San Juan Capistrano, CA – Until the final entry in the $77,300 CSI2* San Juan Capistrano International Grand Prix, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, on Saturday, May 13, it appeared as though Conor Swail was on his way to a clean sweep of the entire CSI2* division offered at the San Juan Capistrano International in California.
That was until Keri Potter and Bisou blazed across the finish. The pair stopped the clock in 38.26 seconds for the win while Swail and Vital Chance de la Roque, owned by Mannon Farm, finished in second with a time of 39.70 seconds. Finishing in third was the USA’s Michael Williamson aboard Granito Noordenhoek, owned by Stal Thijssen B.V.
“The win was awesome today!” said Potter, who hails from Del Mar, CA. “Having Conor Swail in front having won basically every class this week in the 2* division, I was kind of determined that I wanted to beat him today!”
Potter and Swail were two of five entries from the 25-horse starting field that navigated the first-round, Leopoldo Palacios-designed course without fault. From there, Swail was the second rider to return for the short course, while Potter was the final rider to jump.
As she and Bisou made their way around the jump-off track, they stayed consistently just a tick ahead of Swail’s pace, giving the crowd a thrilling finale to the day’s competition as they flew over the final fence for the win.
“It was definitely an advantage to watch [Conor] and see where I could make up a little bit of time,” said Potter of the Irish rider who came into the day having already earned three CSI2* wins earlier in the week – two aboard Gamble and one aboard Vital Chance de la Roque. “The horse that I’m riding, Bisou, I’ve had her for a few years, so I know her pretty well. It was a course that was right up her alley today. The lines and the combinations were set a little bit on the short side, and she’s not very big. So, everything rode really nicely for her today.”
The 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, owned by Tres Palomas, was originally purchased for young rider Hannah Loly to compete, but Potter has taken the reins while Loly is attending university.
“While Hannah’s at college, I get the ride to play with for a little bit,” said Potter. “We’ve just kind of grown. She was originally a hunter turned jumper, and over the last four years, she really has blossomed into this horse that basically feels like she has wings. She definitely has built up a trust with me, and I really, honestly feel like I can do anything on her now.”
One thing that Potter will definitely continue to do with the talented mare is competing in San Juan Capistrano, CA, at horse shows put on by Blenheim EquiSports.
“This is my home base, and I absolutely love this facility. I’ve been coming here for the last 30 something years, and it’s grown over time,” concluded Potter. “To have a CSI2* and CSIO5* here is literally a dream come true for Southern California, and I really hope to have more of this in the future.”
For the win on Saturday afternoon, Potter was presented with a Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths custom shadowbox and a Riderzon gift certificate. For full results of the class, click here. The class is additionally a member event of the ATCO Spring Series Leading FEI Rider Bonus.
As Saturday marked the conclusion of the CSI2* competition at the San Juan Capistrano International, Blenheim EquiSports wishes to thank CSI2* presenting sponsor, Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, for their continued support of high-level competition on the West Coast.
Walter Oil & Gas Corporation is a family-owned oil and gas exploration and production company with operations concentrated offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. With four generations of enterprise creation in the industry, the company benefits from a wealth of past experience, while continually maintaining its passion and renewing its approach to the business. Highly regarded as an oil finder and operator, value is created through the full exploration and production cycle, with growth primarily driven through the drill bit. Learn more at walteroil.com.