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.
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 www.tryon.com.