Tori Colvin and Pitch Perfect proved that sometimes a little looky-loo sass in the hunter derby ring doesn’t have to spell disaster as the two claimed the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival this past weekend.
“He’s been really fun and he has an amazing jump – probably one of the best jumps I’ve ridden,” Said Tori after their win. “The first round he went in and he was a superstar. He jumped everything like a 20 so I knew going in to the handy, I was like, ‘I just want it to be nice.’ I didn’t have to be too handy and he went in and he was great. He kind of looked at the new jump thing they set up in the middle and had a little peek, but other than that, he was fantastic.”
In a discipline that’s had its share of optics problems recently, it’s encouraging to see a lively, forward horse in the handy round be rewarded for the good and not dropped from the top of the score card for being a horse. More of this will only be good for the hunter ring, especially if it can bleed into even more of the sport.
The smart little gray took top honors over a field of 33 horses, taking all the high options and leading start to finish over the two rounds. They scored a 91 in round one and an 88.5 in round two, hard look and all.
Pitch Perfect is an 11-year-old warmblood owned by Adele Norton and cared for by Uphill Farm. The smart little gelding already has a reputation as a brave and handy little horse who has been allowed to continue being a horse, no matter what his price tag might be. This includes fording rivers at Lake Placid and taking excellent care of his amateur owner.
Reserve honors went to Tiffany Morrissey and Alibi VI, owned by Doris Neyra (who moved from fourth to second following a terrific handy round, scoring a 177) and in third place was Winn Alden and World Affair owned by Southern Arches LLC, who scored a 176.
The derby was the conclusion of World Champion Hunter Rider week at GLEF, with still plenty of hunter and jumper action yet to come at the venue, including a $25,000 international derby at the end of July.