Tonight nearly forty stunning hunters took to the R+L Arena to contest the $10,000 USHJA National Open and Non Pro Hunter Derbies. The spacious ring recently underwent a magical holiday transformation, turning into a candy cane forest with giant peppermint jumps, towering Christmas trees and giant presents galore. It was a magical night for our two class winners too, as they earned identical scores of lucky 177 to take home the top prizes in their respective classes.
Open $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
The Open $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby was first to contest Bobby Murphy’s fun holiday-themed course with fifteen entries vying for the win. Countless stellar rounds were delivered by the professional riders, but it was Greg Crolick and Renaud Farm, LLC’s Braavos (Rock Forever I x Scarlett) who earned the win with a score of 177.
Crolick and Braavos were one of the first to negotiated the course tonight. The pair have regularly taken top placings in the Green Hunters and chose to move up to the 3’6″ this week. Crolick and the handsome six year old Warmblood gelding took all four high options in the first round, setting the standard for the class with a score of 88. The pair later returned for the handy round, smoothly negotiating inside turns to fences one, two, four and nine. Their steady and stylish round impressed the judges, earning them a handy round score of 89 for a total score of 177 and the win in the class. Crolick also took home sixth and seventh place aboard Jon Cotton’s Winterfell and Connie Steven’s Incredible (Cornet Obolensky x Nickara S), respectively.
David Beisel and Lori Taylor’s MTM Bentley (Bonaparte Z x Hot Cherie P) also had impressive rounds in tonight’s Derby. The pair earned top placings in the Baby Green Hunter in October, choosing to move up in height for tonight’s class. Beisel and the six year old Danish Warmblood gelding took all four high options in both rounds and mimicked Crolick’s inside turns in the handy round, adding an extra inside turn to fence three. The pair earned a pair of 87 scores and an overall total of 174 for second place.
Molly McAdow and Karin Martin’s Etiquette (Cachassini) also earned top placings in tonight’s Derby. The pair have frequently placed well in the Green Hunters this year, preparing them well for this evening. McAdow and the five year old Rheinländer mare earned scores of 89 and 83 for an overall total of 172, securing a third place finish. McAdow also rode Roc Hunter 18 to a fourth place finish in the class.
Crolick stuck around after the awards presentation to chat with us about tonight’s class, “It was a beautiful course tonight – Bobby (Murphy) did a great job. They were all wonderful. They’ve all moved up this week to the 3’6″. This is a great venue to come to when moving horses up to see how they experience it. I think they were all amazing. It was a great class, I had a lot of fun.”
When asked about his mounts’ personalities, Crolick replied, “Braavos would love to stand all day and just be pet, brushed and given treats. In the ring, he’s really brave and honest. He’s only six years old and we’ve only done a couple of derbies, but he’s come a long way. Winterfell is one we bought at World Equestrian Center last year. It’s been a slow process but he just moved back up to 3’6″ and he’s come into his own now. I rode Incredible for Connie Stevens, I just picked up that ride yesterday. He was phenomenal. I had an unfortunate bobble, but it happens.”
When asked who Braavos’s groom was for tonight’s Groom’s Award of $100 cash and a $50 WEC gift card, Crolick replied, “Cami was Braavos’ groom tonight. She’s been with me for about three years. She does a wonderful job and has such a great attitude every day.”
Open $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Braavos, Greg Crolick – 88 | 89 | 177
- MTM Bentley, David Beisel – 87 | 87 | 174
- Etiquette, Molly McAdow – 89 | 83 | 172
- Roc Hunter 18, Molly McAdow – 85 | 85 | 170
- Grand Tour, Melissa Donnelly – 82 | 84.5 | 166.5
- Winterfell, Greg Crolick – 77 | 89 | 166
- Incredible, Greg Crolick – 78.5 | 86 | 164.5
- Qentin, Karen McFarland – 79 | 83.5 | 162.5
- Persuasion, Melissa Donnelly – 80 | 82 | 162
- Famous Amos, Jodi Fryar – 79 | 82 | 161
Non Pro $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Olivia Darnell rode Lily Beck’s Freakfeld (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Mikina Field) to a fantastic win in the Non Pro $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The pair were also recent winners of the WEC Premier Equitation Championship this October, where they were awarded a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer for the win.
Darnell and Freakfeld took to the course late in the order tonight. The pair have taken a bit of time off since their big Equitation Championship win, but were on form this evening taking all four high options in the first round for a score of 89, the highest score of the class. Darnell and the nine year old KWPN gelding returned later for the handy round, again taking all four high options and opting for inside turns to fences one, two, four, eight and nine. The pair earned a second round score of 88, bringing their overall total to 177 to top the class, fifteen points ahead of second place.
Paige Beisel and David Beisel’s The Boy Friend (Gracieux x Vironja) earned scores of 79 and 83 for an overall total of 162, and rode away with a festive red ribbon to match her husband David’s second place finish in the Open Derby.
Darnell stuck around after the awards presentation to chat with us about her win, “Freakfeld was so good; he did everything that I asked of him. He’s been a superstar all year, this just adds to it. I do believe that this is his first derby win.”
When asked what she has done since winning the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer in the WEC Premier Equitation Championship in October, Darnell repllied, “We’ve kind of laid low. We did one more week at World Equestrian Center to do some Maclay classes, but this has been our next big class. We wanted to give him a little break after his last win.”
Darnell also commented on Freakfeld’s personality, “He’s very chill, laid-back and lazy. He’s very easy to be around and very fun. I love him. His owner Lily Beck shows him in the Children’s Hunters and the Taylor Harris. She got him early this Summer.”
Non Pro $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Freakfeld, Olivia Darnell – 89 | 88 | 177
- The Boy Friend, Paige Beisel – 79 | 83 | 162
- Orion, Dayna Pochron – 85 | 76.5 | 161.5
- Optimo, Taylor Collins – 82 | 78.5 | 160.5
- Batchelor Party, Aerin Hopkins – 75.5 | 82 | 157.5
- Mateo, Lindsay Dunlap – 77 | 75 | 152
- Lex Toccino, Gabriella Lewis – 78 | 73 | 151
- Inspired, Charlotte Oulanoff – 73 | 75 | 148
- All In, Jacquelynn Chistenson – 73 | 64 | 137
- Five Star, Logan Taylor – 75 | 59 | 134
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.