Team Eye Candy Serves Up Success in the Desert
Team Eye Candy is hungry for another Major League Show Jumping title, and they made that very clear during the $200,000 Whittier Trust MLSJ CSI5* Team Competition. The team has been behind Helios all season long, but they made the competition that much closer Saturday of Desert Holiday I, taking the second-to-last title of the 2022 season of the tour.
Eye Candy put in a completely clear slate in round one, joining Lugano Diamonds, Spy Coast Spies, and Trailblazers in the top four, with the advantage of going late in the second round. Conor Swail (IRL) with Theo 160 and Amy Millar (CAN) with Christiano put in the fastest combined times with no rails to add, putting them in pole position for the gold medal.
In the final round, Natalie Dean (USA) of Lugano and Paul O’Shea (IRL) of Eye Candy went head to head in the gold medal matchup. Dean and Cocolina pulled one rail to add three seconds to their final time, but stayed on the pace. O’Shea knew what he had to do, and got some wise words from Swail heading into the ring.
“He had to go quick enough still,” Swail said of his advice to his fellow countryman. “[Squirt Gun] is relatively fast, so he had to have a good, tidy round. The horse was awesome and so was Paul, so it worked out well.”
O’Shea’s time of 42.65 seconds sealed the deal and handed Eye Candy their third win of the 2022 season.
“It’s been a good season,” Swail continued. “Look at us now; we’re three points behind [the lead]. We feel like we could have done a little better here and there but we’ve had a lot of podium finishes. We always have a good plan going into it and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Thankfully, more often than not it does with the horses and riders we have.”
Millar, who hasn’t jumped for the team the past few events, is happy to be back on the roster and back at DIHP. “I really enjoy coming here,” she said. “The footing on this field is fantastic. It gives back to the horses. My horses feel like they have springs in their shoes. Everyone is so nice. The car racing was amazing. It’s quite a treat to come out here for this event and Major League really treats us well, as does this horse show.”