Ali Ramsay (CAN) has a new secret weapon, and it might not be a secret anymore. The Canadian National Champion rode to the win in Friday morning’s $38,700 TALUS 1.45m CSI2* Speed aboard Ramsay Equestrian, Inc.’s Conrado 12, unveiling a star she’s known to be there all along.

The pieces clicked into place for Ramsay to top the 31-horse class and take home her first major win of Desert Circuit 2023.

Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Conrado 12. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“My fiance actually bought him as a 5-year-old and he sent him down with me in California at the beginning of his 8-year-old year to get sold, and after a month of riding the horse I loved it so much I realized I couldn’t let this one go,” Ramsay said of her beginnings with the now 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Cardento x Diarado). “After this last year I feel like we’ve really started to develop our partnership and the last two days it really clicked. We changed our bridle; we have a hackamore bit combination and all of a sudden it feels easy.”

Having competed at the CSI2* and CSI3* levels since summer of 2021, Friday marks Conrado 12’s first FEI win. Ramsay’s trust in the horse allowed them to take their speed up a notch and the horse’s natural careful demeanor kept all rails intact for the quickest clear round over Alan Wade’s challenging track.

Vanessa Mannix (CAN) Valentino D’Elte. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“Today I felt like I could give him a good shot,” Ramsay said. “He’s the type of horse that if I run in the Speed [class] the first day it doesn’t affect my grand prix. He’s not one that needs to be put back together, so I felt like I could run as fast as I could and hopefully keep all the jumps up and be faster than everyone else.”

Ramsay had the benefit of seeing the trouble spots that ultimately led to only five clear rounds. Using the horse’s scope and natural footspeed, her time of 69.30 seconds could not be caught. Fellow Canadian Vanessa Mannix claimed second with Valentino D’Elte, while Chandler Meadows (USA) and Italy HDH took third.

Chandler Meadows (USA) and Italy HDH. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Through Ramsay’s partnership with Conrado 12, the primary focus with training has been, “Adjustability of the stride. He’s a Cardento [baby] and they all have a bit of a funny mouth; they get a bit headstrong. As much as I try to go to the gym, I’m not super strong in the arms. We do a lot of poles just controlling his stride length and getting the adjustability, and being able to gallop up a line and balance a bit. It feels like that’s really clicked.”

Ramsay’s fiance, Jerome David is the one to thank for the partnership between Ramsay and Conrado 12. “He’s an accountant by morning and a really good horse scout,” she said. “He watches too many videos. He just got a remote job so he could come down here for circuit and has two of his own horses he’s showing. He’s got a really good eye for it so I’m lucky to have that in my corner.”

Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Conrado 12 in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Skylar Wireman Jumps the Moon in Inaugural DIHP 6-Bar

The night fell and the stage was set for the inaugural $15,000 Whittier Trust 6-Bar. Beginning at 1.35m, nine horses jumped and attempted to keep all the rails up, as the fences got higher and higher. In round one, all but one pair jumped the six 1.35m fences clear. The fences were raised to 1.50m and the field got slightly thinner, but it was still apparent there was more jumping to come. At the 1.60m height, four horses jumped clear: Kyle King with Chess, Kaitlin Campbell with Emir, Michelle Berry with Ilyas Van De Mispelaere, and Skylar Wireman with Karen!.

The bar was set to 1.70m, which is higher than any fence height in classes held at DIHP. The first three riders, King, Campbell, and Berry, all pulled the final rail, though each came very close to keeping it intact. Ultimately, it was Skylar Wireman and Karen! who were the only pair to clear the final fence. The duo successfully cleared 1.70m in height, and, as the last to go, were named the winners. This win adds to Wireman’s incredible resume thus far at Desert Circuit and proves further she’s a top competitor to contend with no matter the discipline or format.

Skylar Wireman and Karen!. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Show jumping continues Saturday with the $50,000 HorseFlight National Grand Prix beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Final Results: $38,700 TALUS 1.45m CSI2* Speed

1. CONRADO 12: 2013 ZANG gelding by Cardento x Diarado
ALI RAMSAY (CAN), Ramsay Equestrian LLC: 0/69.30

2. VALENTINO D’ELTE: 2009 SF gelding by Castronom Z De Hus x Windsor
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 0/71.16

3. ITALY HDH: 2013 KWPN gelding by Cream On Top x Numero Uno
CHANDLER MEADOWS (USA), Chandler Meadows: 0/72.87

4. CITOKI: 2006 HOLST gelding by Catoki x Chambertin
SKYLAR WIREMAN (USA), Shayne Wireman: 0/73.90

5. ARMENTOS: 2011 OLDBG gelding by Armitage 2 x Levantos
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), SWS Training & Sales: 0/75.07

6. CHASE: 2007 HOLST gelding by Colman x Coriander
ZOE BROWN (USA), Harley Brown Equestrian, Inc.: 1/79.93

7. CERA CARUSO: 2008 AWHA gelding by Casall x Capone
KATIE LAURIE (AUS), Carissa McCall: 4/66.83

8. CASALLANTUM: 2012 HOLST gelding by Casall x Quantum
SAVANNAH JENKINS (USA), Lavender Creek: 4/69.19

9. ODYSSEUS: 2011 AHHA gelding by Osilvis x Riverman
KYLE KING (USA), Patricia Vasey: 4/69.47

10. CRUZ: 2009 BWP gelding by Volstrups Casillas x Lorentin
KATE HOVLAND (USA), Kate Hovland: 4/70.86

11. CASIANO: 2014 Anglo European gelding by Casino Berlin x Iroko
CHANDLER MEADOWS (USA), Chandler Meadows: 4/71.65

12. MANTUA LS LA SILLA: 2012 SLS mare by Manzanillo LS x Risueno
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), SWS Training & Sales: 4/71.85

Nick Haness Dominates Hunters and Equitation at Desert Circuit IV

Nick Haness took a late flight back to the desert Thursday night just in time to compete in Friday morning’s $10,000 Granite Bay Farm USHJA National Hunter Derby and Friday afternoon’s $25,000 CWD Pro Equitation Challenge, where he took two wins, proving his dominance of Main Hunter.

The hunter derby win came this time aboard McQueen, owned by Strasburg Moring Inc. A high score of 96 put the duo in the lead returning for round two, but as the handy round got underway, Skylar Wireman put on the pressure with Castelino 5 as she earned a 94, taking over the lead. Haness stepped in on McQueen, with the guidance of Traci and Carleton Brooks of Balmoral Farm, and laid down an expertly piloted handy round, earning another 96 for a two-round total of 192.

Nick Haness and McQueen. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“McQueen is a really fun horse,” Haness said of the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Cornet Obolensky x Lord). “He’s really quality. He’s my ride; he’s got a great jump and a big stride and lots of scope. He’s brave so you can count on him. He gets to the gap and when you think you need to help him he fires up and jumps a better jump. He’s been champion almost every time I’ve shown him. We’re gearing up to take him to Devon this year; that’s one of our biggest goals this year is a championship at Devon.”

Jet lag didn’t stand in the way of Haness’ greatness and McQueen’s days out of the show ring didn’t keep him from shining either. “McQueen is greener at the derbies, so teaching him to follow and land the leads is still a work in progress. We’re thrilled at how well he did in today’s class given that I took a late-night flight back from Wellington last night. Today’s derby was his first class of the entire week,” Haness reflected.

While Wireman captured second place, Haness also secured third aboard Reese’s, owned by West Coast Equine Partners LLC. With a powerful string of hunter rides this season, Haness is typically the favorite in the feature hunter classes held throughout the season at DIHP.

“They’re all really fun horses, but they’re all different types,” Haness reflected. “Reese’s is a horse that requires a bit more leg – he jumps better off a bit more pace – whereas McQueen is more big-strided and has a naturally great motor of his own, so he’s better on a slower pace. They’re both really fun for different reasons.”

McQueen has certainly proven to be a winner in his short time competing at DIHP so far, but with Haness in the irons the horse is destined for true greatness. The team behind the horse believes fully that they have a special competitor on their hands.

Nick Haness and Venti. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Haness then switched gears and took top honors in the $25,000 CWD Pro Equitation Challenge, proving to be a master of the sport yet again. His high score of 92 in round one put him in a favorable position aboard Venti, owned by Bernadette Mulliken. With Skylar Wireman hot on his heels, the two were only two points apart after round two and swapped horses for the final work-off. Haness’ flawless work-off put him into the winner’s circle a second time Friday.

“One of my strengths as a rider is that I’m very competitive,” Haness said of his competitive edge. “I think it propels me to be better. Today, for instance, when Skylar went in and put in a really good handy round, it made me really dig in and want to win the class. If you add pressure to the equation it’s actually better for me. I ride a lot of horses every day and show a lot, so it’s those exciting moments that have pressure and that butterfly feeling that makes me dig in harder and do better.”

Later in the afternoon, in the $10,000 Granite Bay Farm USHJA National Hunter Derby – Junior/Amateur, Lillian Muzzy took the win with Baldeur on a score of 178.5.

Final Results: $10,000 Granite Bay Farm USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open

1. McQueen / Nick Haness / Strasburg Morin Inc. / 96 + 92 = 192
2. Castelino 5 / Skyla Wireman / MZ Farms LLC / 87.75 + 94 = 181.75
3. Reese’s / Nick Haness / West Coast Equine Partners LLC / 88 + 92 = 180
4. Clooney / Shauna Pennell / Ilene Kurtzman / 88.25 + 88 = 176.25
5. Fleetwood / Rodney Tulloch / Christine MacLean / 87 + 89 = 176
6. Bailando / Shauna Pennell / Laura Day / 84.5 + 91 = 175.5
7. Per Se / Caleb Cooney / SAS LLC / 89 + 83 = 172
8. Picnic / Katrina Karazissis / Lisa Hankin / 85 + 84 = 169
9. Coming Soon / Shelley Campf / Alexandra Zell / 86 + 74 = 160
10. Mercurius II S / Javier Abad Barragan / Abigail Steller / 87.5 + 72 = 159.5
11. Saturday Night / Shauna Pennell / Beverly Engelberg / 87.6 + 49 = 136.6
12. Casalluno / Nick Haness / Karle Dickerson / 91 + 44 = 135