Monday, Apr. 15, 2024

King Holds Court At NY Horse And Pony


Last spring Candice King had an up-and-coming star on her hands in Tarco. The pair made their international debut for the United States during the Samsung Super League Tour, helping the team place
second at Rome (Italy) and fourth at Lucerne (Switzerland) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).

But disaster struck midway through their European tour when Tarco got cast in his stall and twisted his foot. The freak injury put the 11-year-old gelding out of commission for 10 months.
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Last spring Candice King had an up-and-coming star on her hands in Tarco. The pair made their international debut for the United States during the Samsung Super League Tour, helping the team place
second at Rome (Italy) and fourth at Lucerne (Switzerland) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).

But disaster struck midway through their European tour when Tarco got cast in his stall and twisted his foot. The freak injury put the 11-year-old gelding out of commission for 10 months.

So when Tarco and King topped the $75,000 In The Woods Log Homes Grand Prix at the NY Horse and Pony Show in Saugerties, N.Y., on Aug. 12 after only a few short months back on the grand prix field, the victory tasted especially sweet.
 
“I knew that the course suited him when I walked it,” explained King. “Tarco has a very big stride—he’s a big guy—and there was a lot of room between fences on the track. I was able to cover a lot of ground and really make the course work to my benefit.”

King’s strategy paid off when she managed to leave the jumps up and race between the timers quickly enough to secure the $22,500 purse for owner Judy Kalman.

“I kept telling Candice, ‘He’s just an eyelash away. He’s going to get it one of these days, I can feel it,’ ” said a pleased Kalman. She credited their success on King’s emphasis on good conditioning and her patience in bringing Tarco back to the grand prix field.

Tarco returned to the show ring in April, entering a few smaller classes. He contested his first grand prix in a year at the $50,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix at the Kentucky Spring Classic in May, where he
finished seventh after an impressive four-fault finish. The pair went on to finish sixth at the $50,000 Beacon Hill Grand Prix (N.J.) a month later.

“He’s been so close to peaking,” said King. “He’s really just been knocking on the door for this win for weeks.”

Second-placed Judy Garofalo Torres took the red ribbon home to Dover Plains, N.Y., after posting the only other double-clear round of the day aboard High Ground Farm’s Oliver III. Becky Johanson-Hofmann guided Corona to the fastest four-fault jump-off to earn third place for Blue Hill Farm.

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Torres set the standard high as she guided her long-time partner Oliver III to a double-clear finish. “I went first in the welcome stake earlier in the week and had time faults,” she said. “And I went first again in this class. Going first you’re never exactly sure how fast to go. But then again I have a little horse—he’s only 16 hands—so I usually add strides. Generally I have a different plan from everyone else.”

She galloped as fast as she dared in the jump-off, leaving all the jumps up and stopping the clock at 46.83 seconds. They held on to the lead as rails fell for the next five riders, until King and Tarco managed a clear round that was just a bit faster.

When King found Tarco five years ago in Belgium as a 6-year-old, he wasn’t a small horse by any means, but he certainly wasn’t the 18-hand giant he is today.

“He’s a big, powerful horse who always wants to be careful,” said King. “He’s a little big for me, but he knows me very well. We have such a good relationship that way.”

But the talented gelding has a softer side too, quiet and easy enough for King’s 8-year-old daughter Alexandra to take for a ride.

The pair’s first big win of the year earned them valuable points in U.S. Grand Prix League Standings. King is steering Tarco toward the USGPL Finals in Culpeper (Va.) on Sept. 30 after quick stops at the Hampton Classic (N.Y.) and the Gold Cup CSI-W (Ohio.). If all goes well she plans to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials next year.

“We’re so happy for Candice,” said Kalman. “We look at her as a daughter. She’s such a terrific girl, and she works so hard.”

Mollie Bailey

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