Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 7, 2016 – The final day of World Championship Hunter Rider week at the Chicago Festival of the Horse began differently than most. David Cormalleth played tribute to the late Russel Frey with a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes before riders in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby entered the Grand Prix arena to compete for top honors.
There were 19 riders entered in the class, but it was Maggie Jayne riding Frosted Blue that came out victorious. Jayne and Frosted Blue earned a score of 174 after the first course, sending them straight to the first place slot. Maggie Jayne and Frosted Blue
“Frosted Blue really rose to the occasion of jumping the bigger jumps because we haven’t done it that much,” Jayne said. “He was super brave, so it was really fun. He’s just getting so much more comfortable at carrying a big canter and having it just be effortless. I think that’s what appeals to the judges, and he does it so easily. At the same time, he’s still able to get there and get the nice height, so it’s fun.”
The top 12 riders were then called back to the ring to compete over the handy round, with Maggie Jayne and Frosted Blue in the lead. The handy round posed many questions for riders, including four high option fences, a trot fence, and various rollback turns throughout the course.
Dorothy Douglas was second to last to complete the handy course, setting the standards high for Jayne with a score of 195 with no added high options. She said, “For the handy, the plan was just to be as handy as possible, make straight lines and try to go inside. I chose not to do all of the high options because I wanted to be as handy as possible.”
Dorothy Douglas and Viceroy
Douglas was riding Vicerory, a gelding that is usually seen with Stone McCormick in the Junior Hunter divisions. She said, “The good thing is that [Viceroy] is so adjustable, so that you when you get to the jump, and you have to move up, he moves up easily. He has a huge stride, carries his own motor, and he’s not scared of anything.”
She continued, “As a rider, even though this is my first time riding him, you feel really confident going in the ring. Someone else could have ridden him, but Mike McCormick and Tracey Fenney gave me this opportunity and it’s really cool.”
Jayne was the final rider to enter the ring, and began her handy round prepared to tackle all four high options in order to showcase Frosted Blue’s talents. She said, “Dorothy went before me, and she went beautifully and had a great round. She did all of the smaller options and was super handy. I just didn’t think I could do that. I stuck with the bigger options and I maybe wasn’t as handy, but that’s what he does best. I was showcasing the best of his abilities and the way he’s going right now.”
Jayne’s strategy paid off, as the pair soared to a handy round score of 194.5, enough to keep them in the lead. Jayne and Frosted Blue ended with a total score of 368.5. Douglas and Viceroy maintained their second place spot, finishing with a total score of 367.5.
The third place finisher in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby was Megan-Murray Tenuta aboard Rebecca Price’s Editorial. Tenuta’s total score came to 362.5 after earning a 170 for round one and a 192.5 for the handy course. Jayne picked up another ribbon, earning a sixth place riding Color Pearlz after receiving a total score of 346.5. Megan Murray Tenuta and Editorial
Immediately following the International Hunter Derby, riders in the Equo-sponsored $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby had their shot at a blue ribbon. This time, 31 different riders were vying for the blue, with Amelia McArdle being the one to come out on top riding Czech Mate.
Appropriately named, Czech Mate is a 9-year old Czech Warmblood, and does the 3’6’’ Junior Hunters with one of McArdle’s students. McArdle said, “He’s very handy; he really likes turning. He’s always seeking the next jump, which is great for the handy. You can always make the smoothest and shortest track with him because he’s always with you and looking for that next inside turn.”
Amelia McArdle and Czech Mate
After the first round, McArdle sat in fifth place, and new that she needed to make up some points if she wanted a shot at the win. McArdle’s flawless handy round sent her right to the top after earning a score of 86 to include all four high options.
She said, “I knew there was an inside turn that it was about 50/50 whether or not people were going to do it, and I knew that if I wanted to make up extra points I needed to show something a little flashier for the handy. I went in, and even though it was to the spooky barrel jump, [Czech Mate] was really good to me. I just tried to make some really handy turns and when I could in the open spaces try to go forward and show his big stride and gallop a little.”
McArdle’s plan worked, and earned the pair the first place finish with a total score of 174. Second place went to Amanda Shaw riding her own Contemporary, a 12-year old Hanoverian gelding.
“[Contemporary] really needs to stay between your hand and your leg,” Shaw said. “He gets really long-strided and strung out very easily. It’s a very big balancing act with him trying to keep him where he needs to be. He has a very smooth canter that if you can manage it well works very well for you.”
Shaw and Contemporary finished the first round with a score of 81.5, putting them in second place. The pair came back to the handy strong, earning a score of 82.75 to include all four high options. Their total score of 172.5 was enough to clinch the second place spot overall.
Amanda Shaw and Contemporary
Rounding out the top three in the division was Isabella Baxter on her own Chief. Baxter and Chief earned an 81 for their first round, and a score of 83 for their handy round, including all four high options in their courses.
Sunday’s derby competition concluded the second week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse. Many competitors have spent years traveling to the Lamplight Equestrian Center to compete, and McArdle has been competing at the facility since she was a junior.
“I’ve grown up showing here, I’ve done it for many, many years,” concluded McArdle. “The place has just gotten better each year. I’ve always loved coming to these horse shows. They’re super nice and in our backyard. I know Nina Koloseike has done some fabulous improvements to the facility; it’s great for both spectators and riders!”
Competition at the Chicago Festival of the Horse kicks off its third week on Wednesday, August 10, at 8:00 a.m. For more information on the Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest show series, please visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. A downloadable prize list is accessible online.