Thermal, California, USA – March 20, 2021 – Top show jumping action continued at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) as FEI riders are preparing for the grand finale, the $250,000 Grand Prix CSI 4*, on Sunday afternoon. In Saturday’s competition, riders navigated the $36,600 Sun Air Jets. Twenty horse and rider duos tackled the track and it was Kyle King (USA) and Magic Mike (Zapatero x Zivola) who captured the win and the greater part of the prize pool.
Course designer Marina Azevedo (BRA) built a straightforward course for riders to maneuver featuring a big triple combination and many open, airy fences spread throughout. Third in the order of go, Mavis Spencer (USA) aboard Belladonna 42, were the first to go clear with a time of 76.66 seconds. Only four additional riders would add their names to the jump-off roaster: King, Mariano Maggi (SWE), Katie Laurie (AUS) and Matt Archer (USA).
Setting the pace was Mavis Spencer (USA) and the twelve-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman, Belladonna 42 (Clearway x Vita 24) with a jump-off time of 37.50 seconds. Unfortunately, the duo fell victim to four faults at the final fence and ended the class in third. Finishing second was Katie Laurie (AUS) and her own ten-year-old gelding Django II (Loradno x Flower Power), with a clear ride and jump-off time of 40.16 seconds.
Magic Mike is a fairly new mount for King. He got the ride from Elizabeth Kilham in early 2020. Kilhman has owned the twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero x Indoctro) since he was five years old. After having most of the season off, King has been working at getting Magic Mike back in top jumping form. He brought him to DIHP in November for the National Sunshine Series and have had top ribbon results the entire time.
“He is very hot for a big horse. He does not take much energy to ride. He isn’t a push ride which is nice for a big horse. He has a ton of blood, he is always taking you which is great. I hardly crack a sweat when I’m riding him,” explained King. “I was very happy today getting into the jump off. I took a deep breath, I know he is fast so I didn’t try to get myself in any trouble. It just worked out.”
King has based his business at DIHP all winter long and has thoroughly enjoyed his time here.
“Steve gave me a really nice barn over in the permanent section. I have been here since October, this has been my home. It has been really nice for me because I have quite a few horses. Now they have added the extra rings and good trails. It’s nice because my horses can do all their work down there and only come up to this end of the property when it is time to compete,” continued King. “The facility has been really nice. I think the management is doing a great job. The course designers are first rate, all of that is just so nice.”
Final Results – $36,600 Sun Air Jets Jump-off Challenge CSI 4*
1) Kyle King (USA) & Magic Mike – 0 / 0 – 39.48
2) Katie Laurie (AUS) & Django II – 0 / 0 – 40.16
3) Mavis Spencer (USA) & Belladonna 42 – 0 / 4 – 37.50
Source: Press release by Sydney Lowe for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © ESI Photography