The country’s top hunter athletes gathered at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (UCHS), presented by St. Brides Farm, on Saturday evening. Taking over the main arena, they vied for the winning honors during the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Salamander Resort & Spa. While a thunderstorm caused the event to conclude after the initial classic round, it was Hunt Tosh’s top score aboard Flamingo-K that would earn him the night’s winning honors.
Twenty-four entries showcased their mounts over a beautiful course that included a combination and four high-options to earn extra points. One of the option fences included round hay bales set going towards the iconic hill in the main arena of the UCHS showgrounds. Two panels of judges carefully observed each horse-and-rider combination, and awarded top scores to the horses that jumped beautifully and flowed throughout the course.
Last year’s winners Samantha Schaefer and In The Know, owned by Madeline Schaefer, were fifth in the order and set the bar with base scores of 90 and 92, while jumping all four high-options for a total score of 190. Their smooth and consistent round would be good enough to earn second place in the end.
Just one point behind Schaefer was Tori Colvin aboard Brad Wolf’s Private Practice. The talented duo’s flowing track earned scores of 91 and 90, with an additional four high-options. Their total score of 189 would fall just behind Schaefer for third place.
Just one point ahead of Schaefer though was the best of the night. Fresh off their $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby win at the Devon Horse Show just one week ago, Tosh and Flamingo-K, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Ceil Wheeler, executed brilliance over each fence and were awarded the high scores of 92 and 91. They also opted to jump all four high-options, bringing their total to 191.
“He’s a funny horse,” Tosh said of Flamingo-K. “He’s quiet, but I think it took a little bit to get to know him. He’s super scopey and he’s a blast to ride. He tries not to make mistakes, so he really is a great horse. It’s kind of nice. You go in a ring like that with the bigger jumps and the more you allow him to jump, the higher he gets. It was just basically getting to know each other. He went beautifully at Devon, and then today, I couldn’t ask him to go any better.”
Although normally there is a handy round following the classic round, a thunderstorm that came through the area brought an early end to class, and the results were confirmed with the scores from the first round. After earning the overall victory, Tosh was also presented with the Russell Frey Style Award.
The oldest horse show in America will conclude on Sunday at 3 p.m. with the highlight event, the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4*, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds and Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Smith.
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score
1. Flamingo-K / Hunt Tosh / Ceil & Kenny Wheeler / 191
2. In The Know / Samantha Schaefer / Madeline Schaefer / 190
3. Private Practice / Victoria Colvin / Brad Wolf / 189
4. Take Two / Keri Kampsen / Two Goals Farm LLC / 183.5
5. Maitre D’ / Amanda Steege / Wendy Salomon / 183
6. I Love Lucy / Victoria Colvin / John & Stephanie Ingram LLC / 179.5
7. Celtic Gold Harold Chopping / Meg Valnoski / 177
8. Gelato / Victoria Colvin / Nicodemus Farms / 175
9. Casalino / Savannah Jenkins / Georgy Maskrey-Segesman / 174.5
10. Logan / Erica Quinn / The Ridge Farm LLC / 170.5
11. So Fun / Sara Taylor / Eight Oaks / 170
12. RF Remarkable / Ellie Ferrigno / Ellie Ferrigno / 169