Mill Spring, NC – July 9, 2021 – Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) hosted its second $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby of the season during the Tryon Summer 4/Tryon Riding & Hunt Club Charity II Horse Show, with top honors earned by Harold Chopping (CAN) and Catchphrase, who combined for a two-round total score of 384. Havens Schatt (USA) and Cascartini, the Holsteiner gelding owned by Ken and Amy Wexler LLC, were named to reserve after their two-round score of 378. Finishing on a score of 374, Dorothy Douglas (USA) and MTM Lolah LOL, the 2013 Westphalian mare (Los Angeles x Palma) owned by Abigail Davenport, took home third-place honors.
Chopping and the 2010 Zangersheide gelding (Marome NW x Prelude) owned by Barbara Scott were leading on a score of 181 after the classic round, and navigated the Andres Christiansen (USA) course design with a past loss in mind to maintain their lead, Chopping revealed.
“Years ago, I remember I was leading by quite a bit going into the handy round on a horse that I really trusted – he was really a winner – and I was a bit conservative and I ended up second. I cannot forget riding around in the ring that night because it drives me crazy that I didn’t just walk in there and try and win both rounds,” he explained. “So, my strategy this time was to just be aggressive and try and put in a good score.”
Ocala, FL (February 25, 2017): After an exciting finish to the FEI Nations Cup CSI4* week at HITS Ocala, FEI competition continued at HITS Post Time Farm. Riders and horses from the US, Canada and abroad met in the Horse Capital of the World for a shot at blue ribbon status. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina grabbed the win in the $25,000 FEI SmartPak Grand Prix.
Fifty-one challengers tested the course designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico and nineteen would advance with first-round clears to contest the abbreviated course in the jump-off. Twelve produced clean jump-off rounds, leaving it all down to the quickest time to bring home the victory.
Chopping, who originally hails from Canada, piloted Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington, through the jump-off, laying down a blazing-fast ride in 38.20 to eventually take home the win.
Brandie Holloway ultimately garnered second place in the thrilling class aboard Lucky Strike, owned by Hays Investment Corp. Their final time of 39.06 after a fault-free round in the jump-off gave them the red-ribbon slot on the leaderboard.
Coming in just behind Brandie Holloway was Germany’s Andre Thieme riding Conthendrix. Just fractions of a second divided Thieme’s time from Holloway, a 39.34, settling them third in the ribbons.
Devin Ryan took home fourth place riding Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC. Ryan and Eddie Blue also grabbed a win in Ocala with first place in the $5,000 FEI Welcome Stake. Their time of 40.24, gave them the white ribbon.
Brandie’s daughter, Hunter Holloway, would also capture a seat in the top five. Hunter won the $41,200 FEI Thursday Prix at HITS Ocala with VDL Bravo S, owned by Hays Investment Corp, and the pair showed they are still in top form. They earned fifth place with their clean round in 41.13.
Culpeper, VA (August 31, 2016): Riders and horses turned out for a weekend of big jumper prize money at HITS Commonwealth Park during the Constitution Classic in Week V for the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix and the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix.
$30,000 HITS Grand prix Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina has been a consistent winner at HITS Culpeper this season, winning three Grand Prix and placing in the top five in every Friday and Sunday Grand Prix at HITS Commonwealth Park since April.
Week V proved to be no different for Chopping; after claiming second and third in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix, Chopping returned on Sunday to win the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix. The victory came aboard Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington, earning the pair their fourth blue ribbon together at Culpeper this year.
“He’s a very talented horse, and is also very careful,” Chopping has said of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
Seven went clear over the first-round course designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico and moved on to the jump-off. The first three trips would produce four faults each, including fifth-place Gavin Moylan of Middleburg, Virginia aboard Pernod, owned by Alpha Omega Farm. Moylan won the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix in Week II at HITS Culpeper. They clocked in at 44.053 with four faults.
Following Moylan was Andrea Torres Guerreiro, who would capture the first clear round in the shortened course. Guerreiro, of Waterford, Virginia powered through the course piloting Fifty Shades. They stopped the clock in 46.589, which would eventually garner them the second-place prize.
Three trips remained, and Manuel Torres was next to take the stage. Also riding out of Waterford, Virginia, Torres and his mount Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro, passed the timers in a speedy 43.924, but an unfortunate rail at the A element of the mid-course combination would earn them fourth place.
Chopping and Basje were next to put their plan to the test. With a clear round in the books for Guerreiro, Chopping knew he had to be quick and clear, and also put down a fast enough trip to hold out for the one trip after them. They sped through the jump-off, taking each fence by storm and shaving time off the clock. They crossed the finish in a lightning-fast 41.413, five seconds ahead of Guerreiro.
Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland had the final chance to take the glory. She and her ride, Bling Bling, owned by Rolling Acres, took to the course no holds barred in an attempt to catch Chopping’s speedy clear round. As the seconds ticked by, they powered towards the finish, but a heart-breaking rail at the second-to-last fence, and a time of 42.951, sealed their spot in third place.
$25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix A new name topped the leaderboard at HITS Culpeper this season with Sloane Coles of The Plains, Virginia taking home the blue with Esprit, owned by The Springledge Group.
Eight challenged the shortened course in Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix, with four producing a clear jump-off round in contingency for the winning prize.
Southern Pines, North Carolina equestrian Harold Chopping was first to contend aboard his trusted gelding, Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington. As the first to go in the jump-off, they locked in a solid round in a quick, clear 32.690-second round and would make it out with the second place prize when the class was done.
Following Chopping was Manuel Torres riding Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro. Coming off a $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix and a $30,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix win at Culpeper in Week IV, Torres was ready to battle for the blue. A heart-breaking rail at the final fence earned the pair four faults, stopping the clock in 31.430 for the final spot in the top five.
Alexa Lowe-Wiseman of Upperville, Virginia and Synapse de Blondel, owned by Paillot Equine Consulting, were next to test the shortened course. They clocked in clear in 36.880, a cool, clear round that would ultimately earn them the fourth place prize.
The next clear round of the jump-off belonged to the victors, Coles and Esprit. They galloped through the course at a quick, unforgiving pace. The clocked in fault-free in 31.122, where the lead would remain.
Two trips went with no avail at topping Coles’ time. Chopping had the final round of the jump-off to try to edge her out.
Chopping competed with his second mount in the jump-off, Contefino 6, owned by Caroline Russell Howe and Lisa Tolnitch. They crossed the finish with all of the rails up, but their time of 32.860 was not enough to top Coles; they came within just two tenths of a second under Chopping’s own time with second-place ride Basje.
(C) ESI Photography. Harold Chopping and Most of All.
Culpeper, VA (June 19, 2016): Hunter exhibitors brought their A-Game to the final weekend of shows at HITS Culpeper until they return in August. The $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix served as Virginia’s third qualifying opportunities for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix and the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina has been dominating the Grand Prix ring all season at HITS Commonwealth Park as well as top placings in the Hunter ring. This week, Chopping garnered first and second place in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix aboard Most of All, owned by Four Tall Oaks, Inc. and Caramo, owned by Caroline Russell Howe.
Chopping and Most of All went home with third place in last week’s class, and returned this week to earn scores of 86 and 86 for a winning total of 178.
“Most of All is a mare that we had in training just before we went to Florida,” said Chopping. “We’ve been very happy with her performance – she’s gone beautifully in the Classic the last few weeks.”
Chopping’s red-ribbon mount, Caramo, who placed eighth last week, rose up the ranking for second place this week with scores of 84 and 85 for a total of 169.
“Caramo has won several Devoucoux Hunter Prix as well as International Hunter Derbies in his career, he went out there and did his thing, and I was pleased with his scores,” said Chopping of his second place mount. “If I’m in the Top 20 qualified, I’m hoping to take both Most of All and Caramo to the finals at the HITS Championship in September.”
Third place went to Dreamliner, owned and ridden by Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia. They came in just two points behind Chopping with a first-round score of 85 and a second-round score of 82, for a total of 167.
Next in the ribbons was Opulent, ridden by Gavin Moylan and co-owned by Moylan’s wife, Alden. The Middleburg, Virginia equestrian and his mount captured the victory in Week II’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. This week, they earned a 75 in the first round, but laid down an impressive second round trip for a score of 84 and at total of 159 to move into fourth place.
The top five rounded out with Tess Lee of Potomac, Maryland and Tinka’s Lad, with scores of 83 and 75.5 for a total of 158.5.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Junior and amateur hunter riders lined up for a shot at the winning title in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, but the team to beat proved to be Victoria Clarke and Corleone, owned by Bethany Garrison.
Clarke, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, sealed the victory with a first-round score of 84 combined with a second-round score of 83, for the winning total of 167.
Second in the ribbons went to Kate Phillips of Montpelier, Virginia aboard Chino, owned by Derek Reed. Their scores of 75 in the first round and 68 in the second gave them a total of 143 for their efforts.
Sgt. Pepper took home third place with owner and rider Connie McRill of Woodbine, Maryland. McRill and her mount brought home second place in last week’s class. This week, they earned scores of 78 and 63, respectively, for a total of 141.
Coming in behind McRill was Katelyn Dugan of Baltimore, Maryland and Sir Winston. The final pair in the top five was Devan Graham, also of Chevy Chase, Maryland, piloting Dear Heart, owned by Andrea Woodner.
Culpeper, VA (July 17, 2016): Riders and horses turned out for Friday’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix as a weekend of excitement kicked off at the Cavalier Classic, the third week of HITS Culpeper.
Coming home with the victory was Southern Pines, North Carolina equestrian Harold Chopping aboard Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington. This win makes Chopping and Basje’s third blue ribbon in the Grand Prix ring at HITS Commonwealth Park this year.
“He’s a very talented horse, and is also very careful,” said Chopping of his winning mount, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
Six advanced to the jump-off over the course set by Bernardo Cabral of Lisbon, Portugal. The jump-off course consisted of a tight opening line with a roll back to an oxer, followed by a slice to a vertical and a mid-course combination.
“The course was very well done, and I thought it wasn’t too challenging but suited all of the horses quite well,” said Chopping. “It was technical in some spots, and was just right for the field of horses competing.”
First to contend the shortened course was Manuel Torres riding out of Waterford, Virginia and Christofolini H, owned by Andrea Torres Guerreiro. They started off strong, but after a couple of rails early in the course, Torres opted to retire and save his mount for another day. They would finish the class with sixth place. Torres would also capture the final spot of the top five with Cruising Altitude, owned by Santa Catalina Farm with a jump-off score of 41.110
Following Torres were the victors themselves, Chopping and Basje. They laid down a powerful, clear round in 34.897, where the lead would remain.
“I thought the first horse, Manuel’s horse, was going to be a big contender and really be the aggressive round to follow,” said Chopping of his jump-off plan. “After he wasn’t in the contingency, I didn’t want to leave the door open – I wanted to be clear and quick, but also be careful.”
Culpeper, Virginia’s own Brooke Kemper and Classified were next to challenge the jump-off. All was well as she chased down Chopping for the top spot, but an unfortunate rail at the fence preluding the combination, would keep them off the top of the leaderboard. They crossed the timers in 40.646 for the eventual fourth place.
Maryann Charles, also of Southern Pines, and FVF Sailor man, owned by Fox View Farm, were next to advance. Charles and her mount had two third place finishes at Culpeper Week II in both the Brook Ledge Grand Prix and Sunday’s $30,000 HITS Grand Prix. A rail at the first fence thwarted their chances of the win, but their speedy time of 35.872 sealed the yellow ribbon for their efforts.
Next to contend was Matthias Hollberg, winner of last week’s $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix. In a twist, Chopping placed second to Hollberg in this class last week. The equestrian riding out of Middleburg, Virginia and Aletta, owned by Olympic Dreams, LLC, put down a clear trip, but their time of 43.046 was not enough to edge out Chopping. They would ultimately capture the second place spot.
Culpeper, VA (April 26, 2016): One Grand Prix victory was not enough for Southern Pines, North Carolina equestrian Harold Chopping in the first week of the HITS Culpeper Show Series. Coming off a hot streak with a first and second place finish in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix on Friday, as well as a win in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix on Saturday, Chopping closed out the weekend in style by taking home the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix title.
Eight returned to the jump-off to contest the shortened course set by Marina Azevedo of Brazil, where five would go clear. First to challenge the course were the victors themselves, Chopping and Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington.
“On Friday, Basje and I were lucky enough to be last to go in the jump-off, so I knew what I had to do,” said Chopping of his winning ride in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Grand Prix. “This time, we were on the opposite end of things, going first in the first round and in the jump-off.”
They blazed through the course, putting in a speedy round to set the tone for the remaining field as they crossed the timers fault-free in 36.146.
“I pushed him a little bit in the jump-off and tried to lay down a round that was hard to beat,” said Chopping. “I thought he responded beautifully and jumped a great round. I’m just sort of lucky to hang on.”
Sure enough, Chopping and Basje did indeed lay down an unbeatable round as they stayed put at the top of the leaderboard for the remainder of the class.
Following Chopping was Debbie McCarthy Connor of Patterson, New York and Zim, owned by Connor & Ebetino Jumpers, LLC. They too put down a clear round, but clocked in at 46.021 which would ultimately earn them fifth place.
Matthias Hollberg of Middleburg, Virginia returned next aboard Aletta, owned by Olympic Dreams, LLC. Hollberg and Aletta took to the course with precision and speed, but their time of 38.799 was not enough to edge out Chopping. When the class was finished, they would take home fourth.
Next of the clear jump-off rounds was Alison Robitaille of Upperville, Virginia, piloting Sensation 21, owned by Hooves, LLC. They were not quite quick enough to take over the lead, but their clean round in 38.535 was enough to edge out Hollberg, eventually earning them the third place prize.
Victoria, British Columbia rider Ali Ramsay and her own Hermelien VD Hooghoeve were the final trip with the opportunity to claim the win. Ramsay came in third to Chopping in Friday’s Brook Ledge Grand Prix and the crowd was anticipating another head-to-head battle for the blue.
Ramsay galloped through the course no holds barred in a thrilling race against the clock. A victory seemed on the horizon, but a time of 37.914 kept them one second shy of the win.
(C) ESI Photography. Harold Chopping and Cambridge Inn.
Culpeper, VA (April 25, 2016): The first qualifying opportunities of the season for hunter exhibitors debuted with the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. The classes qualify riders for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final and the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final, respectfully, at the HITS Championship in September in Saugerties, New York.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina has been on fire in the jumper ring in Week I of HITS Culpeper Show Series, scoring two grand prix wins. This time, Chopping returned to the hunter ring to snag a win in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, adding another blue ribbon victory under his belt.
“It was a lot of fun to have a really successful week and weekend,” said Chopping. “I think that all of the horses were happy to have a few weeks at home, and that might have contributed to why they all came out so bright and interested, and ultimately did well.”
Chopping garnered the highest score in both rounds of the two-round classic aboard Cambridge Inn, owned by Elizabeth Cozart. The Dutch Warmblood gelding made his first-ever $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix debut this weekend, winning his first time competing in the class. They earned an 86 in the first round, followed by a score of 85 in the second for a winning total of 171.
“[Cambridge Inn] showed in Ocala this winter and got some good results, and he showed in the junior hunters a few times, where he was successful as well,” said Chopping. “This was his first show out since Ocala. I thought he went great; he’s just moved up to 3’6” and we’re starting to get it all organized with him.”
Second place went to Falkland, North Carolina equestrian Loren Hazard-Daniel with Corleone, owned by Bethany Garrison. Hazard-Daniel piloted Corleone to a total of 165 for the second place spot with a first-round score of 83, and a second-round score of 82.
Tess Lee of Potomac, Maryland took home third place with her own Tinka’s Lad. They earned an 80 in the first round, combined with a second-round score of 81 for a total of 161 for their efforts.
Fourth in the ribbons was Culpeper, Virginia’s own Brooke Kemper riding Chestertown, owned by Meghan Karanik. Rounding out the top five was California, owned and ridden by Megan McDonald of Georgetown, Ontario.
$1,500 Platinum Performance
The $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix returned to Culpeper, Virginia, offering junior and amateur riders a shot at qualifying for the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final.
The team to beat was Shannan Gossman of Mitchells, Virginia and Castanio, owned by Turning Pointe Ventures, LLC. Gossman claimed the top spot with a first-round score of 83, improving to an 85 for the winning total of 168.
Coming in behind Gossman was Amy Lloyd Thompson of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania aboard her own Paramount, a team that placed in the top five several times during the Ocala Winter Circuit. Claiming the highest score of the first round with an 84, combined with a second-round score of 81, they totaled 165 for their efforts.
Third in the ribbons was Medford, New Jersey equestrian Paige Trzaskawka aboard her own Belvedera. They earned a 79 in the first round and a 78 in the second for a total of 157.
Peyton Kanstoroom of Potomac, Maryland and Centrico were awarded the fourth place prize. Fifth place went to Valiant, owned and ridden by Melissa Marshall of State College, Pennsylvania.
Culpeper, VA (April 25, 2016): Harold Chopping, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, made a statement to kick off the HITS Culpeper Summer Series, finishing first and second in the $25,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix held on Friday.
Chopping claimed the blue with Basje, owned by Kendra Bullington, and finished a close second with Contefino 6, owned by Caroline Russell Howe.
Five returned for the jump-off in a battle against the clock, with Chopping returning both first and last in the order. Chopping returned first aboard the eight-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding, Contefino 6.
“Contefino has been doing the 1.40m and 1.45m, and this is his first top three placing in a class of this caliber,” said Chopping. “My plan with him in the jump-off was to stay on the most efficient track within his abilities. I didn’t want to push too much; I just wanted to be efficient with him.”
They took to the shortened course of eight jumping efforts designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil, clocking in with a fault-free round in 42.926 seconds. With a speedy round that set the tone for the jump-off, the remaining field of competitors knew that Chopping was the one to chase.
Next to contest the shortened course was Ali Ramsay of Victoria, British Columbia, piloting her own Hermelien VD Hooghoeve. They put down a clear, quick round in a valiant effort to steal the lead from Chopping, but their time of 43.086, just fractions behind, would ultimately earn them the third place spot.
Ocala, Florida equestrian Ian Silitch followed Ramsay with Cordovo, owned by Gaston Family Investments LLC. Silitch and Cordovo zoomed through the course at a full-out gallop, but an unfortunate rail at the second fence, followed by a rail at A of the mid-course combination would ultimately land them with the fifth place prize as they finished in 42.107.
Each trip had yet to edge out Chopping for the top spot. Debbie McCarthy Connor and Zim, owned by Connor & Ebetino Jumpers, LLC, entered with the last opportunity to steal away with the win. Opting for a more careful track, they clocked in fault-free in 49.768.
Chopping’s name was set at the top of the leaderboard as he entered with his second mount, Basje. The seasoned Dutch Warmblood gelding powered through the course, claiming the blue ribbon with each step of his massive stride. They put down a cool, clear round, coming in at 42.159 just behind his own time.
“I was not necessarily trying to catch up to my first time; Basje is quite experienced and he covers the ground quickly with his long stride, so it just happens to be that he came in little faster,” said Chopping of his winning mount. “He moves away from the jumps nicely; I just stay out of his way and let him do his thing.”
CULPEPER, Virginia (July 6, 2015): Harold Chopping and Basje took first place in Sunday’s $40,000 HITS Grand Prix at the HITS Culpeper Showday National at Commonwealth Park.
Chopping, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, who placed second in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix on a different mount, Caramo, topped the four-horse Grand Prix jump-off on Kendra Bullington’s Basje with no faults and a time of 46.011.
Aaron Vale, of Williston, Florida, took the other three places in the jump-off. Vale placed second on Bonzini S, owned by Thinkslikeahorse, in a clear 46.198. The pair went last in the jump-off and nearly caught Chopping’s first-place time by less than two-tenths of a second. Vale also placed third on Acolina R, owned by Sarah Turner, in a clean 47.871, and fourth on Quidam’s Good Luck, owned by baseball star Troy Glaus, in the quickest time — 45.228 — but with four faults.
Alexa Lowe-Wiseman and Gringo Win $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic
Sunday’s $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Vetera® XP Vaccines, saw two double-clear rounds, with Alexa Lowe-Wiseman, of Upperville, Virginia, and Gringo, owned by Windsor Farm Sales, ultimately claiming the blue ribbon.
Both Lowe-Wiseman and second-place finisher Danny Mahon, of Culpeper, on Chopper 5, owned by KW Mahon, Inc. Mahon, had 11 faults in the jump-off. Mahon had a refusal at the second fence and seven time faults, finishing in 58.350. Lowe-Wiseman had rails at the 3rd and 4th fence and three time faults, but finished in a quicker 54.762, for the win.
Rounding out third place was Andrea Torres Guerreiro, of Waterford, Virginia, on Santa Catalina Farm’s Victoria, who had the fastest time of the four-faulters who did not make the jump-off.
The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic is held each week at HITS Culpeper and is a qualifier for the Vetera® XP Vaccines $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix at the HITS Championship in September at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. At the Culpeper Finals (Week VI), the total prize purse increases to $15,000.
Maryann Charles and FVF Sailor Man Claim $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix
Seven riders made the jump-off in Friday’s $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix at the HITS Culpeper Showday National. In the fiercely competitive second round, winner Maryann Charles, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and FVF Sailor Man, owned by Fox View Farm, went second but held onto the lead, despite three others who also went double-clear. Their time of 36.050 seconds ultimately earned them the blue ribbon.
The other three double-clears were Ian Silitch, of Ocala, Florida, and Cordovo, owned by Gaston Family Investments LLC, placing second in 36.500; Debbie McCarthy, of Patterson, New York, on Roulette, owned by Spencer Lampert in 43.675; and Melissa Rudershausen, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, on her Abracadabra in 43.720.
Harold Chopping and Basje. Photos by Teresa Ramsay Photography.
Lexington, VA – May 6, 2015 – Harold Chopping’s spring schedule has him traveling up and down the east coast, but this year he made sure to add a stop at the Virginia Horse Center – a stop that he is glad he made. During the Lexington Spring Premiere, Chopping rode to the win in the $25,000 George L. Ohrstorm Jr. Grand Prix and finished second in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
The win in the Lexington Spring Premiere’s feature jumper event, held Saturday night, came aboard Basje, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kendra Bullington. Chopping was one of three pairs to navigate the Bernardo Costa Cabral designed first round course and advance to the jump-off, where he turned in another clear effort in a time of 40.507 seconds to clinch the victory.
Also advancing to the jump-off were third place finishers Kaitlin Campbell and Gabriel and the second place combination of Marylisa Leffler and Carlot, who finished double clear in a time of 42.820 seconds.
“I was fortunate enough to go last in the jump-off and be able to see what was leading and to have a good handle on what I needed to do, and Basje responded beautifully,” Chopping said.
Chopping continued, “We’ve had him since the end of his 7-year-old year, so we’ve had him a little while. He won two grand prix last year. He’s a horse that I think is going to end up jumping at a very high level. He’s super careful and really scopey. He jumped so well in Lexington. It was nice to see him jump so well and really handle everything we asked him to do.”
Basje was one of 12 horses who accompanied Chopping’s Solo Show Stables to the Virginia Horse Center for the duration of the Lexington Spring Premiere. Among the other top performing mounts was 15-year-old Danish Warmblood, Caramo, owned by Caroline Russell Howe. Chopping and Caramo rode to the second place finish in Friday night’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
“He’s just so reliable in those derbies. He’s had a number of wins over the past couple of years,” Chopping said. “This horse really is a pro at that job. He’s super competitive, and he did his thing on Friday night.”
Love Game Makes Winning International Derby Debut with Evan Coluccio
The win in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby went to Evan Coluccio and EMC International’s Love Game.
For Coluccio, victory in the Lexington Spring Premiere’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby is not his first taste of success at the Virginia Horse Center. In fact, significant wins at the Virginia Horse Center have marked Coluccio’s extremely successful career thus far. In 1995, he was victorious at the U.S. Pony Finals, held that year at the Virginia Horse Center, and in 2006, he clinched Individual Show Jumping Gold medal at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships (NAYRC), also held at the Horse Center.
“Lexington has always been a successful show for me. It’s always been a really good facility for me,” Coluccio said. “It’s one of my lucky places.”
That luck, coupled with great talent, showed through on Friday night and throughout the week with Love Game. The Lexington Spring Premiere marked the 6-year-old Dutch Warmblood’s very first horse show stateside, and the hopeful start of a successful hunter and derby career.
“I’m really excited about him,” Coluccio said of Love Game. “He came to America about five or six weeks ago. I knew he was going to be really special. I just gave him a little time to adjust to America and getting him looking good. Then I brought him there, and he was amazing.
I did him in the First Years and the Green Conformation. He had just little tiny green mistakes each day. So I thought, ‘let’s do the derby.’ They moved it inside, and I think with that atmosphere he really rose to the occasion that much more. He was unbelievable.”
The Virginia Horse Center is situated on a 573-acre site with eight barns to accommodate 750 horses in permanent stabling. Indoor stabling can be increased to 1,200 horses with the use of temporary stalls. The Virginia Horse Center hosts 19 show rings, including two large arenas and a five-mile Olympic cross-country course. Four of the Virginia Horse Center barns are winterized with close access to the 4,000 seat indoor coliseum. The Virginia Horse Center is recognized for the excellent footing of its show rings and the durable construction of the concrete stalls. The Virginia Horse Center also offers camping facilities and on-site food and beverage services. Find the Horse Center online at www.horsecenter.org.
Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International