Edited Press Release
The final five-star class of international competition during Week 7 of the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to a close on Sunday afternoon with a win for German Olympian Daniel Deusser and Kiana Van Het Herdershof.
Fifty-three combinations readied themselves to contest Steve Stephens’ (USA) final test of the Lugano Diamonds-sponsored week as finishing touches were put on the first round of the $78,000 CaptiveOne Advisors CSI5* 1.50m Classic.
Deusser, ranked the number-nine in the world, produced a fault-free first round on both his winning mount and his second entry, Loui LN, with whom he finished in sixth place at the class’s completion. A total of 17 pairs successfully navigated the first round without penalty to advance to the short track, but eight of those contenders suffered from at least one downed obstacle as they put on the gas pedal. Jos Verlooy went early in the class and set the pace as he with a challenging time-to-beat at 38.04 seconds, but ultimately settled for third place aboard Euro Horse BVBA’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding FTS Killossery Konfusion (SIEC Livello x Cruising).
Deusser and the Stephex Stables’ 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Toulon x Lys De Darmen) are no strangers to the winner’s circle at Wellington International, having won a handful of five-star events in the arena during 2021 and 2022. Kiana Van Het Herdershof was also selected as the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award winner by Laura fetterman on Sunday.
“Kiana is a horse I’ve had for many years, and she is naturally very fast, so classes like this are her specialty,” explained Deusser. “If I am clear in the jump-off with her, I am normally always in the top five placings.”
According to Deusser, the course was well-suited for this mare and the pair have once again hit their stride.
“My jump-off started really well with the turn from fence two to three which is one of her strong suits,” he detailed. “She is never running blind, and she is always searching for the next jump. Then to the second to last fence I did a rollback that would’ve been very difficult to do with another horse. The thing about Kiana is you don’t have to slow her down in front of the fences so I can keep my speed throughout the whole jump-off.”
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca split the difference between Deusser and Verlooy to land the second place finish aboard Dirka De Blondel. He piloted the Poden Farms’ 10-year-old Selle Français mare (Very Berlin De Castel x Lauterbach) to stop the clock in 36.52 seconds and finish only half a second off the winning pace of 36.02 seconds.
Original press release from https://wellingtoninternational.com.
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