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Canada's Jill Henselwood And Special Ed Win $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix At Indio Desert Circuit II

INDIO, CA (February 9, 2004)—Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ontario, rode her 10 year-old Oldenburg gelding, Special Ed, to victory in Sunday's $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix, presented by Cosequin® . Henselwood was the fastest of five double-clears in a nine-horse jump-off. Olympic veteran, Gerardo Tazzer of Mexico City, Mexico, took second place with his mare Scappino Chanel. Third place went to John French of Los Altos, California, aboard Millenium, owned by Cathy & Alex Mendez. Misti Cassar of Malibu, California, placed fourth with Pasadena, owned by Sopranos Farm. Ronnie Freeman placed fifth with Litente, owned by Marlborough Corp.

The $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix marked the first of four World Cup qualifying classes to be held at the 2004 Indio Desert Circuit. Dave Ballard, the 1999 Pan American Games course designer and the Assistant Course Designer at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, was the course designer for the competition.

“Today was the first major World Cup qualifying class in the United States this year, and I was faced with a tough decision regarding how difficult to make it,” said Dave Ballard. “In the end, the winner must be capable of going on to World Cup competition, but I didn't want to 'over-face' the horses in this first 2004 qualifier. I thought the results were good—nine of forty-three starters went clean in the first round. As I watched the beginning of the class I thought more [than nine] might be clean, but ultimately it was a good number. If I had it to do again, I might have made the beginning a bit more technical, but I used scope at the end and I guess it worked out well—the number of horses in the jump-off, the quality of those horses and of course [laughs] the winner...a Canadian!” Mr. Ballard hails from Hornby, Ontario.

Gerardo Tazzer and Scappino Chanel were the first pair to attempt the seven-fence jump-off course. Tazzer gave a command performance, steering Scappino clear in a time of 43.90 seconds. Henselwood and Special Ed were next up, and the pair decided to give it their all. Their time was extremely fast, with 41.09 seconds on the clock. “Going second, I wasn't in the ultimate position in the jump-off, so I had to take a calculated risk, especially with Richard Spooner and Nicky Shahinian right behind me,” said Jill Henselwood. Of the remaining seven riders, John French, Misti Cassar and Ronnie Freeman also went clean, but none could beat Henselwood's time.

Jill Henselwood is having a terrific opening to her 2004 season at the Indio Desert Circuit. On Friday of Week II, she won the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix aboard Special Ed. In week I of the Indio Desert Circuit, Henselwood placed 6th with Callisto in the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix, and 5th with Special Ed in the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix. “Statistically I didn't think I was slated to win again, having placed in the first three grand prix classes here this winter,” said Henselwood. “But I laid it down, and that's what I did!”

When asked what she considered the toughest test on Dave Ballard's course, she answered, “the double after the water, for sure, and the triple caught a lot of horses, too.”

Special Ed was a dressage horse earlier in his career and has been jumping for the past 2 1/2 yrs. “He earns his name—he is pretty special. He comes from some famous show jumping stock, Argentinus was his sire and another noted jumper, Granus, was sire of Special Ed's dam. He is an exceptional horse and today was his first World Cup qualifier. He just happens to be drop-dead beautiful, too,” concluded Henselwood.

Special Ed is one of two horses that Jill Henselwood plans to take to the Canadian Olympic Trials; the other is Callisto, also in today's class and earning a tie for 10th place with 4 faults.

Henselwood and Special Ed are currently the Leading Grand Prix Horse & Rider Pair at the HITS Indio Desert Circuit. The overall leading Grand Prix rider at the end of the circuit takes home a beautiful diamond and sapphire “Super Bowl” ring from Golden Horse Jewelry.

Other major award winners at Indio Desert Circuit II included:

Bayer Legend Leading Hunter Rider Peter Pletcher
Bayer Legend Leading Jumper Rider Richard Spooner
HBO Junior Medal Winner Jamee Crawford, Colorado Springs, CO
Charles Owen Children's Medal Winner Katrina Gargiulo, Aptos, CA
Charles Owen Adult Medal Winner Callen Sheller, Westlake Village, CA
$25,000 Ariat Grand Prix Jill Henselwood, Oxford Mills, Ontario, riding Special Ed, owned by Juniper Farms

Jill Henselwood and Special Ed - Winners of the $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix, presented by Cosequin®

$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix - Sunday, February 8, 2004
Indio Desert Circuit II - Indio, CA
Dave Ballard, Ontario, Canada: Course Designer

Place Horse Rider Owner Prize Money Rd 1
Faults JO
1st Special Ed Jill Henselwood Juniper Farms $15,000 0 0 41.09
2nd Scappino Chanel Gerardo Tazzer Gerardo Tazzer $11,000 0 0 43.90
3rd Millenium John French
Cathy / Alex Mendez $6,500 0 0 43.96
4th Pasadena Misti Cassar Sopranos Farm $4,000 0 0 45.19
5th Litente Ronnie Freeman Marlborough Corp $3,000 0 0 45.40
6th Robinson Richard A Spooner Half Moon Bay Investment Grp $2,500 0 4 40.43
7th El Campeons Cirka Z Nicole Shahinian-Simpson El Campeon Farms $2,000 0 4 42.04
8th El Campeons So Long Nicole Shahinian-Simpson El Campeon Farms $1,500 0 4 44.26
9th Itano De La Bastide Susan Hutchison Jenny McLaughlin $1,500 0 4 45.09
10th Callisto Jill Henselwood Juniper Farms $500 4
10th Hilton Flight Richard A Spooner Freedom Farms Inc $500 4
10th Portvliet Yuko Itakura Yasuko Itakura $500 4
10th El Campeons Ado Annie Will Simpson El Campeon Farms $500 4
10th Remember Me 9 Laura Linback Woodrun $500 4
10th Cellist Ali Nilforushan Ali Nilforushan $500 4


Desert Circuit III - February 11-15
Rest Week - No Show - February 16-22
Desert Circuit IV - February 25-29
Desert Circuit V - March 3-7
Desert Circuit VI - March 10-14

$25,000 Ariat Grand Prix - Every Friday at 1:00pm
$75,000 Bayer/USET Grand Prix of Indio - Sunday, February 15 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix - Sunday, February 29 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix Presented by Adequan ® - Sunday, March 7 at 1:00pm
$150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert - Sunday, March 14 at 2:00pm

Kids Day Presented by KDFX Fox 11 - Sunday, February 15 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Seniors Day, Presented by KESQ TV3 and LaQuinta Rotary - Sunday, March 7 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Fiesta Day, Presented by Nextel and Avis Rent A Car - Sunday, March 14 from Noon to 2:00 pm
Circuit Awards - Sundays Prior to 1:00pm Grand Prix

Directions to HITS Desert Horse Park: Take I-10 to the Monroe Street exit in Indio. Go south approximately five miles to Avenue 52, and then turn right onto Avenue 52. Horse Show entrance is ½ mile on right. Tel: 760-775-7731; Fax: 760-775-7752. Website:

For more information on HITS Indio Desert Circuit, including complete competition results, please visit


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