Thermal, California, USA – February 18, 2023 – Between the Grand Prix arena and the golf course, Conor Swail (IRL) has been on top form in the desert. After finishing second in Friday night’s $145,100 CSI4* Welcome Prix with Theo 160, Swail and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Christian 25 x Calando IV) took the win in Saturday’s $38,700 Pomponio Ranch Classi CSI 4* with a time of 32.91 seconds.
“Theo had a good result last night under the lights, so today was a more comfortable course for him after what he had done,” Swail explained. “The first round was pretty solid and the jump-off I was very happy with. I was very tight back to the second jump. I also got a very good turn back to the double combination. I saw one very early and he picked up beautifully. I was very happy with the round. I thought it was going to take a very good round to beat it.”
Nine pairs advanced to the jump-off after navigating Alan Wade’s (IRL) track clear, but no one could catch Swail’s early lead.
The Irishman is currently ranked fifth in the Longines FEI World Rankings, and has held a spot within the top ten for an impressive stretch of time. “I’ve been very consistent since I’ve been up in the top ten,” he remarked. “I have a good group of horses and they’re very well managed; I have a good team at the moment and we’re doing a lot of things right. I think that’s the reason for the continued success.”
In addition to his success at DIHP, Swail is one of the few riders traveling between winter circuits in Florida and California.
Katie Laurie (AUS) and McCaw MVNZ, owned by Carissa McCall, finished second with a time of 33.65 seconds.
Matt Archer (USA) with Zibaloubet Z, owned by Rys Farms, LLC, landed in third with a time of 36.27 seconds.
“It’s going really well for me,” he commented. “It’s a beautiful place [at DIHP] for the horses. I am competing four or five horses here. I don’t really understand why more people aren’t doing what I’m doing. It’s a great facility, the footing is fantastic, the hospitality is super, and the weather is great, golf is great. It’s a better place here to build up your horses.”
Swail demonstrates incredible balance and horsemanship in the saddle, which he attributes to riding and breaking young and unpredictable horses in his younger years.
“When something quick happens, you have to put yourself in the center,” he explained. “It’s more of an instinct thing but I always try to sit up and give them an opportunity to stay on their four feet. I make a lot of unusual moves; I don’t know whether they’re necessary sometimes. I seem to feel they are at the time, so why change it when I could just stick with it at this stage.”
Swail hasn’t just been competitive in the show ring, however. He has made the most of his days in the desert and frequents the local golf courses. “I got a game [of golf] yesterday actually,” Swail laughed. “I showed in the morning [on Friday] and got a game between that class and the night class.”
FEI competition concludes for Desert Circuit VI on Sunday with the $226,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI 4*.
Final Results: $38,700 Pomponio Ranch CSI4* 1.45m Classic
1) Conor Swail (IRL) & Theo 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV, Team Philippaerts – 0 / 0 – 32.91
2) Katie Laurie (AUS) & McCaw MVNZ: 2011 NZWB gelding by Corofino II x Cassini II, Carissa McCall – 0 / 0 –33.65
3) Matt Archer (USA) & Zibaloubet Z: 2014 ZANG gelding by Zirocco Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet, Rhys Farms, LLC – 0 / 0 – 36.27
4) Uma O`Neill (NZL) & Londons de Muze: 2014 OS stallion by London x Conthargos, O’Neill Showjumping LLC – 0 / 0 –36.99
5) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Stern dei Folletti: 2011 HOLST gelding by Toulon x Berlin, Morning Star Sporthorses, LLC – 0 / 4 – 33.88
6) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Nadale van Dorperheide: 2013 BWP gelding by Zilverstar T x Winningmood, Ilan Ferder – 0 / 4 – 35.22
7) Vanessa Mannix (CAN) & Carmela Z: 2011 ZANG mare by Candillo 3 x Nissan Caretano Z, Vanessa Mannix: 0/4/36.38
8) Chandler Meadows (USA) & Zamia 3: 2007 HOLST mare by Aljano 2 x Dream Of Glory, Chandler Meadows – 0 / 8 – 37.27
9) Eric Krawitt (CAN) & Chicago CM: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cassini x Carpaccio, Eric Krawitt – 0 / 14 – 47.54
10) Natalie Dean (USA) & Dotcom D’Athuit: 2013 SF mare by Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel, Marigold Sporthorses LLC – 4 – 66.58
11) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Calypso de Blondel: 2012 SF gelding by Lauterbach x Kassidi, Ilan Ferder – 4 – 70.01
12) Bretton Chad (CAN) & Grandeur WP: 2011 KWPN gelding by Whistler x Vainqueur, Stone Ridge Farms LLC – 4 – 73.64
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas for Desert International Horse Park (DIHP)
Photos: © DIHP / HD – High Desert Photo / MG / ON
Categories: CSI 4*, English, Jumper News Ireland