Last night in Florida, Kent Farrington won a new CSI 4* Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Associated with Toulayna, winner for the first time at this level, the American beat his compatriot Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, second on the fiery Akuna Mattata, and the Irishman Darrahg Kenny, third with Amsterdam 27.
Kent Farrington, an Olympic silver medalist with Team USA in Rio 2016, found another top mare with Toulayna, winner of a $226,000 CSI 4* Grand Prix, tonight in Wellington, Florida. As part of St. Patrick’s Week, this event marked the tenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). In Florida, Toulayna, a nine-year-old Z mare, took on the biggest challenge of her career. She couldn’t be caught on the course designed by American Andy Christiansen Jr and the pair took their first Grand Prix victory.
Nine horses qualified for the jump-off, where the lead changed five times. Jessica Springsteen, teammate of Kent Farrington in Tokyo, set the tone by signing the first double clear on her Olympic partner Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, on behalf of Stone Hill Farm. Their time of 39.58 seconds was quickly eclipsed by another American rider, Lillie Keenan, riding Agana van het Gerendal (39.10). The only Irishman qualified for this final against the clock, Darragh Kenny, associated with Amsterdam 27, mounted by his Israeli student Teddy Vlock, in 38”94, before Nicole Shahinian-Simpson restored the leadership in the United States in 37”94. Kent Farrington then did just enough to seal the deal by stopping the clock at 37.38 seconds.
“She is fast, respectful and has everything I love in a show jumping horse”, Kent Farrington
“It is certainly the biggest course that Toulayna jumped”said Kent Farrington of the mare who also finished third in the CSI 4* Grand Prix contested in week three of the WEF. “I have high hopes for her. She is fast, respectful and has everything I love in a show jumping horse. I’ve been riding her since she was seven years old and I’m very confident with her. This is how I like to do things with horses: take charge of them young and finish training them myself. So I know them pretty well. Even if they are green at this level, I know where I can try my luck. Toulayna is extremely lively and I went very fast on the verticals. She has a long stride, but I wasn’t sure I could tackle the last obstacle in eight strides. Thing is, she jumped the double exit so hard that it turned out to be easy. Toulayna is a very nervous mare, with a lot of blood. I try to keep my horses fresh and interested in their work because the season is long here. She’s in her fourth week, and I think that’s enough. We will now be able to relax.”
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