Kyle King’s young team delivered under pressure in this weekend’s FEI World Cup qualifier at Thunderbird Show Park. In a field representing five nations, only three riders advanced to the jump off, with King and his 10 year-old Oldenburg taking the day.
International course designer, Peter Holmes, challenged the field with early spreads, big verticals, tight combinations and the opportunity to get in a good gallop at the end.
“I was pretty happy when I saw the course,” noted King. “It’s one of Quigley’s first times at this level, but he has tremendous scope so I thought the track was a really good set up for him.”
King was early in the order with his first horse of the day, eight year-old Holsteiner, Onyx.
“I rode Onyx first and I realized that the combination rode a little tighter than I thought it would,” King said. “We were a little unlucky – I could have, should have, had him in the jump off too.“
Venezuela’s, Andres Rodriguez, was next in aboard Cabalitto. Adding a stride in at the first combination, he was flawless throughout, delivering the first clear round of the day. Isabelle LaPierre and her 11 year-old Dutch mare were right behind him and quick to guarantee a jump off.
Alec Lawler dropped a late rail on Agamemnon, his 12 year-old Swedish Warmblood, a former dressage horse, while Alexander Grayton, Laura-Jane Tidball & Florida’s Lauren Crooks all had the final fence down to keep them out of the second round.
California’s, Saer Coulter, posted four faults on both Graciella 50 and Carmena Z, while coach, Markus Beerbaum, looked on.
“It was a very selective course,” Beerbaum said. “The course designer did a great job of using the field.”
King returned mid-round to post a clear ride on Quigley, which proved to be the last of the day. Calgary’s John Anderson and Terrific, winners of Thursday’s $33k Spring Classic Grand Prix, dropped the first fence and after a tough trip through the combination, chose to retire.
Returning for the jump off, Rodriguez put pressure on LaPierre and King with precise angles and speed through the course to finish with a time of 37.505. LaPierre swung slightly wider between fences, but despite a spirited gallop to the final fence, was a few seconds off the pace at 40.580.
King took a moment to show Quigley a fence on the way in to the ring, before putting his huge stride, great scope and determined gallop to work. As they crossed the finish, King was quick to look to the scoreboard before breaking into a big smile and throwing his hand up in the air.
“Quigley is really green and inexperienced, but he’s been very consistent,” explained King. “He’s a big horse and he can really fly.”
King headed east to Spruce Meadows following the WC Qualifier, with plans to return to Thunderbird later this summer.
“I like riding in this big field,” King notes. “I’ll be back in June & July with some horses that I’m riding for Spruce and then in August I’ll have the full team back together and here for the World Cup.”
In addition to prize money, King received the SSG ‘Ride Clean for the Green’ $1000 bonus for wearing the brand’s digital gloves.
Competition at the Park resumes June 29th with the West Coast Classic and continues July 3rd with the Western Family Tournament. In August, Thunderbird will host the Fort Classic Tournament from the 14th to the 18th and the Fort Festival Tournament from the 21st to the 25th – culminating with the $100k Canaccord Genuity World Cup qualifier.
To receive updates from the Park or to arrange for on-site accreditation, please contact publicist, Pamela Saunders at Composed Creative: firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-833-3372.