Langley, BC – Wednesday at Thunderbird Show Park, it appeared as though Kyle King (USA) was in a race against himself.
He and Patricia Vasey’s Odysseus positively blew the field away in the CSI3* tbird Speed 1.40m, the opening international class of the final competition of tbird’s 50th Anniversary season.
Crossing the timers of Joey Rycroft’s (CAN) track in 59.66 seconds, King and “Odie” were more than six seconds faster than runners-up Uma O’Neill (NZL) and Messi 10 (66.07s), who produced the first clear round of the class and held the lead for its majority. Tracey Epp (CAN) and new mount Klasse One finished third (67.03s).
“He’s just a fast horse,” King said. “You don’t have to push him anywhere and, you just kind of follow him, keep the balance right. He’s a gamer.”
Rycroft set a winding track, maximizing the space of the Thunderbird Jumper Arena. The long gallop lanes offered between far-away related distances were paired with sharp rollback turns, and strategically placed decorations dared riders to attempt even tighter inside turns.
King was one of the few who accepted those challenges, executing a flawless right-handed hairpin turn to the final line that set himself even farther apart in a class in which he was already up on the clock.
“I feel like I know him really well,” King shared. “Now I can turn short as I want to verticals. Oxers sometimes I need let him see the back rail a little bit. But in a lot of circumstances he’s a fast enough kind of horse that if there’s an option of an inside turn to an oxer or around, I can around and still be just as fast. He’s that type.”
King has been partnered with Odie since August 2022, when owner Patricia Vasey handed him over the reins after herself developing the horse up to 1.40m. According to Jumpr App, Odysseus finishes in the top 10 44% of the time when jumping 1.40m.
“Odie is definitely a main source of my string now and for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“He’s proven to be a horse for me in the money classes. Whether he’ll be a big Sunday 1.55m Grand Prix horse or not, I’m not sure. But he’s a very solid, good jumping weapon in my string. I’m very lucky to have him.”