Thermal, California – January 20, 2022 – The first Grand Prix of the season took over the Grand Prix Arena on Thursday as athletes vied for the top prize in the $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix at Desert Circuit I. Set as a speed format, 21 horse-and-rider combinations took to the Ken Krome-designed track and attempted to navigate the single round as efficiently as possible with all the rails intact. While many pairs took direct routes and vied for the quickest time over the track, it was ultimately Canada’s Darrin Dlin (CAN) and Buddy Bounce who captured the win.
The course featured 12 numbered obstacles, including three double combinations, a liverpool vertical, and lines extending across the expanse of the Grand Prix Arena. With the goal of going as quickly as possible, riders opened their horses’ strides in the bending lines and around the corners, but the three combinations required a balanced and collected stride in order to keep rails from falling, which interfered with some riders’ attempts to stay on an open, flowing stride.
Dlin (CAN) and Buddy Bounce, owned by Dorothy Dlin, beat out Olympian Cassio Rivetti (BRA) and his mount, Delaney Batter’s Cristal de Menardiere, by just under half a second. In third was Canada’s Lisa Carlsen (CAN) with Livestream 2.
Dlin got on a good pace with the gelding from the beginning of the course, taking direct paths down the bending lines and utilizing the horse’s large stride around the turns. He took a bold inside turn to the oxer at fence 10, cutting back tightly but finding the right distance and giving the pair the edge they needed to speed down the final line and claim the top spot in the class.
Buddy Bounce, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding has been ridden by Dlin for three years and the two have grown as a partnership. Dlin noted that he knows when it’s show time, and showcased it both Thursday night and throughout 2021 as he moved up the FEI ranks. Dlin used his mount’s stride and scope to his advantage to take home the top prize during the afternoon’s highlight event to kick off the eight-week Desert Circuit.
Juniors and Amateurs take center stage in the Grand Prix Arena on Friday of Desert Circuit I. The weekend features Saturday’s $40,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix with the $1,000 EquiFit U25 Classic and the first class in the $10,000 Interactive Mortgage 10 & Under Futurity Series on Sunday.
From The Winners Circle
Darrin Dlin – Winner, $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix
On today’s course:
“It was a really nice course. It was getting a little bit harder as it went with the shadows and the sun going down. Right off the bat I had to challenge him a little bit at the first jump and then just keep challenging him a little bit as it went. He’s a very careful horse and with the shadows the way they were, it was kind of tailored to him, so he jumped really well – he was right on it. It’s his first time back this year and he was ready to roll. I’m super happy with him.”
On Buddy Bounce and their partnership:
“This horse I’ve had since 2019. He was sent to me to start up, and he was 7 at the time. He’d done a little bit, but not much. Since then I’ve just brought him up level to level quite quickly and he’s jumped some very big FEI classes last year and I think this year is going to be a big year for him. He’s Irish, so he’s very casual, very arrogant, and then he walks into the ring and he puffs up and he’s a real show competition horse.”
Goals with Buddy Bounce over Desert Circuit:
“Goals are to get him back into the FEI probably next week. The following week he’ll have a little break and gear up for the big 4* at the end to just get him going. Really the biggest one will be the 4*.”
“The desert facility is fantastic. The amount of improvements they’ve made, the staff here – I can’t say enough about it. It’s world class now.”
Final Results – $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix
1) Darrin Dlin (CAN) & Buddy Bounce – 0 / 63.209
2) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Cristal De Menardiere – 0 / 63.666
3) Lisa Carlsen (CAN) & Livestream 2 – 0 / 66.871
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas / Phelps Media Group for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © ESI Photography