Conor Swail and Count Me In Sails to Victory at the WIHS

Sunday, October 30, 2022
Posted by



Capping a spectacular day of equestrian sport at the 2022 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EquestrianTM, Ireland’s Conor Swail and Count Me In led the field in the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W for the President’s Cup presented by Experience Prince George’s. Junior phenom Augusta Iwasaki topped the WIHS Equitation Finals and won the Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, while Ellie Ferrigno notched her second win of the week in the High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic.

Photo - Conor Swail and Count Me In (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Riding in front of a full house of spectators in the Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center, 30 entries traversed the grand prix course set by Bernardo Cabral of Portugal. Nine of those found the key to a clear round to return for the jump-off.

“I had to make sure that I had the course be the same quality as the caliber of riders,” said Cabral, “and actually, I wasn’t that good because I had a little too many clean! It was great to design the five-star here at WIHS. It’s been an honor to be here.”

First to Return

First to return was Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Legacy, who felled one jump to finish in eighth place in a time of 38.55 seconds. He was followed by Mario Deslauriers (CAN) on Bardolina, who recorded the first double clear of the night in 40.17 seconds, which left them in sixth place. Beat Mändli (SUI) and Chartraine Pre Noir were also clear in a slightly faster time of 39.24 seconds for fifth place.

Next in was Swail on Count Me In, and they made the most of the shortened course, slicing across jumps and shaving precious time off the clock with precision turns. They stopped the timers with no faults in 35.76 seconds, which would hold up for the win.

They were followed by Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue, who recorded a time of 36.87 seconds for fourth place. Brian Moggre (USA) and his longtime partner MTM Vivre le Reve were slick across the course, finishing in 36.74 seconds to slot into third place.

Moggre noted afterward, “The past few shows haven’t really been our best results, so I didn’t have many expectations other than knowing he was going to try his hardest. I maybe didn’t take as much risk as I normally would, but he jumped amazing and I’m super happy with the result.”

A Blessing

Daniel Bluman and Gemma W (Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography)
Daniel Bluman and Gemma W (Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography)

“It’s always great to have a nice result with the horse that you’ve had for so long,” said Moggre of his 13-year-old Westphalian gelding by Ustinov x Chello II owned by Major Wager LLC, “so to have Vivre le Reve back here still jumping top sport after seven years of partnership, every time I get to go in the ring with him is a blessing.”

Moggre was immediately followed in the jump-off order by Daniel Bluman (ISR) riding Gemma W. The pair gave Swail a run for his money but would not be fast enough with a final time of 36 seconds flat to finish in second place.

“It doesn’t sound like much but at the end of the day, it is,” said Bluman of being just off the pace from Swail. “It’s a split second that is really separating all of us. I didn’t get to see his jump-off, but I knew if I performed the way that I wanted and rode my plan that I had a pretty good chance to beat it. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in one of the bending lines from the oxer to the liverpool, and I think if you want to beat Conor Swail right now, you can’t make any mistakes.”

A top competitor for Bluman, Gemma W is “a really special mare,” he said. “She always wants to play the game. She enjoys it, and I’m very pleased with the way she performed this week.”

The final two pairs in the jump-off – Kent Farrington (USA) on Landon and Laura Kraut (USA) with Confu – had faults on course and finished in seventh and ninth places, respectively.

Swail has added yet another accomplishment to his incredible year with Count Me In, aka “Crosby.” His list of career firsts that he credits to Crosby included competing in Aachen, Germany, and helping Ireland win the Aga Khan Trophy as the winning Nations Cup team in Dublin. He won the World Cup qualifier in Sacramento, California, earlier this month with Vital Chance de la Roque. With the lead in the qualifying standings, the plan for April may include the FEI Jumping World Cup Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.

Looking Forward

“He’s really changed my career, and he’s brought me to a lot of places I’ve never been and has been very successful doing it,” said the number five-ranked rider in the world. “I feel like now I know he’s capable, and [World Cup Finals] is something that I’m looking forward to doing with him.

“It’s obviously been a fantastic start for me, winning two out of two [qualifiers] with two different horses, but tonight really it’s about Crosby,” continued Swail of the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes owned by Mannon Farm and Sandy Lupton. “He’s been just incredible for me since I got him. This is his first five-star grand prix win with me. I’m just so thrilled for him.”

Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre le Reve (Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography)
Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre le Reve (Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography)

This was the first time that Swail has competed at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center and he, along with many of the top riders competing this week, were complimentary of the event’s move to its new venue.

“It’s a very nice arena,” said Swail. “I must say I’ve been impressed enough with it. The stadium is good; the footing was very good. Bernardo did a great job, and there were good jumps. The horses are very comfortable here. There’s a lot of space, which is very nice for them, so they’re relaxed going into the ring in a good frame of mind. The crowds were super.”

WIHS President Victoria Lowell stated, “This was a big, big year for us. It was very important to us to put our best foot forward and wow people. We wanted the footing to be top notch, we wanted the prize money to be exceptional, and getting to that five-star level has always been a goal for us. Being at this new venue we were able to do so much with the support of Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland. We are so grateful for what we were able to achieve to put on this great show.”

Final Results: $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington CSI5*-W for the President’s Cup presented by Experience Prince George’s

1 COUNT ME IN: 2007 Hanoverian gelding by Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Mannon Farm, Sandy Lupton: 0/0/35.76

2 GEMMA W: 2011 KWPN mare by Luidam x Unaniem
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Blue Star Investments: 0/0/36.00

3 MTM VIVRE LE REVE: 2009 Westphalian gelding by Ustinov x Chello II
BRIAN MOGGRE (USA), Major Wager LLC: 0/0/36.74

4 EDDIE BLUE: 2009 KWPN gelding by VDL Zirocco Blue x Marlon
DEVIN RYAN (USA), Ll Show Jumpers, LLC: 0/0/36.87

5 CHARTRAINE PRE NOIR: 2012 Selle Francis gelding by Kannan x Corrado II
BEAT MÄNDLI (SUI), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/0/39.24

6 BARDOLINA 2: 2009 Holsteiner mare by Clarimo x Landos
MARIO DESLAURIERS (CAN), Mario Deslauriers, Wishing Well Farm LLC: 0/0/40.17

7 LANDON: 2013 Zangersheide gelding by Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity Mc Nerney: 0/4/36.99

8 LEGACY: 2010 Zangersheide mare by Chippendale Z x Bon Ami
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Ariel Grange, Daniel Coyle: 0/4/38.55

9 CONFU: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by Contact Me x Cambridge 8
LAURA KRAUT (USA), St. Bride's Farm: 0/RT

10 IGOR: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Emerald X Nabab De Reve
JOS VERLOOY (BEL), Hampton Green Farm LLC: 4/61.70

11 PEPITA CON SPITA: 2011 Westphalian mare by DSP Con Spirit x Come On
HUNTER HOLLOWAY (USA), Hays Investment Corp.: 4/64.21

12 CONTAGIOUS: 2009 Zweibrucker gelding by Contagion x For Keeps
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Beechwood Stables LLC: 4/64.28