Archer & Camerone. Ph. ESI
The finale of Week 2 at the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit put a new partnership in the spotlight on Sunday, January 31, when American rider Lindsay Archer won the $50,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix aboard Camerone, a 12-year-old Swedish warmblood (Quite Easy 958 x Stanford 687) owned by Katherine Harvey’s Rhys Farms.
An entry list of just 18 made for nearly half of the class jumping clear in Round 1 to qualify for the jumpoff. Riders had to contend with winds so strong that several jumps blew down during the class, but the challenging weather wasn’t what Archer was concerned with. Archer, who has a background jumping the grands prix but until last fall hadn’t been a regular face at this level, admitted that she was worried about going fast enough against the likes of World Cup Final veteran Ashlee Bond, speed demon Kristin Hardin, Olympian Jill Henselwood and international veteran Eric Hasbrouck, all of whom joined her in the jumpoff.
“I knew I had to be really fast, and I know that my horse is very fast,” Archer commented. “There was one inside turn that a lot of us had talked about, but I didn’t know if it would be possible. My plan was to look and see if I could get it when I landed off the jump before, and he landed right inside, so I did it. I didn’t think about how the next jump would be, but he turned himself inside out to get it done!”
Archer crossed the finish timers in 38.073 seconds, with Jaclyn Duff and EH All or None in 2nd place on 38.892. Hasbrouch rode Boukati B to 3rd place, and Lisa Carlsen filled out the double clears with Parette for 4th place.
Archer, who with her husband Matt Archer owns and operates Shady Lane Farms in Northern California, partnered with Camerone last September, taking over the ride from Nicole Bloom. The young couple has a track record of successfully bringing young horses along to the grand prix level, but as they built their business, the opportunity to sell, rather than keep that next star, has always presented itself.
So when owner Harvey brought her string to them last summer, they were deeply appreciative of the opportunity and got to work getting to know her top-quality horses.
“Camerone definitely has kind of a quirky personality – he’s very cautious,” Archer described. “I think that’s why he’s as careful as he is. He’s sensitive in a very good way, and he’s not winning because he jumps in a perfect style, he jumps because he likes to win – he’ll jump in any style because he doesn’t want to touch the fences.”
Sunday’s class was just Archer and Camerone’s third grand prix together, and they won their grand prix debut, at the Central California Oak Tree Classic, last November. After Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix (their second grand prix together), in which they had one rail down to finish 8th, Archer made the last-minute decision to enter Sunday’s Go Rentals Grand Prix.
“Now we’ll just see how it goes, and see where the horses lead us.”
“I was hoping we might feel ready for Sunday, and after the class on Friday I just went to the office and added it,” Archer said. “It definitely was a quick progression, but at the same time the horse is not young, he has a lot of experience and I felt like it was my job to step up and get him jumping at that level.”
Camerone will now have several weeks off to rest before returning to HITS Thermal for Weeks 5 and 6. Archer plans to keep building on their exciting track record with an eye toward competing at Spruce Meadows, and entering the North American World Cup Qualifying League this fall.
“While Katherine took a risk with us, she knew that we’d work hard and try our best with her horses, and we’re incredibly appreciative to her for giving us this opportunity,” Archer added. “Now we’ll just see how it goes, and see where the horses lead us.”
See full results of the $50,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix at this link.