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 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.
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 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.”
Saratoga Steals Win in CSI2* Grand Prix
Alise Oken, representing the host country, and Saratoga flew around the $50,000 by Ethel M. Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix in the International Arena to close out WEF 7. Oken, and the 10-year-old Holsteiner mare (Chin Champ x Casall) owned by Hi Hopes Farm LLC, were unstoppable, finishing the speed portion of the course in a time of 38.86 seconds. They were the only partnership to post a time sub-40 seconds.
Oken and Saratoga have a relatively new partnership but growing stronger every day. “I’ve had Sara for about a year and a half now. Last year we started doing some of the bigger classes and some 1.50-meters and she’s really excelled at that level. When I first sat on her I thought she had all the scope in the world and I’ve taken my time with her and I think she will jump some of the biggest tracks, but today we also went fast which was great so I’m really happy with the results.”
Donald Sheehan and Arrow Take Top Honors in Pre-Green 3′ Hunter Division
Mill Spring, NC – May 28, 2015 – The $34,000 FEI Tryon Speed Stake boasted a large class of international veteran talent, but young Charlotte, NC-based Alise Oken (USA) made easy work of the class aboard her own Kaid Du Ry to collect her first win at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Competition at Tryon Spring 7 continues through the week, highlighting the $127,000 Kingsland Grand Prix on Saturday, May 30, beginning at 7pm and the $25,000 Grand Prix on Sunday with competition starting at 2:15pm. The Tryon Spring Series will conclude on June 7.
Oken and Kaid Du Ry saved time wherever they could around course, opting to take the fastest routes and tightest turns. The class of 24 entries saw nine double clear trips, with the top four being separated by less than a second. The duo flew through the timers at 60.08 seconds to take a dominant win. Oken, a student of Laura Kraut (USA), stepped up to the plate and rode a gutsy round, which ultimately secured the win for the duo.
“The course was a stout 1.45m I thought. There were some good stride options but with my horse, he has a smaller stride so I couldn’t take advantage necessarily and needed to find other ways to make it the most efficient round possible,” said Oken. “I really added in a few places but he’s so fast in the air that I was able to make up for some of that. Overall, I thought it was a great course. I decided to do the open water line because I felt like that was the fastest way to go and he handled that really well.”
This is Oken’s first week of competition at TIEC and she could not be happier with the short commute from her home in Charlotte, NC to the facility. She will spend the next two weeks at TIEC and will return for part of the Tryon Summer Series before traveling to Europe to catch up with trainer Laura Kraut.
“I’m so happy to be here in Tryon, this is incredibly convenient for us since we’re from Charlotte, NC. The facility is shaping up to be something amazing. We couldn’t be happier to be here and be a part of this week,” said Oken. “I decided to stay in the U.S. for the first part of the summer because there are so many shows offering new FEI classes now. It’s a great opportunity for me to stay here and get ranking points before heading to Europe.”
Oken and Kaid Du Ry have been together for four years, but the 17-year-old Selle Francais gelding is still a fire-cracker in the ring and has the heart of a four-year-old according to Oken, who has created a strong bond with the gelding in their tenure together.
“He’s amazing. He makes my job so easy; I barely do anything when we go in the ring. He walked right in there and just did his job today. I haven’t jumped him since Kentucky last week and he was a star today,” she said.
The duo has rocked around some big tracks in their time together and Kaid Du Ry knows when he needs to put his game face on according to Oken. Besting a class of seasoned competitors is a highlight for Oken, who is working to earn herself a spot representing the United States in international competition.
“He knows his job and that’s what makes him so easy. In the ring he’s always spicy for me because he gets excited and that’s what makes him tick. When we flat though, that’s a different story,” she smiled. “We’re looking forward to the next few weeks here and then I’ll head to Europe with my horses. We’re focusing on the big open jumper classes and being consistent in the Grand Prix. I’m really trying to work on my ranking points and also to keep my horses fit and happy because that’s when you get the good results.”
Donald Sheehan and Arrow Take Pre-Green 3′ Hunter Division
Donald Sheehan of Maryville, TN and Linda Schwartz’s Arrow capped an impressive day at TIEC earning champion honors in the Pre-Green 3′ Hunter division. Sheehan, who has had a very busy season so far at TIEC, piloting several horses to championship honors, was very pleased with his rounds today aboard the smaller bay gelding today.
“He was great today; he went around today like a champ and he was very good yesterday too,” said Sheehan. “He’s a great little horse and I’ve had a really good time riding him.”
Arrow has been with Sheehan and Craig Allen at Wayside Farm since last year and the gelding has taken great strides since his purchase from Sarah Mechlin, with both Sheehan and his owner, Linda Schwartz.
“His owner competed him in the 3’3 Juniors last year while I did him in the Pre-Greens and she started him the Juniors this year and he’s just been phenomenal so far,” commented Sheehan. “He’s a perfect horse. He’s a great jumper and a great mover and the hunters have really suited him. He’s a good all-around guy.”
The duo will look to continue their winning ways this season and Sheehan is proud to have the ride on Arrow. Sheehan and Wayside Farm are planning to compete at majority of the big Finals classes approaching in the summer and fall before turning their sights to Ocala, FL, their winter base.
“As for the future, we’re looking to do most of the finals classes of everything; you know we have medal finals and everything like that and then of course indoors.”
Competition continues at TIEC tomorrow with the $5,000 1.45 Challenge in the George H. Morris Arena before the venue prepares for the largest class of the week, the $127,000 Kingsland Grand Prix beginning at 7pm on Saturday, May 30.
The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.
Larkspur and Francesca Dildabanian Take Home the Tricolor in Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunter 14 and Under Division
Wellington, FL – February 3, 2013 – Week four of the2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Fidelity Investments, concluded on Sunday afternoon with a win for 21-year-old Alise Oken and Hi Hopes Farm, LLC’s Teirra in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela set the courses for week four jumper competition in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). In Sunday’s concluding class, 46 entries competed and six advanced to the jump-off. The top three riders jumped double clear rounds, and the fastest time belonged to Alise Oken and Teirra in 31.928 seconds, first to go in the jump-off.
Coming in second, Amanda Derbyshire and David Gochman’s Attack II stopped the clock in 33.613 seconds. HH Prince Faisal Al Shalan and Saudi Equestrian’s Talan placed third with their time of 34.128 seconds. Ben Maher and Mrs. Philips’ Quiet Easy 4 had the fastest time of the jump-off in 31.200 seconds, but had one rail down. Lorenzo de Luca and Michael Collins’ Chevalier also had one rail and placed fifth with their time of 34.588 seconds. Jessica Springsteen wrapped up the jump-off with eight faults aboard Stone Hill Farm’s Vindicat W to place sixth.
Samba and Jessica Ungerer Claim Victory in Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter Division
Wellington, FL – January 25, 2013 – Twenty-one -year-old Alise Oken and Hi Hopes Farm, LLC’s Teirra kicked off Friday’s competition at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival with a win in the $2,500 RCG Farm High Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed class in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Week three of the FTI WEF runs January 23-27. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments, at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening. This year, the event will distribute $1.5 million to 34 lucky Palm Beach County charities in a pro-am team competition.
Other highlights will include the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC will host the $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix, weather permitting, at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The 2013 FTI WEF circuit continues through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.