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Canada's Jill Henselwood Captures 4th Victory In Indio

Indio, CA: Canada’s Jill Henselwood (Oxford Mills, ON) is taking no prisoners as she chalks up her fourth grand prix victory this year in the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix aboard the jumping sensation Special Ed.

The final week of competition at the HITS Desert Circuit had famed Olympic course designer Leopaldo Palacios (VEN) set a challenging Friday grand prix course that prevented all but seven of the fifty-seven first round competitors from advancing to the timed jump-off round.

First to master the initial round, Helen McNaught, returned to the tiebreaker aboard Lexicon but suffered one rail down in a time of 44.08 seconds. The next to challenge, Eduardo Salas Herrera and his mount Santa Teresita Gumaro La Silla, set the time to beat with a fault free round, in a quick time of 43.15 seconds.

Henselwood, who returned fifth in the order, was setting her sights on her third trip to the winner’s circle aboard Juniper Farms’ 10 year old Oldenburg gelding Special Ed. “I watched Eduardo go while I was warming up. Special Ed is extremely agile and very quick across the ground, so I believed I could better his time if I just tightened up the track he rode,” stated Henselwood.

A determined Henselwood rode a brilliant, unwavering jump-off course breaking the timers in 41.63 seconds to secure the victory. “The last line was a long gallop to a big triple bar and then five or six strides to a tall airy plank vertical. Special Ed is so careful, I was able to gallop the last two jumps on a big open stride and not have to worry one bit!” commented Henselwood. The last horse to go, VDL Mercedes ridden by Summer Bruington, jumped a solid clear round in a time of 43.06 seconds finishing in second position, just fractions of a second faster than third place Herrera.

Advancing to Sunday’s World Cup Qualifier, Henselwood wrapped up her six week tour with a sixth place finish in the $150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert on the talented Dutch mare Callisto. She was also named leading grand prix rider of the Desert Circuit with Special Ed and received a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring courtesy of Golden Horse Jewellery.

“I’ve enjoyed tremendous success in California. The competitions at HITS Indio are exceptional, and I’m really pleased with my decision to spend the winter months training and competing here.” Henselwood plans to remain on the west coast to compete at other premium competitions throughout southern California before relocating her barn to Calgary’s Spruce Meadows for their summer tournaments.



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