The Grand Prix Stadium at the Desert International Horse Park is back in action as show jumping commenced with the $30,000 Carolina Arena Equipment Grand Prix. An impressive 91 riders took the challenge and it was Christian Heineking (GER) and NKH Darco Son who galloped to the top spot after a jump-off time of 38.237 seconds. Finishing close behind in second was Ashlee Bond (ISR) aboard her own Donatello 141 with a time of 38.617 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Richard Fellers (USA) on Kathleen Waldorf’s Steelbi with a time of 39.078 seconds.
Christian Heineking on NKH Darco Son. Photo by ESI.
Course designer Joe Rycroft built a challenging course for riders consisting of 16 jumping efforts, which effectively separated the top performers from the line-up. The jump-off was equally as technical, making for an exciting second round. Bond and Donatello 141 held the lead for the majority of the jump-off until Heineking came in and posted a faster time by tenths of a second, earning him the win.
“We came out after a three-week break and I felt very positive about the first round because he is a great horse and is well-rested,” Heineking noted. “I didn’t watch many that went in front of me. I tried my best to open his step up and use that to my advantage to see where I could get to.”
Heineking has been training NKH Darco Son since he was just four-years-old and he is very happy with all his tremendous progress. NHK Dacro Son is owned by Heineking’s long time sponsor, NKH LLC, and he hopes to continue the great progress the have already made.
Show jumping continues through the weekend and finishes with the $75,000 Farmvet Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.
About the Desert International Horse Park
With nearly 1.3 million square feet of competition and riding space, the Desert International Horse Park is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America. Offering multiple weeks of world-class equestrian competition from October through March, the facility is a destination location for thousands of equestrians, their horses, family and friends for several months annually. Competitors from all over the world travel to Thermal, CA to not only compete but to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.