Wilmington, Ohio – A seasoned group of hunters gathered in the R+L Arena for Winter Classic #7 at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington for another sensational hunter derby Friday. Scott Alder (USA) crafted the track for the field of 13 breathtaking horse-and-athlete combinations in the $15,000 USHJA National Open 3’ Hunter Derby. Spectators were eager to recognize Kristjan Good (CAN) and Carano (Cabardino) with applause as the pair climbed up the leaderboard to take top honors.
Alder’s first-round track gave riders the opportunity to set a consistent pace for the course, starting off with three single obstacles with long approaches. The second round tasked riders with showcasing the rideability and handiness of their mounts.
Good, of Kristjan Good Show Stable in Campbellville, Ontario, navigated the track with ease, demonstrating his expertise in the hunter ring. Good spoke on his experience with his talented young mount, “I have had Carano since he was three and he is eight now. I did him through his 3’6” year last year and I showed him the derbies at home in Canada. I showed him at the Royal Winter Fair and won a derby on him there. He is a really brave dude!”
The duo was in picture-perfect form and jumped to a score of 82 in the first round and returned for the handy phase in third place.
Good spoke on his different handy plan for his winning mount, “I knew I could challenge this horse more. The first horse that I did, Quirocks, is a lot greener and after watching Jason [Berry] I knew that I had to leave it all out on the table.”
An eight-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Alexandra Maletta, Carano impressed the judges as he made light work of the handy questions and maintained his expressive canter and athletic jump throughout the class. The duo won the prestigious title as they earned a second-round score of 90 for a two-round total of 172.
$15,000 USHJA National Open 3’ Hunter Derby Results:
1 Carano, Kristjan Good, Alexandra Maletta | 82 | 90 | 172
2 Escapade HS, Leann Kelly, Jack Shainman | 81 | 86 | 167
3 Vapiano, Brianna Snyder, Pick Investments LLC | 80 | 82 | 162
4 Mardi Gras, Jason Berry, Margaret Hackstedde | 92 | 69 | 161
5 Saturn, Brianna Snyder, Utopia Investments LLC | 66 | 80 | 146
6 Levidinus, Jonathon Fischetti, Jonathon Fischetti | 64 | 81 | 145
7 Brugh’s Mill, Jason Berry, Joan Alberti | 50 | 93 | 143
8 Louboutin, Dana Wille, Stacy Marie Halacka | 62 | 79 | 141
9 Cadbury, Jason Berry, Jason Berry | 68 | 71 | 139
10 Rock Point, Jason Berry, Alisa Berry | 83 | 50.5 | 133.5
Jenna Drago & Sandriano Emerge Victorious in $15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro 3’ Hunter Derby at WEC Winter Classic #7
Alder’s track set the scene early in the afternoon as 13 horse-and-athlete combinations rode for the top prize the $15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro 3’ Hunter Derby. At the conclusion of a classic hunter round and a handy phase, Jenna Drago (USA) and Sandriano (Sandro Boy x Cool Pearl Z) impressed the judges with their performance to take the win.
Drago, training out of Petrie Show Stables in Medina, Ohio, and her longtime partner Sandriano have found incredible success throughout their career together. Drago spoke highly of her trusted mount after exiting the winner’s circle, “I have had Sandy since I was in eighth grade, and I will be 20 in April. He has definitely changed my life, and I couldn’t do this sport without him. I did all four of my junior hunter years on him and we went to all of the indoor shows and did Junior Hunter Finals.”
The duo was the fifth pair to contest over the classically set track. With Drago in the irons, the 16-year-old Zangersheide gelding laid down a respectable trip in the first round, making impressive efforts over the single oxers and flowing through the two-stride combination. The pair earned a first-round score of 77 including all of the high options to sit in fifth place moving in the handy round.
“My first round was good, but it wasn’t my best work. So, I went in for my handy and wanted to give it my all. I picked up a really nice canter and made sure that I kept it throughout the whole course. I was going to do the further trot jump but at the last second, I chose the closer one because it set me up to have a better turn. I maintained the canter to the two stride and made sure to land right out so that I could have a nice right turn to the last oxer. The last jump came up really well and he was amazing,” Drago explains her plan for the handy round.
Drago entered the R+L Arena looking to move up the leaderboard as much as possible. Making every inside turn and opting for each handy option that the track presented to them, the duo impressed the judges with their second performance. Sandriano jumped in perfect form and showcased his rhythmic cadence to a second-round high score of 92 for an overall of 169 to take the blue ribbon.
$15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro 3’ Hunter Derby Results
1 Sandriano, Jenna Drago, Jenna Drago | 77 | 92 | 169
2 Cristiano, Leighton Goldberg, Leighton Goldberg | 84 | 83.5 | 167.5
3 The Politician, Meredith Smith, Meredith Smith | 78 | 83 | 161
4 Bacardi, Riley Gasaway, Amy J. Scheick | 72 | 85 | 157
5 Nightcap, Jamison Lile, Jamison Lile | 76 | 76 | 152
6 Incredible, Pamella Kissman, Pamella Kissman | 79 | 72 | 151
7 Denero, Sophia Welniak, Ssam Equine LLC | 79.5 | 69 | 148.5
8 Leonti, Elysa Jeschelnig, Elyse Jeschelnig | 74 | 73 | 147
9 Amando M, Magnolia Labuda, Magnolia Labuda | 75 | 64 | 139
10 Cosmo Cool, Grace Hildebrand, Grace Hildebrand | 29 | 88 | 117