Traverse City, MI – July 22, 2011 – With few clouds in the sky and a light breeze, it was a lovely afternoon for the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Horse Shows by the Bay Series III. The Flintfields Horse Park grounds were buzzing all day with excitement for the evening’s event, which challenged 21 entries with a traditional course in the Grand Prix ring. Kelley Farmer made a clean sweep of the top four spots on Clearly, Praise, Red Sky, and Bases Loaded. Amazingly, Farmer and her first three rides produced a three-way tie involving an overall high score of 387. Peter Pletcher smoothly jumped into the next three places on Copperfield, Primero, and Tell All, accumulating several highly impressive scores of his own. An enthusiastic crowd turned out for tonight’s derby, making the class a definite favorite among spectators and riders alike.
The event kicked off with an exhibitor party, generously sponsored by Outback Steakhouse of Traverse City, which featured great food, drinks, and conversation. The first horse took the course at 5:30pm, with high scores dominating the scene from the very start. Kelley Farmer and Bases Loaded hit a home run with a combined score of 180 in their first round. Bases Loaded is owned by Am Free, Inc. Peter Pletcher and Copperfield, who is owned by Jennifer Noski, also turned in a great early combined score of 171 in the first round. Carson Gibson and Caden, owned by Shadyside Farm, had a flowing first round that resulted in a solid 163 combined score. Farmer returned on Clearly, owned by Jane Gaston, to add a 185 combined score to her growing list of first round feats. Farmer’s highest first round score came on Red Sky, owned by Larry Glefke. A whopping 196 put Farmer in contention for a second derby win, but Pletcher was also a competitive presence in the Grand Prix ring tonight. On Tell All, owned by Susan Baker, Pletcher earned a 173.5, adding to the slew of stunning scores in the much-anticipated derby. Near the end of round one Farmer returned on Praise, owned by Selma Garber, and received plenty of praise for another high score of 191.