After cooler weather earlier in the week, blue skies and sun set the stage for the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler family, at the iconic Devon Horse Show. Thirty-one horse-and-rider pairs were put to the test and brought many spectators elbow-to-elbow on the fence line of the Dixon Oval to catch a glimpse of the action.
The two panels of judges consisted of Rick Fancher, Chris Wynne, Bob Crandall and Bobbie Reber. The lead score of 178 in the classic round was tied between Tori Colvin aboard John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s Cuba and Pony Lane Farm’s Standing Ovation, ridden by Maggie Jayne, for much of the first round. Allen Rheinheimer designed the course, which consisted of 11 obstacles with four high-option fences for those looking to increase their score. Both riders opted to jump all high-option fences in the classic round.
It was not long before Tracy Fenney entered the ring and laid down a trip worthy of the new leading score with MTM Farm’s MTM Outbid, collecting a score of 182.5 after expertly navigating all four high-options.
The top 12 riders in the classic round were called to the winner’s circle to take their ribbons before competing in the handy phase. Taking home top honors in the classic round was Fenney and MTM Outbid, while Standing Ovation earned the second place ribbon and Cuba secured third place.
The leading combinations returned in reverse order in hopes of impressing the judges to move up in the standings and collect valuable points towards the upcoming USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in August.
In the handy phase, Standing Ovation and Jayne were third to last to go. They separated themselves from the pack to ultimately claim the highest overall score of 375 points, once again nailing every high-option and proving the 10-year-old Warmblood stallion’s rideability to nab a score of 197 from the two judging panels in the handy phase.
The reserve champion tricolor award was given to Colvin and Cuba, who jumped three of the four high-options in the handy to end with a total of 367 points overall. Cuba also walked away bearing the Shapley’s Best Turned Out award.
Redfield Farm’s Baranus rounded out the top three with Cassandra Kahle in the irons after returning from the first round sitting in eighth place with 167 points. Kahle knew she had to step up her game if she wanted a chance to move up in the ribbons so she and Baranus successfully took on all four high-options in the handy round. The duo garnered the third place ribbon after collecting an overall total of 361 points.
In fourth place with a total score of 360.50 was Candid, owned by veteran hunter rider Jennifer Alfano, ridden by Kristy Herrera. Herrera, longtime student and friend of Alfano, was the winner of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship aboard another Alfano-owned mount, Miss Lucy. The winners of the first round, Fenney and MTM Outbid, finished the class in fifth place overall with 356.5 points.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Maggie Jayne – First Place
On Standing Ovation:
“He was imported early this fall so he’s been doing the Green Conformation. I did him in two other derbies and haven’t placed. This was actually my last chance to qualify for derby finals so no pressure, but I got a ribbon and we are now qualified! He’s been showing in the Green Conformation and Amateur-Owner Hunters with his owner Maddy Thatcher. He had a great week and really didn’t put a toe out of place.”
On what makes Standing Ovation an exceptional hunter derby mount:
“His athletic ability. He has the smoothest canter I’ve ever ridden. He just floats. It’s no effort. He’s constantly balanced and always leaves the ground effortlessly. He has a perfect lead change and never spooks. It feels like cheating. It feels like riding a ballerina, he’s that elegant.”
On her performances on Thursday:
“I wasn’t pleased with myself in the first round. I got him a little riled up at one of the in-and-outs. The second round, my goal was just to have him be slow and tight but nothing crazy. He did jumpers before so he can get a little excited. One of his best features is that he can jump out of a slow, lope-y canter because he does everything so effortlessly. I thought in the second round I got him to take a breath and showcase that a little better.”
Tori Colvin – Second Place
“I started riding [Cuba] a little before WEF so I don’t know him too well, but I have done him in enough classes to know his tricks. He went great today. In the first round, he swapped at an oxer. I felt it coming so I was trying to protect it but it didn’t help, but the rest was amazing. I think he would have gotten a really big score if he hadn’t have done that. I love the handy and he’s really handy so I was planning to go as smooth as we could go. He had a couple of rubs but he was really great today and I was happy with his performance.”
On the Devon Horse Show:
“I love it. I wish I had a horse to compete in the grand prix. I’ve been asking everyone if I could borrow one. I was like, ‘McLain, can I borrow Rothchild?’ It’s been great. The Ingrams and everyone I am here with are amazing as well. It just makes it all a better experience. I am going to be here through amateur weekend, which I have never done, so I am going to enjoy that.”
Cassandra Kahle – Third Place
On her performances on Thursday:
“The first round I think I started off a little nervous at the first couple of jumps. I got to the second jump a little too deep so I think that hurt my score a lot. I was in eighth place going into the handy round, but luckily I got that bump out of the way and the rest of the course was super. In the handy round, I had nothing to lose so I figured I’d give it a shot. As Emil [Spadone] said, ‘You’re either going to be first or last so give it a go.’ It all worked out. The horse jumped awesome. He’s a really brave, honest horse and he throws a great jump so it was a really fun round to take a shot at.”
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler family
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score One / Score Two / Total Score
1. Standing Ovation / Maggie Jayne / Pony Lane Farm / 178.00 / 197.00 / 375.00%
2. Cuba / Victoria Colvin / John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC / 178.00 / 189.00 / 367.00%
3. Baranus / Cassandra Kahle / Redfield Farm / 167.00 / 194.00 / 361.00%
4. Candid / Kristy Herrera / Jennifer Alfano / 173.50 / 187.00 / 360.50%
5. MTM Outbid / Tracy Fenney / MTM Farm / 182.50 / 174.00 / 356.50%
6. S & L Just A Cobbler / Dorothy Douglas / S & L Farms / 163.00 / 190.00 / 353.00%
7. Cosmeo / Gabrielle Strigel / DK-USA Sporthorse, LLC / 174.50 / 177.00 / 351.50%
8. Sandlot / Katie Cooper / Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc. / 167.00 / 183.00 / 350.00%
9. Breeze / Havens Schatt / John Yozell / 172.50 / 171.00 / 343.50%
10. Like I Said / Maggie Jayne / Pony Lane Farm / 164.50 / 173.00 / 337.50%
11. Kensi / Kristy Herrera / Jennifer Alfano / 162.00 / 149.00 / 311.00%
12. Extraordinaire / Tommi Clark / Stephen Borders / 161.00 / 102.00 / 263.00%