Kicking off competition on Sunday morning at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) was the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby held in the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring. Nikko Ritter of Nikko Ritter Show Stables based in Wellington, Florida, came out on top against 24 competitors with Kathryn Haefner LLC’s Columbus in the final USHJA National Hunter Derby of the 2018 circuit.
“This is my second time riding him,” Ritter shared. “He just has a really easy canter. We call him the boat because he goes one way and no matter how much kicking or pulling you do, he’s going to go that same way. It’s really easy to do smooth, nice rounds on him.”
The pair delivered a flawless first round, earning them the classic round high score of 92. With the top 12 combinations returning for the handy round in reserve order of their classic round scores (lowest to highest), Ritter, the final entry in the second round, stayed consistent and rode the 12-year-old Westfalian gelding to an impressive score of 88 for a combined total of 180 to claim the win.
“We were one of the first to go early. We just had a smooth, consistent round. Being an amateur horse, he is very consistent and I think that’s what set us apart.”
In addition to his win on Sunday, Columbus also claimed the Gene & Georgetti Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter division championship on Saturday with his owner, Kathryn Haefner.
Columbus’ top derby finish also earned him the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week award to conclude Sunday’s derby competition.
Maggie Gould and Starbit Partners LLC’s Pointe Milou finished the first round sitting in third place with a score of 89. They wowed the judges in the second round to receive the handy round high score of 90 and a combined total of 179 to just miss first place by one point.
As a result, Gould and Pointe Milou settled for second place honors, while third place went to Erika Jakobson and Nobel Laureate, owned by Barn Rat LLC, who were awarded scores of 85 and 89 for a total score of 174.
4. Quasa Granda / Angela Calicchio / Cali Horse Sales LLC / 168
5. Arendelle / Julie Pickering / Anna Pemble / 166
6. Southside / Olivia Jacob / Barney Jacob / 165
7. Graf Balou Belle / Jill Gaffney / Freestyling Farms LLC / 164
8. Quite Lady / Olivia Jacob / Barney Jacob / 162
9. Lady Grey / Maxine Schatten / Lionsway Farm / 152.5
10. Candid / Misty Pleiness / Kim Carey / 139
11. Lexx / Maggie Gould / Paul Macrae / 135