Hunter Derby Competition Kicks Off at Inaugural Desert Holiday

The inaugural Desert Holiday kicked off hunter derby competition on Friday, December 4 with the first two of eight hunter derbies to be held over the course of the three weeks. Nick Haness (Temecula, CA) and West Coast Equine Partners, LLC’s Reese’s found their familiar top placing in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, sponsored by Horseflight. The pair sat first going into the Handy round with a score of 92 and secured Champion with a second round score of 87.

Nick Haness on Reese’s. Photo by ESI.

Haness also took Reserve in the class aboard West Coast Equine Partners, LLC’s Fan Club with scores of 89 and 98. Chad Mahaffey (West Hollywood, CA) and Paperboy, owned by Julia Greenspan, finished off the top three with scores of 87 and 88.

The seven-year-old bay gelding and Haness are no strangers to the National Derbies: “He definitely picks up on the atmosphere. He knows the derby days are special days,” remarked Haness. “He really doesn’t require much preparation or much training for him to do as well as he does. He naturally just perks up and has fun. I think he enjoys his job.”

In the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, sponsored by Struck Apparel, Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA rode Ashland Farms’ Attendu de Lannois Z to earn Champion with scores of 90 and 93. Claire Archer (Atherton, CA) and Rinpoche, owned by Claire Archer received scores of 89 and 91 to land second place. Grace McReynolds (Colorado Springs, CO) and her own Caruso earned third place for her scores of 87 and 85.5.

About the Desert International Horse Park

With nearly 1.3 million square feet of competition and riding space, the Desert International Horse Park is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America. Offering multiple weeks of world-class equestrian competition from October through March, the facility is a destination location for thousands of equestrians, their horses, family and friends for several months annually. Competitors from all over the world travel to Thermal, CA to not only compete but to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.

Second photo: Nick Haness on Fan Club. Third photo: Augusta Iwasaki on Attendu de Lannois Z. All photos by ESI.