"I don't like to have 'free' fences in many courses," explained course designer Leopoldo Palacios (Caracas, Venezuela) of the challenging track he built for the HITS Indio Desert Circuit $50,000 Cosequin Grand Prix. Ray Texel (Beverly Hills, CA) rose to the challenge and logged the only clear round of the 31-horse field aboard Beverly Hills Equestrian Park's Fleur. In addition to the prize money of $15,000, Texel's win placed him securely at the top of the standings for the World Cup West Coast League.
"She is a very competitive horse," said Texel of the bay mare who usually attacks the courses with her ears pinned flat and only pricks them forward about three strides in front of each fence. "I went early in the class (6th) and I didn't want to watch the others. I like to set a plan and then ride it." Out of necessity, Texel made one deviation from his plan. "I was planning on six strides after the water, but as I was jumping it I could see that the six was going to be a big chore." Texel opted for the five strides and Fleur accommodated him.
Texel was not particularly surprised that there was no jump off. "I was hoping for the crowds' sake that we would have a jump off, but after the Friday class I calculated that of 57 rounds, only seven went clean. Using that same percentage I came up with one point something percent. I figured maybe two or three would be clean today," mused Texel.
Texel has his sites on both the World Cup Finals and the World Equestrian Games. He narrowly missed a berth on the 2000 Olympic squad. He has several strong international caliber mounts and finds the Indio Desert Circuit good preparation for the show season.
Duncan McFarlane (Suisun, CA) and Eezy captured second with only one time fault. "He jumped great today and was a little brighter than I expected. Normally he gets kind of sluggish in the heat." Of his single time fault that kept the pair from contesting first place in the jump off, McFarlane said, "I knew the time was going to be tight, and if I had gone later I would have known better to shave a second off." McFarlane represents New Zealand in international competition, and currently he has strong finishes in World Cup qualifying events.
Six competitors with four fault rounds tied for third.
$50,000 Cosequin Grand
Prix - Sunday, February 3, 2002
Place Horse Rider
Owner Prize Money Rd 1/ Rd 2
Upcoming events at the HITS Indio Desert Circuit:
February 10 11AM-1PM