This morning began with nearly thirty stunning hunters taking to the R+L Arena for the Open and Non Pro $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derbies. Both classes contested identical 3′ courses designed by Keith Bollotte that featured four 3’5″ high options, forward bending lines, a two-stride line and multiple opportunities for handy inside turns.
Open $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
The Open class of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derbies was first to try their hand at Bollotte’s courses. Fierce competition filled the class, but it was Colleen Holton and her own handsome chestnut Udefix (Uccello x Contendra) that earned the top scores for the win. Udefix’s groom, Marilyn Ransom, was awarded the Groom’s Award for the gelding’s impressive turnout which included $100 cash and a $50 World Equestrian Center gift card.
Holton and Udefix were among the top scores of the first round of the derby, taking all four high options for a score of 86. Holton and the six year old Hanoverian gelding frequent the Young Hunters, regularly taking top placings. Although the pair are new to one another, they were completely simpatico this morning.
Also earning scores among the top of the class in the first round of the derby were Lauren DiTallo and Scott Durchslag’s elegant bay Constellation Z. The pair are regulars in the 1.00m-1.10m jumpers but transitioned into the hunter ring for this morning’s derby. DiTallo and the eleven year old Zangersheide gelding took all four high options for a score of 83.
Erin Ferguson-Hughes and Kisma Equestrian, LLC’s Monte Carlo also scored into the eighties in the first round. The pair opted to take one high option for a score of 81.
The ring was refreshed and the top twelve entries returned for the handy round. Ferguson-Hughes and Monte Carlo returned near the middle of the order, this time taking all four high options. The pair also took handy inside turns to fence one and fence seven. For their efforts, the pair were awarded a score of 84, bringing their two round total to 165. Next to return was DiTallo and Constellation Z. The pair mimicked Ferguson-Hughes’ track, adding an additional handy turn to fence eight. DiTallo and Constellation Z earned a second round score of 83, bringing their two round total to 166. Holton and Udefix were among the last to return. They chose all four high options and demonstrated handiness by executing inside tracks to fences one and seven which earned them a score of 81, bringing their overall total to 167 for the win in the class.
We caught up with Holton after the awards ceremony to chat about her win, “Udefix (Felix) is six and I just got him in August, so I’m still figuring him out. This is our third derby so really I was going in to be consistent and put a confident ride in everywhere. He was awesome and I was very proud of him.”
When asked about Udefix’s personality, Holton replied, “He loves attention, he always wants to be where the action is or where everyone is talking, he doesn’t want to be left out. He has a lot of personality.”
Holton also added, “I am from Columbus, Ohio. I just started my own business, Carraway Hill, in March. Starting that and getting it going has been a lot, but I have a great group of clients on this new adventure. My aunt, Marilyn Ransom, has been helping me this weekend and she has been helping me since I was on the ponies.
Open $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Udefix, Colleen Holton – 86 | 81 | 167
- Constellation Z, Lauren DiTallo – 83 | 83 | 166
- Monte Carlo, Erin Ferguson-Hughes – 81 | 84 | 165
- Majesty, Dana Wille – 85 | 79 | 164
- Harlequin, Angela Moore – 82 | 80 | 162
- Captivate, Richard Rinehart – 88 | 73 | 161
- Krug Z, Patricia Stovel – 80 | 77 | 157
- Doc Holiday, Maria Moore – 72 | 76 | 148
- Remington Van Beau, Kayla Wolfe – 70 | 68 | 138
- Venturo, Veronica Grajewski – 69 | 62 | 131
Non Pro $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
The Non Pro $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby saw sixteen entries with scores reaching into the nineties. Jacquelynn Christenson and Brenda Christenson’s All In delivered two foot-perfect rounds, earning the blue in the class.
Christenson and All In took to the course near the top of the order. The pair frequent the Amateur Owner Hunters, often taking top placings. This morning, Christenson and the eleven year old Dutch Warmblood gelding chose to take three high options in the first round, earning a score of 90 and setting the tone for the class.
Vanessa Mazzoli and her own Oh Brother also had a noteworthy first round. Like Christenson and All In, Mazzoli and Oh Brother compete regularly in the Amateur Owner Hunters. This morning, Mazzoli and the twelve year old Warmblood gelding took three high options for a first round score of 86.
Among those earning scores in the 80s in the first round was Caroline Roethlisberger and Miami University’s Beyond Time (Timeless x Harouche). Beyond Time shows with a variety of riders in everything from the Open Hunters to the Children’s Hunters. This morning, Roethlisberger and the thirteen year old Dutch Warmblood gelding took three high options for a score of 80.
The ring was refreshed and the top twelve entries returned for the handy round. With a cut off score of 77, Roethlisberger and Beyond Time returned near the top of the order. The pair were flawless, taking all four high options and handy turns to fences one and seven, earning a score of 88 for a two round total of 168. Roethlisberger and Beyond Time remained at the top of the leader board until the end of the order when Mazzoli and Oh Brother contested the handy course. The pair also took all four high options along with inside turns to fences one and seven, then took an additional inside turn to fence nine, earning a score of 89 for a two round total of 175, moving into the top spot. Last to return was Christenson and All In. The pair took three high options along with tactful inside turns to fences one, four, seven and nine, earning a score of 87 for an overall total of 177, taking first place in the class.
Christenson took a moment to chat with us ringside after the awards presentation, “For the first course we just went in. He is a really good horse. He knows his job. He is a very brave horse and makes for a nice and easy ride. He has a really great canter that makes it easy to find the jumps out of. Every jump came up really nicely. He is always a really ride-able horse. We had a really great round. He jumps every jump a 10 no matter where you are at, a little long or a little short, he jumps so perfectly. He was just an excellent ride.”
When asked about her plan in the handy round, Christenson replied, “So in the handy round we had a different plan than what we actually did. We were going to be super handy and go inside and not do the hand gallop. Last minute we changed the plan. I’ve never hand galloped a jump at a horse show. My trainer was really great and we practiced one out in the warm up ring. It worked out nicely. My horse, Victor, is the easiest horse to do the handy on. He is like driving a little Porsche car- you look at the next jump and he is ready to turn. He is incredibly athletic, jumps beautiful from anywhere, and he just loves his job. He’s always having fun so no matter what you always end up having a fun ride with him.”
Christenson also added, “I live in Lexington, Kentucky. I am originally from Indiana. I ride with Tammy Provost at Meadow View Farm out of Indiana, so I travel when work allows me to go ride. Victor is my mother’s horse actually. We have had him for 5 years now. He ended up wanting to jump a little bit bigger than my mom wanted to jump, but he was so sweet and we loved him so much so we wanted to keep him. She has let him be my horse. He is a really good boy. I just really love my horse a lot and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have such a class horse that is so athletic and loves his job so much. I never in my life thought I would ever have a horse this nice to ride and horse show. I am very thankful for all the help I have, my trainers, my parents who let me ride this horse and support this sport. Tammy is such a great trainer. She keeps all of the horses in really good shape – her horses have the nicest coats out there at the show and all of them are very healthy. Anytime anything minor is off, it is noticed right away and taken care of. She has a really great program. She is a world class professional, so it is really nice to be training with one of the best hunter trainers in the world. She really knows her job and does a really great job preparing both horse and rider. It is always a successful horse show with her.”
Non Pro $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- All In, Jacquelynn Christenson – 90 | 87 | 177
- Oh Brother, Vanessa Mazzoli – 86 | 89 | 175
- Beyond Time, Caroline Roethlisberger 80 | 88 | 168
- Barenstark, Lindsay Arbino – 81 | 86 | 167
- Coriano VDV, Lilly French – 82.5 | 84 | 166.5
- Vision Quest, Sabrina Hall – 79 | 85 | 164
- Varsity, Meaggan Niesen – 83 | 72 | 155
- Cassino, Josephine Rose – 85 | 59 | 144
- La Dolce Vita, Alex Sciortino – 78 | 60 | 138
- Commander B, Madison Weaver – 89 | 47 | 136
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography.