Kristen Bumpus & Diadora Dominate $25K USHJA International Hunter Derby at Devon

Thursday’s competition in the Dixon Oval brought the nations top hunter horses and riders to compete in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler Family. Kristen Bumpus, who fulfilled her lifelong dream of showing at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair, made her first trip to the Dixon Oval a memorable one by defeating fellow competitors to take home the top prize aboard Diadora with a total score of 372. The pair impressed judges with their best efforts over two rounds of competition.

Kristen Bumpus and Diadora. Photo by Phelps Sports

The classic round course designed by Paul Jewell, which featured a total of 12 obstacles, utilized the best of the iconic Dixon Oval. Crowds watched on as athletes and their mounts tackled the various obstacles, including two double combinations and four high option fences. Two panels of judges, Linda Arisani and Ralph Caristo with Keri Kampsen and Scott Fitton, carefully evaluated each and every competitor’s round, adding extra points for those who opted for the high option fences.

In the first round of competition, Bumpus and Barbara Le Stage’s Diadora scored a 172, taking all four high options. Heading into the second round of competition with the top 12 scoring athletes, Bumpus sat in the sixth position. However, after hitting all of the marks in the handy round to score a 200, the pair soared to the top.

“I know that [Diadora] is very handy and that’s our strong suit,” Bumpus said. “So I knew that if I made into the handy I had a shot of moving up, but I had no idea I could move up this far… I don’t watch other people go because I don’t like to change my mind and second guess. I walk my plan and I have it in my head. The only reason that I will change is if she doesn’t land on the track that I want. My horse is different than everyone else’s so I don’t like to compare to others. If I don’t feel my plan happening then I will abort the plan and go on to plan B. I’m not a big watcher.”

Diadora, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood, excels in the handy rounds, thanks to her large stride and incredible scope. The mare, who was previously a 1.40m jumper in Europe, has been partnered with Bumpus since January. The pair spent the winter circuit in Ocala, Florida showing in the High Performance Hunters and various derbies.

Kristen Bumpus and Diadora. Photo by Phelps Sports

“She feels like she could jump a building from anywhere,” Bumpus stated, crediting it back to the mare’s jumper background. “It doesn’t matter where I put her, as long as it’s in range, and she can do anything. She has a great rhythm and flow too. She is a great mare. She is the best one I’ve ever had. She has a great attitude and always tries.”

Finishing in second place was Jimmy Torano aboard Pessoa Stables LLC’s California 19, ending on a total score of 362.5. The 10-year-old German Warmblood gelding was previously a jumper with Olympian Rodrigo Pessoa, but made a seamless switch to the hunter ring with Torano during the 2019 winter season in Wellington, Florida.

Greg Crolick and Renaud Farm, LLC’s Carollo Z rounded out the top three after finishing on a total score of 360. Continuing with the theme of Thursday’s top three, the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding also started his career as a jumper before transitioning to the hunter ring. The pair championed during Week 10 of the Winter Equestrian Festival in the High Performance Working Hunters.