The spectacular win by World #1 Kent Farrington in Central Park aboard his firecracker Creedance would have been notable enough in its own right in the electric atmosphere and technical track, but the win will go down as a true milestone in the sport when Kent announced his winnings would all be donated hurricane victims.
Kent made the announcement just before the class began, stating whatever his winnings turned out to be, he’d made arrangements with Creedance’s owners at RCG Farms to see that it was donated to Direct Relief, a humanitarian non-profit that provides medical relief and aid to victims of disaster. For winning the Grand Prix, the non-profit is now a whopping $71,000 richer.
“I’m a resident of Florida,” said Kent after the win. “A lot of us actually have houses and stables there and my mom lives there. She had to relocate to New York to stay with my sister avoiding the hurricane and we were lucky. We dodged a bullet, and it went to the other side of the state, but it was a reality check. We were lucky to get away without much damage, but a lot of people weren’t as fortunate.”
“I just felt like it was the right thing to do. I feel very lucky to be living my dream, traveling the world and competing for big money, and this event is all about showcasing our sport, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to do something for people who could use it.”
Rio designer Guilherme Jorge set two courses which challenged the best of them, ultimately only granting double clear rounds to four entries: Kent and Creedance, Lucy Deslaurier and Hester, Kristin Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino, and Hardin Towell and Lucifer V.
Hardin would ultimately prove to be Kent’s biggest competition, coming within 2/10’s of the winning time, and Kristin wasn’t far off in third, within half a second of the winner.
Nine horses made the jump-off, but many struggled to balance the test of the jump-off course against the clock, resulting in five riders with rails in the sudden death round.
“I watch Hardin ride a lot because he’s in Europe competing with the best riders in the world. He’s very competitive and very fast,” said Kent of his closest competitor. “I actually didn’t see him go tonight but they told me he had a very quick round. With this particular horse I try to have my own plan because he’s very fast and I have to play to his strengths, so I tried to make it up early in the course and then slow him down a little bit to the last fence, because sometimes he can get running too fast, and knock it down. My strategy today was to win it early and be able to ease off at the end.”
Creedance can be a full load of horse to handle and have great days and terrible days, but when he’s on point, they’re close to unbeatable, and Kent explains how they’ve made their relationships work.
“I’ve had this horse since he was seven years old, so for a bit of time. He’s always been really high energy and very competitive, so it’s more a matter of managing his energy and keeping his focus. He’s only ten years old, and already he’s got a lot of victories under his belt, and I think he has a big future in the sport.”
The world is in need of small brave horses and generous heroes, and we’re extremely lucky to have both at the top of our sport. Many thanks to Kent Farrington and Creedance’s co-owners, RCG Farms for their generosity, and you too can help Direct Relief by making a donation at their website. They have one of the best charity ratings in the nation and they’re currently addressing the needs of victims of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria, as well as Earthquake victims in Mexico, so you can feel good about your funds going directly the many folks in critical need, now.
Go Kent, and Go Jumping.