After taking home the winning tricolor earlier in the week in the Wrenwood Farms Green Conformation Hunter division, Peter Pletcher of PJP Farm based in Magnolia, Texas, and the aptly named Quintessential returned to the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) on Saturday to claim the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC.
Sitting in third place following the classic round, Pletcher and the 7-year-old Hanoverian owned by Linda Southern-Heathcott/Spruce Meadows made their way back to the Grand Prix Ring to challenge Andrew Christiansen’s handy round along with the remaining top 12 competitors of the original 30 starters.
“[Quintessential] is super brave. Those turns in the handy – I pushed him to limits that we haven’t tried yet. That turn after the split rail – inside to the big log – he was so focused. He walks in the ring and gives it his all. I know he’s going to try and jump anything and try and jump it clear.”
Their smooth but technical performance was well-awarded with scores of 87 and 89, with additional handy points, from the panel of judges (Otis Brown and William Sparks, and Robin Brown and Linda Andrisani) for a second round high score of 198. Combined with their classic round score of 181, and taking advantage of all of the high options in both rounds, they earned an overall score of 379.
With GLEF only being the gelding’s seventh horse show as a hunter, Saturday’s win proved even more exciting for Pletcher as the pair now turn their focus towards preparing and competing at the upcoming Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, Aug. 16-18.
“I’ve been planning with this horse since the get-go – the last week we were in Florida – in hopes of making him into a derby horse,” shared Pletcher. “We had a few bumps in the road but we seemed to smooth everything out. I was really excited for this class to see if we were ready for derby finals. The horse proved that he’s ready now. I think the owners will be super happy as I am also.”
Twenty-year-old Tori Colvin, who is the reigning USHJA International Hunter Derby champion with John and Stephanie Ingram LLC’s Cuba, dominated the competition finishing in second, third and fourth place with I Love Lucy, Cuba and Private Practice.
The only competitor to have a total of four mounts in the class, Colvin rode boldly aboard John and Stephanie Ingram LLC’s I Love Lucy to finish in second place with a total score of 377. Upon earning a score of 182 in the classic round, which positioned them in second place, the pair executed fluid tight turns in the handy round to maintain their spot on the leaderboard for runner-up honors.
Colvin also navigated the handy round aboard Cuba and Brad Wolf’s Private Practice, who she won the classic round with, finishing with a total score of 375.5 and 366 for third and fourth place, respectively.
Over Fences Farm LLC’s Sidarta and Jacob Pope rounded out the top five with a total score of 360.