Kent Farrington and Orafina unstoppable in Thermal

Kent Farrington and Orafina unstoppable in Thermal

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 CSI5* win Friday evening of Desert Holiday II aboard Orafina in the $72,400 CWD CSI5* 1.50m.

“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) took second with Rock Ridge Farms’ Gotcha, while Amy Millar (CAN) took third with Christiano, owned by Future Adventures.

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.

To open competition Friday morning, Daniel Coyle landed in the top position once again, continuing his winning streak, this time aboard Ariel Grange’s Gisborne VDL. The duo took the top spot in the $30,000 Brown Advisory 1.45m Open Classic, besting 45 entries. Just behind him in the second position was Jose Maria Quintana with Cross Creek Farms’ Chaccala, and James Arkins took third with Joevaro N.

Final Results: $74,200 CWD CSI5* 1.50m

1. ORAFINA: 2012 KWPN mare by For Fashion x Canturo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington LLC: 0/0/32.72

2. GOTCHA: 2011 HOLST mare by Stakkato x Cassini I
SIMON MCCARTHY (IRL), Rock Ridge Farms: 0/0/33.59

3. CHRISTIANO: 2012 BRAND gelding by Canoso x Compliment
AMY MILLAR (CAN), Future Adventures: 0/0/36.03

4. MIKE WAZOWSKI: 2012 HANN stallion by Balou Du Reventon x Centadel
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro: 0/37.00

5. FOR GOLD: 2011 HOLST gelding by For Fashion x Heraldik
ALEC LAWLER (USA), Lawler Show Jumping LLC: 0/4/33.40

6. PANDORA 258: 2008 HANN mare by Periguex x Lordanos
ARTURO PARADA VALLEJO (MEX), Arturo Parada Vallejo: 0/4/34.59

7. CONRAD 155: 2013 OS gelding by Cristallo x Contendro
RUPERT WINKELMANN (GER), Eickendorf Horses: 0/4/36.36

8. CARASINA HD: 2011 HOLST mare by Carrico x Cassini
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Trelawny Farm, LLC: 0/4/37.58

9. SERINGAT: 2006 SF gelding by Chef Rouge x Guillaume Tell
PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX), Ainhoa Manero Benavente: 0/8/37.90

10. CARISSIMO 25: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cascadello x Clinton
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Georgy Maskrey-Segesman: 2/80.37

11. CHACCO BUMPY: 2010 OS mare by Chacco-Blue x Toulon
LUIS PEDRO BIRABEN (ARG), Luis Pedro Biraben: 2/80.43

12. GARFIELD: 2011 KWPN gelding by Chellthago Z x Numero Uno
ASHLEE BOND (ISR), Stal Horn B.V.: 4/76.04