James Chawke Plays his Cards Right at Desert Horse Park

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James Chawke and Gamble. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

For CTAcademy Riders Three Days of Learning with Lorenzo De Luca and Leo Rauscher

James Chawke and Gamble didn’t miss a beat since their last time out at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). After winning several iterations of both 1.35m and 1.40m action in 2023, the duo kickstarted the 2024 Desert Circuit with a win in the $5,000 IDA Development 1.35m Welcome Speed, proving one year has only sweetened their partnership.Even better, he secured a one-two finish with his two entries in the class.

“It feels great. That was the idea of coming here this morning. Both horses were super,” he reflected.“[Gamble] hasn’t done much since June,” Chawke said of the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Campbell VDL x Quick Star). “He seems to really like this place, and he hasn’t missed a beat. He seems very happy.”

Chawke and Gamble went late in the order, and the Irishman was chasing his own time, set early on aboard another mount, Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z, owned by Alison Locke. He shaved more than two seconds off his own leading time, coming in at 54.101 seconds with Gamble, taking direct paths and leaving out strides with his steady partner.

“He’s been back in work for a good bit but he hasn’t jumped much at all,” Chawke said of bringing Gamble back into work after the off-season. “I didn’t jump too much at home and then I brought him here in December and did a schooling class on a Tuesday. Yesterday he came and did the same thing and here we are.”

Full results

CTAcademy Riders Wrap Three Days of Learning from Equestrian Experts

Mon Jan 8 5204CTAcademy Lorenzo De Luca

Over the span of three days, riders who participated in the CTAcademy, put on by Cavalleria Toscana with the help of Neil Jones Equestrian, learned all aspects of a successful equestrian career. With sessions in the classroom, in the gym, in the tack, and at the ring, riders learned from Cavalleria Toscana staff and brand ambassadors. Leading the mounted instruction was Italian show jumper Lorenzo De Luca, who guided four separate sections of pole work, flatwork, and jumping.“The riders here I was really impressed with,” De Luca remarked of the CTAcademy riders. “All four groups were very good. The horses really jumped great and I was really impressed that every rider really understood what I wanted and what was the final plan of the lesson. Of course they had different systems but they were so open to listen to new ideas and I was really glad that they were so open minded. They did a great job.”

Tue Jan 9 5250CTAcademy

In his first trip to DIHP, De Luca liked everything he saw. “I always heard so many great things about Thermal in California. I didn’t doubt a second about coming. I really wanted to come and I’m glad I did. I discovered an amazing place and hopefully I will be back again,” he shared.One of the participants’ favorite parts – which also attracted many other viewers from outside the clinic – was the Horsemanship Demonstration with Leo Rauscher. On Thursday he brought his own horse to demonstrate his techniques, and on Wednesday he showed similar techniques with participants’ horses. 

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Press release Desert Horse Park | James Chawke and Gamble. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

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