Wilmington, Ohio – Nov. 9, 2016 – Katie Cooper and Sandlot, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, had a stellar conclusion to their 2016 show season at the World Equestrian Center’s $40,000 4′ Hunter Derby in Ohio on Oct. 29-30. The duo won the first round in a large class by earning scores of 88 and 90 without taking the high options. In the handy round, they were awarded scores of 88 and 87 with two high options. The total was good enough to earn a second place finish in stiff competition at their first 4′ Derby.
The talented pair had a very successful First Year Green Division in 2015 and moved up to claim many wins in the Second Year Green division this year, including two well deserved second place finishes at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
“This year has been a lot of fun and our hard work really paid off,” she concluded. “He has so much scope and step that the transition to Second Year Greens was very easy. And he really enjoys it! It is great to able to jump and have some good placings against the top riders and horses in the country. We’re honored to be in that mix.”
Cooper decided to compete the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding in his first 4′ Derby in Ohio and she was thrilled with their debut.
“Sandlot has such a natural, classic form and power at the jump,” Cooper explained. “His style and scope really shine through. He jumps one jump better than the next. He was so consistent in his jumping style during the derby and does it so easily. I wanted him to have a nice round and have a positive experience for his first 4′ derby, which worked out well.”
Cooper, who trains out of Caves Farm in Owings Mills, Maryland, has ridden Sandlot for the past four years and contributes their success to their long partnership.
“He is an incredibly special horse to me and is my absolute favorite to ride!” Cooper continued. “There will never be another horse in my life quite like him. Though he has his own opinions, he is quite responsive and always game to work with me. I appreciate him so much and riding him comes naturally to me.”
After a long year of competition, the stunning chestnut gelding will enjoy some time to trail ride before gearing up to compete in International Derbies during their 2017 season.