Wellington, Florida, USA – February 12, 2021 – Hot off his grand prix win on Sunday during the fourth week of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Daniel Deusser (GER) jumped back into the winners circle in WEF 5, this time aboard Kiana Van Het Herdershof, owned by Stephex Stables, in the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI 5* on Friday, February 12, in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
The speed track on Friday set by Kelvin Bywater (GBR) challenged a total of 49 combinations and featured 14 jumping efforts. Deusser and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Toulon x Starlight VD Hemelseschoot) gave it a good run, finishing with the fastest time of the day in 59.54 seconds.
“I had two horses and with the first one, the goal was to get a good ribbon,” said Deusser. “Kiana Van Het Herdershof is naturally very fast and a little bit crazy. She’s already won a few classes like this one, so with her, it was our plan to try to win the class.”
Harrie Smolders (NED) and Une de L’Othian, a 13-year-old Selle Français mare (Conterno Grande x Cento owned by Evergate Stables, LLC, took home a red ribbon in the class, finishing second in 60.81 seconds.
Erynn Ballard (CAN) piloted Ronja, a 10-year-old Swiss Warmblood mare (Conteur x Ranga owned by Ilan Ferder, to a third-place finish, stopping the timers in 61.86 seconds.
Deusser, who captured his last victory on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village aboard Killer Queen VDM, went on to say he thoroughly enjoys the chance to jump in the International Arena.
“It’s a very great ring to ride in,” he said. “It’s big enough, there are really nice fences, the flowers, the decoration; it’s a nice feeling to ride in the International Arena.”
Deusser, currently ranked third in the world, has expressed his excitement to be back at WEF for the first time in four years and considers his competitors some of the best in the world. On Saturday night, he’ll jump under the lights in the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5*, a class he’s circled in the calendar as one he’s hoping to win.
“I don’t see a big difference in the level of competition here compared to Europe,” he said. “We have top international riders here, and the level is exactly the same. I will ride Killer Queen Saturday night. She showed last week that she’s in good shape and showed yesterday with a nice round in the WEF. She’s jumped under the lights before so I’m quite comfortable about tomorrow.”
Competition is underway at WEF for the first CSI5* of the winter circuit, sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, with a concurrent CSI2* running as well, sponsored by Restylane. Up next it’s an exciting Saturday night under the lights with the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* in the International Arena followed by an action-packed Sunday lineup with the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic and the $50,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI2*. Feature classes are available both live and on demand using the livestream.
Source: Press release by Kate Pettersen & Sabrina Bashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot