At the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili dashed through the finish in the $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4* to take home the win in the feature class of the week.
On Saturday, December 2, 2017, the competition, presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission, welcomed 43 entries under the lights in the International Ring at PBIEC. Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed the evening’s course, which saw the top 11 horse-and-rider combinations proceed to the jump-off to compete against the clock.
Vanderveen and the 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Darco), owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five, LLC, navigated the fast track in 45.53 seconds to clinch victory.
“He [Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili] felt really happy this whole week,” explained Vanderveen. “I’ve had a great feeling with him and he did jump the qualifying class very well. This is really the first proper night class that I’ve done in Wellington with him, as he’s jumped under the lights in Tryon and in other locations, so it was time to bring him out here,” says Vanderveen.
Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili have had a stellar 2017 season, adding ten FEI wins to their resume leading into the Holiday & Horses CSI4* and most recently collecting top finishes in Tryon, North Carolina and Las Vegas, NV. After their trip out west, the duo returned to Wellington to prepare for the approaching winter season.
“This was kind of a test as to where we are going this season and to see if I want to use him as my main horse here at WEF. I think that he proved that we are ready to go, so I was really pleased with him. Walking the course I thought that it was fair and a nice first way to ease into a night class. It obviously wasn’t too easy, but not quite as big as it possibly could have been,” she continued.
Describing her mount, fondly known in the barn as “Frosty,” Vanderveen elaborated on his standout personality and relaxed demeanor, saying, “He’s just a laid-back guy. He’s lovely to have in the barn. He’s the most responsive horse to all human contact. He really surprises people because of how big and fast he is. Last season he was champion in the 1.45m speed classes the whole season and you look at him and think that there’s no way, but he listens so well and he’s so reactive. Whenever I ask for something he’s on it right away.”
Trailing behind Vanderveen was Margie Engle (USA) and Royce, a 2004 Oldenburg stallion (Café Au Lait x Grandilot) owned by Gladewinds Partners, LLC, who earned a second place finish for their time of 46.47s. Third place was presented to Beat Mändli (SUI) and the 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare Dsarie (Veron x Ahorn), owned by Grant Road Partners, LLC, after crossing through the timers in 49.63s.
Engle was also honored with the FEI Leading Lady Rider Award presented by Martha Jolicouer and Jill Townsend, recognizing her outstanding performances in FEI competition throughout the week.
The full results can be viewed here.