Category Archives: USHJA

Hunt Tosh and Flamingo-K Earn Victory in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Hunt Tosh and Flamingo-K. Photos ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 7, 2017 – Hunt Tosh of Milton, GA and Flamingo-K, owned by Ceil Wheeler, finished as the winning pair in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo were tied for second place after the first round with a combined score of 177 and turned in another strong performance in the handy round, earning a score of 200, for a total score of 377. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, NC and Celtic Gold, owned by Meg Valnoski, secured the second place honors with a two round total of 368, while Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, rounded out the top three with a score of 363.

Tosh and family made a special trip to TIEC for the weekend, bringing only Flamingo-K to contest the duo’s abilities in this very class. Navigating the handy round with precision and beauty, the duo ended the day with a blue ribbon, proving the journey to be well worth their travels. Tosh and Flamingo-K have only been partnered for a short time and this was Tosh’s second class with the 12-year-old chestnut gelding.

“He is very new to us,” Tosh explained. “The Wheelers bought him for me at Devon this year because they have been looking for that special derby horse. I showed him in one other derby before this, so I am really just getting to know him.”

Flamingo-K only started competing in the hunter discipline this year, originally coming from the jumpers, and his transition to the hunter derby ring has been flawless. Tosh detailed how Flamingo-K is very well suited for derbies, saying, “He finds the jumps really well. I hate trot jumps. I think I’ve lost more classes because of trot jumps, but he is a good trot jumper and that helps out! With his scope, you just have so much range. You can be where it’s not optimal and he makes up for it. He has a great rhythm and is just really fun to ride.”

Although the mount is rather new, he spoke very highly of the horse’s ability to perform in the big George H. Morris Arena.

“He is a blast to ride. He is super scopey, brave, very careful, and really just a sweet horse. I think he is going to be an amazing derby horse.”

Tosh’s daughter, Maddie Tosh, competed multiple mounts in last weekend’s $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Tosh had never showed in this arena and therefore relied on his daughter’s insight for the class.

“The best part about Maddie is that she is so hands on in the barn and she knows all of the horses just as well as I do and everything about them. I told her tonight she would have to give me pointers on how to show in this ring because I have never shown in it before! So I asked her how it rode and for her advice,” laughed Tosh.

Tosh and his team have loved their experience at TIEC, especially after his impressive win. Tosh commented on the layout details of the TIEC, saying, “We love it here. The footing and the facility overall is just so nice. You are standing under shaded covers with fans in-between rounds. I mean you can’t ask for more accommodations at a horse show. What they have done here is phenomenal.”

Tosh was very appreciative of the opportunity to compete in such a large ring, while also expressing his gratitude to the Wheeler family, saying, “I can’t thank them enough for buying him for me to ride. They have been after me for a derby horse for quite some time, and we finally got one!”

Todd Minikus and Exceptional Take $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL and Exceptional were just that in the $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC. Minikus and Exceptional bested twenty-six other pairings with phenomenal scores of 92 and 96, capturing the win by more than ten points with a final score of 188. Taylor Ann Adams of Ocala, FL and Lucretia finished in second place with a two round score of 177.5, while Kianna Luscher of Hawthorne, NJ and Carissima W took third place with 175 points after two rounds.

Todd Minikus and Exceptional

Minikus explained that he wasn’t sure how to approach the inside turns for the handy round in particular with this horse, and needed to improvise a bit on course, which Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, handled with ease.

He commented, “I thought it was a very nice course. The inside turns in the handy were really inside, which I do have some practice with, but he’s a very green horse and I didn’t know how he would take it. He handled it exceptionally well and evidently the judges thought he did it as well as I did!”

The pair has been together since midway through the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit in Wellington, FL when a friend of Minikus found Exceptional in Belgium and connected the two. A six-year-old bay gelding, Exceptional has only done six or seven shows in his career.

“He was champion both this week and last week, so he’s turned himself into a real winner,” said Minikus. “We make our living selling horses, so hopefully somebody wants to have a winner and buys him from me, but until that time, I’ll continue to show him in his prospective division and these derbies. Hopefully we’ll keep winning,” he added with a smile.

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Take $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3*

Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z topped the $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3* on the Grass Complex at TIEC, stopping the jump-off timers at 37.09 seconds. Kyle Timm (CAN) and Georgie B sped to second with a 38.179 second dash, while Erynn Ballard (CAN) took third place aboard Thalys Z, stopping the timers in 39.845 seconds.

Famoso D Ive Z, a 2007 Zangersheide gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin) owned by Sky Group & Sharn Wordley, has been with Wordley for two years now and the pair have amassed an impressive record together.

“The horse came from Europe, so he jumped on grass quite a bit, but I’ve had him for two years and this was my fifth class on grass,” he explained. “We don’t have much grass around. He loved it today and he was fantastic.”

In the last year, Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z have won seven ranking classes together at TIEC alone and Wordley emphasized that he is an important horse in his successful string.

“He wins a lot of classes. He’s fast. He does the ranking classes to save the grand prix horses or if there’s a grand prix that’s appropriate to him. He’s a good horse and very fast.

“I love TIEC. It’s one of my favorite horse shows. I think now, too, they’ve got the grass fantastic to ride on and it’s really good,” he said. “Oscar [Soberon] did a great job and always builds good courses. He’s a great course designer.”

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit

Schuyler Riley and Cleopatra’s Smile Earn Victory in $25k USHJA International Hunter Derby

Schuyler Riley and Cleopatra’s Smile. Photos ©Sportfot.

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Race to Win $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4*

Mill Spring, NC – June 9, 2017 – Schuyler Riley of Wellington, FL and Cleopatra’s Smile, owned by Wolfstone Stables and Sales Inc., was the winning pair in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo paved the way after the first round with a combined score of 181.5 and turned in another strong performance in the handy round, earning a score of 187 for a total score of 368.5. Liza Boyd of Camden, SC and O’Ryan, owned by Stella Styslinger, secured the second place honors with a two round total of 367, while Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, rounded out the top three with a two round total of 365.

Riley and Cleopatra’s Smile were sitting in first place after the first round, returning last to test their abilities in the handy. Navigating the handy round with precision and beauty, the duo ended the day with a blue ribbon. Having only been partnered as a team since this past March, Riley was thrilled with the mare’s performance on the large derby field.

“She is new at this, so I tried to take as much time as possible to get to the first jump to allow her to take a breath by the time I was there. Everything rode exactly like I planned it,” Riley detailed.

Cleopatra’s Smile, a 9-year-old-mare, was competing in the jumpers when Riley imported her from Europe and knew the horse was destined to be a derby horse. “Whenever I go to Europe to try a horse to be a hunter, I let them loose to see what they do. A lot of them don’t understand, but she got it by the second jump. She is really smart and really easy,” she explained.

“I decided to bring her to Tryon because I just love her character. I think she has just blossomed because her character is so good. Her personality is just like a Labrador Retriever and as you watch her expression going around the course she zones in on the jump and her ears go forward. She really enjoys it,” she said.

Well-known in the jumper ring, Riley is loving her time participating in the hunters and is excited to continue contesting opportunities with Cleopatra’s Smile.

“For me, there is a lot more riding that has to go on. It is a lot more technical and you really have to be able to feel the horse because you are out there for a long time. You have to know what is happening underneath you and ride each jump separately. You also have to have a good sense of communication with the horse and they have to trust you. For me, I have as much fun in the derby field as I do in the jumper ring.”

“I am not used to looking at the jumps so far away. I saw the distance fifteen strides out and I was thinking to myself, ‘You can’t see a distance that far away,’ but it all worked out and was a lot of fun,” Riley added.

Standing out in the Team USA red show jumping jacket, Riley touched on her choice of outfit, saying, “I don’t own a shad belly and never have. Even as a junior I didn’t own one. I was reading the derby rules for proper attire and it says that if you have ridden for a U.S. team and have a red coat, you are allowed to wear it, so I thought why not? It goes with my grey mare and a blue ribbon!”

Riley looks forward to the future with Cleopatra’s Smile and she was very thankful of the opportunity to ride on the Grass Complex at TIEC, saying, “I just really appreciate that Tryon has made such a big effort to make the jumper venue special, but also with hunter events too. The footing rode fantastic and we appreciate all of the effort that the management and organization has made into putting these types of classes on.”

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Race to Win $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4*

Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 secured the win in the $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4*, stopping the timers in a blazing 60.230 seconds. Eric Navet (FR) and Basimodo finished in the second place position with a time of 62.080 seconds, while Kyle Timm (CAN) and Javas Georgie B earned third place honors with a time of 62.730 seconds.

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083

Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, a 2001 Swedish Warmblood (Cardento x Cortus), owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, have been frequent visitors to the winner’s circle at the TIEC. The track set by Alan Wade (IRL), who has built impressive courses throughout the week at the TIEC, tested the horses’ speed and agility.

“Alan [Wade] set a really nice track today. The way the course was set made everyone do the same route and there was not a big gap in any of the times. I was early in the order so I went as fast as I thought I needed to, to win the class and my time held up.” Sweetnam described.

Giving credit to his longtime partner Cyklon 1083, Sweetnam commented, “Cyklon is naturally a quick horse and I made a tidy roll back to fence four and fence eight. I think that made the difference and how I won the class.”

Sweetnam spoke highly of the impressive stallion, Cyklon 1083, and his ability to win all of the world, as well as here in North Carolina at TIEC. “He has won everywhere. He is sixteen years old now and I have had him for six years. When he comes out to compete he always has a chance to be at the top. He is one of my favorites. He can do everything. He is a great horse and his record speaks for himself.

“This is a great facility, and the atmosphere is always fantastic. There is a great competition here this week and Alan [Wade] will for sure build tough enough tomorrow night. It will be a great class for the spectators,” Sweetnam concluded.

For more information, please visit

Jeff Gogul and Snowbird Soar to Victory in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Jeff Gogul on Snowbird.

Lexington, Ky. – May 20, 2017 – Donning a commemorative blue ribbon on his hunt coat, Jeff Gogul earned another blue ribbon, piloting Sofia Roberts, LLC’s Snowbird to win the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC. Entering the ring as the final competitor over a multiple option course designed by Danny Moore, Gogul upset Victoria Colvin’s commanding lead aboard Caliber, with a score of 184.

Out of twenty-five entries in the Stonelea ring, only the top twelve combinations who scored an 80 or above in the classic round were invited back to vie for top honors and a pair of luxurious Fabbri boots. Gogul had an almost flawless first round aboard the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Snowbird, receiving an 86 from the judges. He also received four additional bonus points for taking all the high options. The score was high enough to position Gogul in first place going into the handy round, but Winn Alden and World Affair were not far behind with an 89.

Heading into the handy round, Gogul had the advantage of going last in the order, but he knew they would have close competition. Victoria Colvin, who won the USHJA National Hunter Derby with Caliber during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, was on track for another victory, rising to the top of the leaderboard with a high score of 92. As the final rider on course, Gogul was prepared with multiple plans after the trot jump at fence four. Calling upon the gelding’s bravery and natural jumping ability, Gogul guided Snowbird over all of the high options, earning them four extra bonus points. The pair received a score 90 from the judges, ensuring their victory in the class.

Snowbird, who has spent the winter showing indoors at the World Equestrian Center, only started showing outside last week at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. During that first week under Kentucky’s blue skies, the pair placed fourth in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Gogul not only came into the ring prepared to win but he felt the added presence of his beloved friend, Ellen Veitch, whose memory was honored by spectators, riders and show organizers alike with ‘A Day in the Park.’ As he took his victory lap, blue braids standing out in Snowbird’s mane, Gogul reflected on what a perfect day it was to honor his friend who loved her home state of Kentucky and horses equally.

Victoria Colvin secured the second place honors with a score of 179 aboard Laura Karet’s Calibur. Winn Alden scored 178.5 aboard World Affair, owned by Southern Arches, LLC.


Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Liza Boyd Goes Two for Two Taking USHJA Int’l Hunter Derby and USHJA Nat’l Hunter Derby

Liza Boyd and Clemens. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – May 19, 2017 – Liza Boyd of Camden, SC captured top honors in both the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and $10,000 International Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), making her mark on World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the venue. Boyd topped a class of 26 entries on her way to taking the highlight hunter class of the week, the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in George H. Morris Arena aboard Clemens.

Boyd is a mainstay at TIEC during the major hunter weeks at the venue, as her home base of Camden, SC is only a mere two hours away. With multiple rides in a number of classes, Boyd made the most of her time aboard her mounts, as she rocketed to the top of both the national and international derbies today with Clemens and Shamrock. She also took top honors in the $5,000 USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive aboard Callahan earlier in the week.

Sarah Taylor of Sherborn, MA and Carento, owned by Sherri Crawford, took second place in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with a final score of 362, ahead of Katie Cooper of Owings Mills, MD and Sandlot, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc., who finished the class in third place with a two round combined score of 360.5.

“I did put some pressure on myself to win. I thought winning all three big classes this week would be really exciting,” said Boyd. “I want to thank this horse show and the management for the hunter opportunities here and offering the prize money.”

She piloted Clemens, a 2007 Oldenburg gelding owned by Finally Farm, Inc., to victory after recording a total score of 373 from the judging panel to earn the pairs first international derby win together. The duo finished with a score of 171 in the first round to sit in the top ten before returning for a spectacular handy round and receiving a 202 from the judges, catapulting them into first place.

While the atmosphere grew a bit more intense as the top twelve re-entered the George H. Morris Arena for their handy round, Boyd noted that Clemens surprised her and felt more relaxed than she had anticipated in their second round.

“He’s only just seven and was just imported in February, so he’s only done a few hunter horse shows. The first round I think he went in there a little frozen with his head up a bit, but then came back for the handy, took a deep breath and was a made horse. I’m really proud of him.”

Boyd has been searching for her next top mount following her illustrious career with the storied Brunello and feels that Clemens may have the makings to be a top contender like his stablemate.

“Annie Walters from South Carolina imported him from Germany and she sent me a Facebook message asking if I could help her with him in Aiken. I watched him go every day and I told my dad that I thought I may want him for myself,” she laughed. “I’m really picky and when I rode him, I was like I found him.”

Aiming for a more educational round during their first tour around the course, Boyd felt confident enough to test the gelding a bit more during the handy. The pair perfected all of the low options in their first round and returned to take each of the high options in the handy, which drastically increased their score.

“I felt like it was a good opportunity for him to learn. I decided to try all of the high options and if I needed to alter my plan at some point I would. I didn’t obviously expect him to win tonight,” she elaborated. “I would have been very pleased with a top five finish and there were a lot of horses in the class who are a lot more seasoned than him, but tonight was just our night.”

Earlier in the day, Boyd made her way to the winner’s presentation ceremony again, this time aboard Shamrock, a 2009 Hanoverian gelding owned by Finally Farm, Inc., as the duo topped the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby with a two round score of 183. The pair received a 92 in the first round from the panel to return for the handy round with the lead well in hand. They followed their impressive first round performance with a 91 in the second to secure the win.

Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Canal Street, owned by Donald Stewart, rode to second place with a final score of 178, while Caroline Weeden of Lake Forest, IL and In Time, owned by Glory Days Farm, LLC, finished in third place with a score of 177.

“I was excited that they had the national class in the two lower rings so that it opened the space up a bit. They used all of the derby jumps for the class later and I think it’s a great stepping stone to get these horses ready for the next level,” she commented. “The first round was great. You could kind of make it your own and get creative.”

“My strategy was to go in and have a solid round. As the class went on the scores were getting higher and higher so I wanted to really make sure that we impressed,” she added.

The handy round offered horse and rider combinations the ability to showcase their agility and grace and Boyd thought her second round effort with Shamrock showcased his talent in the ring.

“It was a really good course. There were some great options. There was the ability to test things that are harder to teach at home. From a horse and rider perspective, I thought it was awesome for what we needed to accomplish today.”

The venue offered an Open Hunter class in the George H. Morris Arena on Wednesday, May 17, prior to the start of major derby competition and Boyd reiterated her excitement and thanks to the show management for allowing competitors the opportunity to gain exposure in the main ring.

“I thought that it was really a thoughtful gesture for the show management to include that in this week’s classes. What a great way to give your horse some experience before the bigger classes. I think it provides a great platform to do some kind of a welcome class prior to the derby, which is great for us as riders too,” she continued.

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit

Hunter Derby Opportunities in Final Week of 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival

Photo ©Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 26, 2017 – During week 12 of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), hunter exhibitors have the opportunity to show on the picturesque grass derby field at Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds).

The twelfth week of WEF features CSI 4* and USEF Premier “AA” competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on March 29 – April 2, 2017. Feature hunter events include the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Attention Exhibitors: The USHJA International Hunter Derby has a 24-hour check-in at Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds) on Friday, March 31 between 12 noon – 1pm in front of the Dressage office. After check in, all horses must remain on the Equestrian Village show grounds until their Derby completion.

Schedule of Hunter Derbies:

  • Friday, March 31, 8:30 a.m.: $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
  • Saturday, April 1, 12 p.m.: $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round 1
  • Sunday, April 2, 1 p.m.: $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round 2

Exhibitor Information:

Thursday, March 30, 3-5 p.m. – Equestrian Village – Derby Field
Derby horses – Open Flatting WITH DERBY BACK NUMBER – WALK/TROT ONLY
*Weather permitting*

Friday, March 31, 7:15-8:25 a.m. – Equestrian Village- Derby Field
National Derby hand walking

Saturday, April 1 – Equestrian Village- Derby Field
International Hunter Derby Jog – 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Riders’ Meeting – 10:45 a.m.
Course Walk – 11-11:30 a.m., Hand Walk 11:30-11:50 a.m.

Exhibitors are encouraged to sign up for these derby opportunities in the horse show office.

Spectators are welcome at Equestrian Village (13500 South Shore Blvd.) to watch these special classes!

For more information and full results, please visit

Information on $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Photo ©Sportfot.

Attention Exhibitors:

A Presidential Modification from the United States Equestrian Federation has been granted to the Winter Equestrian Festival in order to run the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic on Friday, March 10.

There is an important change to the Classic criteria in the prize list on page #136. The last sentence in the top line does not apply to this classic:

“…Small Ponies who show in this class are not eligible for the pony hunter derby.”

This restriction has been lifted and Small ponies may show in both the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby and the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic on Friday, March 10. The restriction on the rider for no more than two ponies in the classic still applies.


There will be a schooling session on the grass derby field schooling area on Thursday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those competing in the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and the USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Don’t forget to sign up for the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which runs on Saturday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m.

Anyone who is interested in a stall at Equestrian Village should check in with Tom Blankenship in the stable office or at 843-269-4737. Stalls will be available @ $100.00 (plus tax).

For more information, visit

Stonewall Country Horse Shows to Feature USHJA Outreach Classes at Virginia Horse Center

Lexington, Va. – Jan. 9, 2017 – The Stonewall Country Horse Show, benefitting the Virginia Horse Center Foundation, is proud to offer two hunter/jumper shows at the Virginia Horse Center Jan. 19-22 and Feb. 3-5. This year, the Stonewall Country series will also feature one day of USHJA Outreach classes during each show for exhibitors to participate in and earn points towards the national recognition.

The addition of the USHJA Outreach classes this year will directly benefit horses and riders who are not as experienced in the show ring. The USHJA Outreach program offers a discount for classes, stabling and office fees – making it even easier to help students and young horses prepare for the spring and summer show seasons. USHJA Outreach classes are available for competitors showing in hunter and jumper divisions.

Any rider may compete in Outreach hunter and jumper classes, but riders wishing to earn points and national recognition must be USHJA members. USHJA offers an Outreach Membership for $35. Riders are also required to be members of USHJA (Outreach level or higher) in order to compete in the USHJA Outreach medal classes. Horses are not required to be registered with USHJA to compete in Outreach classes.

“We’re delighted that the Stonewall Country Horse Show is offering USHJA Outreach sections,” said Katie Patrick, USHJA director of sport programs. “These sections provide more members with an exciting opportunity to gain national recognition at varying levels, and we look forward to seeing riders excel and achieve their goals throughout their equestrian pursuits.”

The Stonewall Country Horse Show series first day of Outreach classes will be on Thursday, January 19, 2017, with the second happening on Thursday, February 2, 2017. The complete list of USHJA Outreach classes is as follows:

  • USHJA Outreach Hunter 2’0″
  • USHJA Outreach Hunter 2’6″
  • USHJA Outreach Jumpers 2’3″ (.70m)
  • USHJA Outreach Jumpers 2’6″ (.75m)
  • USHJA Outreach Jumpers 2’9″ (.85m)
  • USHJA Outreach Jumpers 3’0′ (.90m)

The National rated Stonewall Series will feature professional and amateur divisions for both hunters and jumpers. Competitors who are trying to earn valuable equitation qualifying points will also have the opportunity to do so in the WIHS, ARIAT, and THIS National Children’s Medal classes. Many of these same classes are also qualifiers for the Amy Ylvisaker Reistrup Equitation Challenge, which is held annually at the Lexington National Horse Show in August.

To learn more about the USHJA Outreach program and classes, click here.

To learn more about the Virginia Horse Center Foundation and their upcoming events, click here.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Fabio Andres Rodriguez Pilots Venus to Win in $5,000 Under 25 Welcome

Fabio Andres Rodriguez and Venus. Photos ©Sportfot.

Colin Syquia and Soon to Be Claim Blue Rosette in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Mill Spring, NC – October 28, 2016 – Fabio Andres Rodriguez, who represents the nation of Colombia in competition, guided his mount Venus to a first place finish in the $5,000 Under 25 Welcome at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), taking the class with a jump-off time of 33.336 seconds. Hilary McNerney of Lake Forest, IL and Contact earned second place after crossing through the timers in 34.116 seconds. Viggo Bjorklund of Wellington, FL and Abu Dhabi Gold collected third place with a time of 34.362 seconds.

Rodriguez and Venus, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood mare (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Julius) owned by Raylyn Farms LLC, made easy work of their time in the George H. Morris Arena, completing two solid rounds to mark their first major victory at TIEC this season.

“I had already jumped a horse in the class earlier and I made a small mistake,” he explained. “I work for Andrea King and we made a plan for the next ride. We kept it very organized and at the same time I think the plan we made was very effective.”

Venus has valuable experience in the ring and has jumped with a number of top professionals at the highest levels of the sport. Rodriguez feels honored to jump such a class mare and feel that they have a great partnership beginning to grow.

“She’s a very experienced horse. She’s been ridden a lot by Angel Karyoli and Marilyn Little. She’s just very nice,” he elaborated. “She’s a bit hot and she really wants to go all of the time. She’s very quick and she’s clean so I don’t have to worry about the rails. I just need to be effective and accurate.”

Rodriguez is an emerging talent for his home nation of Colombia and described his ideal ride, which he believes is a perfect fit with the demeanor of his new ride Venus. He stated, “I’m very relaxed with the horses and I like to wait. She’s the kind of horse I think I would do very well with.”

“I think that we will be in Ocala, FL or Wellington, FL this winter, which will be good for us both. I think looking forward I’d like to be prepared to begin the process with the Colombian team to potentially be able to go to the next Olympics. That would be the best place for us to start.”

Colin Syquia and Soon to Be Claim Blue Rosette in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Colin Syquia of Wellington, FL and Soon to Be, owned by Jennifer Smith, captured top honors in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, topping the class with a two round score of 175. Syquia guided Samba’s Secret, also owned by Jennifer Smith, to second place with a final score of 167. Sara Ketcham of Columbus, NC and Oh Brother, owned by Christian Oliver, rounded out the top three with a final score of 163.

Colin Syquia and Soon to Be
Colin Syquia and Soon to Be

Syquia was ecstatic with the flawless rounds from Soon to Be and the duo’s ultimate placing in the derby. The pair earned an 86 in the first round and returned to receive an 89 from the judging panel in the handy to secure their victory.

“I thought the class was nice. It was very inviting. I went first on Soon to Be this morning and there was an option on the first line that ended up being a bit forward. The rest of the class did nine and I did eight there, but the rest of his round was just beautiful.”

The talented gelding has amassed an impressive record with Jennifer Hannan, who typically rides Soon to Be for Smith in the Performance Hunter divisions. Syquia happily took the ride this weekend and perfected the duo’s time in the ring.

“He jumped incredibly throughout and in the handy, we did all of the inside turns and I thought he handled it beautifully. I’m only riding here because Jennifer Hannan is prepping the horses for Kentucky next week. I’m just here to keep the saddle warm,” smiled Syquia.

“His appearance is one-of-a-kind. He always carries head and his neck in the most beautiful way and always has his ears pricked forward. He’s so talented that he’s able to do any distance and any turn without looking like it’s work. His technique is unbelievable. I think this is one that’s going to do it all,” he added.

Syquia also piloted Samba’s Secret to a second place finish in the class after the pair secured scores of 81 and 86 to conclude with a total of 167. Syquia was pleased with the mare’s performance and the way she handled the derby atmosphere.

“Samba’s Secret is just great. She’s another one of Jennifer’s horses and is a full sister to her past mount, As Always, who just won at Washington International this week,” he explained. “She’s just a little green and this is one of her first derbies, but in the second round she came out beautifully. We did all of the high options in the second round and she was really good. She stepped right up to the plate and answered all of the questions.”

The owner of Soon to Be and Samba’s Secret, Jennifer Smith, also competed in the class aboard Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, finishing in seventh place.

“I am so grateful to Jennifer Smith for allowing me to ride these two horses in this class and would like to congratulate her on a top finish in her first ever derby today,” concluded Syquia.

The 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District offers six weeks of hunter and jumper competition, including three weeks of internationally recognized FEI show jumping featuring two FEI CSI 3* weeks and an FEI CSI 5*. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities, please visit

Hesslink Takes Home Series Win in Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Program

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco.

Lexington, KY – Sept. 1, 2016 – After five weeks of premier hunter derby competition in the Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series, it was young professional Goeffrey Hesslink who topped the leaderboard to take home the 2016 series win and the $10,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Professional Rider Award.

The Hallway Feeds Series consists of five national hunter derby events held throughout the 2016 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. After winning the final event at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, Hesslink earned enough points to claim the $10,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Professional Rider Award, which went to the professional rider who accumulated the most points in the series.

Aaron Vale finished the series in second place, while Molly Sewell ended up in third. The leading amateur rider, who took home the $2,500 Leading Amateur Rider Award, was Leyland Gleeson, who sat in sixth in the overall standings. Earning the $2,500 Leading Junior Rider Award was Hunter Holloway, who sat in seventh place at the series finale.

Hesslink said he enjoys participating in the Hallway Feeds National Derby Series so much that he has not missed a single one this year. “I love the derbies because I feel like it’s a great place to show off your horse and your handiness as well as how smooth and soft you can be,” Hesslink said. “Esco really excels at it because he doesn’t care about any of the jumps. He never spooks at anything.”

“I think the Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby Series is amazing,” Hesslink said. “I think that it really helps to advertise and get the name out there for the derbies, and I think it drives people to want to do them more and participate. I know Taylor [Kain], Aaron [Vale] and Sydney [Shulman] all came back and wanted to do them again and I did the same. I think it’s a great program and it’s a good thing for people who are here.”

Hallway Feeds’ close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides ample opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advancements. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the formula for success.

For more information on Hallway Feeds, please visit

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Haley Redifer Wins USHJA Zone III Junior Equitation Finals at HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Haley Redifer and Ballon.

Culpeper, VA (August 23, 2016): Junior riders took center stage this past weekend at the USHJA Zone III Junior Equitation Finals and Haley Redifer of Barboursville, Virginia, aboard her own Ballon, was the star of the show. Impressing Judge Irving Evans throughout all three rounds of competition held in the Grand Prix Ring, Redifer topped the field to stake claim to the blue ribbon and a saddle courtesy of County Saddlery.

Saturday marked the eleventh year that HITS Culpeper has hosted the USHJA Zone III Junior Equitation Finals. Qualified riders traveled from all over Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina for the popular final and competed in either a 3’ or 3’6” section with one overall set of results. Round one was tested over a set of fences designed by Oscar Soberon. The top 10 exhibitors returned to show on the flat, followed by a final test over fences of the top four riders.

Grace Boston aboard Denver S, owned by Thinkslikeahorse, received second place honors, followed by Carly Hoft aboard Cashman, who placed second in last year’s final, to round out the podium finish. Boston received a bridle, donated by Ginnie Edwards and Hidden Hollow Farm, for the second place prize and Hoft was awarded an Irish Knit cooler, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Streett Moore of Bellfield Farm Show Management, for third.

Fourth in the standings went to Samantha Hawrysko piloting Acadia Park. Hawrysko received a leather halter prize, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Streett Moore. Savannah Bednash and Verrazano, owned by Pinnacle Sporthorses, LLC, placed rounded out the top five competitors with fifth place.

A special award for the Best Equitation Horse was given to Queso Grande, owned by Darby Cole and ridden by Madison Busey.

Prior to the class, qualified exhibitors and their guests were invited to a Rider Reception hosted by HITS which included complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, as well as gift bags courtesy of the USHJA.

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