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risten VanderVeen Ph. ©Shannon Brinkman
Kristen VanderVeen Ph. ©Shannon Brinkman

If you could capture pure joy in a single image, this would be a beautiful example. Kristen Vanderveen’s smile was infectious to those on the ground Sunday, March 18th at Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida for two very special reasons.

First, winning a World Cup™ Qualifier is a huge accomplishment in and of itself and second, when that win is the last qualifying leg of the Longines FEI Jumping North American League World Cup and it secures you a spot at your very first World Cup Finals, it’s a cause for some serious celebration.

“It’s very surreal for me right now. I’ve always wanted to go to World Cup Finals,” Vanderveen beamed after her victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier Grand Prix. “This is a bit of a last minute decision for me to come here and see if we could do something special today and get it. I’m over the moon excited about it. Winning the Grand Prix alone is a big deal to me, but going to Paris makes me really excited.”

Vanderveen believes that her 13-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood gelding Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili or ‘Frosty’, will thrive in a World Cup Finals setting. His speed and effectiveness in smaller rings over multiple days of competition will be an advantage come April.

We can’t wait to see these two compete in Paris!