The ninth week of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Friday, March 6, with a second win for Kristen VanderVeen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili. They sped to the top of the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI5*.
VanderVeen and her veteran campaigner were the fastest of 18 clear rounds out of 43 entries in the 1.45m over a course set by Alan Wade of Ireland. They took over the lead from Lucas Porter (USA) and Hope Street, who had set the time to beat at 59.66 seconds. They would finish in third place. Riding out of the 24th spot in the order, VanderVeen and “Frosty” brought the winning time down to 56.54 seconds.
“I didn’t see anybody go before me that was really trying to win the class,” said VanderVeen. “There were some more careful components, so I was actually a little more conservative than I planned on being! Thankfully it still worked out. He just covers the ground so well and is still quick in the air.”
Coming close but just off the pace for second place were Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Baronescha, owned by Reitsportanlage Dagobertshausen GMbH & Co. KG, who finished in 56.65 seconds. Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Little Valley Farms’ Boheme de Fleyres were fourth with a time of 60.25 seconds, while Daniel Coyle (IRL) rode Donjo, owned by Ariel Grange, to fifth place in 60.28 seconds.
This is VanderVeen’s sixth winter season competing Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, and he has been one of her most successful horses. VanderVeen has kept the 15-year-old BWP stallion by Berlin x Darco fresh for the show ring this year by switching the venues where he competes.
“This is his first week jumping in this ring for this season,” confirmed VanderVeen. “He jumped Holiday and Horses [horse show in December] and won both the ranking classes, then he did a couple weeks in Ocala. He’s been changing venues, and I think it keeps him interested in the sport.”
Along with a change in scenery, a little “me-time” plays a part. She noted, “I took last week off, so he had five days of turnout. He’s in great shape, so taking a few days off is nice and clears his head. Then he’s ready to play ball.
“He still really loves the sport, and it’s such a blessing that he’s so talented,” she continued. “He can do these little speed classes, which is a little easier on the horses, and I feel he still currently has all the freshness and will to do the big classes. It’s nice that I can do both, but that he can do 1.45m and be competitive.”