Courtney Lenkart & Alisto Top $5K USHJA National Hunter Derby During Opening Week of GLEF

Week I hunter competition continued throughout the weekend at the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, with the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring featuring the highlight hunter event of the week, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by the Ingram family. Riding twice to near-perfect scores, Courtney Lenkart of South Haven Farm based in Bartonville, Texas, and Lori Mathews’ Alisto claimed the first place prize ahead of a tightly-contested field that consistently earned marks above the 80-point benchmark.

Courtney Lenkart and Alisto. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

For the first hunter derby of the circuit, 27 horse-and-rider teams elected to compete, with the top 12 pairs qualifying for a return trip over course designer Nick Granat’s abridged handy track. The first round of riding was an impressive show of excellence by many of the exhibitors, with a score of 76 serving as the cut-off mark. Headed into the handy phase, Lenkart and Alisto were the frontrunners with a score of 94, but Jordan Allen and Susan Stanley’s Rainier sat hot on their heels just one point behind with a score of 93.

Back for round two as the last to go, Lenkart and Alisto faced stiff competition, as Allen and Rainer were awarded a second score of 94 to finish on a cumulative tally of 187, meaning the early leading pair needed at least 94 points to win. Not giving in to the pressure, Lenkart and Alisto gave a brilliant performance that earned them a 96 for a total score of 190 to secure the win in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by the Ingram family. Allen and Rainier finished in second overall, followed by Adam Edgar and Barbara Smith’s Justified with a final score of 173.

“[Alisto] was perfect,” shared an excited Lenkart. “This was actually the only class we did on him this week. We are trying to save him. His mom, Lori, is in Africa right now and will be here for Week III, so I just wanted to show him in this class to get him going and maybe we will do it next week, as well. Four of our five [horses] made it back into the top 12. Our junior rider was great and got a great ribbon. Lori owns the other three horses. My husband showed one of them, [Adolphus,] who just started being a hunter last week. Alisto’s younger brother, Captain America, was fourth in the class.”

Courtney Lenkart and Alisto. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

In addition to her ribbons and prize money, Lenkart was also honored with the first Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week award of the circuit thanks to her top performances with Alisto. Adding to her success, Lenkart also finished in fourth overall aboard Mathews’ Captain America, who earned the Performance 3’3” Hunter division championship earlier in the week with Lenkart.


$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by the Ingram family:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total Score
1. Alisto / Courtney Lenkart / Lori Mathews / 94 / 96 / 190
2. Rainier / Jordan Allen / Susan Stanley / 93 / 94 / 187
3. Justified / Adam Edgar / Barbara Smith / 88 / 85 / 173
4. Captain America / Courtney Lenkart / Lori Mathews / 86 / 86 / 172
5. Greetings / Haley Hammer / Haley Hammer / 79 / 87 / 166
6. Blackcomb / Ashleen Lee / Alina Zappone / 82 / 82.5 / 164.5
7. Delightful / Abigail Gordon / Sloan Lindemann-Barnett / 83 / 81 / 164
8. Like Minded / Jacob Pope / Selma Garber / 89 / 74 / 163
9. Candid / Vivian Yowan / Jennifer Alfano / 90 / 69 / 159
10. Drommels / Emma Flett / Emma Flett / 76 / 81 / 157
11. Spellbound / Caroline Weeden / Stephanie Harris / 88.5 / 50 / 138.5
12. Adolphus / Scott Lenkart / Lori Mathews / 87 / 0 / 87