The former world-ranked number one has made his mark on Desert International Horse Park (DIHP).
Kent Farrington (USA) returned to Thermal for the first time in over 10 years and snagged a CSI5* win Friday evening of Desert Holiday II aboard Orafina in the $72,400 CWD CSI5* 1.50m.
“Orafina is naturally a very fast horse,” he said of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (For Fashion x Canturo). “She’s exceptionally careful so for her it’s really about riding her best round. You have to ride her on a high tempo and attacking stride because she’s so careful at the fences. Most jump-offs are just about doing her round and not worrying about what the rest of the class is going to do. I didn’t actually watch many others; I just let her do her thing and tried not to mess it up.”
Farrington and Orafina were one of eight pairs to jump clear over Alan Wade’s (IRL) first-round track and advance to the jump-off. From there, it was a game Farrington knew well, speeding to a time of 32.72 seconds, which could not be caught, though they tried. Simon McCarthy (IRL) took second with Rock Ridge Farms’ Gotcha, while Amy Millar (CAN) took third with Christiano, owned by Future Adventures.
Farrington, 41, seems to be speaking the same language as his horses as they go around these massive, challenging tracks, but it’s partially because he is communicating vocally with them along with giving more traditional aids. “I have a few different sounds for commands I have with horses,” he remarked. “I think any way you can communicate with them so they understand what you want is going to be an advantage with your riding.”
This time last year, Farrington was in Geneva competing at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, but December 2022 brought him to the other side of the world, where he’s finding himself right at home. “I miss that event; it’s a great event, but I’m happy to be here,” he remarked about being at DIHP. “It’s a tremendous venue. I haven’t been here in over 10 years and it’s unbelievable the change they’ve made. The team behind it is incredible; hats off to them for putting on a great event. I’d love to come back. I’m interested in seeing what they do and what they have planned for the future. It has great potential and is a great place for our sport.”
Farrington is leading the Major League Show Jumping individual standings as competitors head into the final CSI5* Grand Prix of the season, the $450,000 Marshall & Sterling CSI5* Grand Prix Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.
To open competition Friday morning, Daniel Coyle landed in the top position once again, continuing his winning streak, this time aboard Ariel Grange’s Gisborne VDL. The duo took the top spot in the $30,000 Brown Advisory 1.45m Open Classic, besting 45 entries. Just behind him in the second position was Jose Maria Quintana with Cross Creek Farms’ Chaccala, and James Arkins took third with Joevaro N.
Final Results: $74,200 CWD CSI5* 1.50m
1. ORAFINA: 2012 KWPN mare by For Fashion x Canturo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington LLC: 0/0/32.72
2. GOTCHA: 2011 HOLST mare by Stakkato x Cassini I
SIMON MCCARTHY (IRL), Rock Ridge Farms: 0/0/33.59
3. CHRISTIANO: 2012 BRAND gelding by Canoso x Compliment
AMY MILLAR (CAN), Future Adventures: 0/0/36.03
4. MIKE WAZOWSKI: 2012 HANN stallion by Balou Du Reventon x Centadel
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro: 0/37.00
5. FOR GOLD: 2011 HOLST gelding by For Fashion x Heraldik
ALEC LAWLER (USA), Lawler Show Jumping LLC: 0/4/33.40
6. PANDORA 258: 2008 HANN mare by Periguex x Lordanos
ARTURO PARADA VALLEJO (MEX), Arturo Parada Vallejo: 0/4/34.59
7. CONRAD 155: 2013 OS gelding by Cristallo x Contendro
RUPERT WINKELMANN (GER), Eickendorf Horses: 0/4/36.36
8. CARASINA HD: 2011 HOLST mare by Carrico x Cassini
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Trelawny Farm, LLC: 0/4/37.58
9. SERINGAT: 2006 SF gelding by Chef Rouge x Guillaume Tell
PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX), Ainhoa Manero Benavente: 0/8/37.90
10. CARISSIMO 25: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cascadello x Clinton
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Georgy Maskrey-Segesman: 2/80.37
11. CHACCO BUMPY: 2010 OS mare by Chacco-Blue x Toulon
LUIS PEDRO BIRABEN (ARG), Luis Pedro Biraben: 2/80.43
12. GARFIELD: 2011 KWPN gelding by Chellthago Z x Numero Uno
ASHLEE BOND (ISR), Stal Horn B.V.: 4/76.04
Final Results: $30,000 Brown Advisory 1.45m Open Classic
1. Gisborne VDL / Daniel Coyle / Ariel Grange / 0/67.423
2. Chaccala / Jose Maria Quintana / Cross Creek Farms, Inc / 0/67.639
3. Joevaro N / James Arkins / James Arkins / 0/67.707
4. Mr. Europe / Karrie Rufer / Morning Star Sporthorses / 0/67.887
5. Hellcat / Jacqueline Steffens / Eye Candy LLC / 0/68.410
6. NKH Mr. Darcy / Christian Heineking / NKH LLC / 0/69.275
7. Marcus / Emma Marlowe / Trelawny Farm, LLC / 0/69.561
8. Oilily Van’t Eigenlo / Paul O’Shea / Eye Candy LLC / 0.73.018
9. Gillion ES / Michael Williamson / Michael Williamson / 0.73.274
10. Testigo LS / Angel Karolyi / Angel Karolyi / 0/75.339
11. Zenzero / Nicole McMillion / Nicole McMillion / 0/77.201
12. Escapado S / Ian McFarlane / Mountain View West Farm LLC / 77.255
Haness Brings His Equitation ‘A’ Game in $15,000 Pro Equitation Challenge
Friday evening, professional riders got the chance to show off their equitation skills in the $15,000 Valencia Saddlery Pro Equitation Challenge. In a field of well-decorated equitation stars, Nick Haness took the top spot aboard Venti, a Holsteiner gelding by Diarado, owned by Bernadette Mulliken.
“Venti is an amazing horse,” Haness said of the 7-year-old. “He stands true to his name because he’s almost 19 hands. He is such a great horse for us. I imported him as a 5-year-old two years ago and he spent his first year here with my boyfriend, Ryan [May], showing in the hunters, equitation and some jumpers. Now he does Amateur-Owners and medals as well as derbies with his owner Bernadette.”
With a class full of talented exhibitors, Haness felt the pressure. “This was a really strong group of professionals. Some have won Maclay Finals, USET Finals, and Medal Finals. When I heard there were competitors such as Lillie Keenan in the class, I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game and show those young guns I could still do it,” he reflected.
Haness owes his ability to stay sharp in the equitation to how often he competes in the handy hunter rounds. “The handy hunters are something we practice weekly competition and that resembles what an equitation course might be like with tighter turns and some pace and maybe some angles on the jumps,” he explained. “Tonight’s class was cool to slow it down, dial it back and work on the basics, while still keeping pace and being efficient, and putting some polish to it.”
Many top riders got the chance to relive fond memories of competing in the equitation in their junior careers, including Haness.
“I absolutely loved doing the equitation when I was a junior,” he recalled. “One of my favorite memories as a junior was qualifying for Maclay Finals and going back east. I was lucky enough to win Talent Search Finals as a junior. Equitation was always such a treat and so much fun. Obviously as a professional we don’t get to do that often so it was a really fun opportunity that DIHP hosted this to allow the professionals to compete and pretend they’re kids all over again.”
Equitation competition continues as junior athletes give it a go this weekend at 8:00 a.m. Saturday with the ASPCA Maclay Medal, followed by the Dover Saddlery/USEF Medal in the Grand Eq Arena.
Final Results: $15,000 Valencia Saddlery Pro Equitation Challenge
1. Venti / Nick Haness / Bernadette Mulliken / 92 + 88 = 180
2. Citadel / Emma Marlowe / Pam Stewart / 81 + 89 = 170
3. McQueen / Nicole Bourgeois / Barbara Lovre / 89 + 80.5 = 169.5
4. Colany 9 / Lillie Keenan / Audrey Carmody / 86 + 85 = 171
5. Cristageno / Lindsay Stefkano / Ella Dalton / 82 + 87 = 169
6. CS Cadeaun / Ian McFarlane / Meadowgrove Farm / 90 + 78.5 = 168.5
7. Ravenswood / Jenny Karazissis / Lisa Wu / 87 + 81 = 168
8. Kaliman / Jamie Sailor / Morgan Wiebe / 85.5 + 82 = 167.5
9. Gran Cornetto / Jake Endicott / Alora Sporthorses LLC / 85 + 75 = 160
10. Hollywood / Halie Robinson / Mackenzie Greer / 66 + 88 = 154
11. Newton / Katrina Karazissis / Lisa Wu / 84 + 66 = 150
12. Kadence / Katie Hauss / Granite Bay Investments LLC / 65 + 83 = 148
Haness and Nelson Take Hunter Derby Wins
Derby mania began early Friday morning, with back-to-back events in Main Hunter to allow derby horses to shine. In the first class of the day, the $10,000 HorseFlight USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, Haness prevailed once again, taking top honors with True That, owned by Rainie Rose.
The young horse is newer to Haness’ string, but they’ve meshed well and also took the win in the $20,000 DIHP Young Hunter Championship during the National Sunshine Series. Their scores of 92 and 95 put them in the winner’s circle convincingly on a total score of 187, beating out himself and Reese’s, owned by West Coast Equine Partners LLC. Third place went to Allison Talbot’s My Oh My and Nicole Bourgeois.
Derby action continued with the $10,000 HorseFlight USHJA National Hunter Derby – Junior/Amateur, and it was Noah Nelson leading wire to wire for the win aboard Catwoman, owned by Leslie Pinkerton Nelson. His handy round score of 96 reflected the risks he took and the precision executed. Combined with his first-round score of 92, he captured top honors on a total score of 188. Second place went to Julia Greenspan with Paperboy, owned by Brighton Farms, while Avery Glynn and Margaux Spitzer’s Vagadam PSH claimed third.
Final Results: $10,000 HorseFlight USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open
1. True That / Nick Haness / Rainie Rose / 92 + 95 = 187
2. Reese’s / Nick Haness / West Coast Equine Partners LLC / 88.5 + 94 = 182.5
3. My Oh My / Nicole Bourgeois / Allison Talbot / 86.25 + 88 = 174.25
4. Crowd Pleaser / Julia Rossow / West Coast Equine Partners, LLC / 86.75 + 87 = 173.75
5. McQueen / Nicole Bourgeois / Barbara Lovre / 87 + 86.5 = 173.5
6. Manhattan / Alexis Taylor / Claire McNichols / 89 + 84 = 173
7. Arvantos / Chelsea Brittner / Greenley Achuck / 85 + 86 = 171
8. Saphir / Julia Rossow / West Coast Equine Partners, LLC / 83.5 + 83 = 166.5
9. Cascadel / Kat Barkema / October Hill Farm Inc. / 86 + 78 = 164
10. Big Spender / Jenny Karazissis / Gaby Morgerman / 84 + 77 = 161
11. Notorious / Julia Rossow / West Coast Equine Partners, LLC / 88 + 50 = 138
12. Sinmigo Dos / Marisa Metzger / Kathryn Fleck Peisach / 84.5 + 49 = 133.5
Final Results: $10,000 HorseFlight USHJA National Hunter Derby – Junior/Amateur
1. Catwoman / Noah Nelson / Leslie Pinkerton Nelson / 92 + 96 = 188
2. Paperboy / Julia Greenspan / Brighton Farms / 91 + 92 = 183
3. Vagadam PSH / Avery Glynn / Margaux Spitzer / 88 + 94 = 182
4. Antwerp / Alexis Meadows / Alexis Meadows / 90 + 90 = 180
5. Carlos He’Las / Grace Russo / Heather Dayner / 84 + 89 = 173
6. Ballantine / Violet Rheingold / Violet Rheingold / 85 + 85 = 170
7. Timon / Katherine Simonds / Nick Haness / 77 + 85 = 162
8. Colany 9 / Audrey Carmody / Audrey Carmody / 80 + 71 = 151
9. Monarch / Courtney Harrell / Courtney Harrell / 82 + 68 = 150
10. Remember Romance / Ashley Weiman / Romance Sport Horses / 78 + 70 = 148
11. Just Because / Kathy Nolan / Kathy Nolan / 73 + 72 = 145
12. Ghost De Longchamps / Ella Dalton / Ella Dalton / 81 + 44 = 125