An unseasonably rainy week across the East Coast of the USA may have spoiled the picture perfect atmosphere of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show’s beautiful grass field, which was unusable due to weather this week, but competition proceeded on the venue’s sand arenas, where Switzerland’s Beat Mandli won the $131,000 Empire State Grand Prix CSI3* on Sunday afternoon with Simba (Toulon). Thirty-three pairs entered the grand prix, and with just five in the jumpoff, Mandli had to head off McLain Ward aboard Clinta (Clinton), the talented mare with whom he won the Longines Masters Grand Prix of New York a few weeks ago. Both riders are based nearby to North Salem, New York where the show is held. Mandli was fastest by a hair to take the win; also going double clear was Brianne Goutal-Marteau, who placed 3rd with Viva Colombia (Couleur-Rubin).
Darragh Kenny is heading to Europe this week on a high after two very successful weeks in Lexington, Kentucky at the Kentucky Spring Series. The Irish rider won the $131,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* with Balou Du Reventon (Cornet Obolensky). He also placed 2nd with the 12 year old Oldenburg stallion in Thursday’s qualifier. Kenny just started competing the horse that was previously ridden by Colombia’s Jorge Matte and also Ljubov Kochetova of Russia. American lady rider Margie Engle and Royce (Café Au Lait) placed 2nd in the Grand Prix, and Rowan Willis of Australia was 3rd with Blue Movie (Chacco Blue)
Also in Kentucky, another Irish rider, Kevin Babington, won the Sunday grand prix for the second week in the row. Babington rode his veteran partner Mark Q to victory in the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, coming out just ahead of Todd Minikus and Amex Z. And Abigail McArdle won the U25 Grand Prix with Fanta Light B.
At the future site of the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, the spring circuit continued with Jimmy Torano winning’s the week’s feature class, the $25,000 Spring 3 Grand Prix. He rode Glasgow De Muze (Andiamo) to a double clear over Sarah Bagworth and Malou. Torano was also 3rd with Day Dream. Celso Arani finished in 4th with Ukulman De La Nutria (Quick Star.)
Riders are back at the Colorado Horse Park outside of Denver, Colorado, and Katharin Gualtieri took top honors with the 16-year-old Castalano (Capone) in the $25,000 Spring in the Rockies Grand Prix II on Saturday evening. Paul Rohrbach and Camerino were 2nd, and Nicki Wilcox was 3rd with JES Quito in the three-horse jumpoff.
Out on the West Coast, California-based, British rider Patrick Seaton won the $25,000 CWD Grand Prix with Skipio K (Taloubet K) at the Sonoma Horse Park. Fellow professional Carol Wright was 2nd with Conejito (Conejo HF), and Ashley Bewick was 3rd with Lintina. Carol’s daughter, Leslie Wright, placed 4th with Karo.
And competition began on both sides of Canada, with the Caledon Equestrian Park beginning its season over the weekend. Ireland's Daniel Coyle won the $35,500 CSI2* Grand Prix with Farona (Baltic VDL). Coyle also won Thursday's CSI2* Qualifier with Lothlorian Farm's homebred Canadian Sport Horse mare Tienna (For Pleasure).
Finally, the organizers of Thunderbird Show Park held a national exhibition grand prix in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Sunday afternoon. The event drew many spectators and billed as a success, with Kyle King taking victory in the grand prix. TBird will host its annual CSIO5* week this coming week.