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Rolex Round Table with Kent Farrington at CHI Geneva: "It is fantastic to be here with my fellow competitors, who are the best in the world"

Friday, 10 December 2021
CHI Geneva 2021

Photo © Rolex/Ashley Neuhof Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington. Photo © Rolex/Ashley Neuhof.


Text © rEvolution – Round Table organised by Rolex



We are here with the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Trophy next to you, it has your name engraved on it from 2019 – will it get your name on it again tonight?

"I hope so, and I will try my best. It is a tough field, but I have brought my best horse, Austria 2, she won it in 2019. It has been a little while, with the year off, but we will give it our best shot."

How does it feel to be back at the CHI Geneva?

"There are still tough times in the world, but it is great for our sport and our fans that we are still able to continue and it is fantastic to be here with my fellow competitors, who are the best in the world – it is always fun to compete against the best."

You won last night on Creedance, how is he?

"He is great – it was a wonderful start to the week, but there is still a lot more to do, we are happy with the result, but we want to start focusing on the next classes." 

How are you always so fast, do you choose fast horses or are you naturally fast?

"I think a combination of both, I think that I am naturally drawn to lighter types of horses, who are fast horses. I grew up wanting to be a jockey, I used to pony race, it was always about speed. My first horses were ex-racehorses, they were the ones that were not quite good enough on the track, and they were very affordable, so I always had quick horses. I have a type of horse, but then probably a way of training and riding that suited that type of horse, and that is still what I do today. 

In the sport we are all trying to do our best and the margins for error are small, so things can go wrong. That is the nature of any high-level sport, you are on a fine line of trying to do it exceptionally well and also risking things going wrong. I try to do the best round for my horse, and my horses are usually naturally fast, so if I can bring out their best it is usually going to be good enough to win or be very close." 

Who will you be riding in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, and do you have any tactics?

"I will ride Gazelle, she has won the Rolex Grand Prix here before, and she is a fabulous horse. She is a bit older now, but I try to manage her career carefully without jumping her too much and at too many shows. She is 15, she has had a great career and I want her to continue to have a great career, so I plan her classes accordingly. I have tried to build her up for this, she did an indoor show before this because it has been a while since we have been inside. In the USA we do not have so many indoor shows, so I will jump another small class today and then I will jump her in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday."

Photo © Rolex/Ashley Neuhof. Kent Farrington. Photo © Rolex/Ashley Neuhof.

Do you have any up-and-coming horses?

"That is always hard to say, every rider is always in the same boat of maximizing the horses in your team and looking towards the future. I have some horses that I really like, and I will put my time and effort into bringing them to the top, which one will be the best is very hard to tell. I have youngsters, ranging from five to nine-years-old and I have about 10 or 12 horses at home."

What do you look for in a young horse?

"To have a horse that is exceptionally careful is my top priority. I like to ride a careful horse, the size doesn’t matter so much, and I like a lot of energy and blood. I am better suited to that, so I try and go with those things. 

I don’t mind the age, I try to find an exceptional athlete, that I think suits me. If you are able to put more time into the horse, you are able to solidify a stronger relationship with the horse, so the ideal is to get a horse when they are younger, anywhere from four to seven-years-old. But also I have had a few older horse such as Austria 2, who were given to me when they were older, and they have also been great. It’s important to keep an open mind, to have the best horses possible." 

What are your tactics for tonight’s Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final?

"I haven’t got any specific tactics. I just try to bring great horses for the classes and hopefully I am ready for whatever is set today. I think that for my horses, it is just making sure they perform to the best of their ability. I go fifth, so I will not watch any other riders. My horses go with a very specific plan that is suited to them, they are often smaller than the other horses and so I have to do a different number of strides than everybody else. I have to have confidence in my own plan and not get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing, I will go with my instinct and gut with what that horse needs. It is me and the horse versus the course, rather than anyone else." 

What is your plan for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday and the Rolex Majors next year?

"The Dutch Masters is always difficult for me, coming from America and the huge outside arenas we have, so to come back to a very small, condensed indoor ring is quite difficult. As such I don’t know which horse I will take. Potentially, one of the younger ones could step up and be ready. Aachen is very far away, so I will have to see where my team of horses are at that point in time, and if Gazelle is still going, then Aachen suits her well, if not, maybe one of the younger horses will step up to the big stage again. The Rolex Grand Slam shows are always part of my planning, and they are amongst the best shows in our sport, so I like to aim for them and have horses that are ready to win."

Photo © Rolex/Ashley Neuhof. Kent Farrington. Photo © Rolex/Ashley Neuhof.

It has been reported that Jay-Z is one of your idols, why is that?

"He was a man who tried to be in the music industry, but no-one would give him a record deal, so he started his own record label in order to get going, which I think is a great way of thinking outside of the box to get where he wanted to be. He then took his music career and branched out to do many different things, he has been so successful and has helped many other aspiring musicians and athletes. He wasn’t limited to one field, and he used his success to help other people. He has proved there is not a limitation to what you can do. I am a very long way from home here, and coming from a non-Show Jumping background, I think I found inspiration from him."

What positives have you taken from the Pandemic?

"Personally, I have been able to reflect and appreciate all the things we are able to do. In a difficult time you really appreciate the people that support you and what you are doing, my team has been great! I think that everyone coming together, trying to do their best, shows a lot about humanity." 

Can you tell us about your Rolex watch?

"I am wearing a Rolex Daytona, I really like this one. I will be riding with this watch all week, it started out well so hopefully it will continue to bring me luck." 

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