Kyle King and Cerolino. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Winning can be contagious according to Kyle King. He proved just that on Saturday of Desert Circuit VIII as he caught his own bug, winning both the $50,000 Adeptus National Grand Prix and the $38,700 Whittier Trust CSI3* 1.45m Classic.

In both victories, you could say the cards were stacked in his favor. He jumped off late in both orders, knowing just what task lay ahead of him. In the $50,000 Adeptus National Grand Prix, he and Cerolino, owned by Strasburg Morin Inc., were one of only two pairs to qualify for the short course. With Robert Blanchette and Carnlea Premier Balou, owned by RTS LLC, jumping first and bringing down two fences along the way, King’s job was clear.

Kyle King and Cerolino in their awards presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“It was a weird jump-off,” King joked. “Robert had two down and I thought I’d [go around nicely] and Cerolino was a little out of gas. He had the first one down but at least it was early so I went a little quicker and then I had another one down. It all worked out great so I’m happy.”

The time proved to be the key difference separating the two on 8 faults in the jump-off. King’s time of 42.956 seconds was just enough to edge past Blanchette’s 44.381 seconds for the win.

“I was so happy with how things worked out,” King reflected on his day. “[I had a] little bit of luck there at the end for sure. Cerolino is a new ride for me. I purchased him from Ilan Ferder for a client of mine and she didn’t really get along with him. He’s just now getting fit enough to do this level. This is my third show with him. He’s a real winner.”

Robert Blanchette and Carnlea Premier Balou. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

The pressure was high with King in the running for the $100,000 National Grand Prix Rider Bonus, to be awarded following the National Grand Prix of Desert Circuit IX. He held the lead prior to the class, a lead that was further solidified no matter the result of the jump-off.

“That was a pressure cooker for me,” he said. “My other horse, [SIG] Chiari, I know a lot better, and he’s been on a hot streak. He won a couple days ago but I maxed him out and decided to go with Cerolino [today]. I lost a little sleep over it but when I walked the course I liked it for him because he’s a big, brave, scopey horse. It was a tough enough track out there today.”

Elisa Broz and Tinkerbell. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

When asked whether he had ever won a jump-off on 8 faults, King replied, “Never. I’ve never even been in that position. I’ve had to win it the hard way. I’ve never won one going in to protect the lead like that. It got me! I learned to go for it anyway; I’m sure it’ll happen again at some point in my career.”

Sitting in third as the fastest 4-fault pair was Elisa Broz with Tinkerbell, who also claimed the $1,000 EquiFit U25 Classic.

King and Odysseus Are Ready for Takeoff in $38,700 CSI3* 1.45m Classic

Kyle King (USA) and Odysseus. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Kicking off show jumping on the grass Saturday, Kyle King (USA) took his first victory of the day, earning Odysseus his first FEI win in the $38,700 Whittier Trust CSI3* 1.45m Classic.

“‘Odie’ is a really cool addition to my string,” he said of Patricia Vasey’s homebred 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Osilvis x Riverman). “He kind of came out of nowhere. I thought he was a nice horse but I didn’t think he was as special as he’s turning out to be. This was his first FEI show period and now his first win. He’s a neat horse. He’s very modern, and very fast. He is showing he has the scope and is a winner.

Four pairs jumped clear over Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) track, with week seven’s FEI Grand Prix champion leading the pack. Katie Laurie (AUS) and Django II put in a clear effort in 48.84 seconds, which held until King and Odysseus had their shot.

“He’s like a little rocketship; he’s so fast,” King shared. “It’s really nice to have that ability to make up a second or two around the corner. He’s got the eye of a winner and the heart of a winner, and he’s proven it. He’s won three now and that gets to be contagious. When they can win something you get the confidence from them.”

Kyle King (USA) in his winning presentation, pictured with Katherine Weichmann and Heidi Bitterman of Whittier Trust. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

The duo’s time of 47.01 seconds put them into the lead and ultimately brought home the win. Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Kingston managed the third double-clear effort in 49.80 seconds, claiming third.

Show jumping concludes Sunday with the $20,000 MeadowGrove & Friends 1.20m Classic benefitting #WeRideTogether and the $20,000 Stal Hendrix NAYC 1.45m Classic in the Grand Prix Arena, as well as the $145,100 Go Rentals CSI3* Grand Prix on the grass.

Skylar Wireman is the Best of the West in $15,000 Speed League Final

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

If Skylar Wireman knows one thing, it’s speed. But luckily she knows far more than one thing, and the combination of all that knowledge put her in the top spot in Saturday’s $15,000 Ritz Carlton Speed League Final.

The new class at DIHP welcomed an extremely fast lineup of riders who had qualified to compete based on performance in the weekly $10,000 1.35m Welcome Speed. With fences set at 1.30m, the stakes were high because the speed could really be amplified.

Wireman came in aboard Karen! and took the competition to a higher level, ultimately clocking in as the fastest overall time and the only fault-free round.

“I knew I had a really reliable partner because I’ve won a lot of speed events with her,” Wireman said of her partnership with Karen!. “There was good competition behind me with James [Chawke], who has been winning the last three weeks. My plan was originally to go fast, then no one was clear before I went. I knew Karen is already fast, so the plan was to go a little faster than I thought I needed to go and leave the rails up.”

Her plan proved successflu, topping a competitive all-female podium, with Alexis Taylor and La Capitol, owned by Aleron LLC, in second and Erin Davis-Heineking and Contan, owned by October Hill Farm Inc. in third.

“I walked both the turns and got the stride numbers,” Wireman elaborated on her strategy around the course designed by Canada’s Peter Grant in the Grand Prix Arena. “I did eight in the first turn and seven in the second one so I shaved off the turns. I wanted to bring it home at the end. There weren’t really any leave-outs at the end; it was more about how fast you were at the beginning.”

The duo has been making waves in the desert all season, and the more Wireman gets to know Karen!, the more the pair grows and succeeds. “She wants to win,” she continued. “Under the lights she knows it’s a big class and she’s ready. The last class she won out here was the 6-Bar. She jumped big last time and this time we went fast, so she’s done everything.

“I was joking with the groom because he said, ‘Every time I bring her up here I go back with two coolers because I bring one up and you win another one!’” she joked.

Show jumping concludes Sunday with the $20,000 MeadowGrove & Friends 1.20m Classic benefitting #WeRideTogether and the $20,000 Stal Hendrix NAYC 1.45m Classic in the Grand Prix Arena, as well as the $145,100 Go Rentals CSI3* Grand Prix on the grass.

Final Results: $50,000 Adeptus National Grand Prix

1. Cerolino / Kyle King / Strasburg Morin Inc. / 0/8/42.956
2. Carnlea Premier Balou / Robert Blanchette / 0/8/44.381
3. Tinkerbell / Elisa Broz / Elisa Broz / 4/82.793
4. Indus / Camilo Rueda / Louise Sullivan / 4/86.315
5. Florida VDL / Hannah McLaughlin / Hannah McLaughlin / 5/87.129
6. My Ferrari / Sahana Ganesan / Sahana Ganesan / 5/87.856
7. Coolio 23 / Skylar Wireman / Shayne Wireman / 8/82.360
8. Gin / Nicolas Gamboa / Heineking Show Stables / 8/84.035
9. Hunters Conlypso II / Lorcan Gallagher / Lorcan Gallagher / 8/85.462
10. Stern Dei Folletti / Karrie Rufer / Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC / 9/87.463
11. Cera Caruso / Katie Laurie / Carissa McCall / 12/83.028
12. Carma Z / Zoe Brown / Harley Brown Equestrian / 12/86.259

Final Results: $38,700 Whittier Trust CSI3* 1.45m Classic

1. ODYSSEUS: 2011 AHHA gelding by Osilvis x Riverman
KYLE KING (USA), Patricia Vasey: 0/0/47.01

2. DJANGO II: 2011 gelding by Lordano x Brilliant Invader
KATIE LAURIE (AUS), Katie Laurie: 0/0/48.84

3. KINGSTON: 2013 AES gelding by Ustinov x Insider
VANESSA MANNIX (USA), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/49.80

4. VALENTINO D’ELTE: 2009 SF gelding by Castronom Z De Hus x Windsor
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 0/4/50.63

5. VERTIGE DE GALARZACS: 2009 SF gelding by Quaprice Bois Margot x Si Tu Viens
KARRIE RUFER (USA), Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC: 1/82.46

6. CONRADO 12: 2013 ZANG gelding by Cardento x Diarado
ALI RAMSAY (CAN), Ramsay Equestrian Inc.: 1/82.98

7. INDIGO VAN DE MUGGENHOEK: 2013 KWPN gelding by Montender x Riverman ISF
ZUME GALLAHER (USA), Blue Gate Stables, LLC: 3/84.51

8. CLOCKWISE OF GREENHILL Z: 2007 ZANG stallion by Clearway x Caretino 2
UMA O’NEILL (NZL), O’Neill Showjumping LLC: 4/80.17

9. CRAZY: 2012 Hanoverian mare by Cornet Obolensky x Compliment
PAIGE JARDINE (AUS), Paige Jardine: 4/80.30

10. MANTUA LS LA SILLA: 2012 SLS mare by Manzanillo LS x Risueno
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), SWS Training & Sales: 8/81.97

11. CAYA: 2013 HANN mare by Christian x Quintender 2
SHAUNA COOK (CAN), Sheilagh Kelly: 13/82.23

12. DEXTER R: 2008 KWPN stallion by Namelus R x Contender
KASEY AMENT (USA), Lornnah Investments, LLC: 13/86.15

Gatsby is Great in Vogel Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic

Amy Brubaker and Gatsby. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Amy Brubaker capped off her winter season in memorable fashion with a win aboard Gatsby in the Vogel 3’ Amateur-Owner Classic Saturday evening. Brubaker, of Santa Ynez, CA, also claimed championship honors with the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding in the 3’ Amateur-Owner Hunters.

“Gatsby is a fairly new horse to us,” Brubaker said. “I got him late last summer and he has just exceeded every single hope and dream we had for him. He’s my ‘steady Eddy’. I had two horses today and I was leading on my young horse but, like it goes with young horses, yesterday was very different from today. Gatsby came through today and we’re really thankful for that.”

Amy Brubaker and Gatsby. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Brubaker and trainer Rebecca Bruce Glynn both laughed when asked about Gatsby’s personality in the barn. “His barn name is Shark,” she explained, quite simply. “As soon as you get on he’s a dream. But until then, he is a shark. He likes to bite and he likes to have his own space.”

Week VIII wasn’t Brubaker’s first victory of the circuit, as they’ve been top competitors each time they’ve come out. “I’ve had really good weeks here. This is our fourth week and will be our final week here. We’ve been fortunate to be towards the top every week. We’re super grateful. Now I’m going to go home and do a lot of tax returns so I can pay for these knuckleheads. And I’ll be back at it after April 15!”

After a hiatus from competing in Thermal, Brubaker’s friends influenced her to return and she never looked back.

“I had stopped coming to Thermal a number of years ago,” she said. “I started going to WEF and that was super fun, but my friends kept telling me, ‘You have to try Thermal again. They’ve got bridle paths, they’ve made all sorts of improvements, etcetera, etcetera.’ And I’ll never go anywhere else now. I spend more time on the bridle path than I do in the ring. And I just love showing here.”

Hunter action concludes for Desert Circuit VIII Sunday with respective hunter classics and division championships.