Wellington, Fla. – March 3, 2017 – Hunter derby competition heated up on Friday at Deeridge Derby Weekend, held at the beautiful Deeridge Farms. The $5,000 International Hunter Derby Welcome Stake, presented by the World Equestrian Center, hosted a total of 44 horse and rider combinations on the pristine Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field. Victoria Colvin and Cuba came out on top, followed closely by Kristy Herrera aboard Candid.
The class gave riders the opportunity to take their horses around the derby field for the first time before this weekend’s feature class, the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by the World Equestrian Center. Colvin, whose first mount had an unfortunate refusal, kept her cool and came back after the break and bested the scores of Scott Stewart, Peter Pletcher and Kelly Farmer.
“This was a really fun class to win,” Colvin said. “I have never ridden on the grass here. It was actually a large course, which I didn’t expect, but Cuba was amazing. It’s a great way to start.”
The 10-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Brad Wolf of Memphis, Tennessee, made the large course look like a walk in the park, earning a score of 90 from the judges.
“He is so easy going, so I knew he was probably going to go in there and just go right around,” Colvin remarked. “I didn’t think I was going to win, but winning was great!”
Hot on Colvin and Cuba’s heels was Herrera aboard Jennifer Alfano’s Candid. The pair, who trotted onto the field directly after Colvin and Cuba’s near-perfect performance, had an almost equally impressive round with a score of 89.
Alfano was thrilled with her horse’s round, considering how new he is to derby-style competition.
“I thought he was unbelievable!” gushed Alfano. “This is only his second derby, and he has never been on a grass field and he was just awesome.”
Herrera was equally pleased with Candid and thought the course was the perfect way to prepare for Saturday and Sunday’s competition.
“The course was very nice and inviting. I think they did a great job getting everyone out there for a nice welcome class,” Herrera said.
Sara Green and Carento, owned by Sherri Crawford, rounded out the top three placings in the class with a score of 88.
Colvin had little time to rest before dominating the leaderboard in the following 3′ Deeridge Hunter Derby Warm-Up. The professional athlete had five horses entered in the division and rode three of them into the top five with first, second and fifth place finishes in a class that hosted 54 competitors.
“It’s pretty easy,” Colvin said about the multiple rides. “I find it fun. It’s more fun for me to get on one and get on the next then have to wait for 25 trips. It gets a little boring, and they’re all pretty simple. It’s easy to adapt to all of them. They all give a special ride, but thankfully, they’re not too hard.”
After the break, halfway through the class, Colvin entered the arena aboard Laura Karat’s grey Polish Sport Horse, Harper Lee, and set the score to beat with an 88. As the crowd waited for Colvin to close out the class, she entered the ring in the irons of John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s Fonteyn. After her trip around the Skip Bailey-designed course, she exited as the announcer called out the score.
“With a score of 89, Victoria Colvin and Fonteyn slide into first place,” Brian Lookabill announced.
As Colvin dismounted the bay German Sport Horse, she was welcomed with applause and gratitude from two pleased owners, who posed for pictures with their ribbons and fabulous horses.
Although Colvin only just started riding both horses at the beginning of the winter season, she has established a relationship with them and has learned their quirks.
“Fonteyn is a bit quirky sometimes,” Colvin explained. “On my way to the first jump, she saw the golf cart coming behind her. I could see her ear twitch back telling me, ‘There’s something chasing me.’ She contained herself, but that’s her little thing. She gets a little worried and holds her head to the side. Harper Lee is straightforward and knows her job. She’s just a baby.”
In the Deeridge Jumper Ring on Friday, Samantha Johnson took home the first win of the day in the 1.10m Jumpers aboard her own Gallant in 31.690 seconds, besting second place finishers, Lily Alice Foregger and Elizabeth Hinckley’s Zento VDV, by 1/10th of a second after they crossed the finish line in 31.759 seconds. Next in the 1.20m Jumpers, Brittany Hildebrand and Mindy Hildebrand’s Eldorado claimed the win in 35.811 seconds. Joe Fargis and Mary B. Schwab’s Last Dance followed in second place in 40.839 seconds. Closing out jumper competition for the day was Deeridge Farms’ own Charlotte Jacobs and North Star’s Darthus, who won the $2,500 1.30m Jumpers. The pair produced the only clear jump-off round out of five in 38.600 seconds, while Chloe Reid and Hidden Brook Farm’s Barcelona were the fastest of the 4-faulters in 39.705 seconds for second place honors.
Hunter derby competition will continue on Saturday with the $5,000 3′ Deeridge Hunter Derby, presented by Sock Inc., at 10 a.m. in the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field followed by the first round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the World Equestrian Center, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
In addition, the Deeridge Jumper Ring will kick-off on Saturday at 8 a.m. with the 1.10m, 1.20, $2,000 1.25m and $2,500 1.30m Jumpers.
Entries are still being accepted for the $2,500 Deeridge Pony Derby to be held in the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field on Sunday, March 5.
JustWorld International and the Deeridge Derby Weekend have teamed up to bring exciting family entertainment to Wellington at the JustWorld Kid Zone. The JustWorld Kid Zone is free and will be held during the Deeridge Derby Weekend on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5. There will be many fun activities for the whole family to get involved in including a pony kissing booth, horseless horse show, egg hunt and more!