June 10, 20220 – Matt Cyphert (USA) and No Secret De La Pomme came up golden in the $40,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by The Farm House, scoring 382 points over two rounds to be the first to claim an international derby win under the lights in Tryon Stadium. Colin Syquia (PHI) and Front Page, the 2014 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo D’Arsouilles x Cartagena Indias Ecaussinnes) owned by Cynthia Sulzberger, also produced a handy round score of 203 to take reserve on a two-round total of 378 points. Clinching the final podium spot, Kelli Cruciotti-Vanderveen (USA) and Gambler B scored 345 points over two rounds, with the yellow rosette presented to the 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Campbell VDL x Adelwise VDL) owned by Serenity Farm.
Cyphert and the 2013 Belgian Warmblood gelding (RMF Cadeau De Muse x Geneve De Muse) owned by Beth Von Brecht navigated the course set by Skip Bailey (USA) for a score of 179 in the first round, clinching the win despite the fact that “Pom Pom” is brand-new to the discipline, he revealed:
“We’ve had him for about two years now, and we’ve done him in the jumpers with his owner, Beth Von Brecht. I’ve played with him in a couple of Midwest Grand Prixs. But you know, he just has such a good jump and he has the right mind for the Hunters, so we wanted to dabble in it a little bit,” he explained. “About a month ago, we did him in a horse show. He was fantastic: champion in the four-foot division, and good in the derby. I think he’s found a new career!”
Earning the perpetual honor of being the first duo to win an International Hunter Derby under the lights in Tryon Stadium, Cyphert noted that he had to contain his mount’s excitement after the first round and help Pom Pom relax into his new role.
“Since this class normally would have been a Grand Prix, and it would have benefited him to be a little bit awake and alert, we had to sort of work to chill him out, and take a breath. Even after the last jump in the first round, he was so good, and people clapped and he really wanted to get excited about that, but he held it together. I’m just so proud of him. He always tries hard.
“It [riding under the lights] obviously kind of adds to the suspense and the excitement of it all. For us, Derby Finals is on our radar. What a great preparation for a class like that! You had a nice crowd, with legitimate size jumps, and so they really got the same atmosphere that they’re going to have in a couple of months at Derby Finals,” Cyphert shared about the evening class.
Based in Argyle, TX, Cyphert and team make it a point to attend TIEC competition each year, Cyphert emphasized. “We have been coming here for years… I mean, years and years, and we love it. I was kind of laughing with J. P. [Godard] because I’ve won a couple Grands Prix here. I told him how much I liked this ring; it has a little bit of magic for me. Now, in the Hunters as well!”
Cyphert concluded of the venue, “I don’t know what you can’t like about it. I mean, the rings are fantastic, and it’s a well-run show. We love the area, too; there’s just so many things to do between golfing, hiking, restaurants, and more. The customers love it, we love it, J. P. does a great job running it. It’s always on our schedule every year – sometimes different times of the year – but we always make an effort to be here.”
Competition for “Saturday Night Lights” during week 11, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) was packed with action during the circuit’s penultimate week. While hunter riders had the opportunity to take center stage on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village over the weekend in both international and national derby events, show jumpers took to the Wellington International Arena to compete for the top prize in the $140,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final. In a mad dash across the finish line, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Chancelloress claimed the leading spot.
The night culminated with both an overall series champion as well as the final class winner. Spectators in the night’s crowd were treated to extra excitement as the new name of the venue, Wellington International, was revealed prior to the first horse on course. Course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER) raised an impressive challenge to the field of 48 starters representing 17 nations, and only five of the original entries managed to earn a slot for the short track. The jump-off came down to a battle between the U.S. and Ireland as Spencer Smith (USA), Laura Kraut (USA), and Alex Matz (USA) took on countrymen Mark McAuley (IRL) and O’Shea.
With three to follow, McAuley was the first to produce a double-clear effort in a tidy time of 36.97 seconds aboard LT Competition’s 10-year-old CH mare O’Hara ELS (Ogano Sitte x Liandero). However, the taste of victory didn’t last quite as long as hoped when O’Shea immediately followed and shaved over a second off of McAuley’s effort in 35.51 seconds.
“I knew Alex would be fast, and that Laura was after me too,” explained O’Shea. “I didn’t get to see Mark go but he is always fast, so I just tried to do the best round that I could.”
O’Shea credited his mount with rising to the occasion for the class and has high hopes for the end of season with the Trelawny Farms’ 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Chacco-Blue x Balou Du Rouet).
The Irish also took the overall victory of the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Series as Shane Sweetnam was named the leading rider through the entirety of the circuit. Despite never having worn the winning cooler, Sweetnam’s consistency and six top-five placings throughout the season with four different mounts was enough to earn the honors.
Jimmy Torano and Laskano Can’t Be Beat in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
As top hunter riders took their final turn on the turf at Equestrian Village, Jimmy Torano once again led the lap of honor across the grass as he claimed yet another victory aboard Isalou Inc.’s Laskano. Thirty of the country’s best hunter riders donned their shadbellies astride perfectly manicured athletes for the $50,000 USHJA International Derby. The competition was down to the wire but ultimately, as the pair have done repeatedly throughout the WEF season, Jimmy Torano and Laskano emerged at the top of the elite field. Torano and his talented mount held one of the top 12 coveted spots from the start and returned as one of the final few pairings to contest Ken Krome’s handy course.
Looking on to determine the class winner were Bob Crandall and Ken Krome from the Panel One judges box and Rob Bielefeld with Melissa Bark for Panel Two. Krome designed a handy phase worthy of its opponents that included multiple rollbacks, a trot fence, and a two-stride combination in a bending line to a bounce. Competitors could earn four additional points for high options and were rewarded with extra points for handiness.
The top 12 returned in reverse order and after returning in the tenth-place position, Hannah Isop put the pressure on the remaining riders when she and Red Ryder, an 18-year-old Selle Francais gelding, scored a total of 210 for their efforts in the handy. The massive score catapulted Isop into the lead and put the pressure on Torano to display another flawless effort.
Kelley Farmer took the yellow ribbon honors aboard a horse that is competing for the first time in the U.S.
Torano was not going down without a fight, however, and he gave it his all with the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding to earn another incredible score over the 200-mark with a total of 206 points from the respective judges. The round once again led the field, and Torano piloted Laskano to an overall score of 393 points.
Wellington, FL – March 25, 2022 – The 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival continued week 11 competition, sponsored by Palm Beach County Sports Commission, on Friday, March 25, 2022, with top hunter competition on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village and international jumpers in CSI4* and CSI2* classes on the main grounds of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Taking home yet another derby win this winter, Jimmy Torano and Laskano captured the title in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go. Victoria Colvin, Macquarie Simon, and Caroline Olsen took the top prizes in the three sections of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Thirty-two riders attempted a course of 13 obstacles in a “Hunt & Go” format, with the first seven fences as their classic round, and the last six fences judged as their handy round.
This “Hunt & Go” format also allowed for a possible extra two points awarded per section for high options taken and handy round bonus points awarded up to a maximum of 10 per judging panel.
Over a course designed by Ken Krome, it was the 30th pair to go, Laskano and Jimmy Torano, that would claim yet another derby victory.
Simon, Olsen, and Colvin Win in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby out on the grass saw junior, amateur, and open sections with 41, 33, and 43 entries, respectively.
Each section would follow the “Hunt & Go” format with riders attempting a course of 13 obstacles with the first seven fences as their classic round, and the last six fences judged as their handy round with extra points being awarded for high options taken.
The junior and amateur sections ran together but were pinned separately, and riders from each section could end up riding back-to-back, as was the case with the amateur and junior winners, Macquarie Simon and Caroline Olsen.
Macquarie Simon and her own Call Me Cool were 43rd in the order of go and posted a pair of 87s (+2 high options each) for her “classic” and “handy” portions of the course giving them a total of 178 and first position in the amateur section.
The Open section of the derby ran separately and was won by Victoria Colvin on Joelle Sedlacek’s My Style.
Victoria Colvin and My Style chose all of the high options with base scores of 86 and 89 to give them a final total of 179 to earn the first-place sash.
Wellington, FL – January 6, 2022 – Hunters were the highlight on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as Jimmy Torano and Isalou Inc.’s Laskano took the top spot in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby 2*.
After securing the second spot in round one with a score of 182 out of 26 entries, Jimmy Torano piloted Laskano around a twisty second round with bold and precise execution to finish top of the field with a second-round score of 211 and a total of 393.
McLain Ward Notches First 2022 WEF Win
Four-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward (USA) notched his first win of the 2022 WEF circuit on Friday in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Speed Challenge on Bonnie M Z over 44 other entries. The pair sped to victory in 60.780 seconds over the Eric Hasbrouck-designed course. Finishing just off the pace in second place were Laura Chapot (USA) and Out of Ireland, owned by Chapot and The Edge, who stopped the timers in 61.304 seconds. Catherine Tyree (USA) and Newton van het Krekelhof were third in 65.324 seconds.
Ward and Bonnie M Z showed on Wednesday and improved to a winning performance in Friday’s 1.40m class. Ward got the ride on Bonnie M Z two weeks ago through the Holtgers family of Gut Einhaus LLC. Ward has started a new partnership with them and will train Ansgar Holtgers Jr. Gut Einhaus entered into ownership of the horse in 2018, and he has been ridden by Olympic champions Eric Lamaze of Canada and Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED).
“They asked me to ride the horse and see what I thought he could be,” said Ward of the 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Bentley Van De Heffinck x Berlin. “He’s done up to three-star grand prix. The Holtgers have owned him for a few years, and now we’re getting started with him.”
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.”
Mill Spring, NC – June 6, 2020 – Friday’s $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the marquis Hunter class of the Tryon Spring 6/92nd Tryon Riding & Hunt Club Charity Horse Show at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), saw Kelley Farmer (USA) and In Writing top the first round on a score of 186. Due to weather forcing competition to halt, their first-round score would be enough to take the win. In second, Aaron Vale (USA) and Iwan, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Quasimodo VD Molendreef) owned by Madison Rauschenbach, received a total score of 182, while Jennifer Alfano (USA) rode Channing, a 2010 German Sporthorse gelding (Crossfire x Korg) owned by Olivia Woods, to their place on the podium on a score of 169. Josh Dolan (USA) and Menelik, Signe Ostby’s 2010 Hanoverian stallion (Monte Bellini x Statella P), also scored 169, receiving a base score of 83 from the tie-breaker judge to collect fourth place.
Farmer and the 2009 Holsteiner gelding (Quirado x Pandora VLL) owned by David Glefke and Wendy Hofmeister navigated the Lewis Pack (USA) course alongside 21 other horse-and-rider pairs, and added four points for high options. “The course was lovely, and I have to say, I’ve got to brag on my horse a little bit. I have an incredible animal, which makes my life really easy,” Farmer detailed. “The first three jumps were nice, and kind of got you into the course, and for the fourth to fifth bending line you had to have a horse with a bit of scope to jump the high option. But, I know my horse has all the ability in the world, so I never really worry with him – it’s a nice problem to have – when I walk a course, I know that pretty much anything they can build, he can do it.”
Brian Moggre and Nikita Jolie Claim $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake
Brian Moggre (Flower Mound, TX) and Nikita Jolie cleared the short-course in 28.582 seconds to take top honors in Thursday’s $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake in the International Stadium at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). In second, Shane Sweetnam (Lexington, KY) piloted Viti de Longa, a 2009 Selle Francais mare (Contendro I x Babeth Desmulottes) owned by Seabrook LLC, to a jump-off time of 28.807 seconds, while Andrea Torres Guerreiro (Waterford, VA) collected third aboard her own mount Fifty Shades, stopping the timers at 29.125 seconds aboard the 2008 Westphalian gelding (Call Me Number One x Sheltana).
In addition to besting a competitive field, with 53 entries testing the Lewis Pack (Mill Spring, NC) course design, Moggre also claimed fourth aboard the Major Wager LLC owned MTM Vivre le Reve, a 2009 Westphalian gelding (Ustinov x Chellana). Nineteen horse-and-rider pairs challenged the jump-off track, with eight double-clears on the day. For both of Moggre’s mounts, it was their first class after COVID-19 related pauses in horse showing, he explained:
“It was actually the first class back showing for those two horses of mine. I thought it was very welcoming, but at the same time a nice track for the competition. I was very happy with how my horses performed,” he shared. “After having such a long break due to the current circumstances, it is very exciting to be showing again.”
Mill Spring, NC – July 5, 2019 – Julie Curtin (USA) and Cassico repeated their 2018 victory in Friday’s $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, earning a first-round score of 182 and receiving a handy score of 212 for a grand total of 394 to top the field. Harold Chopping (CAN) and Barbara Scott’s Catchphrase, a 2010 Zangersheide gelding (Marome NW x Prelude), collected scores of 160 and 193 to land in second place on a total of 353, while Kelley Farmer (USA) and As Quoted, the 2013 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zambesi TN x Bybalia SMH) owned by David Glefke, produced rounds garnering scores of 178 and 172.5 to claim third with a total of 350.5.
Curtin and the 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Carrico x Trevigiana) owned by Rebekah Warren were able to earn a repeat victory from last year’s USHJA International Hunter Derby during Tryon Summer 4, besting a competitive field of 21 entries over the Dean Rheinheimer (USA) course design. “The course rode really nicely,” Curtin reported. “There were a lot of long lines out there, which is nice, but it’s sometimes kind of easy to get lost. This is the first time I’ve ridden in this arena – Cassico actually won this same Derby last year here on the grass! It was nice – the footing is great, and the course rode really great.
“We were eight points behind [going into the handy], so I had to just go for it all,” Curtin explained of her winning strategy. “We took every tight turn, high option, and just tried to lay it down, because I knew I had some ground to catch up. We’re getting ready for Derby Finals, so I knew I had to practice. I knew it would either work or it would not, and today it worked! He’s such a scopey horse. The jumps were big, and it was hard, but he was good.”
They made up the difference – and earned their 41-point lead – in two areas, Curtin believes: in their first jump, choosing the high option, and in overall handiness. “Jump one was hard – that was a blind turn for a high option, but he handled it so well. But otherwise, I just tried to keep it tidy everywhere. And he’s so scopey that on all the tight turns it just kept coming up nicely. The two-stride came out a little long, but he just got right up there and handled everything beautifully.”
While Derby Finals is the next goal in focus, Cassico will be Curtin’s ride in National and International Derbies for a long time to come, she hopes. “He’s still young and has a big future, so we’re really excited. Hopefully, Derby Finals will go well, but then his mother is going to start showing him; I will just do Derbies with him and let him be an amateur horse. Right now, I’m doing Derbies and High Performance with him, but we’ll back down a little bit and let her ride him in the Amateurs. Hopefully, I’ll have him for the next eight years to do Derbies on!”
Curtin, who also earned second in Friday morning’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, concluded, “It was a very good day! Tough competition – it’s always a tough competition when Kelly [Farmer] and Evan [Coluccio] have as many horses as they had each! I’m very happy about the win.”
For full results from the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, click here.
Tryon, NC – June 7, 2019 – Daniel Geitner (USA) and Elizabeth Tarumianz’s One Request were awarded top honors in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) with an overall score of 371. Holly Shepherd (USA) with Tybee, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding by Black Tie owned by Helen Brown, finished in second place on a total score of 349. Erin Floyd (USA) claimed third place aboard Any Given Sunday, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding by Indoctro x Victoria owned by Hays Investment Corp., with a score of 347.
Out of 21 pairs to take part in the highlight Hunter class of the Tryon Spring 6 Tryon Riding & Hunt Club Charity Show, Geitner and the 2010 Selle Francais gelding impressed the judges over the course set by Dean Rheinheimer (USA) and secured first place after their handy performance. Last to go in the second round, Geitner was able to observe competitors ahead of him and adjusted his strategy accordingly, he explained.
“It was a beautiful course. It rode a little trickier than it walked. It walked relatively simple and it just rode a little bit trickier than I think we first thought,” Geitner said. “My original plan [in the handy] was to go to the inside to the two stride, but once I realized I probably didn’t have to, it made it relatively easy. Honestly, his [One Request] jumping style is just spectacular, so I just tried to stay out of his way.
“The jumps were beautiful and my horse obviously jumped amazing,” Geitner continued. “This is only his third Derby, and he’s won two of them now. Last year he did the first years, green conformation, and the amateurs with his owner. This year we’ve done just a couple shows.”
Despite his horse’s newness to the International Derby ring, Geitner reported that One Request took to the atmosphere of Tryon Stadium well: “He was great [in the atmosphere]. Not much phases him, and actually it really had him jumping. He was not close to any jump, and really rose to the occasion,” he said. “I thought the first round was great, and I thought he was even better in the handy. He just jumped higher and higher the more we went.”
Geitner will keep competing One Request in more Derbies, hoping to continue their success thus far, and plans to aim for Derby Finals ahead of the indoor season, he explained. “We just got back from Devon. We sent some ponies here a couple weeks ago with our assistant, but this is our first week. We are happy to be back.
“Unfortunately, we go back home next week, but we come back in July for a couple weeks and for sure a few weeks in the fall,” concluded Geitner. “I personally won’t come back here for Pony Spectacular [Tryon Summer 3] but I hope my wife and some of the pony kids are!”
For full results from the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, click here.
Mill Spring, NC – July 6, 2018 – Julie Curtin of Woodstock, GA and Cassico, owned by Rebekah Warren, jumped to victory in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the Derby Field at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) during the fourth week of Tryon Summer Series competition. The duo rose to the occasion after a first round score of 184 and kept an ironclad grip on the blue rosette. Curtin piloted the gelding through the handy round earning a 196 to land on a final score of 380. Second place honors were awarded to Dorothy Douglas of West Bridgwater, M, riding MTM Farm’s MTM One Time to a collective score of 373.5. Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, TX and MTM Outbid rounded out the top three, placing a second MTM Farm entry into the top three with a final score of 370.
The win was a memorable one for Curtin, as it was her first time atop the leaderboard in an USHJA International Hunter Derby, as well as her mount’s first year competing in major derbies of this size. “It feels awesome,” Curtin commented. “He handled everything great. He’s by nature a very good-brained horse and he handles everything really well.”
Despite only being seven years old this year, Curtin has big plans for the Holsteiner gelding, whose even temperament has landed him the reputation of being a ham back at the barn. “He’s going to Derby Finals this year,” she explained. “He’s young, but it doesn’t make me nervous because I’m so confident with him. He just gives you the best feeling in the world. I did the high performance with him this week and he was champion, so I’m starting to prep him for all of that.”
The pair navigated the Andy Christiansen designed course with ease, besting the field of 23 other horse-and-rider combinations in the process. “We were all worried that with the grass and the rain it was going to be too slick,” stated Curtin, “but the footing is so nice and they’ve done such a good job with the field that it was great out there.”
The gelding, sired by fellow competitor Callie Seaman’s veteran Derby horse, Carrico, was originally purchased to be an adult amateur ride for his owner. After a quick assessment of his talents, it was clear to Curtin that he also deserved a chance to prove himself on the Derby field. She noted, “His owner does him in the amateurs, so he was bought to be an amateur horse, but he’s just so great at the derbies. That’s just his calling.”
Curtin continued, “Last year it was hard because we did the Pre-Greens with him because he was a baby, but the jumps were just so easy for him. It was hard keeping his attention because the jumps were so little and we were thinking about how we couldn’t wait to step him up. Last year we did a National Derby out on the grass and it was like he was made for this. He loves it.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the $5,000 Tryon Resort 1.40m Power & Speed CSI 3* welcomed another first-place finish for Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and Vlock Show Stables LLC’s 2008 Oldenburg Sandetto (Sandro Boy x Chellano Z), after piloting the stallion around the Alan Wade (IRL) designed course in 62.9 seconds. Second place went to Daniel Bedoya (BOL) and the 2008 Holsteiner mare (Casall x Romino) Abracadabra WKT, owned by Monica Hanks, after the two rode to a time of 65.76 seconds. Sydney Shulman (USA) claimed third in 67.42 seconds aboard Jill Shulman’s 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare Hilgarie (Calvaro x Kashmir van Schuttershof).
Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.
Kelley Farmer and Baltimore (Photo: Shawn McMillen)
Aaron Vale and Finou 4 Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show
Lexington, Ky. – August 19, 2016 – Out of 66 entries in the first classic round of the USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, Kelley Farmer had four of the rides. Not only did the hunter derby veteran qualify two of her mounts, Baltimore and Kodachrome, for Saturday’s handy round, but she also took first and second place honors for Lane Change Farm.
Baltimore, owned by Jane Gaston, was the first ride of the day for Farmer. She took the 11-year-old Oldenburg around the course, designed by Danny Moore and Bobby Murphy, to earn scores of 92, 95, and 92 for a total of 291 points going into Saturday’s handy round. Farmer also chose to jump all four high-options. Contrary to the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, where the top 30 qualified horses go into the final round with a clean slate, the classic points will carry over to merge with Saturday’s handy round score.
Although Farmer had three other rides left, she was able to maintain her first place position with Baltimore throughout the entire class. As much as the other riders tried, Farmer’s near-perfect scores could not be beat as the class continued. Since she got the ride on the bay gelding by Balou du Rouet, Kelley has also earned many titles and championships in the Regular Conformation Hunters and High Performance Working Hunters.
Kelley did not let the thought of going early on in the class take away from her concentration.
“He was amazing. He was unbelievable. He went first last week in Saugerties and I sort of was glad to get it over with,” Farmer said. “It was a little nerve wracking that I had to do him first, but he was unbelievable. I mean, he tried so hard and he’s so brave. He can jump so much, so I never worry about what they build.”
Larry Glefke of Lane Change Farm added, “I never say this, but it was flawless. Because usually, I have a lot to say when she comes out of the ring. Flawless.”
Friday was bittersweet for Farmer, because her usual winning derby mount, Mindful, is currently out of commission. However, Farmer was happy as he is set to get back to work at the beginning of next week.
“It is what it is, but he’ll be back for Florida,” Farmer said about her longtime partner. “He’s been a great horse for me and I’ll be excited to have him back.”
Coming in second place during Friday’s classic round was Farmer and Kodachrome, owned by Nina Moore. Although Farmer has not had the ride on him for very long, the pair still laid down a beautiful trip to earn the red ribbon and a grand total of 280 points.
Trainer Larry Glefke was also extremely pleased with Kodachrome’s performance, saying, “He fits in with Mindful and Baltimore. He has that kind of ability to pop at the jumps. He has a freaky jump, and it gets bigger every week because he’s getting stronger. Both of those horses have quality; [Miss] Lucy has the same quality.”
He continued, “They walk to the jumps every day and they don’t want to knock them down. I mean, things go wrong, things can happen, but they make an effort to jump the jumps every day. You never have to ask them to do too much. Their sincerity is to jump this high over everything.”
Farmer agreed, “It’s a nice feeling when you know that no matter what you aim at, they not only can jump over it, but they can jump over it high, clean and well.”
Kristy Herrera had the ride on Helen Lenahan’s Miss Lucy, who is normally Jennifer Alfano’s mount, and took third place in the classic round. Alfano is currently injured from a fall that occurred at the Devon Horse Show, so she entrusted her longtime friend, Herrera, to take the reins for her. Herrera only had one other show under her belt with Miss Lucy, so she was a little nervous going into Friday’s classic round on the “quirky” mare.
According to Alfano, “She has a little bit of a funny canter, and she doesn’t really like you to touch the reins.”
“It’s Lucy’s way or no way. I was the one that needed to adjust to her,” Herrera said with a laugh. “She has her own way of going and it is different from a lot of other horses I’ve ridden, but she’s so incredibly athletic and smart that once you get it, you don’t have to do anything else.”
She continued, “I was nervous about it, but she walks in that ring and puts her ears forward and gives you the confidence that you can jump anything. It was awesome.”
While Alfano was a little sad that it was not her in the irons aboard Miss Lucy, she was very proud of Kristy and Miss Lucy’s trip that received a combined total of 276.5 points.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled. I was so nervous, I thought I might have a heart attack. I mean, I’m not going to lie, I woke up this morning and I was a little sad and feeling sorry for myself. Watching her go around, it made me teary eyed. That was a hard thing she did today,” Alfano said.
“And I don’t think if anyone else was standing on the ground, I could have walked in there on a horse like that,” Herrera said.
Alfano said that her efforts were a result of trust and friendship built over many years. Alfano had faith in Herrera to take the ride on Miss Lucy, and Herrera trusted Alfano to instruct her as to how best ride the mare.
“I think what made it easier was that we have such a long-standing relationship. We’ve been together since she was 9 years old,” Alfano said. “She may not know the horse, but she and I are so in sync. Lucy is a little different. Kristy has the faith in me to say, ‘Okay, if that’s what you say to do, then that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll take your word for it and do it.’ I could not be any more proud of either one of them.”
Thirty horses and riders have qualified to compete in Saturday’s handy round, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium. Keep your eyes out for Kelley Farmer and her two horses, as well as Kristy Herrera and Miss Lucy.
Aaron Vale and Finou 4 Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
After winning the 1.40m Open Jumpers on Thursday, Aaron Vale was looking to continue his winning streak under the lights on Friday night. The Ocala-based professional and Finou 4 did just that, stealing the win from Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
“This was a great class,” Vale said. “It was good fun, and I’m glad I came out on the long end of the stick. It ended up being an entertaining class. You get a little flavor this week with the jumps for [USHJA International Hunter] Derby Finals. The horses are so used to jumping stripes, so tonight we got more of a natural tone to some of the obstacles, so that was a fun thing.”
Bobby Murphy’s first-round course produced a 16-horse lineup for the jump-off, with Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt going double clear and setting the early lead with a time of 36.909 seconds.
Vale re-entered the ring aboard Thinkslikeahorse and Don Stewart’s Finou 4, and used his horse’s massive stride to his advantage, cutting his turns and tripping the timers in a blazing fast 33.035 seconds.
“Each horse you have to ride to their strengths, you know,” Vale said. “Finou has a big enough stride that I can leave a stride out, even in a forward line. It’s a strength of his, covering ground.”
Two more challengers came close to Vale’s time. Sharn Wordley and the Sky Group’s Famoso D Ive Z were the first to come within seconds of the lead, clocking a time of 35.84 seconds to eventually finish in third, bumping Sweetnam down to finish in fourth.
Going second-to-last in the order was Benjamin Meredith and Shader Sporthorses LLC’s Anabelle 28. Meredith and Anabelle finished strongly in second place after stopping the clock in 34.022 seconds – just fractions of a second behind Vale, whose time proved unbeatable.
“I didn’t see Aaron go, but for sure I was going to try to beat him,” Meredith said. “The only place I could have gotten ahead of him was the first line. I jumped the first jump, and I landed and said there’s no way I can leave a stride out. But the rest of the course Anabelle kept up with him. We tried to win again, but we just couldn’t get there.”
Vale said he began riding Finou 4 about a year ago. Surprisingly, the gelding is blind in his left eye. Vale said that Finou 4 is instinctively very protective of his body, and will swing himself around worriedly to be able to see.
“He’s a little difficult to train because he’s working against his instinct and he’s worried,” Vale explained. “When he has a good day he usually wins. He’s got enough stride, he has a lot of ability, and he can be really fast in the jump-off. When I have his brain right, he gives me a great class. There were a few things I was worried about for him tonight, but he handled it all.”
Making his victory even sweeter, Vale has reclaimed the top spot from Pablo Barrios in the Hagyard Challenge Series standings, moving one step closer to earning the leading rider bonus.
“We’re all chasing the $50,000 bonus,” Vale laughed. “I’ve got a wedding next week, so I’m missing that class. I know Pablo was at the Olympics this week, so he missed this one. You’re not supposed to count points. You’re supposed focus on riding your horse in the class, so it’s just an added pressure. For people like me it makes a difference, so thankfully we got it done tonight. Hopefully we can come out on the right end of the bonus, because it’s a great thing for Hagyard to do and Kentucky to put it on. We love coming here.”
The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2016 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series as well as a $10,000 prize for the reserve champion.
The series concludes with the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic held during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Following that exciting competition, the winner of the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be announced and presented with the cash prize by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. New this year is the $200 Best Turned Out award, sponsored by Bob Mickler’s, which will go to a well-deserving groom following each grand prix. In addition, a Hagyard’s Handsomest Hound contest will also be held at each grand prix, sponsored by MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets.
The title sponsor, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry. Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and well-being of the horse.
The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology. For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit www.hagyard.com.
The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Saturday with the finale of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.