Klas Kudlinski Claims Top Two Spots in $20,000 Pin Oak Welcome Stake

Klas Kudlinski, pictured aboard NKH Darco Son, finished both first and second in the $20,000 Welcome Stake. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photograph



Katy, Texas – April 7, 2021 – After only one day of competition, Klas Kudlinski has already made his inaugural trip to Texas a winning one. In Kudlinski’s Pin Oak Charity Horse Show debut on Wednesday, April 7, the 26-year-old German rider claimed both first and second place in the $20,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Bedoya Training Stables.

Kudlinski earned the top call aboard NKH Cento Blue and finished in a close second with NKH Darco Son, both owned by NKH LLC. Both horses are regularly ridden by Christian Heineking, but when the accomplished, fellow German rider broke his foot this winter, he called upon Kudlinski.

“He offered for me to come to his barn in Texas to show his horses a little bit as long as he’s out,” explained Kudlinski, who arrived in Texas last week, just in time to prepare for the third and final week of the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. “I’ve ridden both of the horses since just eight or nine days ago now. Our plan with both horses was actually just to do a nice round to get to know each other, so it makes me even happier that it turned out this way!”

Klas Kudlinski and NKH Cento Blue. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, NKH Cento Blue, and 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, NKH Darco Son, were two of six combinations from the 17-horse starting field to advance to the jump-off. NKH Cento Blue’s winning time registered at 38.972 seconds, while a finish time of 39.581 seconds gave NKH Darco Son the second-place honor.

Third place with one rail down in the jump-off and a time of 32.147 seconds went to Brooke Peterson and Fast Flo. Rounding out the top four with four faults and a time of 32.352 seconds were Trapp O’Neal and Dollar Cash.

“Both [NKH Darco Son and NKH Cento Blue] are pretty experienced over this height with Christian,” said Kudlinski, who first came to the U.S. to compete with his own horses in 2020. “[NKH Darco Son] is a stallion, but I must say that his comfort and his rideability is just amazing. He feels like sitting on a couch. He does everything pretty easily. There’s not much that you need to take care of as a rider; you just basically show him where the fences are, and he does the rest. That’s my first show impression of him.”  

Klas Kudlinski and NKH Darco Son. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Kudlinski continued, “I’m just really thankful and grateful that Christian and Neil [Knox], the horses’ owner, gave me the opportunity to ride such great, experienced horses. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity that they gave me, and one that’s not always so easy to find.”

While continuing to get to know both horses, Kudlinski will set his sights next on Thursday’s $25,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix.

Running through April 11, the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition while benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital.

Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook here. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.

For additional coverage throughout the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, follow The Plaid Horse on Facebook and Instagram.