More Than Just a Name: Karen Cruises to the Win with Skylar Wireman
Skylar Wireman returned to Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) and resumed her winning ways Wednesday morning. Aboard Karen!, the 18-year-old rider from Bonsall, CA, took the win in the $10,000 Bridgeport Farms 1.35m Welcome Speed to kick off action at Desert Circuit IV.
“She is not a ‘Karen’ at all,” Wireman said of the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare (Levistano x Cassus 2). “The name does not suit her. She’s the sweetest horse ever. She’s so perfect.”
Wireman won this very class four weeks ago during Desert Circuit I, but with a different horse. Karen! was second, moving to the top spot in Wednesday’s class.
“She is quite fast, and she’s a speciality in the speed classes because she’s very quick across the ground and quick in the air,” Wireman said. “She turns on a dime. My strategy with her was to shave the corners. The last line is where I think I really got it. I ended up doing seven [strides] in the last line and I walked a forward eight. I sliced so hard in that I was on the inside track and seven was there. I can always count on her. She’s such an amazing horse.”
Karen! came into Wireman’s barn as a sales prospect for the lower heights, but her talent was apparent, as she’s now consistently taken top placings up to 1.40m. “She came to us as a 1.20m horse that was for sale at the end of 2021. The owner decided not to sell her so I could do [FEI North American Youth Championships] on her. We ended up stepping her up because she had way more jump in her. She’s certainly proven that; I’ve shown her up to the 1.40m. Week after week, she’s so consistent.”
With a late draw in the starting order of 24, Wireman had the benefit of knowing what the target time was over Alan Wade’s single-round speed track. At the time, Michael Williamson and Granito Noordenhoek were the ones to beat with a time of 60.135 seconds. Wireman’s efficient strategy carried her to a time of 57.041 seconds, awarding her the win ultimately. Williamson claimed second while James Chawke and Gamble took third.
Wireman is still new to the professional lifestyle, but it’s suiting her quite well, winning her first Grand Prix class as a professional just a few weeks ago in the Grand Prix Arena, as well as other notable victories. She’s becoming the one to beat in the National classes during Desert Circuit, and riders break a sweat seeing her name on the competitor list, knowing she’ll be a tough one to beat.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to be a pro,” Wireman continued. “I decided to do college online so I could go pro right away. I’ve been working with my mom, and doing the pro classes the past couple years on clients’ horses so it wasn’t a huge change for me going into pro life, aside from not being so busy on weekends, which is kind of nice.”