Kelley Farmer and Mindful.
Christopher Payne and Churchill Capture $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
Lexington, KY – May 10, 2014 – When Larry Glefke and Kensel LLC purchased Mindful just a few weeks ago they did so with one intention – providing a top hunter derby contender for Kelley Farmer. Mindful proved tonight that he definitely fits that bill, as he and Farmer earned the victory in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Finishing in second place in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park were Hayley Barnhill and John and Stephanie Ingram’s Airport 48; third place went to So To Speak, another talented Larry Glefke and Kensel LLC owned entry ridden by Farmer.
Six-year-old So To Speak also proved to be a strong contender, leading at the end of the first round with scores from the two judging panels of 84 and 90. Those scores coupled with the bonus points awarded for Farmer’s decision to take all four high option fences gave the pair a combined first round total of 182.
Mindful advanced to the second handy round just behind So To Speak with a combined score of 180. Rounding out the top three after the opening round over the Bobby Murphy designed course were Barnhill and Airport 48.
Entries returned in reverse order of their standings for the handy round, but, as Farmer was juggling three entries in the second round, she and Mindful moved up in the order and were the first of the top three to return.
From the opening vertical to the final high option fence, Farmer and Mindful laid down a seamless trip, and the judges agreed. The two judging panels awarded them base scores of 89 and 88; with handy bonus and high option points added they would finish on a second round total of 199 and a 379 grand total, shooting them straight to the lead.
Barnhill and Airport 48 looked like they were going to give Farmer and Mindful a real run for their money, but judges’ scores of 88.5 and 80 left them short of the lead with a second round total of 189.5 and a final score of 363.5. While it would not give them the win, it would hold up for second place.
“I don’t know the horse that well yet; he’s very new to us,” Barnhill said of Airport 48, who was a grand prix horse with Courtney Boyd prior to being purchased by the Ingrams. “We got him at the end of Florida, and we showed him one week after circuit in the 3’3″ Performance Hunters. This is our first real week showing him. He’s never done a derby or anything. I was really happy with the results.”
Barnhill continued, “He’s so fun to ride. He’s easy; he’s pretty much point and shoot to the jumps. He’s so scopey and careful. I just had to steer and find the jumps.”
Before Barnhill and Airport 48 took officially claim the second place honor, Farmer had to turn in her final ride of the night aboard So To Speak. The second place award or even the victory seemed to be very much in reach for the pair, but an unfortunate lead swap before the final fence would relegate them to the third place position.
“He’s only 6 years old. He’s got a big future,” owner and trainer Glefke said of So To Speak.
“That baby is so brave. He is not scared of anything,” added Farmer. “I am so excited for him.”
Farmer is equally excited about Mindful, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding purchased from Callie Schott less than three weeks ago. She has her sights set on this year’s USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals with the new gelding, but until tonight, she had no idea how he would even perform in a hunter derby format.
“I was thrilled with him. I know a lot more about him now,” Farmer said. “It’s so easy for him. In both rounds, after a jump or two he settled in. Or rather, I settled, so he settled. It was our first derby. He was great at the show this week, but until you do it, you don’t know what you are going to get.”
Doing well with Mindful at this year’s Derby Finals is a big target on Farmer’s radar this year, so Farmer was appreciative of the opportunity to not only see how Mindful would perform in a hunter derby, but in a hunter derby in the same venue and setting as the Derby Finals.
“It’s the only time we get to get in the ring before Derby Finals, and it’s the same time of night when you have all of the shadows, and it’s really dark,” Farmer said.
“I thought Bobby Murphy built a nice course tonight. You had to ride a little at the wall, but at some point you are going to have to ride them at the first jump. It wasn’t too trappy. You had room to canter. Riding to the oxers you had to have ability and a little scope, but there was nothing to scare them. The ones that made a mistake, I think it was more from shadows than the course.”
With a win in the Rolex Stadium under her belt, Farmer can continue to look toward the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, which will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in August during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Chris Payne and Churchill Capture $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
The night kicked off with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the first of seven events culminating with the $15,000 Leading Rider Bonuses. Chris Payne earned the early lead in the year-end standings by leading the first event from start to finish aboard Susan Moriconi’s Churchill. A smooth opening round resulted in a score of 89, and as the last to return for the handy round the pair expertly handled the inside turns and high options to earn a 94 for a 183 total.
Although Churchill is only 7 years old and eligible for the Pre-Green Hunter division, he has proven that he is ready for anything. “We decided do him in the First Years and see how it goes because he’s so brave and has a great mind,” explained Payne. “He got some ribbons so we thought, let’s see if maybe he’s a derby horse because he’s so brave and so easy. This is his first time doing anything like this at all. We just wanted to see how it would go.”
Bobby Murphy built a 10 obstacle course for the first round of tonight’s event set at 3′ with four 3’6″ option fences. There was a two-stride line as well as bending lines and multiple rollbacks. The fences were decorated to imitate natural obstacles a rider would experience when hunting. The top 12 scoring horse and rider combinations were invited to return for the handy round, which also had four options as well as a trot fence and multiple inside turns to showcase handiness.
Hayley Barnhill was ranked fifth going into the handy round after earning a score of 84 aboard Walker, owned by Danielle Leach. They picked up a smooth canter and were able to execute an excellent trot fence, as well as taking the inside and high options. The judges awarded their efforts with a score of 87 for a 171 total.
“We were in fifth place before the handy round, so we thought we might as well try and move up,” explained Barnhill of Walker, who she rode for the first time today. “He is a Pre-Green horse, so he’s still new to this kind of thing, but he’s big strided, scopey and easy. He was right there for everything I wanted to do.”
Adrienne Iverson returned next riding Cenerife for Eight Oaks, having received a score of 85 in the first round. The pair also had an excellent round, galloping easily to the final oxer and jumping easily over the high options. The judges announced a score 86, creating a tie of 171 with Barnhill. In the end, Barnhill’s handy round score would earn her the second place honors, while Iverson settled for third place.
With two good scores already on the leader board, the pressure was on Payne to produce another flawless round with Churchill. The handy was a breeze for the brave horse though; who navigated the inside turns smoothly and accurately. The judges turned in score of 94, for a 183, total making Payne and Churchill the clear winners.
“Churchill is so peaceful and so solid minded that he doesn’t get flustered about anything,” smiled Payne. “He tries to do whatever he asks you to do, and he has this beautiful big, rangy, lopey step. It’s just really enjoyable to ride.
Payne added, “We thought maybe showing tonight would help in the First Years because he takes everything so easily. We thought the bigger jump would help him in the First Years. He was good in the First Years so thought maybe he could be a Derby contender.
Next week, Payne will continue competing during the Kentucky Spring Classic with Churchill. He commented, “We’ll probably do the same Hallway Feeds National Derby next week and then see where he is and aim for the international derbies. That will be our goal.”
Hallway Feeds’ close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides the opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advances. 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 www.hallwayfeeds.com.
The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series would not be possible without many generous sponsors including Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Alfagreen Supreme, Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher, Caddel Equine Therapy Center, Trouw Nutrition, EquiVision, Sallee Horse Transport, Tack Shop of Lexington, Tex Sutton, Turf Town Properties and PNC Bank.
Tomorrow’s hunter events will include championship and reserve championship awards in the Junior Hunter and Children’s Hunter divisions. Next week, riders will return to the Kentucky Horse Park for the Kentucky Spring Classic, with the second $5,000 Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby scheduled for Saturday evening.
To learn more about the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Emily Riden and Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International