Unstoppable Victoria Colvin Claims Top Two Spots in $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Victoria Colvin and Inclusive. Photos by Emily Riden.

Lexington, KY – May 12, 2013 – Fifteen-year-old phenom Victoria Colvin has a lengthy winning resume that rivals that of riders two to three times her age. Last night, under the lights at the Kentucky Horse Park, Colvin added both the first and second place finishes in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Dietrich Insurance, to her ever growing list of impressive accomplishments.

Colvin took the early first round lead aboard Listen, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, with scores of 87 and 86 from the two judging panels combined with high option points for a total of 181. Kelley Farmer and Taken, owned by Jessica Stitt of Elburn, IL, came close to surpassing Colvin in the first round with scores of 84.5 and 88 for a grand total of 180.5 with high option points included, but the top spot would remain entirely untouched until Colvin returned to better her top score herself, this time on the back of Inclusive, also owned by Parker.

The Bobby Murphy designed first round course included 11 obstacles, most of which were meant to imitate the types of fences horses and riders would encounter on the hunt field. The course also presented four fences with higher jump options. If cleared successfully, the higher options were each worth an additional point added to each of the judges’ scores. Electing to take all four of the high options, it was over this first round course that Colvin and Inclusive turned in a total score of 188, with scores of 90 from both sets of judges, to take over the lead.

That lead would go utterly untouched the rest of the night, as the top 12 scoring horse and riders returned in reverse order of their position for the handy round. The handy round featured a slightly shortened track of nine obstacles, again including the four higher options as well as a brush fence, a trot fence, a hand gallop to an oxer and numerous opportunities to showcase inside turns that could aid riders in earning points for handiness.

Shawn Casady and Ascot, owned by the HJ Group LLC of Sewickley, PA, returned to the handy round in the eighth place position with scores of 68 and 76 following the first round. Taking all of the high options and exhibiting the horse’s handiness, Casady maneuvered Ascot to second round base scores of 82 and 81 and the eventual sixth place ribbon.

Jennifer Alfano finished the first round in fifth place and maintained that spot through the handy round aboard Rose Hill, owned by Sharon O’Neill of Snyder, NY. Finishing in fourth were Farmer and Taken. After claiming the third place position in the first round, the pair slipped one position with second round scores of 73 and 70, plus a total of 12 points for handiness and 8 points for selecting all four of the higher fence choices.

It was junior rider Meredith Darst who came through in the handy round to edge into the third place position with Tilou, owned by Lochmoor Stables of Lebanon, OH. Darst and Tilou came into the second phase with a scores of 84 and 86, behind Farmer, but with a great display of handiness and the utilization of two of the higher fence options Darst and Tilou earned a second round score of 179 – broken down to two scores of 80, plus a total of 15 handiness points and four points for the two higher fence approaches. The duo’s total two-round score of 355 would guarantee their top three finish.

Victoria Colvin and Listen
Victoria Colvin and Listen

Listen was the first mount Colvin returned to the handy round, and while she already held the first round lead by seven points with Inclusive, Colvin knew she needed to be extra handy to ensure that Listen remained in the top ribbons.

“With Listen I knew I had to go all out,” Colvin explained. “The handy course was good for that. There were lots of places to gallop and places to turn inside and show off your horse. It rode really nicely.”

Those inside turns, gallops and high fence options earned Colvin and Listen second phase scores of 84 and 78 added to 16 handy points and eight high option points, giving the horse and rider combination an overall score of 367.

When it came time for Colvin to return with Inclusive, she knew she only needed a second round combined score of 180 to surpass her overall score on Listen and hold the lead on Inclusive. With that score and the lead easily in her grasp, Colvin took a slightly different and less daring approach with Inclusive.

“With Inclusive, I went around smoothly, and I was a little bit more careful since he was already winning,” Colvin shared.

That strategy paid off. Second round scores of 83 and 94 plus 17 handy points and eight high option points added to their leading first round score for a grand total of 390, guaranteeing the victory gallop for the talented pair.

Following her one-two finish under the lights of the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Colvin, Listen and Inclusive will head to the Devon Horse Show in Devon, PA. From there, Colvin plans to return with both mounts for the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals held at the Kentucky Horse Park in August. The $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby offers riders a prime opportunity to prepare for the derby final, and the class would not be possible without presenting sponsor Dietrich Insurance.

Dietrich Insurance offers the sport horse community numerous comprehensive equine related insurance products. By staying abreast to the latest market trends, Dietrich Insurance is able to provide programs accommodating individual requirements, through qualified companies at competitive premium prices. For more information on Dietrich Insurance visit http://dietrich-insurance.com/.

Hunter competition continues today as the first week of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows comes to a close with the naming of champions in the Junior Hunter and Children’s Hunter divisions. Next week, riders will return to the Kentucky Horse Park for the Kentucky Spring Classic, with the highlight $5,000 Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby scheduled for Saturday evening.

For more information about Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC, please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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