Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 1
His favorite cereal would definitely be Fruit Loops. Power song? Probably “Crazy Train.” We can’t confirm this, but we wouldn’t be surprised to learn he wears a tin foil hat back in the barn.
He looks more like a Saddlebred than a top jumping horse when he half trots/half paces into the ring, and not like a Saddlebred that’s winning classes. More like one that gets excused for trying to climb the walls.
I am of course talking about Creedance, nickname Cray Cray, Kent Farrington’s winning partner at the National Horse Show in last night’s $135,000 International Jumper Classic.
“We call him ‘special,’ ” Farrington said with a laugh.
Whatever the horse is, it works for him; the flashy gelding has been partnered with Farrington for the past three years, and they’ve accumulated no less than 13 FEI wins in their time together—Thursday night makes 14.
“He’s special with everything, but he jumps special too,” Farrington said. “Everything else goes with the territory. I kind of like them that way.”
Farrington had to out jump a field of 39 and a rather large jump-off of 13 to take the win. The class is a qualifier for Saturday’s big $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup qualifier, and despite going early in the jump-off, Farrington was able to lay down an uncatchable trip.
“He’s a very fast horse, and that makes a big difference; you can make a plan for him that you can stick with,” Farrington said. “It doesn’t really matter if there’s five or 25 clear, you can have confidence in his round and know it’s going to be close to the top.”
It’s been an interesting year for Farrington—he came into 2018 ranked No. 1 in the world and had been holding on to that spot for the better part of the year before falling from a horse in a training class in Wellington, Florida, and fracturing his leg. He spent three months recuperating before getting back in the ring in May.
Despite his absence as the summer went on it appeared the 2016 Rio Olympic Games veteran had a pretty good shot at making the U.S. World Equestrian Games team when his mare Gazelle made the short list, but he didn’t feel the championship format would be in Gazelle’s best interest, so he withdrew from team contention.
Farrington spent the rest of the summer putting his name back at the top of CSI leaderboards around the world, winning six different five-stars as well as a couple three-stars (impressively, on three different horses).
“I was really determined to come back [from the injury] in a hurry,” Farrington said. “I think it was 12 weeks from when I broke it to when I jumped a five-star. For me it felt long, but they told me that’s pretty fast for that kind of injury. I don’t really notice it now. I train pretty hard when I’m not riding, so if I train really hard at the gym it will nag me a bit the next day but that’s about it.”
Farrington hasn’t let the fall shake his mental strength in the sport, either.
“That’s part of the game, you do this or downhill skiing or anything else, you’re going to take some tumbles,” Farrington said. “You can ask any of these riders and probably they’ll tell you about a wreck they’ve had, but you pick yourself back up, and you keep going.”
The class is a run up to an opportunity to qualify for the 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Finals (Sweden), but Farrington doesn’t know if Creedance is the right horse for that championship.
“I’m going to play it by ear,” he said. “With my string, my older ones I think are too old to do that, and the younger ones I’ll have to see if they’re ready to do a whole final like that. I don’t know that I’d ask Creedance to jump the whole final; he could maybe do a leg of it, but I think I’d need another horse there to do some of it. So we’ll see.”