Vanessa Mannix Meets her Match in Bridgeport Farms CSI3* Two Phase
Vanessa Mannix’s (CAN) New Year’s resolution was to go faster. Her speed gears have kicked up a notch every week through the season at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP), and during Desert Circuit VII, she got the win she’d been vying for all season.
Aboard Carmela Z, Mannix topped the $5,000 Bridgeport Farms CSI3* Two Phase to open FEI action for the week. Joey Rycroft (CAN) set the track for the occasion, and Mannix stole the lead late in the starting order to ultimately claim top honors.
“We’ve been knocking on the door with Carmela; she’s been great in this class every week,” Mannix said of the 12-year-old Zangersheide mare (Candillo 3 x Nissan Caretano Z), who has placed second and third in this very class. “It feels like we’ve been so close to the win so it was nice to get it today. It’s such a wonderful place to win, too. They look after you with all the swag and it’s always great to hear the Canadian anthem play out there.”
Her own coach, Conor Swail (IRL), took second aboard Casturano in the pair’s FEI debut together, while fellow Canadian Shauna Cook and Gallup, owned by Gallup Syndicate, claimed third.
“I’ve owned her for quite a while,” Mannix said of Carmela Z, who arrived at her farm in 2020. “She’s a really sensitive mare, and I was not clicking with her. I sent her over to Barry O’Conor and Jenny Rankin in Dublin. Jenny got her jumping three-star nations cups and three-star grand prixs.
“When she rejoined my string in August last year she really hit the ground running and it’s been great since,” Mannix continued. “Sometimes you need a little time and help, and luckily we have a great network. The Irish are great riders and great horse people, and they were able to move her forward so now she’s one of my closest matches.”
Now completely on the same page in the ring, Mannix has been racking up top finishes with Carmela Z. “She’s so reliable,” she continued. “Every time I go in the ring she’s one of the most straightforward horses. She’s unbelievably brave, and she’s really level-headed now that we have the same energy and have a good relationship. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t be up for. She’s always been such an exceptional jumper so I knew it was in her.”