Thermal, California, USA. – December 13, 2020 – Karl Cook (USA) and Fecybelle were the stars at the end of the second week of the Desert Holiday Series at the Desert International Horse Park. The duo captured first-place honors in the feature class of the week, Sunday’s $100,000 Voltaire Grand Prix.
Forty-five pairs challenged the course, designed by Anderson Lima (BRA), with only ten riding clear and returning for the jump-off. Four combinations duplicated their clear round in the tiebreaker. Cook and Signe Ostby’s ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Carambole x Becybelle) registered an unbeatable jump-off time of 39.604 seconds, the fastest time among all the finalists.
The duo have been paired together since mid-2019: “We got her in the middle of the year last year and she is such a gamer. She knows her job and she loves doing it. It makes it easy for me because she gets excited and is like ‘oh it’s time to go,’” shared Cook. “She is such a competitive horse. Some horses, on their own, don’t run. I rode her great today. I feel so happy with my ride.”
Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Little Valley Farms’ Donatello 141 (Diarado x Luna) earned reserve honors for their time of 40.329 seconds.
Kaitlin Campbell (USA) and Palina de L’Escaut (Perigueux x Gallina), owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC, stopped the timers at 43.938 seconds to finish off the podium in third.
Winner’s Circle – Karl Cook (USA)
“The plan [for the course] was fluid […] She turns really well and she is super on technical courses. When I have to gallop, at least in the past, she has gotten a bit flat over the fence. The course today, I didn’t think was suited to her because it was all off the forward gallop,” reflected Cook. “What ended up happening was the faster I went, the higher she went. So I could just keep going faster. The more she went up, the faster I could go. I kind of just kept accelerating through the course based on how she was feeling.”
Source: Press release from Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © ESI Photography