Twenty twenty-two was a “building year” for Orafina and Kent Farrington.
The American Olympic medalist means he’s building the 10-year-old mare’s confidence and skill set for top sport. But in doing so, he’s also been building an impressive record.
In two short years together, Farrington took over the ride in 2021, the mare has logged 15 podium finishes, including 10 first place ribbons, and earned over 517k euro in prize money.
More impressive still are their stats. At 1.60m, Orafina boasts a 55% clear round rate and 64% top 10 finish rate over 11 completed rounds, according to Jumpr App. At 1.55m, those stats climb to a phenomenal 67% and 75%, respectively, over 12 rounds—all results achieved with Farrington in the stirrups.
On Friday night under the lights at Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, CA, the final stop on the 2022 Major League Show Jumping tour, the pair logged their latest victory with the CWD CSI5* 1.50m.
Thirty one combinations contested the Alan Wade designed course with nine finding a clear path to advance to the jump off. Farrington and Orafina were in a league of their own as the only combination to complete the shortened track in under 33 seconds.
“Orafina is naturally a very fast horse. She’s exceptionally careful,” said Farrington.
“You have to ride her on sort of a high tempo, attacking stride because she’s so careful at the fences, so most jump offs are just about doing her round and not really worrying about what the rest of the class is going to do.”
The rest of the class had Farrington and Orafina to worry about, however. The speedy pair stopped the clock at 32.72, nearly a second faster than runner-ups Simon McCarthy (IRL) and Gotcha’s time of 33.59. Amy Millar (CAN) and Christiano took third in 36.03.
“I didn’t actually watch so many others. I just made sure I knew the course and let her do her thing and try not to mess it up,” said Farrington.
Friday’s win is a 180 turn from last Sunday when the pair ran into trouble on the grass field at Desert Horse Park.
“Orafina is learning the ropes as she moves up and down. Last week, I didn’t have a very good Grand Prix in the grass. I had a rail and I pulled up,” he explained.
“She’s come back really well this week. I think that’s part of getting those very careful horses up to [five-star] level is moving them up and down and giving them the miles. And that’s what I’m doing right now. They’re not quite ready for the biggest world stage of shows, but they’re building there. And I think next year I’ll have a couple of horses that hopefully are ready.”
Farrington will contest Saturday’s MLSJ Grand Prix with Orafina. He’s lead contender for the MLSJ individual champion title and $100k bonus, not that he’s keeping track.
“I don’t really think about those things,” said Farrington. “I just try to do my job and take it day by day, let the horses tell me what they’re ready for. Hopefully, Orafina is ready for the Grand Prix [on Saturday].”
He is, however, thinking about the future of the sport and Major League’s place in it.
“I think American show jumping needed a reboot. The level was kind of getting lower. It was hard to find a bunch of shows that were progressively moving forward into the modern sport. And I think Major League has helped to bring a group of riders following the same tour, which in the end is what it’s all about.
“I think that’s great for the level of show jumping in America.”
Catch the MLSJ Individual Final live on MLSJ TV at 6:00 pm PT.