Thermal, Californial – February 27, 2021 – A field of twenty-one top show jumping athletes battled it out in the $36,600 AIG Jump-off Challenge CSI 3*, Saturday afternoon in the Grand Prix Stadium during the fifth week of the Desert Circuit at the Desert International Horse Park.
Featuring a triple combination, a triple bar, and multiple tight rollbacks, course designer Bernardo Cabral (POR) built an impressive track for riders to conquer. Multiple riders fell victim to four faults and three veteran riders advanced to the jump-off. The short course had riders galloping forward and leaving out strides between fences in a true fight to the finish.
Just a few seconds behind King, Beth Underhill o(USA) aboard Count Me In were awarded the second place honors for their time of 38.08 seconds. Owned by Sandy Lupton, Count Me In, is a fourteen-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Count Grannus x Sunshine).
The podium was completed by Will Simpson (USA) and his long time mount Chacco P (Chacco-Blue x Cera P), a twelve-year-old Mecklenburg gelding, owned by Simpson himself, with a quick time of 38.32 seconds. The pair had two unfortunate rails to finish in the third position.
King has been paired with Coffee To Go for the last year and a half. In that time, King has continued getting to know and developing Coffee To Go into the horse that he is today. The twelve-year-old Westphailan gelding (Cinquecento 7 x Der Clou), owned by Spruce Meadows LTD, is very special to King. The duo have competed in multiple CSI 2* and CSI 3* events with consistent rounds and King is fully confident that it is his time to shine.
“I was kind of shocked how many people were having rails; my first horse had an unfortunate rail but I was pretty confident going in with the way he has been jumping. It was a pretty decent track, if I could just stay out of his way and be smooth, we would be good,” narrated King. “We had some great talent in the jump-off. Beth Underhill on her horse is just so fast naturally and Will [Simpson] is one of the best riders I have ever seen no matter what he is sitting on. I was very honored to beat him.”
“He is a very special animal. He has more talent than maybe any other horse I have sat on, physically. Mentally he has taken a little while to develop,” explained King. “I have had him for a year and a half and I have known he has been so close. He is just so consistent and so close. Now I am able to let him gallop and turn, I know him so well. Livepools are an after thought these days. He is such a talented horse and I think he really, mentally, is coming into his own right now.”
Final Results – $36,600 AIG Jump-off Challenge CSI 3* 1.45m
1) Kyle King (USA) & Coffee To Go – 0 / 0 – 36.80
2) Beth Underhill (CAN) & Count Me In – 0 / 0 – 38.07
3) William Simpson (USA) & Chacco P – 0 / 8 – 38.32
Source: Press Release by Sydney Lowe / Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © ESI Photography