Holiday decor was appropriately present in the R+L Arena this afternoon for our final $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby of 2019. Eighteen stunning hunters contested the 3′ track with 3’5″ option fences. Competition was stiff with scores reaching high into the eighties and nineties, but it was Brandon Gibson and Select Sport Horses’ Spectrum Z (Hos D’O x Anemone Granette) that earned the top spot with scores in the nineties for both Derby rounds. Chance Williams received the Groom’s Award of $100 cash and a $50 WEC gift card for the gelding’s flawless turnout.
This afternoon’s winter wonderland-themed course was designed by Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky and featured four high options, bending lines that rewarded adjustable rides and many opportunities for handy inside turns. The top score in the first round was earned by Gibson and Spectrum Z. The pair have been collecting blue ribbons in the 3’6″ Green Hunters, preparing them well for the high options in this afternoon’s Derby. Gibson and the eight year old Warmblood gelding were nothing short of brilliant in the first round with Spectrum Z sailing high over each fence with style to spare. The pair took all four high options and wowed the judges for a first round score of 94.
David Beisel and Lori Taylor’s MTM Bentley (Bonaparte Z x Hot Cherie P) also navigated a noteworthy first round in this afternoon’s Derby. The pair earned second place in last week’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at World Equestrian Center with scores of 87 and 92; their consistent perrformances signaling that they would be strong competitors this week. Beisel and the six year old Danish Warmblood gelding also took all four high options, earning a first round score of 86.
Robert Stucky and Delaney Hughes’ Gyimes (Cassini II) held their own in the first round of the Derby. The pair compete in the 3′ USHJA and Green Hunter, often earning top placings. This afternoon, Stucky and the nine year old Warmblood gelding navigated all four high options and earned a first round score of 78.5.
The course was adjusted and the top twelve entries returned for the handy round. Stucky and Gyimes returned near the end of the order, taking handy inside turns to fences one and six and opting for all four high options. The pair earned a handy round score of 87, bringing their overall total to 165.5. Next in the ring was Beisel and MTM Bentley. The pair also chose the inside track to fences one and six and executed a tidy turn to fence two. The pair earned a second score of 86, bringing their overall total to 172. Last to return was Gibson and Spectrum Z. The duo chose inside turns to fences one and six, navigating a second foot-perfect round for a score of 92, bringing their overall total to 186 for the win in the class.
Gibson took a minute to chat with us about his win ringside after the awards presentation, “Spectrum Z had a great week of showing so far. It felt like everything really came together finally. I imported him last March. We did a couple of shows at 3’3″, then started the 3’6″ Greens. He won an international derby in August. Today was his first day at 3’9 and he won all four over fences classes in the Greens.”
When asked about Spectrum Z’s personality, Gibson laughed, “His registered name he came with is Hypocrisy so we call him Hippo and it’s very fitting. He is just a big, fat flying hippo. He loves his job. He is very exuberant over the jumps – he really likes to jump and show off. A lot of people tell me he could be my horse of a lifetime. It is early but he is certainly the nicest horse I have ever had.”
Gibson also added, “I am based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. I run Select Sport Horses with my wife Jocelyn Gibson. My stepson, Chance Williams, is here with me and he has been doing all the grooming and then will show over the weekend in the Juniors. This is our first time at World Equestrian Center. It hasn’t fit into our schedule before, but now that we’ve been here we’re begging for stalls for upcoming shows. We’ll be back in January!”
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Spectrum Z, Brandon L. Gibson – 94 | 92 |186
- MTM Bentley, David Q. Beisel – 86 | 86 | 172
- Gyimes, Robert P. Stucky – 78.5 | 87 | 165.5
- Oh Brother, Vanessa R. Mazzoli – 76 | 86 | 162
- Kayto, Sam Pegg – 80 | 81 | 161
- The Girl From Ipanema, Robert P. Stucky – 75 | 84 | 159
- The Boy Friend, Paige J. Beisel – 77 | 80 | 157
- Barilla, Kirstie Lynn Dobbs – 74 | 82 | 156
- Dunkan, David Q. Beisel – 77.5 | 77 | 154.5
- Louboutin, Dana E. Wille – 78 | 72 | 150
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.