The final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued with a full day of hunter derby competition on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Friday, March 30. Jennifer Hannan and Mindful were victorious in the $15,000 International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go.
WEF concludes with its twelfth week of competition on March 28-April 1, sponsored by Rolex. The highlight event is the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in the WEF International Arena on Saturday, March 31, at 7:45 p.m. WEF wraps up with the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round Two on the grass derby field at 1 p.m., and the $50,000 Wanderers Club Grand Prix CSI 2* and $50,000 CP 1.50m National Grand Prix in the WEF International Arena, on Sunday, April 1.
Thirty-nine competitors took to the field in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go to compete for the blue over Kenny Krome’s 14-fence course. Jennifer Hannan and Mindful, owned by Kensel, LLC, took the lead after earning 355 points with a daring performance around the derby track.
“It’s so exciting out there,” said Hannan. “My horse did his job very well. I like showing on the grass field because I can gallop a lot more, and there are more places to show off. The judges really want to see you move along, so you need a brave horse that you can comfortably do that on. It’s a little daunting for some, but I have a good string of horses that handled it very well.”
The Hunt & Go format is a new addition to the Winter Equestrian Festival and operates similar to a power and speed class in the jumpers. Instead of the top 12 horses being called back after completing their classic round, riders continue into the handy portion of the class immediately following the beginning part of the course without stopping or exiting the arena. Today’s derby field featured a total of 14 fences, with eight fences in the typical classic round and the remaining six in the handy. Four high-options were offered for one additional point each.
“I like this structure for two reasons,” said Hannan. “First, if you have an older horse you can just do one round and be done, which is great for their stamina and age. Second, if you have a younger horse, you can get in the ring and get a feel for things before you speed it up and get going. [The Hunt & Go] mixes it up a little bit, so that it’s not the same monotonous thing all the time.”
Two judging panels gave individual scores encompassing both sections of the course for each rider-horse combination, which were then added together for a combined total to determine final standings.
As the eighth-to-last horse to enter the ring, Hannan received a score of 177 from Panel One and a 178 from Panel Two that edged out Kelley Farmer and her mount, Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, by 3.25 points.
Farmer’s total of 352.75 earned her the red ribbon, with a 172.75 from Panel One and a 180 from Panel Two, and Liza Boyd, a three-time USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship winner, secured third aboard S & L Just A Cobbler, an entry of S & L Farms, with scores of 165 and 181, for a combined total of 346.
Hannan’s win aboard the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding followed an impeccable round of swift maneuvers, and the duo made the most of the challenges they were faced with. The two were partnered together over a year ago and have captured two championships at WEF this circuit in the Antares Sellier France High Performance Working Hunter division prior to today’s competition. The professional, of Wakefield, RI, admitted that the gelding’s admirable reputation was originally a bit intimidating, but that two have continued to grow together.
Mindful is an established figure in the show ring with achievements such as being named The Chronicle of the Horse’s Show Hunter of the Year and the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Hunter of the Year. He additionally claimed numerous USHJA International Hunter Derby wins and earned honors as the high scoring horse in professional divisions at competitions such as the Devon Horse Show, and the Washington International Horse Show.
“His achievements were certainly intimidating at first,” said Hannan. “We spent last summer just getting to know each other, and then we started to learn each of our ins and outs bit by bit. After indoors, we were able to take a breath and tune in on certain things, and, since we started the WEF circuit, it has been perfect all the way through.”
Hannan added that she is looking forward to the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals this year, and that she is including the Devon Horse Show in her future plans along with some smaller shows over the summer before the indoor show season.
Final Results: $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt and Go”
1 2091 JENNIFER HANNAN, MINDFUL, KENSEL, LLC
R1/J1 90.00 1.00
R1/J2 85.00 1.00 177.00
R2/J1 88.00 1.00
R2/J2 88.00 1.00 178.00 355.00
2 3596 KELLEY FARMER, EXCEPTIONAL, TODD MINIKUS LTD R1/J1 85.25 2.00
R1/J2 83.50 2.00 172.75
R2/J1 90.00 2.00
R2/J2 86.00 2.00 180.00 352.75
3 4334 ELIZABETH BOYD, S & L JUST A COBBLER, S &L FARMS
R1/J1 81.00 1.00
R1/J2 82.00 1.00 165.00
R2/J1 89.00 1.00
R2/J2 90.00 1.00 181.00 346.00
4 6241 KELLEY FARMER, FROSTED, SLOAN LINDEMAN-BARNETT
R1/J2 82.50 166.50
R2/J1 84.50 1.00
R2/J2 84.50 1.00 171.00 337.50
5 2211 HANNAH ISOP, RED RYDER, TRACY FREELS
R1/J1 83.00 2.00
R1/J2 84.00 2.00 171.00
R2/J1 82.50 2.00
R2/J2 80.00 2.00 166.50 337.50
6 2087 JENNIFER HANNAN, OLYMPIC FIRE, JENNIFER HANNAN
R1/J1 85.00 2.00
R1/J2 83.00 2.00 172.00
R2/J1 84.00 2.00
R2/J2 74.00 2.00 162.00 334.00
7 1345 MARIA RASMUSSEN, SIDARTA, OVER FENCES FARM LLC
R1/J1 79.00 1.00
R1/J2 79.00 1.00 160.00
R2/J1 83.75 1.00
R2/J2 82.00 1.00 167.75 327.75
8 7261 KERI KAMPSEN, ST TROPEZ, MARY CRAMER
R1/J1 73.00 2.00
R1/J2 77.00 2.00 154.00
R2/J1 86.00 2.00
R2/J2 83.50 2.00 173.50 327.50
9 2092 CLAIRE KENNA, CORICE Z, CLAIRE KENNA
R1/J1 82.00 2.00
R1/J2 76.00 2.00 162.00
R2/J1 83.25 1.00
R2/J2 79.00 1.00 164.25 326.25
10 2776 SARA TAYLOR, NO DOUBT, ELIZABETH PHILLIPS
R1/J1 76.50 1.00
R1/J2 79.50 1.00 158.00
R2/J1 75.50 1.00
R2/J2 83.00 1.00 160.50 318.50
11 2662 VICTORIA COLVIN, GELATO, NICODEMUS FARMS
R1/J1 76.00 2.00
R1/J2 69.50 2.00 149.50
R2/J1 82.25 1.00
R2/J2 80.50 1.00 164.75 314.25
12 2591 JENNIFER BLISS, POKER FACE, HARRIS HILL FARM LLC
R1/J1 72.75 1.00
R1/J2 76.75 1.00 151.50
R2/J1 82.75 2.00
R2/J2 75.75 2.00 162.50 314.00