Tag Archives: USHJA International Hunter Derby

Curtin Claims First $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Win during Tryon Summer IV

Julie Curtin and Cassico. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

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 Dominates during First Day of USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

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.

Aaron Vale and Finou 4
Aaron Vale and Finou 4

“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.

For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Atlanta Is Hot but Geitner Is on Fire! Wins $25,000 USHJA Int’l Derby

Geitner and True Story.

It may be hot in Atlanta, but Daniel Geitner is on fire! After securing back to back Week I and Week II wins in the $15,000 Horseflight Open Welcomes, he went on to win the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with Kelly Sims’ True Story last night under the lights in the Olympic Stadium.

Geitner, of Aiken, South Carolina, held the highest score after the Classic Round with a score of 184 and topped the scores of the second round with his own 193 for an overall score of 377. Kelly Farmer with Bibby Hill’s It’s Me held the second highest score behind Geitner and True Story after the first round with their score of 178, but their Handy Round score of 119 for an overall score of 297 would drop them into ninth place overall.

Jennifer Bliss of Wellington, Florida and Harris Hill Farm, LLC’s Poker Face finished their Classic Round with a score of 176. Their Handy score of 186 for an overall 362 secured them second place in the featured hunter event.

Georgia’s own Julie Curtin of Woodstock, in the irons of Helen Brown’s Tybee, secured a first round score of 176. Their Handy round of 186 for a combined 360 took third place honors.

Ava, owned and ridden by Kathryn Jarriel of Collins, Georgia, sat in fifth place after the Handy round after earning a score of 174. Their Handy score of 173 and overall 347 would have them finish in fourth place.

Maida Clifton’s More Optimistic, ridden by Ashley Hotz of Eads, Tennessee, earned a first round score of 172 and a Handy score of 167 for an overall 339, which would see them finish in fifth place overall.

Upcountry Cuba, owned by Jamie Stryker and ridden by Megan Wexler of Reddick, Florida, finished in sixth place overall after earning a first round score of 152 and Handy round score of 170 for an overall 322.

Leslie Terry’s Pet Rock, ridden by Emily Terry Peterson of Naples, Florida, took seventh place honors after earning a Classic round score of 148 and Handy score of 157 for an overall score of 305.

Geitner and Geddaway Farm’s Bella Vida earned a Classic round score of 168 and a Handy score of 133 for an overall 301 which would see them finish in eighth place. Farmer and It’s Me earned ninth place and Jordan Carlson of Roswell, Georgia, in the irons of her own Avignon, placed tenth with an overall score of 293. Eleventh and twelfth placings were awarded to Lisa Chaney’s Cristal, ridden by Brandon Gibson of Greenback, Tennessee, and La Roxx, owned and ridden by Isabel Harbour of Alpharetta, Georgia.

True Story was also awarded the Jack Geitner Memorial trophy, awarded to the winner of the Atlanta Summer Classics International Hunter Derby winner. Especially touching is that the award is named in honor of Daniel Geitner’s brother Jacques “Jack”. An accomplished child rider, he competed in the hunters under the tutelage of trainers such as Pat Dodson and Sue Ashe. As a teen, Jack turned his attention to the jumper ring, and rode his horses Elan and The Energizer to numerous wins, including the Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic at the Charleston Summer Classic Horse Show, with the help of trainer Aaron Vale. He passed away suddenly as a result of a car accident at the age of 19 during his freshman year at Appalachian State University. He will always be remembered for his spirit, laughter and wit and his love for animals and his loyalty to his friends.

Julie Curtin and Fairfax
Julie Curtin and Fairfax

Double Header Derbies!

The hunter action continued with the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend. Fairfax, owned by Liz Hudspeth and ridden by Julie Curtin, took the win after earning a combined score of 185. Geitner followed Curtin for the second place ribbon in the irons of Hilary Baylor’s Naddel with their combined score of 184. Aberdeen Ventures, LLC’s Madewell, ridden by Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida, secured third place with an overall score of 181. Fourth place honors was awarded to Relax Jack, owned by Frances Robinson and ridden by Megan Wexler; the pair earned an overall score of 172.5.

Breaking News, owned and ridden by Isabel Harbour, took fifth place honors with their total score of 172. Sixth was awarded to Hanover on the Rocks, owned and ridden by Morgan Connely. Virginia Stearns’ THS Pia-Lena was ridden to the seventh place honors by Sarah Milliren after earning a combined first and second round score of 167.5. Charlotte Warren’s Enticement, ridden by Julie Curtin, finished in eighth place with their total score of 167. For further results, click here.

All sponsorship and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship, at lisa@classiccompany.com.

Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Erica Quinn Captures First Career International Hunter Derby Win with Need I Say at TIEC

Erica Quinn and Need I Say. Photos ©FlyingHorsePhotography.

Karl Cook Bests the Competition aboard Caillou 24 in $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake CSI 5*

Mill Spring, NC – June 10, 2016 – Erica Quinn of Mainesville, OH and Need I Say captured their first career derby win together, topping the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Mirimichi Green at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Quinn and Need I Say received a final two round score of 369 to take the win. Kelley Farmer of Wellington, FL guided Point Being and Baltimore to second and third place, respectively, earning total scores of 368 and 359 from the judging panel. Competition at TIEC continues Saturday with the highly anticipated $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 5* for the Governor’s Cup beginning at 8:00 p.m. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. with free admission and free parking for all attendees.

Quinn, who recently took over the ride on the 2008 Warmblood gelding owned by Kelley Farmer, was elated with the performance of Need I Say under the lights in the George H. Morris Arena. The pair completed an effortless and athletic handy round, which ultimately pushed them to the top of the leaderboard. Andy Christison built the course, which showcased a number of airy oxers and difficult combinations, proving to be a tough test for riders throughout the evening.

“He’s just an amazing animal. I can’t say enough nice things about that horse. In the first round, I bobbled going into the two stride, which I was mad at myself for, but then I came back in the second round and was confident. He’s just such a good handy horse. I feel like I can do anything on him,” she explained.

Need I Say has an attitude and athleticism that allows him to excel in the handy round, which is one of his most notable strengths. The pair received 10 handy points from each of the judging panels to boost their score after performing an effortless, but bold second round.

“When I turn, it doesn’t matter if it’s one stride or three strides, he’s always going to leave the ground. He gives you such a nice feeling over the fences,” she added. “I’m new to doing the derbies and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I also think that I just need to keep doing them and get used to the atmosphere.”

Originally, Friday’s class was not on Quinn’s planned competition schedule, as she had arranged to stay in Kentucky, but at the last minute decided to bring Need I Say with the other group of horses traveling to the TIEC venue with Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke.

“Kelley told me to come down here to do the $50,000 instead of staying in Kentucky and now I’m sure glad I did,” she smiled. “It really worked out for us and I can’t say enough nice things about Larry and Kelley. This is an amazing opportunity for me and I couldn’t thank them enough.”

Farmer had the initial ride on the gelding after he arrived stateside and collected two derby wins right off the bat in Pensacola, FL, establishing Need I Say as a strong derby contender. Quinn took over the ride this spring, and has been competing the gelding since, learning from Farmer and her winning ways.

“Kelley has quite a few horses in her derby string and was nice enough to let me ride this horse. He finished very well here a few weeks ago too. This is our second derby together and the other was a few weeks ago here where we finished in third,” explained Quinn. “I’m just so thankful that she gave me the ride.”

Quinn has worked at Lane Change Farm with Glefke and Farmer for nearly two years and focuses on many of the Pre-Green horses in the barn, but is beginning to turn more of her attention to Need I Say.

“Erica has worked with us for a while and has done a very good job. She’s worked for this chance and she’s definitely paid her dues. Everyone needs a chance and she’s earned this,” said Farmer. “I have plenty of horses in my string and I wanted her to have a horse that had no tricks and that was capable of competing with mine. In the handy rounds, when we tell her, you know, you have to go inside, she has a horse that can do it.”

Farmer found Need I Say on a trip to Europe and his talent and scope drove her to cancel an original flight home and travel across Germany to try the horse for herself. She explained, “One of our agents over there showed him to me and I bought him on the same trip that I bought It’s Me. It turned out to be very worthwhile,” she laughed.

“He had done quite a bit in Europe and had won as a young horse. He was cut late and I got on him not too long after he was gelded. I watched him jump some pretty big courses and when I sat on him I thought that there is no way they can build anything on a Saturday night at Derby Finals that will phase this horse.”

“There is no horse that can do things like he does in the handy. It’s really unbelievable. He is the most beautiful and rideable horse. Anywhere you put him he’s going to go. I knew that he would walk into any derby ring and win,” she added.

Farmer also commented on her second and third place rides, noting that both horses performed well, while Baltimore’s third place finish makes him the fastest earning hunter to reach $100,000 in prize money.

“Baltimore was a really good boy and I made a little bit of a mistake, which pushed down our score and it was my fault, but Point Being was great. He still can get a little bit green, especially at night,” she elaborated. “He wants to try so hard and he’s such a careful horse. He’s an overachiever and he gets a little overwhelmed at night, but that’s just him and that’s what I love. He just has an intensity that you don’t typically feel and is what makes him so special.”

Karl Cook Bests the Competition aboard Caillou 24 to Secure a Win in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake CSI 5*

Karl Cook (USA) quickly crossed through the timers to secure victory in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake CSI 5* aboard Caillou 24 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Cook rose to the top of the leaderboard with an efficient time of 65.10 seconds to secure the win. Richie Moloney (IRL) trailed closely behind with a time of 65.80 seconds with his mount Slieveanorra, while Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 rounded out the top three with a time of 67.31 seconds.

Karl Cook and Caillou 24
Karl Cook and Caillou 24

Cook and Caillou 24 tackled Alan Wade’s (IRL) track with a smooth and quick effort, as the pair used the opportunity to gain valuable experience at the 1.45m height. Wade has built competitive and educational courses throughout the week and Cook noted that the design was very suitable for the strengths of his horse.

He elaborated, “The way Alan [Wade] set the course made for the riders to take exciting turns instead of having to protect the front rails. It allowed us to flow down the lines and it was very nice to ride.”

Caillou 24 is a talented and young mount for Cook, as the pair has just started to regularly compete at the FEI level together. Caillou 24, a 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Corrado I), previously campaigned to the FEI CSI 3* level in Europe before Cook took over the ride early in 2014. Taking his time training the gelding at home, the pair have built confidence and a stronger relationship over the past year. After concluding a successful winter campaign, Cook felt it was time to gain more experience in a major FEI competition atmosphere.

“We have been protecting him a little bit and trying to teach him how to jump the way we want. But, at the same time, they also need to learn how to go fast and the only way to do that is by competing,” he explained. “He’s very good because he turns extraordinarily tight yet has a huge stride to leave out in a lot of the lines too. Normally you never get those two together in a single horse, so it’s a great feeling to have in the ring.”

Cook is based year-round out of Woodside, CA and spoke about what motivated his team to travel to TIEC for the venue’s first ever FEI CSI 5* week. Eric Navet (FRA), who Cook trains with year-round, also made the trip east with several horses.

“I had heard rumors about the place and wanted to see it for myself. My first impression of the venue was just wow, to be honest,” said Cook. “It has taken an incredible and obvious amount of foresight and investment to bring this facility to where it is. The thing is, this area is closer than people on the back home would think. You’re only five hours from Kentucky and it’s in a really great location for travel.”

“You also have to acknowledge the huge amount of prize money available at this venue. It is modern jumping. You are jumping on consistently good footing and the jumps are great,” he added. “Everything is really convenient for everyone and that’s what is important. It’s not just rings and barns; it’s so much more. Nothing about this venue is bad for our sport; it’s only going to do great things for it.”

Cook and his team will head back to California once the week concludes on Sunday, but will make arrangements to return to the venue in 2017 for next season’s competitive spring series. Once his string is back and settled, the team will look to finish a very strong summer and fall season, which will include several FEI World Cup Qualifiers, which will now be hosted on the West Coast.

“We are going to head home and work with the horses because you can’t really train them at the show the best you would like to.” Cook commented. “We might come back to do Central Park and possibly loop that in with the Million in Saugerties. I felt like we needed to come out here and feel it out. We will be back for the Spring Series here next season for sure,” he added.

For more information on the events and activities at TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal Win $50k Commonwealth Grand Prix at Kentucky Spring

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal.

Kelley Farmer Wins $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Lexington, Ky. – May 15, 2016 – The Kentucky Spring Horse Show wrapped up on Sunday in the Rolex Stadium with the featured national classes: the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix followed by the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal outpaced a 15-horse jump-off to grab the win in the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, presented by Audi of Lexington, which also counted towards valuable points earned in the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List.

After consistently producing clear rounds all week, Vanderveen and Bull Run Jumpers’ Bull Run’s Eternal proved to be a force to be reckoned with after beating Aaron Vale and Carlo’s early jump-off lead of 42.001 seconds by three full seconds.

“It was so nice to finally get it all together,” said Vanderveen. “He’s actually the horse I’ve owned the longest. I’ve had him for three years so we really know each other quite well, and that really helped today in the jump-off because it was pretty fast.”

47 exhibitors navigated the Bernardo Costa Cabral-designed first round course, consisting of 13 obstacles, which challenged riders with a double and triple combination, a triple bar fence and multiple tight rollbacks in a time allowed of 81 seconds. The jump-off revealed a seven-fence serpentine with many large oxers that resulted in faults for five of the 15 second round challengers.

Vanderveen and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were third in the jump-off order-of-go and broke the beam in 39.091 seconds, which set the pace for the rest of the 12 horse and rider combinations that would prove to be unbeatable.

“My strategy was to basically start with a gallop and be able to hold it the whole way,” said Vanderveen. “There were a lot of hard left turns right at the beginning in the jump-off, and he’s really handy to the left, so I was able to not worry too much about making the turn because he’ll cut left fast anyways. So I tried to start before jump one with a really good gallop and never take away from him. He did quite well with that.”

It did not look like anyone would come close to Vanderveen’s time until five rounds later when Andrew Ramsay and Cocq A Doodle, owned by The Doodle Group, entered the ring. They raced around the shortened track to catch Vanderveen’s time but only made it within 9/10th of a second, after laying down a solid double-clear effort, finishing in 39.942 seconds and taking second place honors.

Even as the second to last jump-off contenders were unable to catch Vanderveen’s time, she had already secured her win for the class by returning to the ring as the last entry to go in the jump-off round on her second mount, Bull Run’s Holy Smokes.

“Bull Run’s Holy Smokes is actually a little bit greener than [Bull Run’s Eternal] is,” said Vanderveen. “It was a really nice feeling to be able to come in and know that she doesn’t need to really run like crazy so I was going to go for a nice slow, clean round and then she hit the last jump down, but I’m still really pleased with her. She hasn’t done nearly as much as he’s done.”

Rounding out the top three in the Sunday finale of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show was Ramiro Quintana and Whitney, owned by St. Bride’s Farm. They tripped the timers in 40.215 seconds.

After a successful finish to the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Vanderveen will be returning to Tryon next week to train clients, but always enjoys visiting and competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows.

“After this week, I think I should never leave Kentucky,” laughed Vanderveen. “I jumped clean in every single FEI class – it just hasn’t come to a win until today. I’m going back to Tryon next week. I have all of my clients in Tryon and they got this week off, so I’ll be back to help train them.

“I love the area here,” continued Vanderveen. “I love that the horses can graze and can go out on the trail rides. I think it’s so great for their minds. The stadium’s great as well. I love riding in a big ring. I have a lot of big horses with big steps so to be able to just open up and gallop around the course is how my horses jump best and go best, and I like to ride that.”

Earlier in the day, the Under 25 Grand Prix was held in the Rolex Stadium and the blue ribbon went to Noel Fauntleroy and her own Cabras, who bested a starting field of 26 and a jump-off field of 13.

“I started riding [Cabras] a little over a year ago in Florida last year,” said Fauntleroy. “She was part of the gold medal team and won an individual bronze medal at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships last year. She is very comfortable. She might look a little hot, but she’s actually kind of cold. I have to get her going, but once I do she’s all game and will jump anything. She’s really brave.”

Fauntleroy and the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare were among six to produce double-clear rounds, finishing the fastest by one second in 30.003 seconds.

“My plan today was to just stick with the numbers,” said Fauntleroy. “The jump-off I thought was a really good test for the riders. From one to two there was an option for seven or eight strides, and I trust her a lot so I went with seven and knew that she would jump that. I made sure to go inside the gazebo after the two because I didn’t think anyone else had done that, and I think that might have been where I made up a little bit of time.”

Eve Jobs and her own Sandor De La Pomme were close behind Fauntleroy stopping the timers in 31.242 seconds to take second place, while Hunter Holloway and VDL Bravo S, owned by Hays Investment Corp., took the third place spot finishing in 32.489 seconds.

Having shown in the U25 series multiple times, Fauntleroy really appreciates the bridge the series provides for young riders to develop experience at competing their horses on an international level.

“I think it’s an awesome stepping-stone for young riders,” said Fauntleroy. “If you feel like you’re over-qualified for the highs but aren’t ready to go into the Saturday night classes yet, the U25 series is a perfect stepping-stone for that.”

In addition, Fauntleroy shared similar sentiments as Vanderveen in regards to competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows.

“Kentucky always has a really good atmosphere,” said Fauntleroy. “There’s lots of open space for the horses. The footing is always amazing. It’s been pouring rain and you can’t even tell. It’s really an awesome place to come!”

The Kentucky Spring Classic held May 18-22 will also feature a FEI CSI3* rating. The $35,000 Welcome Speed will be held on Wednesday, followed by the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, as riders try to accumulate valuable points for the Hagyard Leading Rider Bonus. On Saturday, May 21, riders will compete under the lights in the Rolex Stadium during the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. Once again all three FEI classes will count for the Longines Ranking List and the Thursday and Saturday classes will also count for the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. In addition, the featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.

Kelley Farmer Wins $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Sunday was ‘Derby Day’ in the Claiborne Ring at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby as well as the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. The International Hunter Derby was dominated by Kelley Farmer who took the top two spots on Baltimore and Point Being and had a total of five horses in the class. The third spot went to Peter Wylde and Quax.

Kelley Farmer and Baltimore
Kelley Farmer and Baltimore

Farmer took the lead in the first round on Baltimore, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding with a score of 189, taking all four high options on the Bobby Murphy-designed course. “When you jump the high options, he can jump careful and it doesn’t matter what you get,” said Farmer. “Long or deep, he doesn’t really care. He is that dependable, that careful, that brave – that’s him. No matter what I ask him he tries.”

With five horses in the class, Farmer was able to use each round to improve her plan for the next. “When we walked the handy and we saw the inside turns I thought they were ugly to be totally honest,” Farmer explained. “I did them on Need I Say because he is handy. I thought if he can do them then at least I know how hard or not hard they are. I kind of knew what I was going to do on Need I Say and was a little bit play-it-by-ear on the rest depending on what everyone else did and how it was going.”

Farmer and Baltimore excelled in the handy, pulling in scores of 89 and 90 from the judges. Adding on four points for taking the high options, and seven and five handy points, respectively, bringing their total score to 388. She was full of praise for Baltimore’s performance in the handy round.

“Baltimore can get so high and so careful,” said Farmer. “He can land and turn. He is so catty and his front end is so automatic. He’s a fantastic horse.”

Farmer also impressed the judges on Point Being bringing in a score of 369 and taking all of the high options in both rounds. Peter Wylde and Quax were right behind her in third place with a score of 368.5.

Earlier in the day, Geoffery Hesslink excelled in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby winning aboard Rookie, an 8-year-old Warmblood gelding, and taking third place with Esco. Douglas Boyd took second place with Calido’s Son.

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series awards a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.

Hesslink started off the first round with a score of 90, taking all four high options. “My first round was a little conservative,” Hesslink said. “I was a little nervous with how the class was going, but I decided to do all the high options and I think that really paid off because not many other people did.”

Hesslink returned in the handy round taking three of the high options to a score of 89 and a total score of 179. “I liked my handy round a lot better,” Hesslink admitted. “I went all out and tried to do all the inside turns. I tend to be better at those and I thought both horses were amazing.”

Hesslink praised the course design for its ability to play to each horse’s strengths. “I thought the course was great. It was a lot of singles and long approaches,” Hesslink explained. “You were able to show your horse’s stride and ride the course out of a rhythm.”

Douglas Boyd and Calido’s Son were right behind Hesslink in second place with a score of 178. Hesslink rounded out the top three with a score of 176 aboard his second mount Esco.

Hesslink was enthusiastic about his experience here in Kentucky. “I came here last summer for the first time,” Hesslink said. “I really liked it and that’s why I’m back this year. I think the Kentucky Horse Park is an amazing facility and they do a great job here with everything from the jumps to the events and the prestige – they make it really nice for the spectators and riders.”

The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue May 18-22 with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday, May 21. The Kentucky Spring Classic will also offer WIHS and NAL qualifiers plus $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.

EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts of the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Hunters Take Over Week II of the Atlanta Spring Classics

Marylisa Leffler with Headlines.

Mary Lisa Leffler Rides Headlines to the Win in the International Hunter Derby

Friday was a double header Derby Day during Week II of the Atlanta Spring Classics when the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Nalley Toyota Stonecrest, and the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend, took center stage.

Jason Berry of Staunton, Virginia, winner of last week’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, and Stacey McFadden, LLC’s Wistful led the Classic round after earning a score of 174. Headlines, owned by Felicia Harrsch and ridden by Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland, followed in second place after the first round with a score of 169.

North C, owned and ridden by Jaime Steinhaus of Milton, Georgia, followed in third place in the Classic round after earning a score of 164. Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, South Carolina, in the irons of Stella Styslinger’s O’Ryan, sat in fourth position after earning a score of 164. Boyd also had the fifth place position after the first round with Finally Farm’s Shamrock, earning a first round score of 162. Kris Killam of Naples, Florida and Barbara Fishman’s Mr. Big sat in sixth place with their score of 160. Boyd also had the seventh place horse after earning a first round score of 158.5. Berry held both the eighth and ninth place positions after the first round with Willoughby Stables’ Falcor and their score of 158 and Oakledge Farm’s Cobalt Blue R with a score of 150. Tenth place after the Classic round saw Why, owned by Charlotte Warren and ridden by Julie Curtin of Villa Rica, Georgia, earn a first round score of 150. Sitting in eleventh place after the first round was Liddy Strickland’s Valentine, ridden by Sarah Milliren of Jenks, Oklahoma, with a score of 149; Redfield Farm’s Fandango HX, ridden by Cassandra Kahle of Califon, New Jersey, sat in twelfth place after earning a score of 133.

The Handy Round of the Derby saw Kahle and Fandango earn a score of 147 for a total of 280, which would finish in twelfth place overall. Milliren and Valentine moved up to tenth place overall after earning a second round score of 160 for a total of 309. Curtin and Why moved to an eleventh place overall placing after earning a second round score of 143 for a total of 293.

Berry and Cobalt Blue R moved from a ninth place position to finish in fifth place overall after earning a second round score of 186 and overall 336. Berry also moved from the eighth place spot to sixth place overall with Falcor, earning a total score of 335.

Boyd and Cellino moved from seventh place to third overall after earning a Handy score of 185 and an overall 343.5. Killam and Mr. Big moved to finish in ninth place overall after earning a Handy score of 154 and an overall 314. Boyd and Shamrock moved up to finish in fourth place overall after earning a Handy score of 180 and an overall 342. Boyd and O’Ryan moved from a fourth place standing after the Classic round to an overall second place finish after earning a Handy score of 187 and an overall 351.

Steinhaus and North C moved to finish in seventh place overall after earning a Handy score of 160.5 and an overall 324.5.

Sitting in second place after the Classic Round, Leffler and Headlines earned a Handy score of 187.5 for a total of 356.5 which moved them into the lead.

Berry and Wistful were in first place after the Classic Round, but after earning a Handy score of 145 for a total of 318, finished in eighth place overall.

The heavy rains had moved through the area earlier that morning, so the main hunter event was moved to the Oval Ring. Liza Towell Boyd, whose resume includes three time Overall World Champion Hunter Rider as a Junior, four time recipient of the Best Child Rider Award at the Washington International Horse Show, and second place finisher in the Washington International Equitation Finals, as well as a multitude of National and International Hunter Derby wins, commented, “I was pleasantly surprised, that with all the rain the night before and how wet everything was, how great the rings held up,” she said. “I woke up, looked outside and thought that we may not even be able to show. You know, the Derbies are the equivalent of the Hunter Grand Prix and we were really looking forward to showing,” she said. “They moved the Derby to the Oval Ring which is so big and impressive and it’s actually even better for the younger generation of the up and coming Derby horses,” she said. “It was amazing how well the footing held up. It was really perfect. We were able to do those inside turns and the footing was great,” Boyd commented.

Sarah Milliren with Don't Tell
Sarah Milliren with Don’t Tell

Don’t Tell and Sarah Milliren Win the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend, followed the International Derby and saw Courtney Billings’ Don’t Tell, ridden by Sarah Milliren, win the class after earning first round score of 86 and second round score of 91 for a combined 177. Davinci, owned and ridden by Josie Baird, placed second after earning a first round score of 82 and Handy score of 88 for a combined 170. Third place honors went to Charlotte Warren’s Enticement, ridden by Julie Curtin, after posting a first round score of 80 and second round score of 87 for a total of 167.

Suntrust, owned by Sandra Ward and ridden by Jacqueline Ward, earned a first round score of 77 and second round score of 83 for a total of 160 and fourth place. Fifth was awarded to Replax du Plant, owned and ridden by Libby Greene. I’ve Been Spotted, owned and ridden by Rebecca Hollman, won sixth place; Iamwhatiam, owned by Dawn Mason and ridden by Jason Berry, placed seventh overall. Click here for more results.

All sponsorship and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel at lisa@classiccompany.com.

Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Kodachrome and Russell Frey Win $50k USHJA International Hunter Derby to Conclude WEF

Kodachrome and Russell Frey. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – April 3, 2016 – The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) completed its final day of competition on Sunday with a win for Russell Frey and Nina Koloseike Moore’s Kodachrome in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Held on the beautiful grass field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the final feature of the circuit was presented by Dietrich Insurance and hosted by Tailored Sportsman, and sponsored by Charles Owen, Dover Saddlery, The Clothes Horse and Essex Classics.

The first round of derby competition was held in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring on Saturday, where 45 entries took on the first round course designed by Ken Krome. Two panels of judges scored each round, and riders were awarded extra points for jumping high options.

The top 24 entries then moved on to the derby field for Sunday’s handy round, jumping Bobby Murphy’s course with natural obstacles on the grass. Two panels of judges once again scored the contestants, awarding bonus points for high options as well as handiness on course. Judges Rick Fancher and Jack Towell scored the rounds on panel one, and Danny Robertshaw and Jim Clapperton judged the rounds on panel two.

Russell Frey and Kodachrome led the standings heading into Sunday’s final round with the high score of 185 in round one. The pair then earned the high score of 200 on Sunday for the winning two-round total of 385.

Kodachrome is an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding that Moore purchased for Frey last year with hopes that the gelding had Derby Finals potential.

“He was doing the 3’3″ Performance Hunters starting out, and I just saw him and liked him, and then I tried him and had to have him,” Frey stated. “He has learned and come along. This was his first really big derby. This was a different type of class, to show over at the horse show on the grand hunter field, and then to come over here just to do the handy round on the field in a completely different venue for all of the horses. It was a pretty good test for every horse and rider that was out there.

“He was a little nervous in different places on the course, but he seemed to handle everything okay,” Frey continued. “The jumps were not the issue; it was just a little bit of his anxiety and settling in. I thought he finished up the last half of the course really confident and that is always a nice way to end, so I was very happy with him.”

Speaking of Kodachrome’s winning style, Frey detailed, “He jumps in very correct style. He uses all of his parts. His front end comes up, his back gets high, and he has great follow through. The overall context of the jump from take-off to landing is very correct. He is pretty fearless when it comes to the jumps. I had never jumped him over the bank, and I have no idea whether he ever has in the past, and he jumped right up on the bank like he had been doing it all his life. Pretty much anything you point him at, he is okay with. He is an attractive horse, and he goes across the ground nicely. He gallops along nicely with a great rhythm, and he is appealing when you look at him.”

This was Frey’s first international hunter derby win and a momentous occasion in his career.

“It means a lot,” the rider stated. “I am relieved that we finally won one. I have gotten good ribbons consistently in the derbies, but I have never won one, much less won the first round. I have come back second and third, but there is pressure on both sides. One is to try to protect your lead. You have to be a little bit careful and not do anything too crazy, but by the same token it is never free.”

Classified and Samantha Schaefer
Classified and Samantha Schaefer

Samantha Schaefer and her own Classified sat second coming into Sunday’s round with a score of 184 carrying over from their first round. The pair then earned a score of 190 for their handy course, finishing second overall with a total score of 374. The 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion is Schaefer’s amateur hunter and this was only their third derby together.

“I thought he was great,” Schaefer stated. “I was a little bit spookier at the course than I think he was. Looking back, I think that in order to really win these classes in the future, you have to go for it and jump the high options and take some risks. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it does not. Today, I feel like we did exactly what we planned when we walked the course. After I watched ten or so not do it successfully, I just had to walk away and remember that I know my horse, and I could not be worried about what everyone else was doing. I just had to ride what I was capable of. He was great. He is an awesome horse, and I had a lot of fun out there.

“I have had this horse a year and a half, and I think it was kind of meant to be for me to have him,” Schaefer detailed. “It took a lot of people to put it together for me to be able to have him. He has been an important horse for my career because I was in college, and as a junior I had a lot of horses to ride and was really in it and showing all of the time. Then when you are not doing it as much, it makes it really hard to come here and really feel like you have a shot. He has kind of been that horse for me to make me feel like I can be competitive again, and I can go in there and compete with the best. He has definitely been a big part of my career looking forward, so I am very lucky to have him.”

Amanda Steege and Susan Darragh’s Zidane made a big jump to finish third overall. The pair came into Sunday’s final round in 14th place with a first round score of 166, but a fantastic score of 197 over the handy track shot the pair up 11 spots in the final standings.

Steege and the 12-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding also jumped in last year’s derby at the end of the 2015 WEF circuit, and Steege came into this year’s class confident in her mount.

“I came back in 14th place today and moved up to third, but I think last year I came back even lower than that and I remember being a little nervous because we do not see venues like this very often, but he was so good last year,” Steege explained. “This year I felt very confident in the horse. I went out there knowing that I could do all of the high options and make as many turns as I could find to do out there. I was only in 14th place, so unlike Russell, I did not have anything to lose. I just thought the whole thing was a lot of fun, and I felt like my horse felt that way too. He was not nervous at all.

“He sort of eats up the atmosphere, and he certainly loves the grass,” Steege continued. “It feels like he has an extra little push out there. He can jump a little higher, and a little wider, and I do not have to ride careful to the jumps. I can gallop right up to them, and he sort of sets himself. I had a great time. I was looking forward to coming here, and it was as fun as I hoped it was going to be.”

One special thing about Zidane is that the horse also competes in the Pre-Adult Hunters with his owner, Susan Darragh.

“Susan works for me to be able support me, and Zidane, and for us to be able to go to the derbies,” Steege noted. “She imported Zidane as a two-year-old, and he is twelve now. She shows him herself in the Pre-Adult Hunters, which I do not think there are too many horses that can compete in hunter derbies and do the Pre-Adults. It keeps him on his toes. He is never sure if the jumps are going to be 4’3″ or 2’3″! I think that is pretty remarkable.”

Jennifer Bliss and Harris Hill Farm LLC’s Poker Face finished fourth with scores of 171 and 185 for a 356-point total. Peter Wylde and Dana Tourville’s Candor 15 placed fifth, also with a 356-point total, carrying over a 173 from round one and receiving 183 in round two. Scores from judging panel two broke the tie for sixth place. Louise Serio and Autumn Janesky’s Temptation rounded out the top six with scores of 173.5 and 182 for a 355 total.

Sunday’s competition concluded the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival. Equestrian Sport Productions would like to thank everyone for another fantastic season. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Kelley Farmer Goes 1, 2, 3 in the $100k USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Thermal

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Kelley Farmer and Baltimore.

Thermal, CA (March 22, 2016): As the sun set over the mountain ridge at HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California, an eager crowd gathered to witness thirty-nine riders and their elegant mounts compete for one of the most prestigious hunter victories, the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Kelley Farmer returned to HITS Thermal with several horses to compete in the Derby in Week VIII of the Desert Circuit, one of three $100,000 International Derby classes being offered by HITS this year.  After garnering all top three spots in the Derby at the HITS Ocala Masters just a few short weeks ago, the Keswick, Virginia equestrian once again took claim to first, second and third in Thermal.

Farmer garnered the win with Baltimore, owned by Jane Gaston, who herself is an accomplished amateur hunter rider.  Baltimore was Farmer’s second place mount of the Derby at the HITS Ocala Masters.  At Thermal, Farmer also placed second with Publicized, owned by Amanda Hone, and third place with Kensel, LLC’s Mindful, the winner of the Derby at the HITS Ocala Masters.

Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York set a beautiful course in the HITS Grand Prix stadium with 13 all natural-type hunter jumps elegantly decorated.  An extra-long natural tree jump across the middle of the ring, which horses jumped beautifully, was an eye-catcher and spectator and rider favorite.  Larry Glefke, the trainer of all three winning mounts, said the course “was one of the best Derby courses we have seen” this year.

“When we came out for the Derby in Thermal in November, it was one of the nicest classes we’ve been to and the Ocala class was exceptional also,” said Glefke. “The footing is beautiful, the accommodations have been great, and we’re grateful to [HITS President and CEO] Tom Struzzieri for stepping up and doing these classes – it’s a wonderful thing for the industry.”

Farmer agreed saying she was “so proud of all of her horses; they all jumped great, and the course was lovely.”  She also commented that as a follow-up to the $100,000 USHJA Hunter Derby in November in Thermal, HITS “definitely repeated themselves.”

Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, three judging panels awarded an Option Bonus Score consisting of one additional point for every higher height option fence jumped. As 12 returned for the second round, judges awarded a base score, Option Bonus Score and a Handy Bonus Score, assessing the handiness of the round.

The top twelve returned for the second round of the two round derby.  First to return was Hugh Mutch of Redwood City, California riding Bunistar, owned by Naomi Rubin.  Mutch, a top West Coast Grand Prix and hunter rider, laid down a beautifully executed handy round, taking a short, flowing track and all high fence options for the top second round score of 299.  As one judge commented, “Bert gave riders and spectators a riding lesson tonight.”  Mutch topped all other eleven riders in the handy round bringing himself from twelfth place after round one to fifth in the final standings.

Nick Haness of San Clemente, California and Spot On, owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, challenged the top contenders. Haness opted for three of the height options to capture a second round score of 290.  With a total score of 557.5 for both rounds, Haness took home fourth place for his efforts.

Farmer and Mindful followed Haness, opting for three height options and earning a second round overall score of 292, combined with a first round score of 268.5 for a total of 560.5, putting them in the temporary lead.

The last three rides belonged to Farmer, but which one of her mounts would be the victor was still in question. Farmer entered again with It’s Me, co-owned with Bibby Farmer-Hill and Susan Pinney. They earned a second round score of 258 and a first round score of 275 to total 533, ultimately earning seventh place.

Farmer followed her own round with Publicized, a new derby mount for the rider. They topped Farmer’s own score with Mindful to earn scores of 287 and 279, respectfully, for a total of 566, giving them the final second place prize.

Saving the best for last, Farmer stepped in the ring to compete aboard Baltimore. In true champion fashion, they stepped up to the plate to garner the gelding’s first ever Derby win. They earned the highest combined two round score of 578 for the night’s win.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Farmer Pilots Baltimore to First Derby Win at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic

Rain or shine, the show must go on! Despite less than ideal weather conditions after four consecutive weeks of sunny skies, the $77,700 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Brook Ledge Horse Transportation, took place in the Main Hunter Ring and saw 29 entries compete for the second largest international Hunter Derby purse offered in the country this year. The rain delayed the start but riders were able to relax in the Legend Lounge and enjoy a breakfast sponsored by Loretta Patterson and Accolade Farms.

The cutoff score after the Classic Round was 160.5 set by Chances Are, owned by Artillery Lane, LLC and ridden by Gregory Prince of Sherborn, Massachusetts. Their Handy Score of 102 for a combined total of 262.5 would see them finish in twelfth place overall.

Rebecca Patterson’s Vecchia Murano, ridden by Amanda Forte of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, followed Prince after earning a first round score of 161. An overall second round score of 115 for a combined total of 276 saw them finish in eleventh place overall.

Julia Curtis of Villa Rica, Georgia and her own Rocoso followed Forte in the Handy Round after earning a first round score of 166. Their second round score of 179 for a total of 345 saw the pair move into eighth place overall.

Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama in the irons of Barbar Risius’ Longstreet followed Curtis in the Handy Round order after earning a Classic Round score of 167.5. Their second round score of 177.5 for an overall score of 345 would have them finish in ninth place overall.

Kelley Farmer had eight horses in yesterday’s Derby and had four return for the Handy Round. Farmer’s first ride was in the irons of her own Need I Say. “I bought him to be a Derby horse. He won two in Pensacola and was sixth in $100,000 in Ocala,” commented Farmer. “He’s a great pinch horse and can jump no matter what the conditions,” she said. “If I ride him earlier in the class I can always try something different with him that I might be able to use on my later rides,” she continued. “He has a tremendous amount of ability and is so nice to ride,” she added. The pair earned a second round score of 194 and combined with their Classic Round score of 169, their combined total of 363 would find them moving up to finish in sixth place overall.

Farmer followed that round with Amanda Hone’s Publicized after earning a Classic Round score of 170.5. “Publicized is one of my greenest,” commented Farmer. “He’s a very fancy First Year horse and has only shown six times,” she said. “I was proud of him that he jumped the Derby and overcame the weather,” she added. Publicized and Farmer earned a Handy Round score of 132 for a total score of 302.5 and would finish in tenth place overall.

Fleur De Lis Farms’ Bowie, ridden by Courtney Calcagnini of Bartonville, Texas, followed Farmer and Publicized after a first round score of 173. Their Handy Round score of 179 for a total of 352 would see them finish in seventh place overall.

Tim Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama and Alina Dumitrescu’s Shutterbug earned a Classic Round score of 175. Their Handy Round score of 194 for a combined score of 369 saw the pair finish in fifth place overall.

Farmer returned to the ring, this time in the irons of Kensel, LLC’s Mindful. Farmer and Mindful received a first round score of 177 and a Handy Round score of 198 for a combined score of 375. “Mindful is a fantastic horse. He has won fifteen Derbies and he won Ocala a week ago,” said Farmer. “He’s been Horse of the Year twice and there is nothing Mindful cannot do,” commented Farmer. “He’s a great horse and overcomes all situations,” she said. Mindful finished in third place overall.

Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, New York and her own Miramar followed Farmer and Mindful in the Handy Round after earning a Classic Round score of 178. Their second round score of 198 for a combined total of 376 would see them temporarily take the lead.

Shepherd and Loretta Patterson’s Triompf followed Alfano in the Handy Round after earning a first round score of 180. Their second round score of 190 for a total of 370 would see then finish in fourth place overall.

Farmer and Jane Gaston’s Baltimore were the final ride in the Handy Round. The pair earned a first round score of 182. Their Handy Round score of 205 for a combined total of 387 would earn them the win! “We are so excited about his win,” commented Farmer. “This is his first Derby win and only his second Derby ever. His first Derby had him finish second in Ocala,” she said. “Baltimore is one of my newest additions. I haven’t had him long but he is quickly fitting into our group,” she said.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Bob [Bell] and his show management team,” Farmer continued. “They did their absolute best to put on a lovely class,” she said. “The weather was wet, but no one was slipping in the ring and we had a lot of water here,” she said. “For them to offer this large amount of prize money and invest in the hunters is a trend I hope more horse show managers follow,” she said.

“I had a couple that handled the weather and footing better than others and that’s kind of a given and that’s why we have the amount and depth of horses we bring with us. There’s always one of them that is more suited to the conditions and ring than the others,” she said.

“We were all really excited to ride on the grass grand prix field, but the weather prevented that from happening – there was nothing anyone could do about that,” she said. “We had a lot of rain here and given the conditions, the footing was fine. No one slipped in it. It was more a matter of some horses getting bogged down in the water because some horses are just more comfortable and deal with the different conditions better than others,” she said. “We have shown many places where the weather we had would have prevented us from showing at all. That was not the case here,” she added.

“We haven’t shown on this circuit and are having a great time here,” Farmer continued. “Everyone here has been nothing but accommodating,” she said. “We appreciate the horse show putting up real prize money for the Hunter Derbies because these classes do a lot for the Hunter industry. We will continue to support these shows that invest in the hunters wherever they may be,” she said.

“The only downfall I can see to this circuit is the great food they have around here,” Farmer laughed. “It’s so good I’m going to gain weight here,” she said. “I’ve been to The Half Shell, a barbecue place around the corner and they served us breakfast and lunch here at the show yesterday and pizza today. I’m sure I’m putting on the pounds,” she laughed.

“We are proud to have produced the second largest International Hunter Derby purse in the country this year,” commented Bob Bell, President of the Gulf Coast Classic Company. “The weather was less than desired, but our team and the KCR footing we have in our rings allowed us to continue with the much anticipated $77,700 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Brook Ledge Horse Transportation,” he said. “We appreciate KCR and Brook Ledge’s sponsorship of our shows and the great response we have received from the Hunter riders,” he added. “We look forward to continuing to offer large prize money Derbies next year and make the Gulf Coast Winter Classic the choice of top hunter riders around the country,” he added.

For those who didn’t get to see the action live, click here to watch the livestream.

For those looking to reserve stalls for the final week of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic, email jonathan@classiccompany.com and then go online to horseshowsonline.com and enter for no additional fees. All sponsorship and media inquiries should be directed to lisa@classiccompany.com.

Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Sarah Young Returns to the Winner’s Circle with Contemporary

The weather on the Gulf Coast couldn’t be more beautiful as the Gulf Coast Winter Classic headed into Week IV with increased entries in the hunter rings as momentum continues to build for the upcoming Week V $77,700 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Brook Ledge Horse Transportation.

Yesterday, thirty-six horse and rider teams took to the hunt in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Tucci. Sarah Young of Spring Hill, Kansas, winner of last week’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby in the irons of Beyond Time, returned to the winner’s circle, this time in the irons of Amanda Shaw’s Contemporary, after earning a first round score of 88 and a Handy score of 92, for a total score of 180.

Micaela Kennedy’s Magnus Hermes, ridden by Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama, earned second place after posting a first round score of 87 and a Handy score of 90 for an overall score of 177.

Young returned to pick up the third place ribbon with Samantha Hall’s Beyond Time after earning a first round score of 86 and a Handy score of 88 for an overall score of 174.

Isabella Baxter of Wright City, Missouri and her own Chief picked up fourth place after being awarded a first round score of 83 and a second round score of 87 for a total of 170.

Fifth place was awarded to Seth Vallhonrat’s Nemesis 11, ridden by Dominque Damico of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, after earning a combined score of 168, and sixth place went to James Fisher’s Amara, ridden by Christina Fisher of Alpharetta, Georgia, with a combined score of 167. Seventh place was awarded to Courtney Calcagnini’s Casting Call, ridden by Catherine Castle of Folsom, Louisiana, after posting a combined score of 161, and eighth was awarded to Little Rock, owned by Ramble On Farm and ridden by Kaitlyn Williams of Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Thinks Like a Horse Farm’s Friend Request, ridden by Brooke Van Nortwick of Leesburg, Virginia, placed ninth; Sabina Holtzman’s Re Chiste, ridden by Shepherd, earned tenth. Maida Clifton’s More Optimistic, ridden by Ashley Hotz of Eads, Tennessee, placed eleventh, and Roland Park, owned and ridden by Dudley Macfarlane of Crozet, Virginia, wrapped up the class in twelfth place.

“Our hunter numbers continue to grow each week and I am confident that offering the second largest hunter purse in the country is contributing to this weekly climb in numbers,” commented Bob Bell, President of the Gulf Coast Classic Company.

The epic $5 Pre-Green offering continued to see increased entries for a consecutive week in the 3′ and 3’3″ Divisions. Thirty-one horse and rider teams competed in the 3′ Division and twelve in the 3’3″ Division.

Cecelia Halsey’s Who Dat, ridden by Terry Brown of Canton, Georgia, earned the championship in the 3′ Pre-Green Division. Jennifer Jones’ MikiMoto, ridden by Andy Kocher of Ocala, Florida, earned the reserve champion honors.

The 3’3″ Pre-Green Division Champion was Adagio, owned by Kirsten Dingus and ridden by Jason Berry of Verona, Virginia. Reserve Champion honors were awarded to Cheryl Rubinstein’s Capisce, ridden by Tim Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama.

For more results on the Gulf Coast Winter Classic competitions, click here.

The Gulf Coast Classic Company is a USHJA’s Members Choice Award winner, recognized for producing top quality show jumping events in the United States. For more information on Gulf Coast Classic Company and its exhibitor-friendly, top quality hunter jumper events, please visit them at www.gulfcoastclassiccompany.com.

All sponsorship, marketing and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Sponsorship, Marketing and Public Relations Director, at lisa@classiccompany.com.

Stay up to date: Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!

See you at the ring,
Bob Bell
The Classic Company, Ltd.
Phone/FAX: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311 Johns Island SC 29457