World of Showjumping
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Vani Khosla and Cream Couleur Z capture $5,000 YETI CSI3* 1.45m Speed

Saturday, 17 February 2024
CSI3* Desert International Horse Park 2024

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo Vani Khosla and Cream Couleur Z. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.


Press release from Desert International Horse Park



Vani Khosla (USA) has had several truly special horses in her career so far, and one of them scored a win Friday in the $5,000 YETI CSI3* 1.45m Speed. Cream Couleur Z, a horse that reminds her of her last superstar, Billy Mexico, is Khosla’s horse for the future.

“They’re both just fighters in the ring; they want to win, and they love to do it,” the California native said of the similarities between Billy Mexico and Cream Couleur Z. “They’re both quick in front and have such good natural foot speed.”

Billy Mexico took Khosla up the ranks into the CSI5* division, and they had a fruitful 5-year career in international show jumping. Cream Couleur Z has only been in Khosla’s string for a year, but she’s already convinced he’s the next big thing for her.

“I can’t explain it; I got on him during the first trial and I was like, ‘this is my horse.’ I bought him from Vincent Dings of Hans Dings Stable. We watched him a lot over there and we got really fortunate that it worked out for us to get him.”

The now 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Cream On Top x Vanoverbeek) had a steady first 12 years with the same rider, but he’s making the transition quite seamlessly with Khosla aboard, training under Mathijs Van Asten (NED). Desert Circuit marks his first trip across the Atlantic, after which they’ll return to the Netherlands where Khosla now trains full time, but they’ll be going home winners come end of March.

“He was a little bit older horse but he just felt right away like he’d be a good thing,” Khosla said of the feeling she got with Cream Couleur Z. “He’d been with Vincent Dings his whole career. He was showing him in three-star grand prixs, he did a Nations Cup team for Holland, he was his Young Riders horse – he’s done everything on him.”

While Khosla has brought up several younger mounts recently, she appreciates that her current top ride has a bit of experience taking her into bigger classes.

“It’s a little in between,” she said of choosing between younger horses and more established mounts. “I don’t like them too young; I just don’t have a ton of experience with that yet but I’m learning. I bought three 7-year-olds that are now 9 and that’s been really fun; I’ve learned to bring them along and I’m starting to see the progress with them. To go out in these classes is still new for me so to have something that’s a little experienced really helps.”

Khosla is returning to a venue she practically didn’t recognize, but she’s elated to be back and be so close to home, which is Portola Valley, CA.

“I grew up here,” she reflected about the Thermal show grounds. Three years ago, she packed her bags and moved east, eventually landing in Holland. “I was feeling homesick so I brought the team with me. I asked my trainer, Mathijs Van Asten, if he’d be open to it and we decided to come try. We’re having a great time. We are happy to be here. They’ve made amazing improvements. You really see it when you’ve been away a bit.”

Last time Khosla was in the desert, there was certainly no grass. Now, it’s some of the best grass she’s jumped on.

“I love it, it’s beautiful,” she said of the grass surface the FEI horses are jumping on this week. “The horses are jumping great out there, so it’s really great. Every grass field is different; they all have their own character. This one rides beautifully, the horses cover a lot of ground, and it feels really good. I think they’ve done an amazing job with the footing. I know they’ve worked hard on it. When I left here in 2021 they were just starting to think about it so it’s cool to see what it looks like now.”


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