Team Eye Candy is hungry for another Major League Show Jumping title, and they made that very clear during the $200,000 Whittier Trust MLSJ CSI5* Team Competition. The team has been behind Helios all season long, but they made the competition that much closer Saturday of Desert Holiday I, taking the second-to-last title of the 2022 season of the tour.

Team Eye Candy topped the podium in the second-to-last leg of MLSJ 2022. Photo by ESI Photography

Eye Candy put in a completely clear slate in round one, joining Lugano Diamonds, Spy Coast Spies, and Trailblazers in the top four, with the advantage of going late in the second round. Conor Swail (IRL) with Theo 160 and Amy Millar (CAN) with Christiano put in the fastest combined times with no rails to add, putting them in pole position for the gold medal.

In the final round, Natalie Dean (USA) of Lugano and Paul O’Shea (IRL) of Eye Candy went head to head in the gold medal matchup. Dean and Cocolina pulled one rail to add three seconds to their final time, but stayed on the pace. O’Shea knew what he had to do, and got some wise words from Swail heading into the ring.

Conor Swail (IRL) and Theo 160. Photo by ESI Photography

“He had to go quick enough still,” Swail said of his advice to his fellow countryman. “[Squirt Gun] is relatively fast, so he had to have a good, tidy round. The horse was awesome and so was Paul, so it worked out well.”

O’Shea’s time of 42.65 seconds sealed the deal and handed Eye Candy their third win of the 2022 season.

Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Squirt Gun. Photo by ESI Photography

“It’s been a good season,” Swail continued. “Look at us now; we’re three points behind [the lead]. We feel like we could have done a little better here and there but we’ve had a lot of podium finishes. We always have a good plan going into it and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully, more often than not it does with the horses and riders we have.”

Millar, who hasn’t jumped for the team the past few events, is happy to be back on the roster and back at DIHP. “I really enjoy coming here,” she said. “The footing on this field is fantastic. It gives back to the horses. My horses feel like they have springs in their shoes. Everyone is so nice. The car racing was amazing. It’s quite a treat to come out here for this event and Major League really treats us well, as does this horse show.”

Amy Millar (CAN) and Christiano. Photo by ESI Photography

O’Shea was named the leading rider of the 2021 season, along with the team title just one year ago, so he is optimistic about the team’s chances heading into next week’s final. “It’s great we have a realistic chance now. It’s going to make it more exciting, so that’s good for the whole league. We’ll be doing our best,” he said.

The league points are now close enough that Team Helios is breaking a sweat. Helios, who placed fifth in Saturday’s team event, is sitting on 64 points with Eye Candy on 61, so it all comes down to what happens in the final, set for Thursday, December 8.

The $217,200 Whittier Trust MLSJ CSI5* Grand Prix concludes the first week of Major League Show Jumping at DIHP on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Final Results: $200,000 Whittier Trust CSI5* MLSJ Team Competition

1. SQUIRT GUN: 2011 OS gelding by Diarado x Quick Star
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Eye Candy Jumpers: 0/42.65

1. CHRISTIANO: 2012 BRAND gelding by Canoso x Compliment
AMY MILLAR (CAN), Future Adventures: 0/41.14

1. THEO 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Team Philippaerts: 0/40.39

2. GAKHIR: 2011 KWPN gelding by Spartacus TN x Labor’s VDL Indorado
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 0/41.33

2. AUSTRIA 2: 2008 HOLST mare by Casall x San Patrignano Corrado
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Take The High Road, LLC: 4/44.39

2. COCOLINA: 2011 OS mare by Conthargos x Papillon Rouge
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 0/43.31

3. AGANA VAN HET GERENDAL Z: 2011 ZANG stallion by Aganix Du Seigneur x Naminka
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/42.23

3. VICK DU CROISY: 2009 SF mare by Mylord Carthago x Vondeen
LUIS GONCALVES (POR), Sigma Stables LLC: 0/44.34

3. CHIC CHIC: 2011 WESTF stallion by Comme Il Faut x Contendro
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Vlock Show Stables LLC: 0/40.96

4. HUBERTH B: 2012 KWPN gelding by Verdi TN x Mr. Blue
RODRIGO LAMBRE (BRA), Ilan Ferder: 4/45.54

4. ROYCE: 2004 OS stallion by Cafe Au Lait x Grandilot
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/41.40

4. PICADOR: 2007 AES gelding by Lupicor x Concorde
JORDAN COYLE (IRL), Elan Farm: 0/42.91

Coyle Commands a Win in $40,000 CSI2* Grand Prix

Irish riders continued their winning streak Saturday morning at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) as Daniel Coyle (IRL) topped the $40,000 La Quinta Resort & Club CSI2* Grand Prix with Ariel Grange’s Jeffrey Jarden.

Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Jeffrey Jarden, pictured with Candy Bengston from La Quinta Resort & Spa. Photo by ESI Photography

The first-round course, set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), saw 10 clear rounds, of which Coyle laid down the quickest jump-off time by only a small margin. Clocking in at 37.30 seconds, Jeffrey Jarden took his first FEI win, though the 8-year-old gelding (Bustique x Warrant) has come close to a win with Coyle in the irons.

Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Jeffrey Jarden. Photo by ESI Photography

“We bought him last year at the Hendrix auction and I only started riding him a few months ago,” Coyle said of his winning mount. “I went to a three-star in Kentucky and my first horse wasn’t performing very well so I decided to jump [Jeffrey] in the Grand Prix and we got third place. So I thought maybe this horse is better than we first originally thought. From that point forward he’s been great in every FEI class he’s been in.”

Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Chill Ma. Photo by ESI Photography

“We didn’t try him,” Coyle continued regarding his and Grange’s decision to purchase the horse. “We just watched and connected to this horse and she bought him. He’s been brilliant.”

This is Coyle’s first trip out to DIHP, and so far the results and the experience have been great. “I wasn’t sure if we were going to come because usually at this time we take a little break,” he explained. “But I have a few more horses here and I really like [DIHP] and Major League. The shows are a real contender with the world. I’ll definitely come back here because I like it here. The weather is good and it’s very relaxing.”

Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Costa Diam. Photo by ESI Photography

Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Chill Ma, owned by Ilan Ferder, took second-place honors while Jordan Coyle finished in third with Costa Diam, owned by Elan Farm.

Final Results: $40,000 La Quinta Resort & Club CSI2* Grand Prix

1. JEFFREY JARDEN: 2014 KWPN gelding by Bustique x Warrant
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/0/37.30

2. CHILL MA: 2013 HOLST mare by Crunch 3 x Alcatraz
ASHLEE BOND (ISR), Ilan Ferder: 0/0/37.58

3. COSTA DIAM: 2012 SF mare by Componist Champblanc x Allegreto
JORDAN COYLE (IRL), Elan Farm: 0/038.91

4. TOULAYNA: 2014 ZANG mare by Toulon x Parco
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington LLC: 0/0/39.37

5. CADEAUMINKA: 2013 NRPS mare by Kannan x Jodokus
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/0/39.39

6. DUVERIE: 2013 SF gelding by Diamant De Semilly x Damiro B
RUPERT WINKELMANN (GER), Eickendorf Horses: 0/0/39.54

7. FASOLE DU SEIGNEUR: 2011 SBS mare by Doremi x Ogano Sitte
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Hot Horses LLC: 0/040.58

8. SIGMA: 2013 stallion by Numero Uno x Dollar Du Murier
LUIS GONCALVES (POR), Sigma Stables LLC: 0/0/43.40

9. QUIDAMO 10: 2011 HOLST gelding by Quidam De Revel x Lasino
ARTURO PARADA VALLEJO (MEX), Signe Otsby: 8/37.80

10. DORADO DE RIVERLAND: 2013 SF gelding by Untouchable x Argentinus
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/8/45.38

11. SIG CHIARI: 2012 OS gelding by Cristallo II x Landadel
KYLE KING (USA), SIG International: 4/76.60

12. NKH MR. DARCY: 2013 HOLST gelding by Darco x Chepetto

Kaitlin Campbell Captures $50,000 Brown Advisory Grand Prix

Kaitlin Campbell was not intimidated by the level of speed the other jump-off contenders had reached when her turn came in the $50,000 Brown Advisory Grand Prix Saturday night of Desert Holiday I. Alec Lawler held the lead with For Gold, and Campbell came in on her partner of three and a half years, SWS Training & Sales’ Paulina De L’Escaut, and made the class her own.

Kaitlin Campbell and Palina De L’Escaut. Photo by ESI Photography

“Alan Wade is my favorite course designer,” Campbell said after her win. “I’ve won the most of my grand prixs with him building. [Palina] wasn’t showing FEI this week so I made a big stink about showing this class tonight because I knew Alan was building and I knew I had my fastest horse. I knew I better go in and at least try to win.”

Karl Cook had set the pace earlier with Signe Otsby’s Fecybelle and ended up in third as the class drew to a close. But Campbell’s time of 31.448 was nearly one second faster than any other competitor, awarding her the top spot after all six jump-off contenders had gone.

Kaitlin Campbell and Palina De L’Escaut. Photo by ESI Photography

“I saw Karl Cook go and he’s always really fast. But my horse is just super fast across the ground. Her legs just move so fast that I know if I go as fast as she can go I have a good chance of winning,” Campbell explained.

The rider for the DIHP Roadrunners has been traveling the Major League Show Jumping tour all season and had to miss the National Sunshine Series to be in Mexico for the tour. “All the imnprovements are super,” she said of her return to DIHP. “The horses are jumping really well. The grass field looks amazing. Palina will jump for Major League next week so this was a great setup.”

McKenna Norris and Billy Nala. Photo by ESI Photography

McKenna Norris and Billy Nala were awarded the $1,000 Equifit U25 championship for their performance in Saturday night’s class.

Final Results: $50,000 Brown Advisory Grand Prix

1. Palina De L’Escaut / Kaitlin Campbell / SWS Training & Sales / 0/0/31.448
2. For Gold / Alec Lawler / Alec Lawler / 0/0/32.413
3. Fecybelle / Karl Cook / Signe Otsby / 0/0/33.120
4. Tashmir Z / Alexandra Biederman / 0/0/35.737
5. Bisou / Keri Potter / Tres Palomas / 0/4/31.230
6. Coffee To Go / Kyle King / Spruce Meadows Ltd / 0/4/32.275
7. Chakkalou PS / Patricio Pasquel / Patricio Pasquel / 1/76.003
8. Testigo LS / Angel Karolyi / Angel Karolyi / 2/77.075
9. Hellcat / Jacqueline Steffens / Eye Candy LLC / 4/71.339
10. Errol / Conor Swail / Sagamore Farms / 4/72.453
11. Mantua LS La Silla / Kaitlin Campbell / SWS Training & Sales / 4/73.028
12. Ittolo / Kyle King / Kerri Volek / 4/73.493

DIHP welcomed back the Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships and Platinum Jumper Championships for Zones 9 and 10 during Desert Holiday I. Individual medals were awarded Saturday to the following divisions:

Platinum Jumper Individual Championship 1.40-1.45m:

  • Gold: Cameron Trimino and Adalberto Audi Scappino
  • Silver: Lauren Kolbe and Dots & Dashes
  • Bronze: Katie Murray and Ismir Van De Baeyenne

Platinum Jumper Individual Championship 1.30-1.35m:

  • Gold: Makena Bloebaum and Isaac
  • Silver: Emilie Bell and Veuve Clicquot
  • Bronze: Alyce Bittar and Lara Croft B

Zone Amateur Jumper Individual Championship 1.20-1.25m:

  • Gold: Alison Locke and Betty Boop De Vidau
  • Silver: Drew Weber and WT Lakota
  • Bronze: Rachel Loftin and Django 398

Zone Junior Jumper Individual Championship 1.20-1.25m:

  • Gold: Addison Durrett and Secret Fernhill
  • Silver: Avery Glynn and Aladin Des Brimbelles
  • Bronze: Andee Hawk and Diamonds Du Toultia Z

Zone Adult Jumper Individual Championship 1.10-1.15m:

  • Gold: Lisa Baller and VDL Groep Cyrano Z
  • Silver: Samantha Collingsworth and Mylord Junior
  • Bronze: Linda Azab and River Liffey

Zone Children’s Jumper Individual Championship 1.10-1.15m:

  • Gold: Mackenzie Greer and Lo Visto Van’t Hulgenrode
  • Silver: Marian Ehlers and Capris
  • Bronze: Megan Holliday and Revelation