Wilmington, Ohio – The bright, sunny day at World Equestrian Center – Ohio set a picturesque stage for hunter athletes as they contested the $10,000 Kinetic Vet USHJA National Hunter Derby of Summer I. Twenty-nine astounding horse-and-rider pairs made their way over Joey Rycroft’s (USA) classic hunter tracks, but it was Catherine Rinehart (USA) and Luke Rinehart’s Hero (Brainpower x Corini W) that prevailed in the prestigious class once again.
Rinehart, of Rinehart Farm in Westfield, Indiana, is well acquainted with the spotlight at WEC – Ohio, claiming this featured win numerous times in 2023.
Fresh off an impressive national stage, Rinehart was confident entering with her son’s mount this hunter derby Friday, “Hero actually did Junior Hunter Finals two weeks ago with Luke [Rinehart]. That was his first time doing the 3’6” at Junior Hunter Finals and they did great! Luke is away this week, so I decided to enter Hero in the derby. I really liked the course for him today and he was perfect.”
The duo snagged the lead, making light work of the track for a high first round score of 90.
Returning as the final pair to try their hand at Rycroft’s handy track, Rinehart examined her options to maintain the lead “I was unsure as to what I was going to do with the lead in the bending line. I wanted to come off of the left lead in the handy to the first jump, but nobody else did that, so I went right. He is super handy. You can make any of the inside turns on him and go really slow doing it and he still jumps up great.”
The 11-year-old KWPN gelding followed Rinehart effortlessly through each turn and jumped in perfect form, impressing the judges to surpass the rest of the field with a second-round score of 91 and an overall score of 181.
Claire Rockacy (USA) riding out of Candy Lane Acres in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, landed an impressive second place. Rockacy piloted her own eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Kingston Blue (Farfan M x G-Blue), to two exemplary rounds for a pair of 89s. With a two-round total of 178, the talented young duo claimed a close second place.
Colleen Holton (USA) piloted her longtime partner Udefix (Uccello x Contendra) to third. Holton, of Carraway Hill, and the ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding jumped to a first-round score of 85.5, and a handy score of 92 for an overall of 177.5 to round out the podium.
$10,000 Kinetic Vet USHJA National Hunter Derby Results:
1 Hero, Catherine Rinehart, Luke Rinehart | 90 | 91 | 181
2 Kingston Blue, Claire Rockacy, Claire Rockacy | 89 | 89 | 178
3 Udefix, Colleen Holton, Colleen Holton | 85.5 | 92 | 177.5
4 Benji, Devin Milan, Cynthia Chaconas | 87 | 85 | 172
5 Corlando 49, Melissa Donnelly, Elizabeth Becker | 89.5 | 84 | 173.5
6 Soho, Ashleen Lee, Daphne Meadows | 87 | 81 | 168
7 Capitol Hill, Vanessa McCaughley, Vanessa McCaughley | 85 | 78 | 167
8 Gucci, Samantha Roper, Samantha Roper | 84 | 75 | 163
9 Marco Polo, Elle Taylor, Elle Taylor | 76 | 80 | 158
10 Speak For Yourself, Ashleen Lee, Gillian Rees | 88 | 64 | 152