Thermal, Calif. – Dec. 1. 2021 – Showjumping commenced at the Desert International Horse Park on Wednesday, December 1, with the $2,500 CWD 1.35m Welcome Speed, marking the start of two weeks of Desert Holiday competition. Twenty-eight riders took to the Alan Wade-designed course set in the Table II format. The course featured eleven obstacles that each horse-and-rider combination carefully attempted to navigate as quickly as possible without dropping any rails.
Among the challenges presented were two double combinations, short lines set across the middle of the arena, forcing riders to keep strides compact, and several rollback turns. As the course went on, the lines got longer, allowing riders to opt to leave out strides if their horses’ speed allowed. With no obstacles set on the course to allow for inside turns, it was a race to the finish down the lines and around the turns to set the leading time. Ultimately, Ireland’s Mark Kinsella topped the leaderboard with Corradina as the quickest of 12 clear efforts.
Setting the pace early as third in the order of go, France’s Eric Navet took to the course with Coronado Blue NF. Stopping the timer in 55.549 seconds, Navet claimed an early lead, which would hold until Kinsella stepped foot in the ring aboard his second mount, Corradina, a 9-year-old Selle Francais mare owned by Valhalla Equestrian. His first mount, KBS Kiwi, jumped a clear round but with a time of 65.662, so Kinsella knew how much more footspeed was required if he wanted to overtake the lead. With the added benefit of knowing an easy clear round wasn’t going to get a podium finish, Kinsella raced around the track and set a new time of 54.817 seconds with only four left to challenge him. Kyle King (USA) was the only entry to come close to Kinsella’s time, but his time of 57.176 seconds aboard Ittolo would only be good enough for third.
Kinsella believes Corradina is a mare set for a bright future in the sport. At only 9 years old, she already topped the $10,000 Interactive Mortgage 10 & Under Futurity Series during National Sunshine Series I in November, and he hopes to debut her in FEI competition next week at the CSI2* level.
Earlier in the day, show jumping athletes took their younger mounts into the Grand Prix Arena for valuable experience in the 6 & 7-Year-Old Young Jumper classes. Winning the 7-Year-Old Young Jumper 1.30-1.35m, sponsored by Run A Mok Horse Transportation, was Ian McFarlane and Tara Corr’s Captain Morgan as the sole double-clear effort in the Table 2B jump-off class. In the 6-Year-Old Young Jumper 1.30m, sponsored by Susan Hutchison Stables, Kyle King took the win with his own Cantana.
Desert Holiday features an exciting lineup of FEI and National show jumping, including the final stop on the Major League Show Jumping Tour, which will be held on the brand new grass field at Desert International Horse Park. Featured jumper competition resumes on Thursday with the $9,100 FEI 1.40m CSI2*, sponsored by Desert Flight, and the jog for the CSI5* competitors, sponsored by FarmVet. The weekend highlights include the $200,000 1.50m Major League Show Jumping Team Competition CSI5* on Saturday, plus the $230,000 1.55m MLSJ Grand Prix CSI5* on Sunday.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Mark Kinsella – Winner of the $2,500 CWD 1.35m Welcome Speed
“It is a mare that a client of ours, Christine Carlson, bought last year and brought to me this summer. She had been competing on Corradina very successfully in Kentucky. On the weeks she doesn’t travel to the desert, I show her for Christine. She is so game. She picks up the jump from several strides away. This is her second time winning here and the faster she goes the better she is. She will be competing in the National Grand Prix this Sunday. Next week she will do the FEI** and then she will take a break over Christmas and we will just be getting her geared up for the rest of the circuit here.”
“I thought the course was very good. I was very quick from jump one to two and then on the rollback from three to four. I also thought that I was equally fast from five to six in the combination. The last line I knew that I could cruise her down it and didn’t want to take any huge chances since she has some bigger classes this week.”
On Desert International Horse Park:
“Honestly I think this facility is incredible. I give all the credit to the team who has put so much work into it. I left here in late April and what they have done in such a short span of time is phenomenal. The facility is very horse friendly and it is a pleasure to be here. My feeling is that they try and make this more comfortable every year for horse and rider and this facility is a real benefit of the sport. Our horses come down here late October and we stay throughout the whole circuit. This year we may potentially travel over to Florida afterwards and then up to Lexington.”
Horse / Rider / Owner / Time | Faults
$2,500 CWD 1.35m Welcome Speed
1. Corradina / Mark Kinsella / Valhalla Equestrian / 54.817 | 0
2. Coronado / Eric Navet / Signe Ostby / 55.549 | 0
3. Ittolo / Kyle King / Kerri Volek / 57.176 | 0
4. Mr. Europe / Karrie Rufer / Morning Star Sporthorses LLC / 57.250 | 0
5. Cruz / Joie Gatlin / Kate Hovland / 59.903 | 0
6. I’m Vera / Erynn Ballard / Marigold Sporthorses LLC / 61.620 | 0
7. Stylehaul / Emma Marlowe / Trelawny Farm LLC / 61.857 | 0
8. Imara M / Allison Kroff / TC Sport Horses LLC / 63.497 | 0
9. Isolde De Wacht / Katey Kozeny / Katey Kozeny / 64.677 | 0
10. Hannibal V / Nicki Wilcox / Marjorie Martin / 65.033 | 0
11. KBS Kiwi / Mark Kinsella / Valhalla Equestrian / 65.662 | 0