Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – July 16, 2023 – World No. 8 Kent Farrington (USA) is the first to admit he’s been in a “building phase” with his string over the past couple years. He’s also made it clear, based on his results, that he will be the one to watch in the FEI divisions for years to come with a powerful up-and-coming string taking wins worldwide.
He came in well prepared on Sunday of the second week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) aboard Toulayna, a 9-year-old Zangersheide mare (Toulon x Parco) he’s been producing for roughly two years.
But he also had another top mount in Sunday’s class, a seasoned veteran in Creedance, the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) who has taken CSI 5* victories across the globe. All eyes in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring were on them both as potential winners.
Farrington jumped clear over Mauricio Garcia’s (PUR) first-round track with both mounts, and he knew each one could be highly competitive. Ultimately, it was Toulayna that clocked in roughly a tenth of a second faster than Creedance, giving Farrington the one-two finish he aimed for.
“I had two horses on opposite sides of the spectrum,” he said of his two mounts in Sunday’s class. “It’s good training for [Toulayna] in a three-star class. Creedance is 16 years old, and I went at the end and thought I’d be a little easier on him and he could cruise. He’s so fast across the ground I knew he’d still get a top finish and we ended up one-two. The plan worked well today.”
It was not an easy task to take those top two spots though, as he had two of 14 qualifiers for the short course. Up against pairs who were thirsty for a grand prix win, Farrington knew the exact ride each of his horses needed to be as fast as they could be.
Cathleen Driscoll (USA) fell just short of another FEI victory with Arome, owned by Plain Bay Farm, and took third place.
“[Toulayna] has been great,” Farrington remarked on the mare’s progression into the higher levels of the sport. “She’s really stepped up this year and has already won some grand prixs and jumped some five-star classes. This was an easier week for her compared to what we’ve been doing and I thought she really shined.” Just one of many younger mounts in Farrington’s string, he’s well loaded with up-and-coming talent and prepared to continue to take big wins for years to come.
With a unique talent for identifying young horses, Farrington has given his newest horses time to develop, which is proving successful. “That’s what I try to do in building a team of horses. We call them ‘high-potential young horses’ and we take our time bringing them up,” he explained. “I got [Toulayna] as a 7-year-old and at the beginning of her 8-year-old year I hardly showed at all. I think we went six months of no showing, and then progressed her at the pace I thought she was ready. Now she’s really stepping into gear and I’ve been moving her up and down depending on where we are in the season.”
Farrington has been taking victories in Traverse City for several years, winning the American Gold Cup the very first year it was held at the Flintfields Horse Park. “It’s a great place to spend some time, especially with young horses,” he remarked. “The weather is good, the footing is really good, they have a mix of course builders here and a mix of level of competition. It is great for my young and up and coming horses to be able to move up and down. That’s my plan for the next few weeks.”
With two great results under his belt, Farrington and the rest of the FEI athletes look ahead to CSI2* action during GLEF III.
Also highlighting the final afternoon of GLEF II, the Traverse City Horse Show Charity Ticket Program raised $3,210 for Hospice of Michigan.
Final Results – $145,100 Grand Prix of Michigan CSI 3*
1) Kent Farrington (USA) & Toulayna – 0 / 0 – 39.48
2) Kent Farrington (USA) & Creedance – 0 / 0 –39.60
3) Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Arome – 0 / 0 – 39.82
Source: Press Release from Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography / Megan Giese Photography