Sweet Victory For Conor Swail At Mars Equestrian CSI4* Grand Prix

Conor Swail and Count Me In ride to victory at WEF. Photo by Sportfot

Victory was sweet for Count Me In and Ireland’s Conor Swail in the CHF216,000 MARS Equestrian CSI4* Grand Prix, the featured event on the expansive grass derby field at Equestrian Village during the Winter Equestrian Festival Week 4 on Saturday, Feb. 4.

The pressure was on for Swail riding Count Me In, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding owned by Sandy Lupton and Mannon Farm. The first to crack the code on the opening round track designed by Anderson Lima, Swail was the trailblazer again in a five-horse jump-off.

“I’m lucky to have Crosby,” said Swail, currently ranked fifth in the world. “He’s a very fast horse. I was trying to give it a good go and put the other riders under enough pressure and hope that they would make mistakes. It was a tough track, but fair I thought. I have an amazing horse, and I hope his good form continues. This was our first time out this year, and I must say I thought he felt fabulous.”

Count Me In has been enjoying a much-deserved break since a successful outing at the CHI Geneva 5* in December. After spending a month in the paddock at Swail’s home base in Ireland, Count Me In came out strong to post a time that would lead the field by six full seconds. They stopped the clock at 38.53 seconds.

U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut chased Swail down on Confu but came up short to finish second. Third went to Ashlee Bond with the fastest four-fault performance riding Garfield.

When Swail returned for the prize ceremony, Count Me In entered the ring with an obvious show of confidence. “He does have a bit of nervous energy when we’re competing because he has so much quality, but he’s such a relaxed guy when he comes back in again,” Swail said. “He is the horse of a lifetime for me, and he’s changing my career, so hopefully we’ll get another few years together.”

Swail has returned to Florida to compete after spending time on the West Coast of the U.S. and is looking forward to the competition.

“If you’re winning here, you can win anywhere in the world,” he said. “It’s nice to come and compete against the best.”

Swail was presented as winner of the Mars Equestrian Grand Prix by Bridgett McIntosh of Mars Equestrian. He also received the Village of Wellington Cup from Mayor Anne Gerwig.