Kent Farrington and Creedance Cruise to $38,700 CSI3* Speed Victory

Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance took two second-place finishes during the third week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, and to kick off GLEF IV, they made sure they came home with the win. Out of 28 international entries, the seasoned duo took top honors in the $38,700 CSI3* Speed Stake, adding yet another win to the horse’s impressive resume.

“I’ve had him for almost 10 years,” Farrington – currently ranked 8th in the world – said of the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He’s been a phenomenal horse. He was quite difficult in the beginning, and in the end I think that’s what really made him special.”

Farrington, up against seasoned professionals and up-and-coming young riders, had the benefit of knowing his mount better than most in the class. He used that to his advantage, speeding to a time of 59.40 seconds over Andy Christiansen’s (ECU) course. At the time, Erynn Ballard (CAN) led the way with Ilan Ferder’s Game Over, and ultimately placed second. Karl Cook (USA) and Caracole De La Roque, owned by Signe Otsby, claimed third place.

Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance in their winning presentation, pictured with Tom Blankenship. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“He has a strong character and a really strong fighting desire,” Farrington continued of what he believes makes Creedance special. “That’s what made him a winner his whole career. For his small size, he’s won multiple five-star grand prixs and jumped some of the biggest shows in the world. He’s 16 now and he’s still winning and he’s still the same character he was when he was seven. Nothing’s really changed.”

The key to bringing Creedance along and achieving a high level of success, according to Farrington, has been, “Just patience. He took a lot of time and he was very hyper-aware of everything going on around the shows. I think with developing horses the most important thing, especially the ones that have a lot of quality, is patience.”

Farrington runs his program like a well-oiled machine, and each horse gets its own special routine. For Creedance, that means showing consistently without over-jumping. “I keep him up and running, even if I do just one class a week,” he continued. “I keep him in a regular routine of showing just like an older athlete in professional sports. I am careful with how much he’s jumping, but I keep him in a routine so that I can manage the final chapters of his career. I’m lucky to have had him in winning form the entire time.”

For Farrington, he’s not usually in the game to produce a horse and then sell it. It’s evident in his top string of horses over the years that he finds joy in the entire journey, from beginning to end, of a horse’s career.

“For me that’s the best part of what our sport has to offer,” he said. “That’s the journey: working with a horse from the very beginning, taking the time, and developing them from small fences to the highest level. That’s one of the most rewarding experiences really bonding with an animal and becoming a great team.”

Keeping close to home as the season goes on, Farrington has his eye on North American venues. “I’m going to do quite a few American shows, and the Pan American Games is on the agenda but they haven’t named a team yet and then from there I’ll try to aim for Geneva.”

Show jumping resumes Friday with the $38,700 GFL Environmental CSI3* Welcome Stake and the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix.

See final results from the $38,700 CSI3* Speed here.


Courtney Lenkart and Casallini Capture USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Stake 3’6”-3’9”

Courtney Lenkart and Casallini. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Thursday morning got off to a great start for Courtney Lenkart, as she piloted Peyton Rathbun’s Casallini to a score of 88 in the 3’6” Green Hunter division and, as a result, took the victory in the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Stake 3’6”-3’9”.

“It’s a first-year [green] horse that we bought last fall,” Lenkart, of Bartonville, TX, said of Casallini, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Casall. “We’ve been bringing him along all year. He shows with me in the Greens and with his owner in the Large Junior Hunters.”

When Lenkart first tried the horse, what initially stood out to her was his style and jumping ability. “He’s beautiful for one, and he’s so scopey and has a beautiful jump,” she continued. “I tried to really gallop on him today and I thought everything came up nicely out of stride. Sometimes I like to go too slow, so I was trying to gallop today and he was absolutely perfect.”

The USHJA Green Hunter Incentive program offers significant prize money to young hunters and is aptly named, appealing to owners with talented young hunters. “With my business and a lot of my peers, it’s been a huge incentive for the owners to have green horses for professionals to show,” Lenkart explained. “Besides the derby program, in the hunters, there’s not much prize money, especially compared to the jumpers. But this has given us as hunter riders, and the owners a chance to win some money.”

Lenkart spends the majority of her summer season in Northern Michigan, and there’s nowhere she would rather be. “We’ve had a blast,” she shared. “This is our favorite horse show of the year. My husband and my 18-month-old son are here and we stay for nine weeks before we head to Pony Finals and Green Incentive Finals. We just love every day of it. We feel so fortunate to be able to show here. It’s beautiful weather and great management, and our horses love it here. We’ve had a lot of success this year and can’t wait to come back next year.”


Michael Morrissey and Vendome Palordet Top Brookledge 1.20m

Michael Morrissey and Vendome Palordet. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Thursday morning, in the Polk Family Ring, Michael Morrissey took top call in the Brookledge 1.20m with Vendome Palordet, owned by Gateway Sport Horses LLC. Having only ridden the horse a handful of times, he knew the gears he needed to top the class of 37 entries.

“The horse is a catch ride for Lynn Jayne,” Morrissey said of Vendome Palordet, a 14-year-old Selle Francais mare. “I’ve ridden the horse for her three times in 1.20m classes and she’s won two of the three classes. She’s a very careful and very competitive horse. I have a lot of fun riding her. Whenever Lynn calls me I’m happy to do the job.”

Though he’s accustomed to catch rides, Morrissey, a top professional, recognizes the challenge in being unable to get to know the horse before going in and trying to produce a result. 

“You’re relying on the trainer to tell you a few things about the horse and then it’s all instinct and feel when you get in there,” he explained. “I know the horse has jumped big tracks with previous owners, so it’s very capable of jumping big. Going in the ring I know I can be confident. Lynn, as a trainer, really likes to win; she told me she wanted to win this class, so I went in and tried to leave nothing on the table and win the class for them.”

His winning strategy fell into place thanks to the horse’s naturally quick way of going. The class was set in a two-phase format, so once the speed phase began, she was all business.

“She’s quick across the ground and she’s really quickly thinking of the next jump,” Morrissey explained of Vendome Palordet. “It’s not that she has a huge stride, but she has a very quick stride and she doesn’t spend a lot of time in the air. She’s very careful and naturally very fast and gamey. I did a difficult inside turn to start the speed phase and then there was not much else to do other than to be as quick as you can. It was a class where you needed a horse that was quick across the ground to win.”

Cathleen Driscoll claimed second with Conajita, while Olivia Williams and Ce Ce Senior took third.