Interview: Kent Farrington at the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping – Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSIO 5*

2018. RGC Interview Kent Farrington & Creedance Rolex Ashley Neuhof

Kent Farrington (USA) is back to business at the top of the sport after injury early this year. The American is on top form again, having won several CSI 5* classes and two grand prix victories.

The Rolex testimonee rider is competing for more glory today as one of the favorites in the $3,000,000 CP International Grand Prix CSIO 5*, the second jewel of the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping.

Tell us a little bit about your horses…

I’ve had Sherkan D’amaury since he was seven-years-old and he’s 11-years-old now. He won back to back Grands Prix in 2016 and 2017 at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, UK, of which Rolex is a sponsor – It’s amazing how much Rolex does for equestrian sport. They’ve really stepped it up over the last five years, particularly partnering with the Rolex Grand Slam and the four Majors. Windsor is a lovely show and I was lucky enough to meet Her Majesty The Queen twice, and she even recognised me the second time. We’re about the same height so maybe that’s why she recognised me! Since then he’s developed into a really strong Grand Prix horse. I competed with Creedance at Spruce Meadows in July and he’s had a lot of experience here and he knows the ground well, so that’s why I brought him back now. He’s never competed in this class before and it will be the biggest class he’s ever jumped. I’m just hoping for a little bit of luck and hope he’ll be on form on Sunday. I have another Grand Prix horse called Gazelle, who I didn’t bring here with me, as I didn’t think the Grand Prix would suit her.

Take us back to February when you sustained a serious injury to your leg and how you’ve managed your comeback…

I had a pretty nasty injury when I was in a small 1.30m at the Winter Equestrian Festival training round. The horse stopped and spun back in a way that it flipped over its head and landed on my feet. I suffered a compound fracture to the tibia and fibula in my right leg. I had surgery the same night and was then walking around on crutches within 48 hours. My routine after that was simply to eat, sleep and train in the gym every single day in my quest to get back riding. It was a tough time because I went from being world number one to not being about to walk let alone ride or even compete. When I first tried to ride it was super uncomfortable and I had a hard time trying to imagine competing and jumping in Grands Prix. A big part of the recovery was controlling my mind, knowing that I was going to get through it, which was a real battle. I’ve had great trainers and a doctor, and it now feels pretty much back to normal, although it bothers me every now and then if it’s cold outside or if I’m not warmed up.

Compared to normal 5* shows, do you prepare yourself and your horses any differently when it comes to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Majors?

I try not to change too much and keep my preparations the same. It’s much more important to firstly choose the correct horse for the event, and then try and ensure whichever it peaks at exactly the right moment. For the Major at ‘s-Hertogenbosch I’d maybe choose a different horse than what I’d take to the Major at the CHIO Aachen. Unfortunately, because of my injury I couldn’t compete at either of those Majors this year so I’m a little bit behind, but hopefully next year I’ll be able to make it to all four of Rolex Grand Slam Majors. Other than that, the routine is to give the horses a bit of a break so as they have a bit of extra energy before they come to a big show like this. It’s going to be big jumping on Sunday, so I’ll give Creedance a little more rest than he usually gets.

Source: Press release from Rolex Grand Slam

Photo: © Rolex / Ashley Neuhof