Hunter Highlights from Summer in the Rockies II

Tali DeJong and Spero Earn First Place Finish in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Front Range Kubota

Tali DeJong of Golden, CO, and Spero paved their way to victory in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Front Range Kubota on Sunday, June 19, at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP). The pair earned a total score of 340 from the judging panel to seal the win. Abigail Albrecht of Austin, TX, piloted MTM Nameworthy to a two round score of 335 for a close second place finish, while Lalique, piloted by Brooke Cudmore of Omaha NE, earned a score of 319 to receive third place honors.

Tali DeJong and Spero
Tali DeJong and Spero

The $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Front Range Kubota was the first major hunter derby of the season at CHP while the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will be hosted on Sunday, July 3, during SIR IV.

DeJong and and her own Spero earned a first round score of 160, which placed them well into the top twelve pairs who would return for the handy round. Albrecht and MTM Nameworthy earned the highest first round score, receiving a 170, to enter the second round in the lead, before DeJong and Spero finished a spectacular trip around the handy course, which would ultimately push them to victory.

Abigail Albrecht
Abigail Albrecht and MTM Nameworthy

The pair have been traveling to CHP from nearby Golden, CO, for the past five years and the venue has become a natural home for summer competition. DeJong was overjoyed with the performance of Spero, stating, “I was not expecting to win it whatsoever. I have to say, I was expecting to get around the course and was just hoping to just have a smooth ride. The footing here is amazing and it’s just an incredible place to ride.”

DeJong admitted that she was caught slightly off guard by the size of the fences on course, but the pair adapted quickly and demonstrated their tenacity and poise to the crowd. Spero has been partnered with DeJong for the past two years and has proved that he excels in hunter derby competition, as he did this past Sunday.

Brooke Cudmore
Brooke Cudmore and Lalique

Describing her plan in the second round, DeJong laughed, as she reminisced on her final thoughts. She detailed, “All I could think about was how to not chip the last fence. All of the jumps were huge, but he’s just an amazing horse.”

Tali DeJong and Spero in their presentation ceremony with Jeff Franken, owner of Front Range Kubota, Riley PItts, Lesky Franken, and Olivia Pitts after capturing the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Front Range Kubota at CHP.

“I’ve had him for about two years now. He was a jumper before we bought him and originally he was going to be my equitation horse. Derbies are his true love. He has such a great time going around these courses. He’s just so agile and is very sweet,” she added.
Jumper Derby Highlights

Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL, and Manchester, owned by Loretta Patterson, topped the $15,000 Jumper Derby at CHP, while Kennedy Eaton of Monument, CO, and her own København’s Noble Charm placed in second. Shepherd also piloted Rocketman owned by Loretta Patterson to third place, notching another top place finish throughout the SIR II competition week.

Ada Neumann and Catriel Z, owned by Hillary Gromus, earned top honors in the $4,000 NAL/WIHS Child Classic, besting a class of 10 entries for the win with a time of 45.107 seconds. Debbie Weigers of Evergreen, CO, and her own Little Lucia finished in second place, just behind Neumann, crossing through the timers in 45.238 seconds. Amanda Roche of Austin, TX, and Little Love, owned by Rose Hill Farm, collected third place, finishing the class with four fault and a time of 39.435 seconds.

The $4,000 NAL/WIHS Adult Classic saw Carol Tucker of Elizabeth, CO, and her own Cha Cha Cha take the blue ribbon, finishing the jump-off round with a time of 38.658 seconds. Brittany Stewart of Littleton, CO, and her own Picobello collected second place with a time of 40.821 seconds, while Kristina Matthews of Denver, CO, and her own Neolisto van het Mierenhof rounded out the top three, stopping the clock in 40.879 seconds.

Holly Shepherd
Holly Shepherd and Manchester in the $15,000 Jumper Derby at SIR II.

Paige Coles of Golden, CO, and her own Springfield Hill finished atop the $4,000 Modified Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, dashing through the timers in 39.106 seconds. Andrea Hassey of Parker, CO, and her own Sandra, earned second place with a time of 43.176 seconds, while Shala McConnell of Elizabeth, CO, and her own Southern Eyes captured third place with a time of 43.721 seconds.

Isabel Ikast of Parker, CO, and Royal Flush, owned by Bjorn Ikast, made a quick dash atop the leaderboard in the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Owner Classic presented by Nutrena, finishing with a time of 39.176 seconds. Sydney Luzicka of Albuquerque, NM, and St John 10:9, owned by DC Sales & Entertainment, finished just a second off the winning pace to earn second. Brooke Cudmore of Omaha, NE, and Igor, owned by Blair Cudmore earned third place with a time of 42.68 seconds.

The $10,000 SJHOF Medium/High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic presented by Griffis Residential was championed by Brooke Cudmore of Omaha, NE, as she piloted Cassin, owned by Blair Cudmore to victory with a time of 42.107 seconds. Susan Griffis of Larkspur, CO, and Cwestoreto, owned by Palmer Divide Ranch, earned second place, stopping the jump-off clock in 44.297 seconds. Katharin Gualtieri of Morrison, CO, and Castalano, owned by Sandwillow Farm rounded out the top three of the competitive class, as they finished with a time of 42.939 seconds and four faults.

Hunter Highlights

Alongside the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Front Range Kubota hosted at CHP during SIR II, a $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby was also offered and saw Becky Warner and Fitz, owned by Emma Tellor, capture victory and best a class of 36 entries. The duo received a two round score of 348, while Amberlee Wentz of Colorado Springs, CO, guided Mesa View Stables, LLC’s Verity to a second place finish after tying Warner with a score of 348. Karen Banister of Brighton, CO, and Winning Ticket, rounded out the top three, collecting a final score of 324.5.

Elizabeth Simpson of Parker, CO, accurately guided her own Rollingswood Q and A to victory in the $1,000 Colorado Horse Park Pony Hunter Derby, receiving an impressive overall score of 316.5. Dominic Gibbs of Colorado Springs, CO, and his own GF Elliott earned second place awards, finishing the class with a two round score of 292. Hays Lanter of Snowmass Village, CO, and Happiness Is collected third place, finishing with a 287.Becky Warner and Fitz owned by Emma TellorOwner Emma Tellor, rider Becky Warner, and Fitz in the presentation ceremony for the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Simpson and Rollingswood Q and A received a first round score of 153.5, to then go on and earn a 164 in the handy round, securing the win. Gibbs and GF Elliott entered the second round with a 154 and received a 138 in the handy to collect a well-deserved second place.

Karen Catov-Goodell of Colorado Springs, CO, and Perseus YC, owned by Erin Gibbs, took first place honors in the $1,000 3′ Pre-Green Hunter Classic, while Laurie Jueneman of Parker, CO, and RF Meisterfreiheit owned by Adrian Greenholz, finished in second, while Kelly Lorek of Manchaca, TX, piloted MTM Worth It to third place.

Amanda Thomas of Brentwood, MO, finished a banner day in the 3’3″ Pre-Green Hunter Classic guiding Fanci That, owned by Thomas Spiro and Sky Fall, owned by Katherine Dewar, to a first and second place finish respectively. Laurie Jueneman of Parker, CO, guided Farolito, owned by Lisa Martinez-Bates to third place.

The $1,500 Junior Hunter 3’3″/3’6″ Classic saw Abigail Albrecht of Austin, TX, and her own MTM Nameworthy take the win, besting a class of 17 entries. Sarah Kassabian of Oklahoma City, OK, and her own Premonition finished in second place, while Mackenzie Shuman of Monument, CO, and piloted her own Quintessence to third.

Nicole Lyvere of Denver, CO, and her own Wink championed the $1,500 Amateur Owner Hunter Classic 3’3″/3’6″ Classic, while Elizabeth Hund of Denver, CO, piloted Aragonaut, who she owns, to second place. Lyvere and Promo collected third place, as she guided another mount to a top three finish at SIR II.

The $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Hunter Classic saw Anna Lawrence of Englewood, CO, and her own Sirius Black take top honors. Gabrielle Coleman guided Symphony, owned by Amanda Thomas, to second place, while Cece Siegfried of Tulsa, OK, and her own Finally Found, finished in third place.

Competition at The Colorado Horse Park continues on Wednesday, June 22, with the start of SIR III, which will feature the $50,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix on Saturday, June 25, and conclude on Sunday, June 26. For more information on CHP, please visit