Thermal, California, USA – December 09, 2022 – The former world-ranked number one has made his mark on Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). Kent Farrington (USA) returned to Thermal for the first time in over 10 years and snagged a CSI 5* win Friday evening of Desert Holiday II aboard Orafina in the $74,200 CWD 1.50m CSI 5*.
“Orafina is naturally a very fast horse,” he said of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (For Fashion x Canturo). “She’s exceptionally careful so for her it’s really about riding her best round. You have to ride her on a high tempo and attacking stride because she’s so careful at the fences. Most jump-offs are just about doing her round and not worrying about what the rest of the class is going to do. I didn’t actually watch many others; I just let her do her thing and tried not to mess it up.”
Farrington and Orafina were one of eight pairs to jump clear over Alan Wade’s (IRL) first-round track and advance to the jump-off. From there, it was a game Farrington knew well, speeding to a time of 32.72 seconds, which could not be caught, though they tried.
Simon McCarthy (IRL) claimed second place with Rock Ridge Farms’ Gotcha (Stakkato x Cassini I), backed by a penalty-free jump-off performance in 33.59 seconds.
Amy Millar (CAN) rounded out the top three with Christiano (Canoso x Compliment), owned by Future Adventures, doing so in 36.03 seconds.
Farrington, 41, seems to be speaking the same language as his horses as they go around these massive, challenging tracks, but it’s partially because he is communicating vocally with them along with giving more traditional aids. “I have a few different sounds for commands I have with horses,” he remarked. “I think any way you can communicate with them so they understand what you want is going to be an advantage with your riding.”
This time last year, Farrington was in Geneva competing at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, but December 2022 brought him to the other side of the world, where he’s finding himself right at home. “I miss that event; it’s a great event, but I’m happy to be here,” he remarked about being at DIHP. “It’s a tremendous venue. I haven’t been here in over 10 years and it’s unbelievable the change they’ve made. The team behind it is incredible; hats off to them for putting on a great event. I’d love to come back. I’m interested in seeing what they do and what they have planned for the future. It has great potential and is a great place for our sport.”
Farrington is leading the Major League Show Jumping individual standings as competitors head into the final CSI5* Grand Prix of the season, the $450,000 Marshall & Sterling CSI5* Grand Prix Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.
Final Results – $74,200 CWD CSI 5*
1) Kent Farrington (USA) & Orafina – 0 / 0 – 32.72
2) Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Gotcha – 0 / 0 –33.59
3) Amy Millar (CAN) & Christiano – 0 / 0 –36.03
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © ESI Photography