U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington has found yet another leading lady in Toulayna with a win in the $226,000 Horseware Ireland CSI4* Grand Prix under the glow of Saturday Night Lights on Saturday, March 18 at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Stepping up to the biggest test of her career to date, the nine-year-old Zangersheide mare could not be caught over the Andy Christiansen Jr.-designed jump-off track and ticked the box for her first Grand Prix win. Nine horses advanced to the tie-breaking short course, where the lead changed five times.
“This is definitely the biggest track she’s jumped,” said Farrington of the mare that was also third in the NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix during WEF Week 3. “I have high hopes for this horse. She’s fast, careful and everything I like in a show jumper.”
Farrington’s Tokyo teammate Jessica Springsteen set the pace as the first clear round aboard her Olympic mount Don Juan van de Donkhoeve for owner Stone Hill Farm. Their time of 39.58 seconds was soon eclipsed by fellow U.S. rider Lillie Keenan on Chansonette Farm’s Agana van het Gerendal Z in 39.10 seconds.
Ireland’s sole representative in the Horseware Ireland Grand Prix was Darragh Kenny in the irons of Amsterdam 27. They stole the lead from Keenan and stopped the clock at 38.94 seconds before Nicole Shahinian-Simpson took it back for the U.S. in 37.94 seconds. Farrington did just enough to seal the deal by stopping the timers at 37.38 seconds.
“I’m very confident on this horse, and that’s the way I like to do it; get them when they are young and produce them myself, so I know them quite well,” said Farrington, who has been with Toulayna since the mare’s seven-year-old year. “Even if they are green stepping up to this level, I know where I can take a shot.”
Farrington has set high expectations for Toulayna — ones that she is already meeting.
“She’s a very high-strung horse with a lot of blood and very sharp, but I try to keep the horses fresh and interested in the job because it’s a long season here,” he said. “She’s done four weeks this season, and I think that’s plenty. We will hit the trails now and just chill out.”
Shahinian-Simpson finished as runner-up on the spirited mare Akuna Mattata, owned by Carol Rosenstein and Silver Raven Farms. Kenny rounded out the top three for owner Vlock Show Stables, with Keenan and Springsteen capping the top five, respectively.
Laura Kraut, a third member of the U.S. team from the Tokyo Olympic games, had the time beat but pulled a rail at the final fence of the jump-off to take sixth. Kraut, a Horseware Ireland sponsored rider, was the defending champion of the Horseware Ireland CSI4* Grand Prix after winning the title in 2022 on Confu.
The Horseware Ireland CSI4* Grand Prix highlighted WEF Week 10 with thrilling competition.
“We have a long history with Wellington,” said Nina Filette, Horseware Ireland sponsorship and events executive. “We have been sponsors for many years, and it gets bigger and better every year. It’s a pleasure to be here. It’s one of our main shows on the calendar every year. It was an exciting jump-off, and the sport is incredible every week.”
Farrington was presented as winner of the $226,000 Horseware Ireland CSI4* Grand Prix by Filette and Erin Gregory, marketing coordinator at Horseware Ireland.