Ingrid Gjelsten Caps Off Desert Circuit with a Win in $182,000 La Quinta Resort CSI4* Grand Prix

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Ingrid Gjelsten (NOR) atop the podium in her winning presentation won the CSI4* Grand Prix at Desert Circuit

Ingrid Gjelsten (NOR) came to Desert International Horse Park with a dream, and she’s leaving a CSI4* Grand Prix winner. On the final Saturday night of the 2024 Desert Circuit, the 20-year-old took the win in the $182,000 La Quinta Resort & Club CSI4* Grand Prix with VDL Edgar M.Over Peter Grant’s (CAN) track, rails came down and time faults accrued as the 33 entries tried their hand at an elusive clear round. Gjelsten went 28th in the order and produced the first clear. The only one to follow suit was Ali Ramsay (CAN) with Bonita VH Keizershof Z.

Going head to head in a match race jump-off, Gjelsten and Ramsay made their plans and each took their best shot at the title. Gjelsten kept a quick pace, but pulled one rail on her way, leaving the door open for Ramsay to snag a double-clear for the win. As fate intervened, Ramsay pulled the final rail on course, coming in just slower than Gjelsten, putting the Canadian in second.“I was very nervous so I was trying to not go crazy,” Gjelsten said of her approach to jumping off first of the two. “My plan was to keep calm. I know Ali is very fast so I was just trying to do my plan. I was quite sure that she was going to be clear. I know my horse can do it. He is just amazing. I just need to believe in him and believe in me.”

Full results

Gregory Wathelet Continues his Winning Ways with Kristalic in $32,000 CSI4* 1.45m Classic

Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Kristalic. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo
Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Kristalic. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Originally it was not the plan to step Kristalic, owned by Morning Star Sporthorses, into the FEI ranks for the final week of Desert Circuit. But with the way the schedule worked out, the horse preferred the sand ring, so CSI4* action it was. And with Gregory Wathelet (BEL) aboard, the horse walked away with a second victory of the week in Sunday’s $32,000 Heavy Metal Equipment CSI4* 1.45m Classic, proving he’s a top contender for the higher levels.

“It was not the plan at the beginning to do the FEI,” Wathelet said of Kristalic’s schedule. “When we saw it was on sand, we thought better to do the 1.45m on sand than to try to do the 1.40m National on grass. We tried three weeks ago to jump on the grass and it was not feeling so good. I must say he has improved a lot. He’s really confident on the height because he’s very careful. Sometimes he needs to trust himself that he can jump this height.”

Wathelet took the ride aboard Kristalic and several other Morning Star Sporthorses-owned mounts while Karrie Rufer takes a sideline position awaiting her first child. With each of Rufer’s rides, Wathelet has produced excellent results.“I rode him last year and I liked him because he has a big heart he wants to do well even if sometimes you have to fight for him,” Wathelet explained of the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Arezzo VDL x Baltic VDL). “He’s a super nice horse. I don’t know what he’s going to do in the end but for sure this level, and Karrie will have fun when she takes the reins of him.”

KRISTALIC KR2 1323 scaled
Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Kristalic in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Press release Desert International | Photo 1 Ingrid Gjelsten (NOR) and VDL Edgar M. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

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