Katy, TX – April 9, 2011 – The air was electric for the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Carole and Jim Looke Family Fund, held at the Spring Gathering Charity Horse Show. Thirty-seven horse and riders combinations turned out to compete for the grand prize and winning title. After the top 12 showed over the handy course, the victory went to Hayley Barnhill and Safari. The pair led from start to finish with incredible scores of 92 and 96 in the first round and a solid effort in the handy round with a pair 88s. Jennifer Alfano piloted Miss Lucy to a close second, while Tracy Fenney finished third and fourth with Exposure and Inxs, respectively.
Richard Jeffery of Bomemouth, England, designed tonight’s courses. The first round included two bending lines, a two-stride vertical-oxer, and four options for bonus points at higher fences. The top twelve rides then advanced to the more technical handy round where there were many options for inside turns, a long one-stride, a trot fence, and a snake option. At the end of the course riders also had to collect a piece of mail from a mailbox at the end of the ring by the in-gate.
The one stride would prove tricky for many of the riders early on who tried to take a tight turn before and after the combination. Hayley Barnhill and her first mount, Libretto owned by Alliy Moyer, were unable to make it through the test as the rider took an fortunate fall, but it would prove to be a helpful lesson later in the evening.