By Emily Kerr
THERMAL, Calif. – January 28, 2021 – FEI competition kicked off Thursday afternoon for Desert Circuit II and it was Misti Cassar (USA) and Viking de Laume (Newton de Kreisker x Issue de Laume) who captured the win in the $5,000 FEI 1.40m 275.2.5., sponsored by Run Amok Horse Transportation. Cassar and the Selle Francais gelding, owned by Alberto Rivera Torres, crossed the timers 25.94 seconds to earn the top spot.
Mavis Spencer (USA) and Georgy Maskrey-Segesman’s Belladonna 42 (Clearway x Vita 24), finished in second place with a time of 27.25 seconds. Landing in third place was Kaitlin Campbell (USA) and Famke (Boss x Zephyrus), owned by HD Horses LLC, for their time of 27.59 seconds.
Cassar and Viking, as he is known in the barn, have been paired together for two years. “A lot of the time, I don’t think I am going fast enough. I will look up and be ten seconds under,” Cassar noted about the 18hh horse’s stride. “He feels a little like an Equitation ride, but in the 1.50m because you need to keep it all together with him. Otherwise the distances get short.”
The pair will continue competing through Desert Circuit III and return for Desert Circuit VII and VIII. “I really love the changes here,” commented Cassar. “I think the horses are really, really happy here and the energy here feels great. We are just so happy to be here.”