February 1, 2014--The pinto Oldenburg gelding, Symphony, has quickly gone from catch ride to dream horse for Katie Cook of Newport Beach, California. Cook had never sat on Symphony, owned by Amy Knox, before she arrived at HITS Thermal, but the two have become fast friends, jumping to three blue ribbons during Week I and winning the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix on Friday for the second week in a row.
Knox has owned the gelding, who is now 10, for three years and rode him in equitation and children’s hunters before moving up to a bigger horse. “He is the sweetest horse I have every ridden,” said Knox. “He was the prefect horse for me to grow up with because he never once stopped with me, would leave from anywhere and was so forgiving. He gave me so much confidence.”
Cook was sitting pretty after the first round with an 84 and was quick to agree with Knox regarding Symphony’s temperament. “I was super nervous this morning after seeing that the course was a little more challenging this week,” she said. “Some of the long 10 and 12-stride distances were really hard for me because I tend to psych myself out, but he was right there the whole time, just like he always is.”
“They are the perfect pair,” said Knox of Symphony and Cook. “I love how great they are doing – it’s really fun to watch him going well for another rider. Katie is an amazing rider, but I always knew that he had it in him.”
After leading the field into the second round, Symphony and Cook posted a 79 to finish with a final score of 163 and the win.
“I need to buy lottery tickets,” Cook said in reaction to the possibility of making Symphony hers. “I would die to own that horse – he gives 100% every time and never lets me down, leaving it up to me to make it smooth and nice.”
Behind Cook, Jaime Xie of Atheron, California piloted Robert Gabriel’s CR Carolato II to second place. Their scores of 78 and 80 combined for a 158. Third went to Heidi Kane of Newport Beach, California on her own Samba Gracious with scores of 72 and 85, respectively. Jerrie Calandra of Encinitas, California was fourth aboard Wonderwall for owner Moonlite Beach, LLC. They rode to a 154, while owner/rider Emma Townsend of Sacramento, California jumped CR Haribo to a 151 and capped the top five.
As Cook continues to collect blue ribbons at the HITS Desert Circuit, including two in the Platinum Performance $250,000 Hunter Prix Final qualifiers, she is growing increasingly more excited about a possible appearance at the HITS Championship. “I would love to make it to Saugerties – I have never shown on the East Coast,” she said.
The Platinum Performance $250,000 Hunter Prix Final will take place during the HITS Championship September 5-7 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.