Thermal, Texas, USA – December 17, 2022 – Mark Kinsella was a force to be reckoned with in Saturday afternoon’s $75,000 Adequan® Grand Prix at Desert Holiday III. Back on the grass field, the Irishman topped a competitive field of horse-and-rider combinations aboard Ben Asselin’s Quality H, taking top honors and leading the victory lap.
Only three pairs navigated Joey Rycroft’s (CAN) first-round track fault free, with Nicky Galligan (IRL) being the first to do so with Javas Miss Jordan. Joining him right after and guaranteeing a jump-off was Kinsella’s student Kyara Semrau (CAN) with Carola Z. Kinsella had the final spot in the jump-off, with the advantage of knowing just what needed to be done.
“I know Nicky Galligan, with his mare, is always wicked fast, so I knew I had to be quick everywhere,” Kinsella remarked on his strategy in the short course. “My horse has a very big stride, so I knew my numbers. I left out one to the combination and I left out one to the last. I thought if I did all that and I stuck to my plan I’d be there, and it paid off.”
Nicky Galligan (IRL) took second, going clear in 36.243 seconds the jump-off with Javas Miss Jordan (Luidam x Obos Quality 004).
Kyara Semrau (CAN) took third place aboard Carola Z (Carolus II x Catango Z) on another double-clear effort, completing their second performance in 37.808 seconds.
Quality H earned Kinsella a big win during National Sunshine Series, and since then the horse has been competing at the CSI5* level with Kinsella in the irons.
“Quality’s been excellent,” he continued about the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding (FRH Quaid x Stakkato). “He’s had a couple heavy weeks. Last Saturday he was third in the CSI 5* 1.50m class, which was excellent. I just wanted to give him one more outing here on the grass. As luck played out, they had an extra show here with this nice Grand Prix, and it was a really nice way to finish the year.”
As for the start of the new year and Desert Circuit, Kinsella will continue to build Quality H and carefully select classes for him. “The FEI schedule here is excellent so I’ll pick and choose a couple weeks as targets for him,” he noted. “He’s gotten lots of valuable experience the past few months so now we can ease off and have him do his job whenever he’s asked.”
Kinsella is grateful for the addition of the third week of Desert Holiday, as are many of his students, a few of which jumped Saturday’s Grand Prix. “It’s so nice for our clients to be here,” he said. “Kate [Huffstutler] jumped her first grand prix with her horse, Kyara was third with her horse, and Michael [Williamson] rode his horse. It’s a really good opportunity to get out on the field again in a less pressurized situation. Some people excel more under these conditions so it’s a good learning curve for everyone.”
Nineteen-year-old Semrau had an emotional day in the $75,000 Adequan® Grand Prix, taking third place overall and winning the Equifit U25 Classic.
“I’ve had her for four and a half years now,” Semrau said of Carola Z. “She was off for a year and I think time off did her well because she’s jumping amazing now. Our partnership has grown, and my riding has gotten better too with the help of Mark and the team. I love her so much. She’s my heart horse. It means the world to me [to have her back]. When I ride her I feel like we have such a partnership and I’m so excited that she’s back.”
Desert Holiday III continues Sunday with the $30,000 Antares 1.40m Open Classic and the $5,000 FarmVet 1.35m Open Classic on the grass field.
Final Results – $75,000 Adequan Grand Prix
1) Mark Kinsella (IRL) & Quality H – 0 / 0 – 35.654
2) Nicky Galligan (IRL) & Javas Miss Jordan – 0 / 0 – 36.243
3) Kyara Semrau (CAN) & Carola Z – 0 / 0 – 37.808
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas for Desert International Horse Park (DIHP)
Photos: © Tori Bilas