Mill Spring, NC – October 12, 2020 – Mimi Gochman (Wellington, FL) and Gigi’s Girl BH sliced their way to a win in the $25,000 ProElite Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC), stopping the jump-off timers in 29.27 seconds. Gavin Harley (Wellington, FL) and Corbawido PS, the Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc.-owned 2012 Oldenburg gelding (Cornet’s Balou x Annette), charged to second on a time of 29.352 seconds, while Katherine Dash (Washington, WA) completed the podium in the irons with HH Casey Jones, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Clinton I x Chicca) owned by Play the Game LLC, clearing the short course in 31.877 seconds.
Thirty-nine pairs tested the Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) first round, with only six riders returning for the jump-off challenge. Gochman was able to take several fences at a severe angle, slicing her way through a tightly-built course with the 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Vingino x Zaline) owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.
“I wanted to go for it.” she said of her jump-off performance. “There were six of us and it was my last class of the week. She felt great! My first round was smooth enough that I felt confident. I just wanted to go for it and try my best.” Gochman emphasized, “The footing is amazing! It’s been raining all weekend and it’s still perfect.”
Liza Boyd and Ferrari Cruise to $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Win
October 9, 2020 – Liza Boyd (Camden, SC) and Ferrari claimed the win in Friday’s $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Tryon International Hunter Derby, adding a handy round score of 202 to a 181 first-round result in order to receive 383 points total. With 379 points to earn second, Victoria Colvin (Loxahatchee, FL) guided William Lyles’ Avatar Z, the 2012 Zangersheide stallion (Arko III x Chang Lee van Berken Broeck), to a handy round score of 204, while Danielle Torano (Wellington, FL) achieved the podium with Faldo II, Jimmy Torano’s 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Baltic VDL x Rienaldine), after producing a total score of 378.5 over the Lewis Pack (USA) course design.
From placing in Grand Prix competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) to scoring big in the Grand Hunter Ring at TIEC, Boyd revealed that the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Thunder van de Zuutehoeve x Sipora) is actually very new to the Hunters, and was purchased for a client sight-unseen as a Junior Hunter prospect.
“Ferrari is amazing. He just became a Hunter right after COVID-19 hit. At the end of WEF, he got a ribbon in a Grand Prix with Ilan Bluman. After that, Michael Morrissey and his wife, Lourdes, bought him and turned him into a Hunter.” After a few national derbies under his belt, “my brother, Hardin Towell, saw him and tried him. We actually bought him for our client sight-unseen. It was a little scary! He actually just came up to me and said, ‘Finally, you listen to me!’ He’s the one who told us to buy him. It’s fun because it’s a family affair. Even though my brother is a Jumper, he loves the Hunters and sells a lot of top Hunters.”
Brian Moggre and Nikita Jolie Jump to Win $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 3*
October 9, 2020 – Brian Moggre (USA) and Nikita Jolie swept through the timers in a time of 61.52 seconds to claim the $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 3* on Friday, dominating a class of 31 entries. In second place, Alberto Michan (ISR) and Loribri, the Antonette Leviste/Yngen Properties, Inc. entry and 2009 Norwegian Warmblood mare (Kingsland SM x Primas), cleared the course in 64.13 seconds, while Gonzalo Guevara (COL) piloted Valentine Car to third on a time of 65.41 seconds with the 2009 Warmblood gelding (Son of Juan Car x Galiani CH) for Fernando Cardenas.
Moggre’s success with the 2010 Oldenburg mare (Numero Uno x Ladalco) owned by Ashland Farms came after a top-ten placing in Wednesday’s $37,000 EquiSafe Global Power & Speed Stake CSI 3*, and Moggre also collected a fifth place finish in Thursday’s $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3* with MTM Vivre le Reve before topping Friday’s marquis international competition.
Wellington, FL – March 28, 2019 – Liza Boyd of Camden, SC and Tradition were victorious in the final week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) as the pair captured the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go on Friday, March 29, at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The “Hunt & Go” derby is one of three major events for hunter riders during Week 12.
Thirty-five horse-and-rider combinations contested Ken Krome’s course, which was designed in the newer Hunt & Go format, on the grass. The Hunt & Go format was only introduced several years ago as a way to shorten the original derby format while still offering a classic and a handy round. Instead of all riders competing through the classic and then returning at a later time for a handy, the course is designed as half classic and half handy. Riders are therefore able to highlight their horses’ strengths in both formats.
Krome’s course consisted of four high option fences, a trot fence, and a ‘bounce’ line in the ‘handy’ portion of the course. Judges panels included Otis Brown and Ann Braswell in panel one, and Robert Crandall and Rob Bielefeld in panel two.
Francisco JoséMesquita Musa and Catch Me Imperio Ecipcio Capture 5* Win
Out of the 50 entries that contested Guilherme Jorge’s speed course in the $36,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI 5*, 15 were able to go clear and put the pedal to the medal to find the quickest round. Of those 15, the fastest was Francisco José Mesquita Musa (BRA), who rode Catch Me Imperio Egipcio for owner Daniel Aguiar Morelli to the win. They posted a time of 62.20 seconds, more than two seconds faster than the next competitor.
Second place went to Catherine Tyree (USA) riding Mary Tyree’s BEC Lorenzo in a time of 64.24 seconds. Margie Engle (USA) and Dicas, owned by Stome Ridge Show Horses, Garber & Gladewinds, placed third in 64.33 seconds. Wednesday’s five-star winners, Lucas Porter (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch’s Diamonte Darco, were fourth in 65.43 seconds, while Emil Hallundbaek (DEN) and his own Dazermie were fifth.
Chapot and Chandon Blue Do It Again in $36,000 Puissance America 1.45m Classic CSI 2*
The start list of 72 entries was full of top horses and riders, which showed when 19 advanced to the jump-off of the $36,000 Puissance America 1.45m Classic CSI 2*. Eighteen chose to return to contest the jump-off.
The early leader was Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) on Bonne Chance Farm’s Randon Pleasure. They set the first time to beat as the pathfinders in the ring in 39.12 seconds.
Costa’s time held until Lacey Gilbertson (USA) and Seabrook LLC’s Baloppi entered the ring. They lowered the time to 38.65 seconds, which would hold up for second place.
One of the fastest pairs on the circuit, Laura Chapot (USA) and Chandon Blue, were the ones who were able to post the winning time of 37.03 seconds. They were able to take advantage of Chandon Blue’s large stride to leave out strides in two lines and take their fourth win of the circuit.
Mill Spring, NC – October 19, 2018 – Lacey Gilbertson (USA) and Baloppi rode to victory in the $35,000 1.45m Tryon Resort Speed Stake CSI 5* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), blazing through the course in 62.31 seconds. Paige Johnson (USA) achieved second place with a time of 74.26 seconds aboard Innovation, a 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Skippy II x Lauriston) owned by Salamander Farm, while Kent Farrington completed the all-American podium guiding Baltic Star 2, a 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Bacardi x Chalan) owned by himself and Tanma Corporation, to a 74.47 second finish.
Twenty-seven pairs stepped up to try their talents on the course set by USA’s Anthony D’Ambrosio, flying around the U.S. Trust Arena. Gilbertson and the 2007 Danish Warmblood mare owned by Seabrook LLC put in a tight round early in the class that couldn’t be bested. Just late enough in the line-up to watch some options ride, GIlbertson explained that the course was suited to her mount’s strengths.
“I thought the course was a lot of fun. There were several areas where you could leave out strides and make tight turns, plus really gallop across the ground and Baloppi is really good at that. It definitely worked to my advantage because she is so nice to ride and always right there with you,” said Gilbertson. “I didn’t go too early, so I did get to see all the numbers ride, and I chose to stick to my original plan once I saw those numbers were there in the options for the leave-outs.”
Gilbertson has been in the irons with Baloppi, whom she describes as “a magical unicorn,” for more than a year and a half, and has piloted her to much success thus far. “I’ve definitely won the most on her than I have on anyone else. She’s brave, consistent, and no matter what ring she goes into she’s always the same, which makes my life really easy. She’s also a lot of fun.”
While Gilbertson will trade mounts for Saturday’s $384,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, Baloppi has a bright future in the Grand Prix ring and in speed classes, she concluded. “I think she’ll jump some two and three-start Grand Prixs in the future, but definitely also more speed classes because she’s so good at them. She can kind of do anything, which is nice.”
Liza Boyd Earns First Place in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Liza Boyd of Camden, SC and Tradition gave two stunning performances to earn a total score of 371 in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in Tryon Stadium to take the win, piloting the 2010 Westphalian gelding for owner Maggie Hill. Reserve honors were earned by Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, NC and Barbara Scott’s Catchphrase, a 2010 Zangersheide gelding, combining their first-round and handy scores for a total of 370, while Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL claimed third in the irons for Helen Brown aboard Tybee, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding, finishing on a two-round total of 369.25.
Eighteen entries toured the course set by designers Dean Rheinheimer and J. P. Godard, with the top twelve invited back to showcase their talents in the handy round. Boyd noted that the second round was tricky but gave credit to Tradition for pulling through. “That was a pretty hard handy,” she explained. “In 1-2 when I was cantering to it, I didn’t realize how tight I had turned. I think that’s what got me such high points; I think I sliced to it a little bit more, a bit on accident, actually. When I was cantering to it, I thought for a second, ‘Oh my, he could run out here,’ but he just stepped up for me.”
Planning for a well-executed handy round, Boyd elaborated on her plan moving through the trot jump. “I definitely did have to fudge (the trot jump) a little,” she commented. “I started trotting later than I had planned, which gave me some extra points. You take a little risk when you take that long to come back to the trot. I did a sitting trot to get him engaged from behind a little bit better and then the hand gallop I tried to do super early and get it done early. I was able to measure the distance and make sure he was back on his hind legs for the last jump.”
Boyd and the gelding have had a productive year and the pair will continue to compete through the indoor season and head to Florida for the winter. “The horse stepped up and was third at Derby Finals and then he went on and helped me win the World Champion Hunter Rider class at Capital Challenge,” noted Boyd. “He helped me gain a place in the top six. He’s done a lot for me this year and he’s really quickly stepped up to the plate to become a really top professional horse. He’s young, and super, super scopey. In Europe, I think he really jumped some really great tracks; he’s got a lot of ability. He’s done a lot.”
For full results from the $35,000 1.45m Tryon Resort Speed Stake CSI 5*, click here.
For full results from the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, click here.
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 18, 2018 – Living up to her reputation, 2017 champion Victoria Colvin once again reigned supreme in the 2018 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, defending her title this time aboard Brad Wolf’s Private Practice. Hunter superstar Colvin and Private Practice were accompanied Saturday evening by 33 of the nation’s top hunter horses and athletes, ultimately jumping into a league all their own with a 16.5-point victory over the next closest competitor to easily secure the lead spot in the victory gallop and the greatest share of the nearly $300,000 purse. No stranger to finishing within the top of the rankings, Liza Boyd stylishly piloted both of her mounts to a podium finish, claiming the runner-up honors with Clemens and the third place slot with Tradition.
Throughout the entirety of the class, the lead consistently changed hands as horse-and-athlete partnerships one-upped each other in the eyes of the judges. Within the last half of the class, the lead changed no less than five times, with Meagan Murray-Tenuta on Becky Price’s Editorial, Jamie Taylor aboard Iwasaki and Reilly’s Small Kingdom and Dorothy Douglas in the saddle on MTM Farm’s MTM One Time each taking a turn commanding the class.
True to handy round standards, veteran course designers Alan Lohman and Danny Moore constructed a winding 11-effort track that incorporated a trot jump, lofty high-option fences and inside turn options in addition to a three-pronged obstacle that allowed exhibitors to elect to jump as a bounce, a one-stride or a two-stride depending upon preference. With only two left to ride, Boyd and Clemens, owned by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm, cantered into the ring with two fresh horseshoes, having pulled a pair in the warm-up ring prior to their turn. The duo proved to be the best performers at that point in the competition with a two-round score of 589.50, thanks to their individual marks of 89, 91 and 92 plus 12 high-option bonus points and 29 handy points out of a possible 30.
Riding second-to-last, Colvin and the chromey chestnut gelding needed 310.5 points to match the cumulative score of the current class leaders. Leaving nothing to chance, the 20-year-old professional navigated Private Practice to all four of the high-option fences, while showcasing the gelding’s handiness and graceful way of moving, finishing a fanciful trip to the tune of a near perfect score. Colvin and Private Practice put the pressure on the classic round winners and the last pair to ride, Holly Shepherd and Helen Brown’s Tybee, with impressive scores of 95, 96 and 96 plus 12 bonus points and 28 handy points, to add 327 points to her day one score for a composite tally of 606 points, more than 16 points ahead of Boyd and Clemens. Colvin and “Peter” did not have to wait long, as Shepherd and Tybee were not able to muster the necessary points to take over the head spot atop the scorecard, securing Colvin and Private Practice the 2018 championship.
In 2017, Colvin won the title aboard John and Stephanie Ingram’s Cuba, and with her 2018 win, she is added to the history books as only the second athlete to champion the event more than once as well as the second athlete to win the rosette back-to-back during the program’s 10-year history. In good company, Colvin shares the status with derby poster child Boyd, the three-time winner with Brunello in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Though Boyd did not earn the top call once again in 2018, she still made out with plenty of reasons to celebrate as the reserve champion and third place finisher. While Colvin and Private Practice won nearly $50,000 for their championship performances, Boyd’s two top placings earned her just over $56,000, the largest amount given to one rider during the evening.
Displaying an unmatched level of talent, Private Practice is on his way to being one of the most highly-decorated hunter horses in the sport, accruing numerous victories and standout results in his short tenure as a hunter. Some of his recent high-profile accolades include winning the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the Palm Beach Masters Series’ Deeridge Derby and the first place prize in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Aiken Charity Horse Show. He carried Colvin to fourth place in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival and sixth place in the prestigious $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Outside of derbies, the flashy gelding has accumulated countless blue ribbons in 3’9” and 4’ divisions at horse shows across the country. Adding to his impressive nature is the fact that 8-year-old Private Practice only recently transitioned to the hunter ranks from the jumper ring, and this year is his first with Colvin in the saddle.
In the final standings, Shepherd and Tybee jumped to fourth place overall with 584.25 points, just fractions of a point behind Boyd and Tradition’s score of 584.75. Samantha Schaefer and Madeline Schaefer’s In the Know maneuvered their way into fifth place, up from ninth place after Friday’s classic round, while Douglas and MTM One Time rounded out the top six in the standings. As the highest-placing of the Tier II pairs based on winnings throughout the qualifying period, Douglas and the Holsteiner gelding added to their prize money as the Section B winners, concluding the championship with nearly $25,000 more to their names.
Earlier in the afternoon, 40 horse-and-athlete combinations that missed the cut-off for the handy round took another shot at earning some prize money, riding in the $10,000 Derby Challenge. Similar to the evening’s handy round, Lohman and Moore’s course included plenty of high-option jumps and opportunities to utilize inside turns, allowing riders to exhibit their mount’s abilities. Ninth in the order, Amanda Steege and Wendy Salomon’s Maitre D’ earned the first standout score of the evening, riding to total marks of 295 from the three panels of judges. Steege and the bay gelding’s lead would not hold long though, as little more than halfway through the class Tracy Fenney and MTM Farm’s MTM Silver Alert set their sights on the top spot on the leaderboard, improving upon their peers’ performances to capture the lead with 299.50 points.
Subsequent competitors laid down solid performances with scores in the 70s and 80s, but none were able to catch the high score set forth by Fenney and MTM Silver Alert, solidifying them as the Derby Challenge champions and largest prize winners of the class. Other than the champions, Steege and Maitre D’ also remained unsurpassed to claim the runner-up spot, trailed by Havens Schatt and Kelley Corrigan’s black stallion Diatendro, who garnered a final score of 290 to finish in third place.
Mill Spring, NC – May 18, 2018 – The $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby saw Liza Boyd of Camden, SC guide the Finally Farm Inc.’s Clemens through two rounds in Tryon Stadium at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Friday night, scoring a 383 to take the lead in the class for the second year in a row ahead of 20 additional entries. Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL took second place honors aboard Triompf, owned by Loretta Patterson, with a score of 373, while Boyd also rounded out the top three, this time piloting Leonardo Aljure’s Easter to capture third on a score of 366.
The highlight class of the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week showcased top hunter talent under the lights in the iconic Tryon Stadium, with a course designed by Andres Christiansen.
Boyd commented, “I thought that the first rounds were nice for both of the horses today. It was raining quite hard on my first horse, but she was great in it. Clemens won this class last year, so I know he likes this arena and he just jumped amazingly. It was a nice course and a fun class!”
The course design made eloquent use of the space provided within the large arena, featuring several turns and a variety of options. Boyd explained, “It rode pretty much like it walked, which was nice. The one bending line was a little tighter than I realized, but that’s the beauty of having two horses. In the handy, I did one inside turn, but did not do both because I was pretty far ahead. It’s like that factor if you’re in a jumper class: do you really go for it or do you just try to go double clear? In the handy I tried to be under the time allowed and bright enough so that it still reflected well for the judges, but wasn’t extremely risky.”
Boyd has the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in Kentucky on her list, and credits TIEC and the venue for being the perfect place to prepare for the prestigious competition. “Easter, she was ridden by Roberto Teran before she came to me. She’s for sale and an amazing Derby horse. This is just a great venue to come to because it sets them up nicely with the lights to be prepared for Finals,” she said.
Boyd will also make several more visits to TIEC throughout the coming summer months to make use of the Tryon Summer Series that is so close to her home base of Camden, SC. “We come back here for the summer shows,” she continued. “We are really looking forward to that. There’s a big $50,000 class, so hopefully we make the cut for that.”
With 35 entries presented earlier in the day on the Derby Field at TIEC for the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Sara Taylor of Sherborn, MA piloted Eight Oaks’ So Fun, to victory on a two-round score of 184, scoring 90 and 94. Wakefield, RI native Jennifer Hannan rode Cynthia Sulzberger’s Coeur de Leon to second place on a score of 180.5, and Mary Antonini of New Orleans, LA secured third place aboard her own MTM Making Waves, their two round score totaling 178.5.
Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.
Wellington, FL – April 1, 2018 – Liza Boyd, of Camden, SC, piloted S&L Just A Cobbler, an entry of S&L Farms, to the top of the field in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby to conclude the last week of competition at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival.
Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler sat in sixth place going into the second day of competition with a 180.75 from the judges, which was over eight points less than Hannan Isop and Red Ryder’s leading 189. However, this did not faze the duo, as they clinched the leading title with a score of 211 on day two and remained unbeatable with a 391.75 total.
Jennifer Hannan, of Wakefield, RI, took second-place honors aboard Kensel LLC’s Mindful.
The duo also captured the blue in Friday’s derby and followed the same strategy following a first round score of 179, and with a second round score of 205, gave them a 384 total to earn the second-place spot behind Boyd.
Samantha Schaefer rode In The Know, an entry of Madeline Schaefer, to the third place standing with a total of 383, following first and second round scores of 181 and 202.
Elisa Uribe Claims Her First Grand Prix Win on Final Day of WEF 2018
Elisa Uribe of Colombia earned the final grand prix victory of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season, winning the $50,000 The Wanderers Club Grand Prix CSI2* on Sunday, April 1.
Uribe was the first to return for the second round, and she and her own Havana de la Lande laid down a clear time of 40.15 seconds that would prove unbeatable and would secure Uribe her very first international victory and her first grand prix win.
McLain Ward Rides to One-Two Finish in $50,000 CP 1.50m National Grand Prix
Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward ended the 2018 WEF circuit on a high note on Sunday with first and second place in the final event of the circuit, the $50,000 CP 1.50m National Grand Prix. With two mounts in the class, Ward claimed the victory riding Clinta for owner Sagamore Farms and was second aboard Bellefleur PS Z, owned by Susan Heller and Lilly Ward.
Mill Spring, NC – May 19, 2017 – Liza Boyd of Camden, SC captured top honors in both the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and $10,000 International Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), making her mark on World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the venue. Boyd topped a class of 26 entries on her way to taking the highlight hunter class of the week, the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in George H. Morris Arena aboard Clemens.
Boyd is a mainstay at TIEC during the major hunter weeks at the venue, as her home base of Camden, SC is only a mere two hours away. With multiple rides in a number of classes, Boyd made the most of her time aboard her mounts, as she rocketed to the top of both the national and international derbies today with Clemens and Shamrock. She also took top honors in the $5,000 USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive aboard Callahan earlier in the week.
Sarah Taylor of Sherborn, MA and Carento, owned by Sherri Crawford, took second place in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with a final score of 362, ahead of Katie Cooper of Owings Mills, MD and Sandlot, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc., who finished the class in third place with a two round combined score of 360.5.
“I did put some pressure on myself to win. I thought winning all three big classes this week would be really exciting,” said Boyd. “I want to thank this horse show and the management for the hunter opportunities here and offering the prize money.”
She piloted Clemens, a 2007 Oldenburg gelding owned by Finally Farm, Inc., to victory after recording a total score of 373 from the judging panel to earn the pairs first international derby win together. The duo finished with a score of 171 in the first round to sit in the top ten before returning for a spectacular handy round and receiving a 202 from the judges, catapulting them into first place.
While the atmosphere grew a bit more intense as the top twelve re-entered the George H. Morris Arena for their handy round, Boyd noted that Clemens surprised her and felt more relaxed than she had anticipated in their second round.
“He’s only just seven and was just imported in February, so he’s only done a few hunter horse shows. The first round I think he went in there a little frozen with his head up a bit, but then came back for the handy, took a deep breath and was a made horse. I’m really proud of him.”
Boyd has been searching for her next top mount following her illustrious career with the storied Brunello and feels that Clemens may have the makings to be a top contender like his stablemate.
“Annie Walters from South Carolina imported him from Germany and she sent me a Facebook message asking if I could help her with him in Aiken. I watched him go every day and I told my dad that I thought I may want him for myself,” she laughed. “I’m really picky and when I rode him, I was like I found him.”
Aiming for a more educational round during their first tour around the course, Boyd felt confident enough to test the gelding a bit more during the handy. The pair perfected all of the low options in their first round and returned to take each of the high options in the handy, which drastically increased their score.
“I felt like it was a good opportunity for him to learn. I decided to try all of the high options and if I needed to alter my plan at some point I would. I didn’t obviously expect him to win tonight,” she elaborated. “I would have been very pleased with a top five finish and there were a lot of horses in the class who are a lot more seasoned than him, but tonight was just our night.”
Earlier in the day, Boyd made her way to the winner’s presentation ceremony again, this time aboard Shamrock, a 2009 Hanoverian gelding owned by Finally Farm, Inc., as the duo topped the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby with a two round score of 183. The pair received a 92 in the first round from the panel to return for the handy round with the lead well in hand. They followed their impressive first round performance with a 91 in the second to secure the win.
Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Canal Street, owned by Donald Stewart, rode to second place with a final score of 178, while Caroline Weeden of Lake Forest, IL and In Time, owned by Glory Days Farm, LLC, finished in third place with a score of 177.
“I was excited that they had the national class in the two lower rings so that it opened the space up a bit. They used all of the derby jumps for the class later and I think it’s a great stepping stone to get these horses ready for the next level,” she commented. “The first round was great. You could kind of make it your own and get creative.”
“My strategy was to go in and have a solid round. As the class went on the scores were getting higher and higher so I wanted to really make sure that we impressed,” she added.
The handy round offered horse and rider combinations the ability to showcase their agility and grace and Boyd thought her second round effort with Shamrock showcased his talent in the ring.
“It was a really good course. There were some great options. There was the ability to test things that are harder to teach at home. From a horse and rider perspective, I thought it was awesome for what we needed to accomplish today.”
The venue offered an Open Hunter class in the George H. Morris Arena on Wednesday, May 17, prior to the start of major derby competition and Boyd reiterated her excitement and thanks to the show management for allowing competitors the opportunity to gain exposure in the main ring.
“I thought that it was really a thoughtful gesture for the show management to include that in this week’s classes. What a great way to give your horse some experience before the bigger classes. I think it provides a great platform to do some kind of a welcome class prior to the derby, which is great for us as riders too,” she continued.
For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.
Liza Boyd and Brunello Lead the Way in $50,000 USHJA International Derby
Mill Spring, NC – October 21, 2016 – David Will (GER) and Cento Du Rouet took home top honors in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Speed Stake CSI 5* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) with a fault free round and a speedy time of 53.37 seconds. Just a single second separated first and second places, as Richie Moloney (IRL) and Slieveanorra crossed through the timers in 54.69 seconds, earning the red rosette. Third place honors were awarded to Laura Kraut (USA) and Andretti S with a time of 55.95 seconds.
David Will and Cento Du Rouet, a 2007 Oldenburger Springferd gelding (Chintan x Balou du Rouet), owned by Centin Güngor, set out to secure another victory, although Will was not sure of his plan after walking the course.
“There were a couple of lines that were really long and you could leave out in or that you could add one. I didn’t have a plan from the start, but then I watched the others go and I made my plan,” Will detailed, explaining his strategy regarding the track set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA).
Will knew that he wanted to win the class, saying, “I was planning on trying to win it. After yesterday, I had a few unlucky rails and then I thought today I wanted to do something good.”
The pair, who has accumulated top finishes in their two weeks at TIEC, made their mark once again. Will went on to describe Cento Du Rouet’s strengths and how they set them up to be successful specifically in the speed classes.
“Cento is always good for a win. He is naturally really fast and careful. He’s just a real fighter. He also really enjoys going quick.”
Will and Cento Du Rouet have been partners for just a few months, competing in Europe throughout the summer before traveling to New York, NY for the Rolex Central Park Horse CSI 3* and then ultimately adding a stop in Mill Spring, NC for both the FEI CSI 3* and FEI CSI 5* events. The duo will next travel to Washington International Horse Show (WIHS).
“Tryon is fantastic!” Will exclaimed. “This place is perfect for the riders and the horses. The organization is really good and it is just great for riders to be here.”
Fan Favorites Liza Boyd and Brunello Lead the Way in $50,000 USHJA International Derby
Liza Boyd of Camden, SC and Brunello, owned by Finally Farm, Inc., upheld their reputation as the pair to beat in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, topping a field of nineteen entries in front of a supportive hometown crowd on The Grass Complex at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Moving into the handy round, Boyd and Brunello amassed a total first round score of 184, which placed them atop the leaderboard. The duo earned a total score of 192 in their handy round effort, adding up to a final score of 376. The final tally solidified the win, amassing another historic and impressive victory for the duo. Kelley Farmer of Wellington, FL and Kodachrome, owned by Nina Moore, finished in a close second place with a total score of 374 points, while Erica Quinn of Maineville, OH and Celtic Fire, owned by CF Partners, scored a total of 362 to take third place honors.
This was the second time that Boyd and Brunello have competed together this year. On a crisp fall day at TIEC accompanying a beautiful derby track set on the Grass Complex, Boyd was feeling positive about showing with her veteran partner and three-time USHJA International Hunter Derby Champion.
“Today I just had fun. I enjoyed every moment and I really just enjoyed this horse. I actually wasn’t really even nervous. I was also really pleased with how the footing held up,” said Boyd.
After the first round, Boyd held an 11-point lead ahead of Kelley Farmer, which she used to her advantage when deciding how to approach the challenging handy track. Knowing that Brunello always has a knack to win, Boyd cantered onto the field for her final round with a dedicated plan to take home the blue ribbon.
“I think in these derbies you really have to strategize the final round and know what you have to do. I thought the handy rode quite nice and presented us with some really good options. I knew I could take one low option and I knew there was one inside turn I didn’t have to do,” Boyd added.
With another successful handy round under her belt, Boyd shared her tricks of the trade, opening up about her competition routine with derby mounts, who she competes in the jumper classes ahead of the highlighted hunter class.
“I do it for the horses but I also do it for myself as a rider,” Boyd explained. “It just gets me back in the groove of bending lines and turning, instead of the typical hunter round of inside, outside, inside, outside. Doing the jumper classes with the more technical and advanced tracks sharpens me up, as well as sharpens the horses.”
Boyd was thrilled with the opportunity to compete on the grass field with Brunello and her second mount, Shamrock, who earned tenth place honors on in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Boyd continued on to thank the Bellissimo family and Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) for allowing hunter riders and horses the opportunity to show on the new Grass Complex.
“If this class hadn’t been on the grass field, Brunello probably would not have shown. It’s really great for our sport and our industry. It was so much fun riding out there and it felt really special” she elaborated.
Receiving the loudest of cheers throughout the day, Boyd talked about riding Brunello in front of his home crowd, commenting, “Janet Peterson, Brunello’s owner, lives here and the Breyer celebration that was held in his honor took place here. He has a lot fans at TIEC and this class was calling his name.”
Boyd mentioned the talk surrounding Brunello’s retirement, but said, “I selfishly cannot retire him yet. Brunello makes me feel like a really, really, really good rider,” she smiled. “He makes it so easy; nothing ever looks big or hard when I am riding Brunello.”
The 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District offers six weeks of hunter and jumper competition, including three weeks of internationally recognized FEI show jumping featuring two FEI CSI 3* weeks and an FEI CSI 5*. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities, please visit www.tryon.com.
Kevin Babington and Mark Q. Photo By: The Book, LLC.
Devon, Pa. – June 2, 2016 – The luck belonged to the Irish during the 2016 $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*. Kevin Babington and Mark Q repeated their 2011 victory in the Dixon Oval, beating Danielle Torano and McLain Ward in a three-horse jump-off for the lion’s share of the prize money.
A crowd of 9,000 spectators turned out for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair’s highlight event, watching as the best in the country competed over the technical CSI4* course built by Kelvin Bywater. Only three were able to master the first round, and it was Babington and Mark Q that were the pathfinders. Returning at the top of the tiebreaker, they once again left all the rails intact to set the pace to beat at 38.43 seconds.
“I thought to myself, whatever I do McLain is going to figure out a better plan anyway,” joked Babington. “The leave-out to the double was risky for me, but I knew I could be fast across the ring. At that stage I thought had already sort of lost it, but it’s always nice to win a class!”
The second to return was Danielle Torano aboard Callas III. With a slightly more conservative path on the young 9-year-old mount, the amateur rider and mother of two cleared the track in 39.49 seconds to take over second place behind Babington. At the end of the night, Torano was honored with the Richard E. McDevitt Style Award for the rider who exemplified the best style of riding.
“Callas III is a chestnut mare, so that should tell you a little bit,” laughed Torano. “She was pretty up in the schooling area before the first round, which rattled me for a minute. I decided there was nothing I could do, so I just went with it. To come in the ring and look at all the people – she’s never seen anything like that. As I went to the first jump she felt super focused, and she was amazing in the first round. I messed up a little bit in the jump-off, but she’s super careful.”
The crowd roared when the final rider of the night entered the Dixon Oval. Olympian McLain Ward on his Pan American Gold medalist-mount, Rothchild, seemed like a sure bet. Coming off a streak of eight international victories, Ward seemed unstoppable. And he was. Until the last fence.
As the crowd let out a yell at the penultimate vertical, Rothchild lost his focus on the homestretch to the final oxer and ducked out at the fence, much to the shock of all who watched. The error left Ward to pick up the third place prize while Babington led the lap of honor.
“What makes Rothchild great is that he’s sensitive, he’s sharp; he’s a little fireball,” explained Ward. “The place erupted and I think that rattled him slightly, but that’s brilliant. That’s what we need in the sport. I wouldn’t want it any different. I need to deal with it better; he needs to deal with it better. That’s what makes this place so special.”
Winning an international event five years later with the same mount takes a special horse, and for Babington, Mark Q is his favorite mount of all time.
“Carling King made me and is the horse of a lifetime,” said Babington. “Mark Q is my favorite horse that I’ve ever had. He’s stepped up to the plate so often, and he’s kept me in the sport and kept me jumping big classes, even when he shouldn’t have. I’d enter him in the HITS Million class, and he’d jump around and maybe pull one down, but on the day you can put him anywhere, indoors, outdoors. He’s not a superstar but he gives it 100 percent. Now, at 14, he’s jumping better than he has ever jumped.”
Babington added, “He just feels more elastic in his body for some reason. He’s more focused. He was a very difficult horse at the beginning; a very quirky horse. He’s still erratic and it’s still very hard to get his lead changes in the ring. But he’s trying to be careful. I don’t have to protect him as much as I used. He’s just in a happy place at the moment.”
With the addition of an international ranking through the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Devon Horse Show has continued to try and improve the standards at the world-class event.
“I’ve always been a great fan of Devon,” noted Ward. “The team here has made it first class. I think becoming FEI 4*, increasing the prize money; I hope it continues to grow. I don’t think this group here will rest on their laurels. I think the goal will be to go to 5* and have even more money. I think the people will come. I think the riders will start to come.”
The Devon Horse Show is a special event for everyone involved, and consistently draws one of the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds in the world. “Devon is very special to me because I live 30 minutes from here,” noted Babington. “All the students are here tonight, people I helped 20 years ago are here tonight, so it’s definitely very special. It’s a fantastic venue and the footing is fantastic. Where else can you have such a crowd behind you than Devon? I tell all the other riders around: if you haven’t been to Devon it’s a show you have to come to!”
Show Manager Peter Doubleday concluded, “We basically tried to do everything that the riders had requested. We doubled the prize money. We went FEI. We truly believe that it’ll be a work in progress. I know with our group we can be very patient. We want to continue our FEI affiliation and to make it even bigger and better. This event to me and all these other riders will tell you that this is truly, truly the best show jumping audience in North America. We have a great product here and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Liza Boyd Wins the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Thursday was derby day at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and in true derby queen fashion, Liza Boyd bested the field of 24 to take home the blue ribbon aboard Like I Said in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which was sponsored by the Wheeler Family in memory of the late Russell Frey.
In the first round, Nick Haness set the score to beat on Countdown, taking all four high options to finish with a score of 191. After the first round, Louise Serio was sitting pretty in second place aboard El Primero with a score of 187, which included the four bonus points for taking the high options.
Going into the handy round, Sandy Ferrell waited in third place on Meredith Lipke’s Fifty Shades with a score of 183, including an added four points for jumping the high options. Boyd sat in fourth aboard Billie Steffee’s Maggie May with a score of 181, also including an added four points for riding the high options.
Boyd and Pony Lane Farms’ Like I Said entered the handy hanging back in fifth place with a score of 178.5, which included four points for choosing the high options.
As the handy round began, it was clear that the Alan Lohman-designed course would dash the derby dreams of multiple riders, including Serio and El Primero’s, who were one of two entries to refuse the trot jump.
As Boyd returned on Like I Said, however, her tidy turns and forward ride caught the attention of the judges, earning her a whopping score of 213, including the added 9.5 points for handiness and four for choosing the high options. Much to father Jack Towell’s excitement, Boyd exited the ring and waited for the class to finish with a total score of 391.5.
“For me, I always like to be the underdog,” Boyd said. “I don’t mind going back a little low. These derbies are my passion. I absolutely love these, and I love the handy rounds. I love the excitement of it. Like I Said is a great mare. A good mare has a lot of desire, and that mare just dug deep and tried really hard for me. I just try to stay out of her way and just go forward. She’s a little bit like an old fashion hunter. I think she has a little bit more of a Thoroughbred-type of way of going.”
The 8-year-old Like I Said, one of only two mares in the class, actually began her career as a jumper under the tutelage of Kent Farrington. Boyd added that she thinks the mare’s strong base on the flat contributes greatly to her ability as a derby horse.
“Larry and Kelley did an amazing job producing her into a hunter in Florida this year,” Boyd commented. “For these derbies, you really have to do your homework and flat them. I think that’s what makes it exciting, at least for me. When I go home, I know what to work on. I do a lot of dressage lessons and flat work with the derby horses. You’re always trying to strive to improve yourself and your horse, and that’s fun for us as riders.”
Ferrell and Fifty Shades delivered a smooth ride as well, choosing to take three of the high options and impressing the judges to earn the duo and extra seven points for handiness for a final score of 379.
“He and I get along pretty well,” Ferrell said. “No one is quite sure how I stay on him because he jumps so high, but I just think it’s so much fun. I don’t even think about it. He gets a little too excited after the big jumps sometimes and loses a little focus, so that’s what I took into account when choosing to jump the low option at the first jump, because I had to turn tight. I took the safety route, which I lost some points on. I kept missing all week in the High Performance, and we put it together today, so that was really nice.”
Haness was the last entry to return aboard Countdown, and the pair laid down a nearly perfect trip as the crowd waited with baited breath. However, a heartbreaking knockdown at the last fence dashed the young professional’s hopes for the derby win.
Boyd and Like I Said’s high score of 391.5 would hold out for the top spot, leaving Ferrell and Fifty Shades in second with 379 points. Third place ended up going to Sloane Coles, who piloted Autumn Rhythm to a final score of 353.
“Today, I am second to the derby queen,” Ferrell laughed. “It’s like winning to me. It’s an honor to me. She is much more veteran at this than I am. She is one of my heroes. Getting beat by a good horse and a good rider is really ok. There is a lot of camaraderie out there. You have to have fun doing this.”
As the equestrian community grieves the loss of Russell Frey, Boyd added that the class being held in his memory made it very special for all of the riders.
“I think that Sandy [Ferrell] would say, as well, that this class being in memory of Russell [Frey] was special for everyone,” Boyd said. “I think he would’ve given us a run for our money today. We might be second and third right now. I think he would be happy.”
Ferrell added that showing at Devon this year has been such a pleasure and said, “I don’t come every year, but I thought that this year the horses as a whole jumped so beautifully and performed so well in all the classes.
“You had to win to win. I have never seen that many 90s in one horse show. You had two very veteran horsemen in there judging. It wasn’t people just throwing big numbers. They believed in what they saw. The horses, one after another, just kept coming in and being nicer and nicer. Kudos to the footing, the weather, the jumps and everyone behind the scenes.”
Amanda Murchison Wins the Robin Hill Challenge Trophy
Amanda Murchison has been waiting for the opportunity to compete at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair for nearly 30 years. On Thursday, she not only competed in the Dixon Oval, but she rode away with the Robin Hill Challenge Trophy and Devon blue ribbon in the Adult Three-Gaited English Show Pleasure class.
“It’s a dream come true to show in a place so historic, where so many amazing trainers have shown and so many horses have been exhibited,” Murchison said. “It’s such an honor.”
Murchison and her mount CH Spread the Word have been working together for about two years. In that time, the duo has claimed some of the highest honors in the discipline. Together, they’ve won the United Professional Horsemen’s Association American Saddlebred Adult Amateur Show Pleasure Horse of the Year and the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure.
“I count my blessings every time I get to go through the gate on his back,” Murchison said about her horse. “He was a driving horse when we bought him, and my trainers David and Kristen Cater, and his caretaker Louise are so amazing. He’s been a dream come true for me.”
Unlike Murchison, Sallie-Mason Wheeler is no stranger to the Devon show grounds. The 14-year-old has been competing in the historic show for six years. In the Five-Gaited Saddle Horse Junior Exhibitor class, Wheeler took her chances aboard Bodidly and won.
“It’s my third show with him, and I just wanted to have a nice and clean go,” Wheeler said about the class. “It worked. Next time, in the championship, I have to show against the adults. So, I have to dig in a little bit more, but this ride was nice and clean. This show has a great atmosphere. You get to watch multiple disciplines, and I love it.”
A Devon veteran, who had never experienced the winner’s circle before, won the Park Horse Open blue ribbon. Emily Van Duren rode to her first victory aboard a new mount, My Royale Prince.
“I’ve shown here about six times,” Van Duren said. “It’s my favorite horse show ever. It’s pretty incredible to win here. I’ve always wanted to, ever since I was 11. It’s my first time winning here.”
Thursday marked the second day of competition for American Saddlebreds, Hackney ponies and Friesians at the 2016 Devon Horse Show. Coaching continued as well, with John White notching another victory in the division driving his White Road Coach Excelsior.
Lexington, KY – August 14, 2015 – For David Beisel, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show holds incredible memories, yet there is one in particular that stands out for him. It was three years ago exactly that David Beisel and Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings, LLC, entered into only the second grand prix of their show jumping partnership during the week of the USHJA Hunter Derby Finals, and they won. Friday night, under the lights of the Rolex Stadium, it was déjà vu for Beisel as he entered into a 12-horse jump-off with the small but mighty warmblood stallion, winning the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, presented by Zoetis.
“Before the jump-off, as I was getting ready to go over the course, I was thinking to myself that it was three years ago that he competed his second grand prix, and now, here were are,” Beisel smiled. “I knew that if I had a little faith in him, and with the good partnership we have now, that it all would work, and it did.”
Out of a field of 47 horse and rider combinations, Beisel and Ammeretto rose to the top of the leader board, besting 11 fellow contenders during an exceptionally fast jump-off. Shane Sweetnam and Easy Contact Humlan, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, were the first to tackle the shortened course, designed by Allen Rheinheimer. Although they posted the quick time of 40.487 seconds, he left the door open just enough to let Beisel take his shot.
Beisel sat ringside during the course change, observing Rheinheimer’s changes to the track. He noted that deeper cups were added to the skinny, warranting a tight turn back, and the black oxer originally the 11th obstacle of the opening track was narrowed, allowing for a tight rollback. It was the race to the final oxer with Ammeretto that would have spectators on the edge of their seats.
“I knew I really had to take a shot to the last one,” Beisel explained. “Allen had made the black oxer quite narrow, and I hoped to turn back as tight as I could and trust that he would hop over it. It didn’t come up exactly how I would imagine, but he gave a huge effort. I tried to be smooth to the in-and-out and then trusted him to fly to the Hagyard. He did just that.”
Ammeretto and Beisel have a special partnership, rooted in time and trust. Ammeretto originally found a home with Beisel as a 3-year-old, and now, seven years later, the pair has an unspoken understanding.
Beisel continued, “He is such a smart horse; he really truly enjoys competing and jumping. I think he totally understands to adjust his speed out there and slow up for the jumps. If I have an error in the jump-off it is usually because I am pulling on the reins and mess up his rhythm. I think staying out of his way is the best way to go.”
Beisel and Ammeretto stopped the clock in an astonishing 38.229 seconds.
Sweetnam did not want to take no for an answer tonight. Having already lost the lead to Beisel, as well as to the 18-year-old Emanuel Andrade who posted a clean and speedy effort in 39.962 seconds, he returned on his second qualified mount, Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof.
Although Sweetnam gave it a gamble on the course, his time would still fall 1/10th of a second shy of Beisel’s winning time, landing from the oxer in 38.332 seconds for the second place, pushing Andrade into third.
“This horse was also second in the most recent Hagyard Challenge I did two weeks ago. He was close then and close again tonight. David is a very fast rider,” Sweetnam said. “Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof is not the fastest horse in the world, but he’s learning to be faster, as you saw tonight. He makes my job quite easy. I just have to find the jumps, and I think we’ll have a chance.”
All three top finishers plan to return to the Rolex Arena on Sunday afternoon for the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. For Beisel, he is aiming for even bigger purses and dreams.
“We plan to jump the HITS Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix and the [American] Gold Cup and to keep trying to climb up the ranking list,” Beisel concluded. “It is a dream of mine to get on the short list for Team USA, so I want to keep chipping away at getting more points and prove that [Ammeretto] is a competitor. I cannot thank Equine Holdings enough for their support; you cannot do this without owners; I am blessed to have them and for them to back our goals.”
Fourth place was awarded to Sweetnam for his earlier round aboard Easy Contact Humlan as the first of the class, while fifth place was won by Victoria Colvin and Echo Von T Spieveld with a clear effort in 42.645 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire and Lady Maria BH rounded out the top six as the last of the clear efforts in a conservative 48.232 seconds.
Liza Boyd, Kelley Farmer, and Sandy Ferrell Lead the Way in Day One of the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final
The question of impending retirement has been in the air recently for 17-year-old chestnut Brunello, famously ridden by Liza Boyd to two USHJA International Derby Championships in the last two years, but the elder horse put those rumors to rest in the Rolex Stadium Friday as he earned three top marks above 90 for a cumulative score of 287 to secure the lead after the Classic Round. Kelley Farmer and Mindful, one of Farmer’s numerous mounts of the day, closely trail the current frontrunners headed into the second day of competition, featuring the handy round. Sandy Ferrell, having just come off a reserve showing in the Pre-Green Incentive Finals Thursday, kept her momentum going by clinching the third position with El Primero ahead of the 76 other entries.
“I think we can say that he is not retired. That is a question I have gotten a lot this year and I don’t think he wants to be retired. He just felt like he was six years old again,” Boyd gushed. “The horse is amazing. I will never have a horse like this again. I get a little emotional about him. He tries so hard; he loves what he does and he makes my life so easy. He is just really, really special; I can’t thank him enough.”
Although Brunello, co-owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, has a few more notches in his belt than his younger counterparts, Boyd feels that the Hanoverian horse is still in great shape, which can be attributed to the training and fitness regimen she keep him on at home in Landrum, South Carolina. She credited lots of trail riding, treadmill workouts, turnout, and double rides on some days as their secret weapons to keeping him looking and feeling his best, a recipe that has shown successful.
“We do really focus on fitness, and this horse doesn’t have to show super often. The week before I locked him up in the stall and barely did anything with him. He had a massage, and I had a facial,” Boyd laughed. “I wanted him to be as fresh as possible.”
The winning pair laid down a stellar trip, proving that the best was saved for last as the final in the order to go over designer Steve Stephens’ classic round track, which presented riders with 13 efforts to show off their talents. Four fences offered high and low height options, giving competitors a chance to earn up to 12 additional points, four from each of the three judges, to their score. Boyd and Brunello opted for all the high options, contributing to their seamless round.
“I think it [the course] is typical Steve [Stephens]. You walk it and it seems pretty straightforward, but you get out there and they get a little wiggly; the horses don’t know where they are. It isn’t so much the height or that he didn’t test us with a lot of numbers. We only had one line. It was really where he placed the jumps,” Boyd said. “Even starting out with fence one, they didn’t expect the jump to be there; it was away from the in gate. He definitely placed them in tricky spots, but it was very rideable for a young horse and kept an old horse enthusiastic and sharp. Once again, he did an unbelievable job.”
As the two-time defending champions, Boyd and Brunello felt the pressure headed into the ring, but did not exude any of that anxiety to the crowd or, more importantly, the judges. The duo’s 287 score was pieced together of 90.5, 91.5, and 93.0 scores from the judges, plus the bonus 12 earned due to the high fence options.
“Last year was a thousand times less stress. I think I should have another baby before next year because last year I was just hoping to hold on and have fun. This year was a lot more stress; my palms are still sweating. I was super nervous,” Boyd reflected.
Currently in the reserve position, hometown rider Kelley Farmer aboard veteran mount Mindful, owned by Larry Glefke and Kensel, LLC, are hot on the heels of Boyd and Brunello, only a singular point behind the current leaders. She and the black gelding Mindful have an impressive résumé together, having accrued lifetime prize money topping $97,000, of which $65,000 was won this year alone.
“I can’t say enough about that horse. He is a fantastic horse, and he went beautifully today. I hope it goes the same tomorrow. I made some mistakes on some of the others, but the course was nice and the horses went well,” Farmer said.
Farmer also earned a stop amongst the frontrunners in the saddle aboard Dalliance, who is owned by Avatar Real Estate, LLC out of Coral Gables, Florida. The pair rode to a 276.600 score to claim the sixth position headed into the handy round.
On the opposite side of the age spectrum from Brunello sits El Primero, the 6-year-old bay stallion navigated to third in the standings by Sandy Ferrell of Bernville, Pennsylvania. The talkative horse whinnied all the way around the ring, but that did not detract from the strong performance as he proved to not only talk the talk, but also walked the walk to the tune of a 280.250 score in his first Derby Finals.
“He is a newcomer to the derby world. He just turned six this year, and he is a baby, and must be the youngest out there. I think that we are just seeing the beginning of his career. He was a little bit talkative out there today; I think he was wondering where his friends went because he couldn’t see anybody. He was talking all the way around the ring,” Ferrell said.
El Primero, owned by Bryan Baldwin and Meralex Farm of Brandon, Florida, is known as ‘Sexy’ outside the ring and was imported from Europe as a jumper, but smoothly transitioned into the hunter ring, where he has shined under the tutelage of Louise Serio.
“As a horseman, you are going to fall in love with that horse. Whether it is his look, his athletic ability is endless; his desire to perform is endless. He is an amazing horse, and I think great things are only yet to come,” Farrell commented. “It is rare that a horse comes out of the jumper ring in Europe and plops into the hunter ring and off we go. He is just an incredible animal. He has such a wise soul. He is so in control of everything.”
The top six horse and rider partners are separated by 11 points headed into Saturday’s handy phase. Trying to surpass the top three will be Cassanto, ridden by Brady Hamilton and owned by Emily Perez of Pittsford, New York, the current fourth place contenders, as well as Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, New York, who rank fifth. Alfano also claimed the seventh and eighth position with Maggie May, owned by Billie Steffee of Noelty, Ohio, and Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms Inc. of Buffalo, New York. Farmer and Dalliance round out the top six.
Tomorrow the hunters will return to the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Handy Round, which serves as the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.