Second Week’s the Charm for Conor Swail and Count Me In in $117,000 CSI3* Blenheim Spring Classic II Grand Prix

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Conor Swail and Count Me In. Photo by McCool Photography

April 14, 2024 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – After finishing in a close second in the Blenheim Spring Classic 1 Grand Prix, Conor Swail and Count Me In returned to the Blenheim Spring Classic 2 to pick up back-to-back wins, including in Saturday’s featured $117,000 CSI3* 1.50m Blenheim Spring Classic 2 Grand Prix. 

Prior to Saturday, Swail and Count Me In had already topped the $32,000 CSI3* 1.50m Welcome Speed Stake, held on Thursday, April 11, and the pair demonstrated the same speed again in the week’s finale FEI event at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA. 

Twenty-three combinations jumped Olaf Petersen’s track – set on the newly revamped, ebb-and-flow Ortega Ring – with six horses advancing to the jump-off.

Conor Swail and Count Me In were joined in their winning presentation by (from left to right) Nani Leubke, T.J. Coveyou of Newport Real Estate Partners and Alex Zulia. Photo by McCool Photography

When Swail and “Crosby” entered the ring for the short course, the time to beat had been set at 43.51 seconds by Swail’s student Vanessa Mannix aboard her own Carmela Z. That time would not hold up for long, however, as Swail made besting it look easy. He and Count Me In blazed over the final ATCO oxer in 39.83 seconds to ultimately take home the win.

Sliding into second place were Nicole Haunert and My Lady Lavista, owned by Cherokee Show Horses, while Mannix and Carmela Z finished in third. 

“I thought it was a good course today,” said Swail. “It was a decent height, and there were enough tests – enough that there were only a few clears out of the 23. I thought [Petersen] did a very good job.”

Conor Swail and Count Me In. Photo by McCool Photography

Swail has now been partnered with Count Me In for roughly three years, and after stepping the gelding back slightly in 2023, he is thrilled to have him back toward the top of his game.

“[Count Me In] is showing a lot of good form,” said Swail of the 17-year-old Hanoverian, owned by Mannon Farm and Sandy Lupton. “I thought he was amazing today. I’m hoping to start to bring him back up to do some five-star classes again. He’s feeling really good.” 

Though Crosby is all business when it comes time to compete, he shows no lack of personality back in the barn.

“When he’s in the stall, you don’t go near him unless you have treats for him,” explained Swail. “Once you have treats, he’ll come over and say hello, but otherwise you just leave him to it. He’s like, ‘Go away! I’m grumpy.’ But anyone could ride him to be honest. He’s very pleasant, very easy to work with. Once he’s out in the ring and once you’re flatting him, everything is nice and easy.”

Following this week’s success, Crosby will enjoy some well-deserved time off while Swail ventures to Saudi Arabia to coach Mannix at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final.  

“At the minute, I have a couple of horses on the East Coast as well,” said Swail. “So, I’m over in Riyadh next week for the World Cup Final [with Vanessa Mannix], and then the week after that we’re going to Lexington, KY. I have two very nice horses on the East Coast that are going to do a few more shows, and then we’ll all come back over. These guys are going to hang out here.”

In addition to Count Me In, “these guys” includes another of Swail’s mounts, Vital Chance de la Roque. With the 12-year-old Selle Français gelding, owned by Mannon Farm, Swail earned a third major win of the week, topping the $15,000 CSI3* Markel 1.40m Jump Off Classic held on Friday, April 12.

For full results of Saturday’s $117,000 CSI3* 1.50m Blenheim Spring Classic 2 Grand Prix, click here, and to view results of all FEI competition at the Blenheim Spring Classic 2, visit Blenheim.Showgroundslive.com.

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