Thermal, California, USA – March 18, 2023 – Conor Swail (IRL) made his way back to the top of the podium in Saturday’s $38,700 Pomponio Ranch Classic CSI 4* 1.45m. Of his two mounts in the starting order, it was Theo 160, owned by Team Philippaerts, who galloped to the win.
“The first round he jumped was one of his best rounds of the whole season, which is a big statement,” Swail commented on how the 11-year old Holsteiner gelding (Christian 25 x Calando IV) performed. “He was fantastic in the first round and then continued in the second round. He loves this grass field. Every time he’s in here he jumps fantastic.”
Four pairs navigated Peter Grant’s (CAN) first round track penalty free. Vanessa Mannix (CAN) was first to jump off with Kingston clocking in at 47.33 seconds and ultimately took third place.
Her fellow Canadian Ali Ramsay (CAN) took the second-place spot right between them aboard Conrado 12 with a time of 46.81 seconds.
It’s no secret Theo has quick foot speed from jump to jump, but as much of an advantage as that quality can be, Swail is focusing on developing the horse’s balance and focus in the ring. “I’ve been trying to slow him down,” he explained. “I basically do laps and try to get him to relax. I let him canter around at his speed and then try to slow him down. Just to keep getting it in his head. He can run but he has to balance.”
While Theo is typically in the middle of Swail’s talented string of horses, he has stepped up and proved himself week after week throughout Desert Circuit with numerous wins and podium finishes.
“He has been my best horse at the show,” Swail remarked. “Theo is supposed to be my fifth best horse and he’s number one at the minute. It’s nice that I’m able to have him while I’m trying to build up the other guys. You have to try to be consistent and competitive with other horses while you’re getting the other ones back up.”
Throughout his travels this winter between both coasts, Swail has maintained a strong presence in the desert and is already making plans to return in the fall.
“Personally it’s been great,” he said of his experience at DIHP this season. “I’ve gained a lot of ranking points and I have a nice group of horses here that have gained good experience. This field is one of the nicest fields anywhere in the world to compete in. [There’s] great prize money, and the owners and everyone involved look after it really well. I’m definitely coming back next year; I’m looking forward to it.”
Final Results – $38,700 Pomponio Ranch Classic CSI 4* 1.45m
1) Conor Swail (IRL) & Theo 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV, Team Philippaerts: 0/0/43.48
2) Ali Ramsay (CAN) & Conrado 12: 2013 ZANG gelding by Cardento x Diarado, Ramsay Equestrian Inc.: 0/0/46.81
3) Vanessa Mannix (USA) & Kingston: 2013 AES gelding by Ustinov x Insider, Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/47.33
4) Matt Archer (USA) & Zibaloubet Z: 2014 ZANG gelding by Zirocco Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet, Rhys Farms, LLC: 0/0/47.34
5) Kyle King (USA) & Odysseus: 2011 AHHA gelding by Osilvis x Riverman, Patricia Vasey: 4/69.82
6) Chandler Meadows (USA) & Casiano: 2014 Anglo European gelding by Casino Berlin x Iroko, Chandler Meadows: 4/71.25
7) Conor Swail (IRL) & Vital Chance de La Roque: 2009 SF gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Rivage du Poncel, Conor Swail: 4/71.33
8) Mandy Porter (USA) & Cadeau Z: 2013 ZANG gelding by Carmena Z x Quattro B, Risen EQ Holdings LLC: 4/71.78
9) Paige Jardine (AUS) & Crazy: 2012 HANN mare by Cornet Obolensky x Compliment, Paige Jardine: 4/72.16
10Katie Laurie (AUS) & Cera Caruso: 2008 AWHA gelding by Casall x Capone, Carissa McCall: 4/73.03
11) Vanessa Mannix (CAN) & Valentino d’Elte: 2009 SF gelding by Castronom Z De Hus x Windsor, Vanessa Mannix: 4/73.92
12) Tali Dejon (USA) & Jeffrey Jarden: 2014 KWPN gelding by Bustique x Warrant, Tali DeJong: 4/74.76
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © DIHP / HD – High Desert Photo / MG / ON
Categories: CSI 4*, English, Jumper News Ireland