Ocala, FL – Hunters took the spotlight at World Equestrian Center – Ocala today during Week VII of the 2023 Ocala Summer Series. Doug Russell designed the open tracks for three highly competitive derbies; $12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, $10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby and $10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. Horses were jumping to perfection over the stunning tracks with scores reaching into the high 90s.
The $12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby saw the highest scores of the day from the nation’s best hunter athletes, though it was Josh Dolan and Margaret Robinson’s Something Blue (Carambole x Special BP) that impressed the judges with two impeccable rounds that earned an outstanding overall score of 193 for the win.
In the first-round, Dolan piloted the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to a sublime performance and a high score of 96.
Dolan debated whether to play it safe or take a risk in the handy, “I sent my friend Jordan Lubow to look at Lexy [Reed’s] track. If I had a big lead, I was thinking I might go around and stay safe, but still wasn’t sure. I looked at my husband and asked what he thought, he told me to practice for Derby Finals – go for it, don’t play it safe and practice what you have to practice.”
Following his team’s advice, Dolan knew what he had to do with Something Blue, “The rollback to the tiki high option oxer was a challenge for others, so I wanted to sit into him for the corner and try to get his belly up and hind end coming. I came out of the turn and luckily the distance was right where I wanted it to be and he just soared. I think he stepped up two years there and just excelled. Then I just floored it to the last and tried to show off his step.”
Earning an incredible score of 97 for a two-round total of 193, Dolan and Something Blue made history during the 2023 Ocala Summer Series.
The near-perfect score was a first for Dolan as well, “I’ve never received a 97 before, I have had a 96 a few times, but this was the first time I’ve ever had an overall score that high. It puts you on an emotional high, especially because we are going into the biggest event of the year for hunters in a few weeks and to be able to walk into that after this performance, it’s mind blowing. I couldn’t have ever dreamed it would happen.”
$12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1 Something Blue, Josh Dolan, Margaret Robinson: 96 | 97 | 193
2 Citation, Keri Kampsen, Keri Kampsen: 88 | 98 | 186
3 Coltrane, Daniel Geitner, Magnolia Lane Stables, LLC: 90 | 93 | 183
4 Kayman, Keri Kampsen, Beth Congel: 89 | 92 | 181
5 Con L’Anima, Josh Dolan, Josh Dolan: 89.5 | 90 | 179.5
6 First Verdi, Kate Neily, Kate Neily: 80 | 88 | 168
7 Cliff Hanger, Maria Rasmussen, Kobi Rhodes: 81 | 86 | 167
8 High Renaissance, Elizabeth Blaisdell, Della Equestrian: 77 | 75 | 152
9 Legist, Lexy Reed, Beth Congel: 94 | 51 | 145
10 Mister Fahrenheit, Anna Ermlich, Anna Ermlich: 71 | 73 | 144
First Time is a Charm for Daniel Geitner & Even Steven in $10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby
A field of elegant hunters gathered at the CaptiveOne Advisors Arena 1 early this morning to contest the $10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby. Daniel Geitner piloted Margaret Russell’s Even Steven (Embracee x Gulf Star) in his first ever derby to two top scores to gallop away with the lion’s share of the prize money.
Geitner and the nine-year-old Warmblood gelding navigated a seamless first-round effort while jumping all four high options for a score of 90.
“He’s such a neat horse. He’s a homebred for his owner and he’s just been a blast. I have been riding him for probably two years now. We did him last year in the Pre Greens and this year we are doing the First Years. His owner is up in Michigan for the summer and said to go try him in a derby while we are here and I think Steven likes it,” expressed Geitner.
With a hedge trot fence as the first obstacle in the handy, Geitner strategized a plan to keep Even Steven sharp, “I practiced some trot jumps in the schooling area to get his attention. It wasn’t a huge trot jump, I almost landed trotting on my other horse, so I made sure to keep him awake to the first. Then I just tried to make all the turns, they were tricky but doable.”
The winding derby track was no match for derby newcomer Even Steven with Geitner in the irons. A high score of 96 secured the pair first place by a landslide with an overall total of 186, ten points higher than second place.
The future look promising for Even Steven, “Next week I think I am just going to show in the derby and skip the first years, because he seemed to brighten up with the challenge today. Now, he will get to go home out in the paddock and enjoy himself.”
$10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby:
1 Even Steven, Daniel Geitner, Margaret Russell: 90 | 96 | 186
2 Louan Z, Clair Kellner, Maggie Alexander: 87 | 89 | 176
3 Julington, Jenny Miller, Jenny Miller: 85 | 87.5 | 172.5
4 Inspiration, Clair Kellner, Mindy Carreja: 83 | 88 | 171
5 Asante, Kaley Pratt Jones, Reinbow’s End Farm: 84 | 84 | 168
6 Auheim’s Cosmo Brown, Jenny Miller, Page Flournoy: 79 | 87 | 166
7 Aeronautic, Daniel Geitner, Martin Schlaeppi: 77 | 85 | 162
8 Modern, Kaley Pratt Jones, Julia Murry: 80 | 81 | 161
9 Dior, Ashley Hotz Sedrick, Kylie Elias: 81 | 79 | 160
10 High Life, Jennifer Speisman, Jennifer Speisman: 74 | 83 | 157
Lillian Geitner & Banks Mill Claim the $10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Victory
Twenty stunning hunters competed over Doug Russell’s derby tracks in the $10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby during Week VII of the 2023 Ocala Summer Series. Lillian Geitner followed in her father, Daniel Geitner’s footsteps with Banks Mill and snagged the win with two high scores in the 80s.
Geitner and the 12-year-old Warmblood gelding received a first-round score of 88 to return third for the handy.
Banks Mill is a seasoned derby horse, “My dad used to show him in the international derbies, so he knows the drill. I used to show him in the junior hunters, but now we just do the derbies. Hopefully one day we will do the international derbies together. He’s such an awesome horse and tries his best for me,” said Geitner.
Sitting in third, Geitner had a plan for Banks Mill, “After the trot jump, I wanted to go wide so I could angle back left and land on the left lead so I could go inside to the oxer. It worked out well and then the rest came up smoothly.”
The pair floated around the track to receive a score of 87 from the judges for a two-round total of 175 for the win.
$10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Results:
1 Banks Mill, Lillian Geitner, Daniel Geitner: 88 | 87 | 175
2 Chappalo, Payton Ryan Grant, Payton Ryan Grant: 82 | 84 | 166
3 Kid Safari DH, Chloe Tanner, Fedela Farm, LLC: 83 | 81 | 164
4 Stakko Air Zwei, Fiona Sutton, Fiona Sutton: 79 | 83 | 162
5 Iron Man JP, Maddie Tosh, Catherine Wheeler: 86 | 69 | 155
6 Fitz, Isabel harbour, IMH Equine, LLC: 81 | 73 | 154
7 Casero, Dr. Debbie Kelly, Streett Moore: 90 | 63 | 153
8 MTM Capedu, Kelly Lorek, Emersales LLC: 74 | 78 | 152
9 Fernhill First, Sierra Elliot, Tamara Marshall: 76 | 72 | 148
10 Churchill Blue, Reagan Williams, RPW Show Horses, LLC: 80 | 67 | 147