LAKE PLACID - Working as a team.
That's what has been paying off for Ireland's Darragh Kenny on the show jumping circuit since he began riding Sandor de La Pomme back in February.
On Sunday at the North Elba Show Grounds, Kenny and his mount capped off a strong week of competition in the 43rd annual Lake Placid Horse Show when they won the $75.000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix.
Darragh Kenny, a 24-year-old from Ireland, guides Sandor de La Pomme over a jump during their winning performance Sunday at the Lake Placid Horse Show’s $75,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix at the North Elba Show Grounds.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Kenny and Sandor de La Pomme were only one of three horse-and-rider combinations that made it cleanly through the opening 16-jump round, and were the lone pair to put down a clean ride in the timed jump-off.
A pair of Pennsylvania riders took the next two spots as Callen Solem and VDL Torlando finished runner-up and Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W placed third.
"This was really a very important event for me," said Kenny, whose sponsors traveled from Ireland to watch him compete. "It's the same horse that I won the 45-meter on Wednesday, and I was second with him at the last grand prix in Saugerties.
"He's a fantasitic horse. I'm vey lucky to have him," Kenny added. "He's naturally a quick horse, he's very careful and he's scopey."
Under bright sunny skies, 31 horse-and-rider combinations started in the opening round on a course that Kenny described as challenging but fair. Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star were the first team to go and had one fault and Kenny and Sandor de La Pomme were the second entry in the field and the first to ride clean. The next 13 riders all suffered penalties and Solem and VDL Torlando then put down a clean ride to ensure there would be a second round. Campbell and Rocky W were the 23rd pair to ride in the first round and the final team to make it through the course clean.
Kenny was the first of three riders to compete in the jump-off and finished the six-jump course fault-free in 40.763 seconds to secure the win.
"I knew the other two would be quick so I knew that I couldn't waste any time. I also had to go around and make sure I rode clean."
The win was the second grand prix triumph for Kenny in Lake Placid during the past two years. He also won here in 2010.
Ribbons were awarded to the top six finishers in the grand prix. Hillary Sim pson and Nopus Du Gue Joubert placed fourth, Taylor McMurtry and Just an Ilusion finished fifth and Jacobs and Flaming Star rode to a sixth-place result.
Sunday's grand prix was the final event of the 2012 Lake Placid Horse Show. Action continues starting Tuesday with the I Love New York Horse Show, which culminates with another $75,000 grand prix on Saturday at the North Elba Show Grounds.