To cap the final day of hunter competition during the third week of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby attracted some of the handiest and smoothest-moving horses and riders to the AON Grand Hunter Arena on Sunday. A strong field of professionals, juniors and amateurs entered the first round to try to earn their place in the coveted top 12 group that returned for the handy round, and professional rider-trainer Nick Haness once again reigned supreme as he took top honors with his trusted mount, Reese’s.
Nick Haness and Reese’s. Photo by Phelps Sports
Now having won all three editions of the $5,000 USHJA National Derby offered throughout the Temecula Valley National Horse Show Series with Reese’s, Haness has solidified the 6-year-old’s reputation as an up-and-coming derby horse. Owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, Reese’s has picked up many tricolor ribbons on his way to his derby successes, including the Green 3’3” Hunter championship earlier in the week.
Riding in the first round in the middle of the pack aboard his only horse entered, Haness took over the lead with a commanding base score of 90, jumping all the high options for a total score of 94. His lead would hold up and give him the advantage of going last in the second round to take his shot at continuing his winning streak. Haness and Reese’s came back in round two and laid down a beautiful, smooth handy round to score a 93 for a total of 187, the best score of the class to take the win.
“This ring is just a blast to ride in, so I felt really good about showing out here again,” Haness said. “It is an awesome venue, and it’s a great field and jumps. All the horses are really happy and relaxed by Sunday, so it was really nice to ride out here and both rounds went really well.”
Nick Haness and Reese’s in the presentation. Photo by Phelps Sports
He continued: “It was pretty nice to win today. We were really questioning if we were going to do the derby with Reese’s today or not. He’s won the past two derbies and I’m superstitious, so three for three was kind of a far-fetched goal, but it’s really exciting. We entered him today and he came through and won his third derby.”
Junior rider Shiloh Roseboom, who took third in the same class last week, rode to a solid first round score of 80 and made smooth, tidy turns in round two to score an 88, pushing her and Venice to a cumulative score of 168. The highest scoring non-professional, Roseboom held the lead until the final four rounds and ended up fifth overall. Shauna Pennell, another dominant professional throughout the series and on the West Coast, rode both of her mounts into the second round. Her first round scores of 87 with Saturday Night and 90.5 with Czechers put her in two of the top placings going into the handy. Returning for the second phase, Pennell rode Leslie Sharf’s Czechers to a score of 94 for a total score of 184.5, which would ultimately keep the pair in second place overall. Third place was awarded to Kaitlin Campbell, who rode the SWS Training & Sales entry, Playmaker, to a first round score of 88 and a handy score of 95 for a 183 total tally.
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Place / Horse / Rider / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Reese’s / Nick Haness / 94 / 93 / 187
2. Czechers / Shauna Pennell / 90.5 / 94 / 184.5
3. Playmaker / Kaitlin Campbell / 88 / 95 / 183
4. Saturday Nigyt / Shauna Pennell / 87 / 85 / 172
5. Venice / Shiloh Roseboom / 80 / 88 / 168
6. Quantum Chanel / Elizabeth Deupree / 83 / 83 / 166
7. Academy Award / Peter Lombardo / 91 / 72 / 163
8. Maximus / Demi Stiegler / 81 / 79 / 160
9. Solitaire / Mollie Hartung / 90.5 / 69 / 159.5
10. Swager / Gabriella Zupancic / 82 / 77 / 159
11. Freedom / Mackenzie Greer / 79 / 70 / 149
12. Twinkle Toes Victoria Lacagnina / 78 / 0 / 78