really good here.”

The horses were clearly craving some warmth and sunshine, with her top three mounts each taking podium placings every time they came out during week eight. Django, her top horse, is clearly feeling good and ready for bigger challenges ahead in the final week.

Katie Laurie – on her second mount Cera Caruso – in her winning presentation, pictured with Fabio Cardarelli, CEO of Kask America, and Andrea Nannarelli, Kask Sales Manager for US and Canada. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“I was hesitant to jump Django this week but I wanted to get him in the Grand Prix Arena before the four-star,” Laurie explained. “Originally it was going to be a night class which is what the four-star [Grand Prix] is going to be but I still thought it was great for him. Next week I was going to keep it very easy and hopefully he’ll be feeling good and ready for the four-star.”

Django is a horse Laurie has had since day one, and she wholeheartedly believes in him, even though he can get a little excited at times.

“We bred him; he’s from a family of really good horses,” she shared of the 13-year-old New Zealand Warmblood (Lordano x Brilliant Invader). “My dad rode the mare, [Flower Power], so it’s a long family history. He’s a special character but he’s got the most massive jump. I started him this week so he could get going a bit and jump a few rounds. Today he felt so good. He’s so scopey and I always have to think very calm on him; even if there’s a long line I’ll always just make it down there without pushing. He’s an unbelievably good horse.”

Katie Laurie – on her second mount Cera Caruso – in her winning presentation, pictured with Fabio Cardarelli, CEO of Kask America, and Andrea Nannarelli, Kask Sales Manager for US and Canada. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

It’s not a mindset many show jumpers have to have when going in to jump a 1.50m course or bigger, but Laurie has mastered the art of keeping Django at the pace he needs. To keep the calm, she gives him a different ride than she does her other horses.

“I have to try really hard to keep not much leg, and just be very soft,” she explained. “If we can keep things calm from the start he jumps big and beautiful and round. If we can keep it slow he keeps it together. He is inclined to get excited, and I get excited, so I have to trust him and trust that we can canter down slow to a big jump and he has enough jump.”

Cera Caruso, her second-place mount, is also one she adores and who specializes in speed a bit with his compact build and springy jump.

“He’s such a cool horse,” she said of Carissa McCall’s 16-year-old Australian Warmblood (Casall x Capone). “Every time he goes in there he tries his little guts out. He just wants to jump the jumps and he absolutely loves it. He’s so fast so I thought just be sensible and try to jump another clear round. He was really good.”

Zoe Brown and Bling VD Duvelshoeve Z in their winning presentation, pictured with Emma Werner of the Surrey and Olivia Dawson Grove. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo