Maria Rasmusen and Avalon (Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography)
Wellington, Florida (March 23, 2016) – In the final Hunter Derby Days competition of 2016, two mares proved they possessed all of the elegance, grace, and athleticism to top the prestigious National and International Derby classes presented by The Ridge at Wellington. Jim Brandon Equestrian Center’s spectacular covered arena set the stage for the world-class hunter competition, with some of the sport’s top athletes vying for victory. Presented as a compliment to the 2016 Turf Tour series, the Hunter Derby Days continues the circuit’s reputation for an exceptional show environment, top-tier competition, and world-class amenities, footing, and course designs.
The day’s events kicked off with the $5,000 Dietrich Equine Insurance USHJA National Hunter Derby, and saw Kristy Herrera clinch the title aboard Sweet Caroline, owned by Louisa Attenborough. The mare, who has been under Herrera’s guidance for over a year, made her Derby debut in winning form. “As this was her very first Derby, she was amazing and jumped beautifully,” said Herrera of Sweet Caroline and her winning ride. “She’s super brave, and I was unsure of how she’d do in the handy as she had never done one before, but she was right on it and listening.”
With the sun setting and the lights on in the expansive covered ring, horses and riders lined up to test their mettle over the International Derby course. Sponsored by Bright’s Creek Resort, the $15,000 USHJA International Derby saw 25 combinations in its first round, followed by the handy. Jennifer Bauersachs of Spring Hill Farm and For Love, an 8-year-old Oldenburg mare by Argentinus, epitomized the movement, jumping style, manners, and way of going demanded by elite hunter competition. “I’m so proud of her,” said Bauersachs of For Love. “I made a little mistake in the first round, but she covered it up for me so well. She really shines in the handy, so I could make some gutsy moves. Because she is so soft and attentive and wants to jump, I have a bit more leverage to make tight turns and make the ride more spectacular. The Ridge’s events are so well run and convenient, and the evening class today was fabulous as I could show and work with clients during the day and then be able to ride here at night.” Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Bright’s Creek, Bauersachs will also take home a 3-day, 2-night stay at the North Carolina resort for her exceptional performance, in addition to the international title.
Consistently attracting top names in the sport, including Olympians, medal finalists, and international champions, the Turf Tour’s Hunter Derby Days offers an exclusive way to gain national and international experience, as well as qualifying scores, in a utopian atmosphere. Newly introduced this year, the evening class was a huge hit for riders and spectators, and featured a wealth of amenities from complimentary refreshments all day, full lunch and dinner, a horse shuttle service provided by Meadowbrook Horse Transport, and a welcoming atmosphere.
Between the National and International classes, Wellington Equine Sports Medicine hosted an educational seminar highlighting their advanced diagnostic philosophy. While spectators enjoyed a complimentary multi-course dinner provided by The Ridge, Dr. Susan Oakley and Dr. Ann Moretta demonstrated their comprehensive evaluation procedure, as well as the advanced ultrasound and holistic performance acupuncture they employ to keep equine athletes in top form.
The Ridge also hosts a USEF Rated Equitation show each Tuesday during the winter show season, and its Palm Beach Series hunter and equitation show occurs one weekend each month at the farm. For more information, visit www.theridgefarm.com. For up-to-date information, please follow The Ridge at Wellington on Facebook.
Meadowbrook Horse Transport offers a door-to-door horse shuttle to each of the Turf Tour venues, including Hunter Derby Days. To schedule pick up, contact them at 954 415 7217.
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
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