Tag Archives: USHJA National Hunter Derby

Cassandra Orpen Wins Final Ribbon of Kentucky Summer in $5k USHJA National Hunter Derby

Lexington, Ky. – Aug 1, 2021 – Competition at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show came to a conclusion Sunday evening with the featured hunter class of the week, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. A total of 41 junior, amateur, and professional athletes took to the derby ring in hopes of claiming World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) points and the largest share of the prize. Topping the rest of the pack with their style and precision were Cassandra Orpen and Impression who joined forces after two years apart to take home the winning title at Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

Reid Arani and Kathryn Hall Secure Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumper Wins

Show jumping focus shifted to amateur-owner and junior show jumping competitors in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show Sunday afternoon. The Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) Classics took center stage in the arena to wrap up the week’s competition. In the end, it was Reid Arani and Freetown who claimed the victory in the SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation. Kathryn Hall and All In 9 nabbed top prize in the SJHOF High Jumper Classic, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

David O’Brien and La Belle SCF Capture Win in $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix

David O’Brien and La Belle SCF.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 18, 2019 – The final day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park concluded with the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. Despite high temperatures, 28 horse-and-rider pairs contested Ken Krome’s course attempting to walk away with the lion’s share of the prize money. At the end of a competitive jump-off, it was David O’Brien and La Belle SCF who walked away with the day’s top honors, in addition to winning the Envisian Leading Rider of the Week award thanks to accumulating the most points in the jumper divisions throughout the week.

Luminosity Shines Bright with Geoffrey Hesslink to Win $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show was bookended by the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows, on Sunday to complete a week of exciting equestrian action. In their first ever class together, Geoffrey Hesslink and Luminosity topped the scorecard following two standout rides to top the field of 40 starters and earn the lead spot in the victory gallop.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389

Gisele Beardsley O’Grady and Januar Jump to $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Victory

Gisele Beardsley O’Grady and Januar ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – August 12, 2019 – Friday’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby awarded Gisele Beardsley O’Grady (Tryon, NC) the winner cooler and ribbons for her efforts aboard Ginny Barnette’s Januar, earning a two-round score of 172 to take the win. In second, Allen Nabors Jr. (Odessa, FL) piloted Lookalike, the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Levistano x Paola), for Margot Hirsch on a score of 169, while Robert Stucky (Waxhaw, NC) and The Girl From Ipanema, a 2009 Hanoverian mare (Clinton I x Vorbuch) owned by Allie Rae Hayes, claimed third after earning a score of 166 after two rounds.

Fifteen pairs challenged the first-round course set by J. P. Godard (Aiken, SC), and it was Januar all the way after his initial score of 87. Beardsley O’Grady called the 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Junior Mariner x Poetri) “perfect” and “playful” on the way to victory.

“It went really well, so I couldn’t be happier,” said Beardsley O’Grady. “The course was nice. He’s a blast to ride, and he’s got a ton of experience, and I’m lucky to get to ride him. He’s a showman; he goes in there and shows off! So, that works in our favor.

“Everything pretty much rode to plan today. I had a couple lucky moments in the handy round, where he got a little playful, but I think they liked the way he jumped and forgave us for it! I think I could have helped him out just a little better, but everything pretty much rode to plan today. I got the advantage by riding a good horse that jumps so well! He’s perfect!”

Beardsley O’Grady emphasized that Januar is happiest in limited competition with National Derbies only, but he makes the most of every trip around the ring: “His story is a little long – he was imported a couple years ago, and has had a long recovery from a couple injuries,” she explained. “We’re lucky enough that he is back and fully recovered to be in the show ring. He has always loved showing, so I think that’s honestly also helped his recovery. He’s done really well here [at TIEC]. We do a limited amount of shows, and he just loves it every time.

“Jeanne [Smith], our trainer, and his owner, Ginny, have both obviously played a huge part in him,” Beardsley O’Grady continued. “He’s just perfect, and we love him. He’s awesome. Going forward, he will remain a National Derby horse. We want to protect him and keep him happy and sound. He’s not old, but with his prior injuries we want to keep him protected. Ginny just loves her horse, and Jeanne is such a good horseperson that she’s never going to push him,” she concluded. “They’re a really good team for him!”

For full results from the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, click here.

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Amberlee Wentz and Up in Smoke Conquer $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC

Amberlee Wentz and Up in Smoke ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – May 31, 2019 – Amberlee Wentz of Colorado Springs, CO guided Dana Vollbracht’s Up in Smoke to a win in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), earning a two-round score of 168.5. In second, Luke Jensen (Denton, TX) rode Jill Barnett’s Coraggio PF to a 168 after two rounds, while Sara Ketcham and Claire de Lune Farm’s Hudson claimed third place on a score of 165 to represent Columbus, NC.

Nineteen horse-and-rider combinations tested the Skip Bailey (Chicago, IL) course design, and Wentz piloted two mounts of the 12 returning for the handy round, placing fourth aboard Dana Vollbracht’s Davidson on a score of 164.

“The course rode great,” Wentz reported. “It was a nice, fluid course, with only one related distance line and we just went out and had fun.”

Wentz and Up in Smoke have “been doing a few Derbies here and there,” Wentz relayed, but “this is his first Derby win with me. He normally does the 3’3″ Performance classes with me, before the Derbies, and then he shows with his mom.”

Having experienced 20 inches of snow at home in Colorado the week before competing at TIEC for the first time, Wentz admitted that “we are not sure we are going home! We love it – it’s amazing here. Everything that’s been done here, they have given great attention to detail from not only the bathrooms and the barns, but to how the entire grounds are set up,” she continued. “We are thrilled to be here, and staying on-site in one of the cabins, which is absolutely amazing.”

Wentz noted that her barn has traveled for competitions across the country, from Colorado to Texas and Kentucky, and that her horses are able to handle significant venue changes easily:

“The horses have all been pretty experienced and have shown quite a bit throughout the country at different venues. I am just really lucky to have great-minded horses; they have all been pretty good about all the new atmosphere,” she concluded.

For full results from the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, click here.

For more information and results, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Jeff Gogul and Snowbird Soar to Victory in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Jeff Gogul on Snowbird.

Lexington, Ky. – May 20, 2017 – Donning a commemorative blue ribbon on his hunt coat, Jeff Gogul earned another blue ribbon, piloting Sofia Roberts, LLC’s Snowbird to win the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC. Entering the ring as the final competitor over a multiple option course designed by Danny Moore, Gogul upset Victoria Colvin’s commanding lead aboard Caliber, with a score of 184.

Out of twenty-five entries in the Stonelea ring, only the top twelve combinations who scored an 80 or above in the classic round were invited back to vie for top honors and a pair of luxurious Fabbri boots. Gogul had an almost flawless first round aboard the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Snowbird, receiving an 86 from the judges. He also received four additional bonus points for taking all the high options. The score was high enough to position Gogul in first place going into the handy round, but Winn Alden and World Affair were not far behind with an 89.

Heading into the handy round, Gogul had the advantage of going last in the order, but he knew they would have close competition. Victoria Colvin, who won the USHJA National Hunter Derby with Caliber during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, was on track for another victory, rising to the top of the leaderboard with a high score of 92. As the final rider on course, Gogul was prepared with multiple plans after the trot jump at fence four. Calling upon the gelding’s bravery and natural jumping ability, Gogul guided Snowbird over all of the high options, earning them four extra bonus points. The pair received a score 90 from the judges, ensuring their victory in the class.

Snowbird, who has spent the winter showing indoors at the World Equestrian Center, only started showing outside last week at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. During that first week under Kentucky’s blue skies, the pair placed fourth in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Gogul not only came into the ring prepared to win but he felt the added presence of his beloved friend, Ellen Veitch, whose memory was honored by spectators, riders and show organizers alike with ‘A Day in the Park.’ As he took his victory lap, blue braids standing out in Snowbird’s mane, Gogul reflected on what a perfect day it was to honor his friend who loved her home state of Kentucky and horses equally.

Victoria Colvin secured the second place honors with a score of 179 aboard Laura Karet’s Calibur. Winn Alden scored 178.5 aboard World Affair, owned by Southern Arches, LLC.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Information on $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Photo ©Sportfot.

Attention Exhibitors:

A Presidential Modification from the United States Equestrian Federation has been granted to the Winter Equestrian Festival in order to run the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic on Friday, March 10.

There is an important change to the Classic criteria in the prize list on page #136. The last sentence in the top line does not apply to this classic:

“…Small Ponies who show in this class are not eligible for the pony hunter derby.”

This restriction has been lifted and Small ponies may show in both the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby and the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic on Friday, March 10. The restriction on the rider for no more than two ponies in the classic still applies.


There will be a schooling session on the grass derby field schooling area on Thursday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those competing in the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and the USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Don’t forget to sign up for the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which runs on Saturday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m.

Anyone who is interested in a stall at Equestrian Village should check in with Tom Blankenship in the stable office or at 843-269-4737. Stalls will be available @ $100.00 (plus tax).

For more information, visit www.PBIEC.com.

Samuel Parot and Quick Du Pottier Take $35,000 Dever 1.45m Classic

Samuel Parot and Quick Du Pottier. Photos ©ManciniPhotos.

Victoria Colvin and Regent RCF Earn Top Honors in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Wellington, FL – December 2, 2016 – Samuel Parot (CHI) and Quick Du Pottier rose to the challenge in the $35,000 Dever 1.45m Classic at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The pair raced through the timers to complete their course in 59.22 seconds for the win. Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and Carushka collected second place with a time of 60.36 seconds, while Richie Moloney (IRL) and Alsvid earned third after securing a time of 61.12 seconds.

Parot and his own Quick Du Pottier, a 2004 Selle Francais gelding (Hurlevent de Breka x Cuba), topped the class of 45 entries with the quickest time of the day, making easy work of the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA).

“I thought the course rode very fast and on my first horse I had one down so I knew what to do on my second horse. I rode it very fast on my second horse and made some nice turns,” explained Parot. “We turned to the oxer before the skinny very quickly had a good ride to the end combination.”

Parot is an expert at navigating the quickest path around the track as a notoriously fast rider. He noted that he felt he made up the second separating him and Menezes in his approach to the final combination.

“I made the turn to the last combination very close and it rode very well. I believe that is where I made the difference,” he said.

Quick Du Pottier and Parot have traveled across North America this year, competing on the West Coast, as well as in Canada, most recently picking up an FEI win in Calgary this past October.

“This horse also jumped the first day in the speed class and we went fast there too. I think we had a better time, but had one down. This is a very nice horse, who just came back into work this August. He jumped very well yesterday and I think he’s a top horse.”

After the conclusion of this week’s competition, Parot will give Quick Du Pottier a vacation until the middle of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit, where the pair will debut during one of the CSI 5* weeks.

“He will get a good break after this and will come back in the circuit to do the 5* and we will keep doing the ranking classes with him, absolutely,” noted Parot. “All of my horses competing this week, Atlantis, Cous, and Quick, will all have a vacation after this, but I have a few young horses that I will jump in the national classes before WEF.”

Victoria Colvin and Regent RCF Earn Top Honors in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL guided Regent RCF to top honors in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, besting a large class of talented entries. The pair earned a two round score of 171 for the win ahead of Skyler Fields of Wellesley Hills, MA and Duplukato, owned by Donald Stewart, who finished in second place with a total score of 164. Grace Boston of Owings Mills, MD and Amazone De La Cense, owned by Plain Bay Farm, collected third place honors.

Victoria Colvin and Regent RCF
Victoria Colvin and Regent RCF

Colvin, a household name who has garnered many of the most prestigious accolades in the hunter discipline throughout her career, piloted another mount to the winner’s circle after collecting a first round score of 86 and a second round score of 85. Fields, who followed in second, captured the highest score of the day in her handy round aboard Duplukato, receiving an 89 from the judging panel.

The class hosted 18 entries and marked the first USHJA National Hunter Derby of the 2016 ESP Holiday Series, which will continue through the first week of January. Grace Boston, who was presented with third and fourth place honors, piloted three different entries, the most of any rider in the class.

For more information on Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Daniel Geitner Pilots Chapeau to the Win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Daniel Geitner and Chapeau.

Nineteen horse and rider teams were on the hunt for the blue in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend, but it was Josie Baird’s Chapeau, ridden by Daniel Geitner of Aiken, South Carolina, who took the win earning a combined score of 174.

Hilary Baylor of Alpharetta, Georgia and her own Naddel gave Geitner and Chapeau a run for the money with their combined score of 170.5 which would earn them second place.

Third place honors went to Katharine Torrey’s The Stig, ridden by Jeremy Greene of Jasper, Georgia. The pair earned a first round score of 84 and a Handy score of 81 for a grand combined 169.

Barbara Fishman’s Mr. Big, ridden by Kris Killam of Naples, Florida, rode away with the fourth place ribbon after earning a combined score of 168.

Capriccio, owned by Samantha Kench and ridden by Carolyn Bell of Alpharetta, Georgia, earned a fifth placing with their combined score of 166 and Charlotte Warren’s Enticement, ridden by Julie Curtin of Woodstock, Georgia, placed sixth.

Upset de Talma, owned and ridden by Abigail Poss of Locust Grove, Georgia, placed seventh and Karen Bailey rode Troubadour, owned by Sarah Milliren of Jenks, Oklahoma, to an eighth place ribbon. Breaking News, owned and ridden by Isabel Harbour, placed ninth and Curtain returned for the tenth place ribbon in the irons of Rebekah Warren’s Silver Charm. Allure, owned and ridden by Gianna Cobb of Marietta, Georgia, finished in eleventh place and Tim Sweat of Milton, Georgia and his own Autograph wrapped it up with a twelfth place finish.

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

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra Top $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Danielle Grice and High Life Capture $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Mill Spring, NC – July 22, 2016 – Capturing their second victory in a two-week span, Richie Moloney (IRL) and Slieveanorra earned another victory in George H. Morris Arena, this time in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Speed Stake at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Moloney and Slieveanorra crossed through the timers in 56.09 seconds to push Samuel Parot (CHI) and Atlantis to second place, as the pair finished in 56.30 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Bon Jovi captured third place honors, completing the track in 57.67 seconds.

Catsy Cruz (MEX) is the course designer for this week’s FEI tracks in the George H. Morris Arena and is known for her strong building technique, which asks riders questions of technicality and quickness in each class. Moloney and Slieveanorra rode a neat and fast round, which placed them atop the leaderboard.

With 21 combinations contesting the track, Moloney had the advantage of tackling the course last in the order of go, already piloting his other mount Alsvid through the course. Seven pairs rode to finish with fault-free trips, but Moloney left everything on the line, entering the ring with an understanding that he would need to best the 56.30 seconds earned by Parot.

“He was very fast around the turns in between the lines and I think that’s where he upped the time,” said Moloney. “He’s naturally a quick horse and that helps in these speed classes. He felt great and is very aware of what is going on in the ring.”

When Moloney walked the course, he felt that while there were more efficient options available, he preferred to stick with a fast and straightforward approach, ultimately paying off with a victory.

“He always has a chance because he jumps up, but doesn’t waste time in the air. I thought that there were a couple of options to leave out strides and we didn’t even need to do that because it still worked out well,” he explained.

The 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond) owned by Equinimity LLC, has been a staple in Moloney’s string for a number of years and performs with a sense of consistency and strength that make him an invaluable member of the top competition team.

“He’s adjustable and naturally very quick around the turns. I don’t always have to take the fastest option, because I know he will make it up around the rest of the course,” he commented. “He’s very experienced, and like I said last week, we try to save him for classes we know he will do well in and this was one of those occasions.”

Moloney will look to continue his success throughout the week as top mount Carrabis Z is entered in the $216,000 Tryon Estates Grand Prix CSI 4* Saturday evening, while Alsvid and Slieveanorra will both contest the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Classic on Sunday, July 24. Looking forward to a rest for the horses in the coming weeks, but also already preparing for a strong fall campaign, Moloney reflected on his team’s success so far this season.

“I’m just pleased that my horses are all going well. We’re picking up good results at almost every competition and going forward I think we’d like to keep that,” he said.

Danielle Grice and High Life Capture $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Danielle Grice of Mufreesboro, TN and High Life, owned by Allison Reichenbach, rode to victory in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC, taking the class with a two round score of 121. Morgane Qualls of Mufreesboro, TN and Limousine, owned by Julie Burton, took second place honors with a score of 163, while Jillian Briggs of Wellington, FL piloted Roc Du Triomphe, owned by Barry H. Carragher, to third place, receiving a 156.

Danielle Grice and High Life
Danielle Grice and High Life

Grice and High Life, a flashy dapple grey gelding, impressed the judges, earning the two highest scores of the class with an 87 in the first round and an 84 in the handy. High Life plays dual roles as he is ridden by owner Allison Reichenbach in the Adult Amateur Hunter divisions and then transitions to Grice for the larger classes.

“I thought this was a great derby course. I liked how they had the high options early on in the course so that you could impress the judges right off the bat,” said Grice. “The first bending line looked like it was riding as a very long seven and I was a little bit nervous after watching the first few go, but he has a huge step and carried me down early in the seven.”

“The handy round had some great options, which I think really showed off his highlights,” she added.

Grice and Reichenbach have been working with High Life for a year now, as they purchased him from Chad Keenum and have been competing him since, specifically with Reichenbach who competes in the amateur classes.

“He’s been doing the First Year Greens and we’ve kept him at the 3’3″ height to preserve him for next year. He’ll start doing the bigger classes and larger derbies, and Allison will also step him up in the amateur classes too,” explained Grice.

According to Grice, the ring presence of High Life has had a major impact on his success in the ring, influencing his ability to score well with both herself and Reichenbach. She commented, “He likes to show off, but he’s super quiet. He has this tremendous presence in the ring that I think draws people to him. He jumped some of the best jumps of his life in the schooling area before the class, so I knew he was ready.”

The pair who rode two elegant and smooth rounds, finished well atop the leaderboard, which helped them to gain needed experience for what Grice hopes will be a successful fall campaign.

“I would love to get him to indoors and take him to some big places. He doesn’t care very much about the environment. We always want him to be impressed with what he sees in the ring,” she noted. “I think it would be fun to get him to some of those bigger horse shows and show him off.”

Competition at TIEC continues Saturday featuring the highlight class of the week with the $216,000 Tryon Estates Grand Prix CSI 4*. Gates open to the public at 6:00 p.m., while entertainment will begin at 7:15 p.m. Competition will commence at 8:00 p.m. For more information on TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Ali Wolff and Caya Gallop to Glory in $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake CSI 4*

Ali Wolff and Caya. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Steve Heinecke and Hercules VD Vromboutshoeve Take First Place Honors in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Mill Spring, NC – July 15, 2016 – Ali Wolff (USA) and Caya dominated in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Speed Stake CSI4* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), exemplifying speed and agility with a remarkable time of 61.42 seconds. Trailing not far behind Wolff and earning second place honors was Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z with a time of 62.81 seconds, also winners this week in the  $35,000 Horseware® Ireland Opener CSI 4* earlier in the week. Third place was awarded to Todd Minikus (USA) and his mount, I Am Nala, with a time of 63.95 seconds.

Wolff and Caya (Carolous I x Lancer II) have been partners for almost four years, growing together as a team since she took over the ride. Wolff consistently showed Caya in the high amateur classes and brought home multiple wins. During their campaign, the numerous and accumulating wins led Wolff and her team to the decision to step Caya up to the FEI level.

Wolff was determined to secure yet another victory, stating, “I was going for it. I did not care if I had a rail or not; I was tired of being third, fourth, and fifth. I was either going to go for it or I was going to have a rail trying.”

Wolff went on to elaborate about the specific track she chose set by Manuel Esparza (MEX) that ultimately granted her the victory. She commented, “What helped the most was going inside the double combination towards the end of the course. I also snuck inside after the Horseware® Ireland oxer, where many competitors went around to approach the double verticals. I think that shaved off a significant amount of time.”

Along with impressive inside turns, Wolff touched on her horse’s athletic abilities. Wolff believes that Caya’s talent shines in the speed classes as the mare is quick off of her feet and very adjustable around courses, especially those that offer multiple tracks and opportunities.

“Caya is a speed demon. She is so naturally speedy and fast across the ground that I can rely on this a little bit to decrease our time,” said Wolff. “Caya goes the same every day. She is one of my most reliable horses and she is always game for anything.”

This is Wolff’s first victory at TIEC this season and it came at the right time, as the rising star for the United States has found herself in every position but the winner’s so far during her time at the venue. Wolff and team will stay to contest the remainder of competition this week, as well as for the CSI 4* to be hosted next week.

“I love it here! It is a great show. It seems as though it is well put together, and planned out from the beginning,” noted Wolff. “There is incredible competition here and it is located in a very horse-friendly area. Tryon also offers great money, so how could you not want to come here?”

Steve Heinecke and Hercules VD Vromboutshoeve Take First Place Honors in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Steve Heinecke of Charlotte, NC and Hercules VD Vromboutshoeve, owned by Freedom Group, rose to the top of the class in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, earning a two round score of 181. Madison Johnson of Matthews, NC and her own Ferrari earned second place receiving a 172, while Josh Dolan of Wellington, FL and Hidden Lane, owned by Page Tredennick, collected third place, finishing just behind Johnson with a score of 171.

Steve Heinecke and Hercules VD Vromboutshoeve
Steve Heinecke and Hercules VD Vromboutshoeve

Heinecke and “Hercules” took the class by storm, collecting a score of 91 in the first round to then return for the handy to earn a 90. Hercules recently transitioned from the jumper ring to the hunter ring and Heinecke has been impressed with his willingness and attitude, which has helped him to excel in the derby classes.

“I’ve only had him for a month and a half or two months. He came out of the jumper ring and came over to the U.S. in January,” said Heinecke. “Geoff Teal had him first and said he would be a great derby horse. He said I should take the ride and show him, so I did.”

“Each week he just keeps getting better and better. He came in third in the last derby and you know, he’s never had to trot a jump in the ring before and has handled it all so well. He’s just been so nice to ride,” he added.

Hercules VD Vromboutshoeve is co-owned in partnership by Heinecke and good friend Laura Kraut, as the pair typically invests in two horses a year together. While the gelding may be new to the discipline, he’s shown that he’s willing and able to score well against some of the best combinations in the country, and Heinecke is hopeful that he will turn into something very special.

“He has an enormous stride and is very easy. You can see where you are ten strides away and if you need to adjust, you can,” he commented. “We’ll do the derby again next week and then we’ll bump it up into the Performance Hunters. Then, if we still have him in the fall, we may try to do an International Derby.”

Heinecke, who is based in Charlotte, NC during the spring, summer, and fall months, is thrilled with the opportunity to compete at TIEC, which has drastically impacted the growth of his business, as horses of all ages and experience levels benefit from the competition.

“We love it here. We’re actually staying at The Lodge on Lake Lure this week and have had an incredible time. I love this show and I’m a big fan and advocate,” commented Heinecke. “I bring my more experienced horses and also the younger ones too. There’s something for everyone here and I think they treat this show like every ring is FEI or international competition. It’s really just spectacular.”

Competition continues Saturday, July 16, featuring the third week of the third installment of the “Saturday Night Lights” Series of the 2016 Tryon Summer Series presenting the $216,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI 4* with gates opening to the public at 6:00 p.m. and entertainment beginning at 7:15 p.m. Competition will commence at 8:00 p.m. For more information on TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.