HALIFAX, MA – The $4,000 Open Jumper 1.40m sponsored by Hollow Brook Wealth Management headlined another exciting day of competition at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament. The day would go to set the tone for Kevin Babington winning 3 of the top prizes for the day on three different horses.
Kevin may have had the unlucky position of going first in the order of go against a field of 27 but connected with his mare and soon advanced to jump off and came out victorious with the best time of 38.810 split seconds faster than Cloe Hymowitz on Baritchou Dbt.
Cariatide, a 9-year-old mare that he bought as an investment horse and according to Babington “I brought her up and she has been very consistent up to 1.45m. I’m happy with her performance, she’s a really good horse and her comfort zone is 1.45m.”
“I jumped her in the first day and had one down but she felt amazing. For today’s class, she was really connected and was listening; everything went the right way – she felt like she wanted to win today.”
He describes Cariatide as a complete doll, “She’s like a pet, but she needs to be motivated and is quite happy to have a day off. The nice thing is you can put her in the ring and she is all business.”
Young Jumpers Shine
The Annex ring featured a trio of young jumper classes sponsored by World Equestrian Center including the 5 Year Olds 1.10m-1.15m class win, which went to Calano Z ridden by Taylor Flury and owned by Aliboo Farm, Inc.
Kevin describes Darkness Z as “a total sweetheart.” He rode the 5-year-old mare imported from Ireland by Diane Thomas to win in the 6 Year Olds 1.20-1.25m class. Babington cited, “she wins at least one class at every show. I really enjoy riding her since she very rarely touches the rail and is a super careful jumper – she has a beautiful technique.” His plans of not showing her too much this year have paid off and he’s been focused on getting her stronger through flatwork. “She will go to Hamptons and I have another 7-year-old showing there as well.”
“Call Me Ruth is very new for me, she recently came out of quarantine right before 2 HITs shows and this is her 3rd show. She’s a really nice horse and I’m looking to build her up to be a Grand Prix horse.”
As an Irish Sport horse breed in Ireland, she has some experience already overseas. “She competed in the sunshine tour in Spain and has good mileage.” Babington currently owns her with a partner but is preparing her for sale, “We bought three horses, all high caliber horses, but can’t keep them all.”
Babington describes Call Me Ruth as “all mare, but what I like about her; if she doesn’t make it for Grand Prix she would be an amazing young rider horse, she suits the American system and responds to a soft ride. She’s a really interesting horse.”
“I’ve been really happy with this show and they’ve done a fantastic job running it this year.” Babington looks forward to tomorrow’s competition with the young horses and then for the Grand Prix on Sunday with 2 horses including Super Chilled who was second in the Welcome Stake.
Course Design with the Young Horse in Mind
Speaking with course designer Nick Granat on his philosholphy for designing courses for young horses, he responded “The main thing is you want to keep it simple, most of these horses are just getting started, so you need to start them with a good experience.” The key is to keep it overly simple the first day and then you can build from there without taking a lot out of them.
“For the young horses, you don’t ask the same kinds of questions because you aren’t trying to create results like you do for Grand Prix level, at this stage you are trying to create horses.”
Granat designed last year at Silver Oak and loves being here. “This being an all jumper show provides a good atmosphere, great footing and overall it’s fantastic. I hope to be back here next year.”
Besting a field of 20, Casey Lorusso rode Cool Runnings to the win in the $1,500 High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper 1.3m sponsored by Dover Saddlery
The M&W Horses Inc. $7,500 Speed Derby was postponed this afternoon while the Olympic show jumping individual competition was broadcast on the Jumbotron, live from Rio. As soon as the medal ceremony wrapped, the first horse took to the Unicorn Landing Grand Prix field for the day’s main event.
Vasco Flores held the early lead with a 92.501 aboard the second of his three rides, Central Park. They held that lead until halfway through the class when Callie Smith and Upstaire made efficient work of the winding course, coming home in 88.621. Once again Alan Wade’s course made use of all the field’s available features including both banks and the grob, ensuring that riders needed to use the terrain to their advantage and plan their turns accordingly to prevail. Several riders were caught out just a bit wide heading up the bank to a red and white vertical at fence 7, while fence 11 heading into the grob gave pause to a few combinations as well. Crowd favorite Kristen Bumpus and her speedy Cupid had a rail to give them a combined score of 90.998, claiming the second spot on the leaderboard, until Aidan Kileen and Casanova p.b. raced to the win, moving Bumpus and Cupid to third. Esconial and Adrienne Iverson followed Killeen and worked hard to break into the top three, but fell just short at 92.493, to land after Bumpus and Cupid, knocking early leaders Flores and Central Park to fourth.
Kileen was ultimately able to edge out the competition with a strategic use of the right hand turn to the bank, which gave some riders a bit of difficulty. “My main plan was to try and be tight around the bank – you were able to jump up and get a little tighter to that vertical up there and that’s definitely where I caught a bit of time. It was the same on the hill, you had an option to come a little tighter down, and then the rest of the course was really quite open.”
Kileen’s ride Casanova p.b. or ‘Tinka’ is a 9-year old Dutch Warmblood gelding who arrived at Skyline Stables just two months ago. Today was Kileen’s first time showing the horse for his client who is a junior and he was clearly impressed. “He’s so careful and quick across the ground. He’s really fun to ride – and he’s quite a competitive speed horse.”
Summing up his thoughts on the course, an obviously delighted Kileen shared, “Alan Wade is an amazing course designer. The course from start to finish was just kind of galloping and the horse is quite big across the ground, so he was well suited to it.”
Photos Courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography