David Beisel & Abudabi Emerge Victorious in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
This evening’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby saw a fantastic win for David Beisel aboard Kalanov Equestrian’s Abudabi. The pair bested nineteen entries in the class, many of which earned scores well into the eighties and nineties. Beisel was thrilled with the win, saying that this was just his second ride aboard Abudabi, but that the lovely bay Warmblood was brave, soft and very sweet.
The course for this evening’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby was designed by Brandon Saxton of Wilmington, Ohio and featured four option jumps, flowing bending lines and many handy opportunities. The first course began at the top of the ring where horses and riders were asked to jump a natural brush filled vertical, then round the top of the ring and continue down the diagonal over a log oxer option. They then continued past the ingate, jumping a birch vertical option, then bending up the rail to a birch oxer option. Horses and riders then rode down the diagonal over a Tuscan-inspired five stride line, continued past the ingate over a brick vertical option, then bent up the rail to a brick oxer. To finish, horse and rider pairs rounded the top of the arena and rode down the diagonal over a natural two stride line.
Near the top of the order of go with three to ride in the class was Michael Leon of Atlanta, Georgia aboard Kelly Sims’ True Enough (Catoki x Hauptstutbuch Chardas Fürstin). True Enough and owner Kelly Sims have been quite successful in the Amateur Owner Hunters, taking top placings in 2018 up and down the East Coast, and True Enough has also taken many top placings in Professional Hunter divisions with Leon. This evening, Leon and the eye-catching grey gelding navigated the course in the first round with plenty of style, jumping all four high options and earning a score of 84.
Leon next rode another of Kelly Sims’ horses, Eleventh Hour (Christ x Baloubette). Leon also has a great rapport with Eleventh Hour, taking countless top placings in various Professional Hunter divisions along the East Coast. The flashy bay Oldenburg gelding mirrored Leon’s first mount’s stylish performance, catching the judges’ eyes. The pair jumped all four high options in the first round for a score of 89.
Wrapping up the first rounds was David Beisel aboard Kalanov Equestrian’s Abudabi. The bay Warmblood gelding is no stranger to the winner’s circle at World Equestrian Center, taking first place during Week 4 of the Winter Series of the Midwest in the $2,000 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6″ with owner Traci Ribeiro. None would have guessed that tonight was only Beisel’s second ride aboard Abudabi, as the two seemed completely simpatico, flowing around the course with ease. The pair took all four high options in the first round, earning a score of 88, just one point behind front-runners Michael Leon and Eleventh Hour.
The ring was reset as twelve horse and rider pairs prepared for the handy round. The course for the handy round began over the brick vertical option, then rolled through the center of the arena to the the birch vertical option, now reversed to face the ingate. Horses and riders then jumped the log oxer option, now reversed to head up the ring, then bent to the birch oxer option at the top of the arena. From there, entries trotted a brush fence across the center of the ring, then rolled back to the brick oxer. To finish, horses and riders rounded the top of the arena and jumped the natural two stride line on the diagonal heading home.
First of the top contenders to return was Michael Leon aboard True Enough, riding early in the order to accommodate his multiple mounts in the handy round. The pair echoed their first round, riding the course with plenty of style and executing every possible inside turn. Leon and True Enough took all four high options again in the handy round for a score of 90, bringing their two-round total to 174, setting the bar and challenging the remaining entries to beat their score.
David Beisel returned late in the order aboard Abudabi, skillfully taking all available inside turns and four high options. The pair were rhythmic and undeniably precise, creating a lovely picture for both the audience and the judges to watch. The pair earned an astounding 94 in the handy round, which sent them straight to the top of the leader board with a total of 182 points.
Last to return was Michael Leon aboard Eleventh Hour. The pair rivaled Beisel and Abudabi’s round, mimicking their inside turns and high option choices. The pair wowed the judges, much like the previous round, and earned a score of 92 in the handy round. This brought Leon and Eleventh Hour’s two-round total to 180, placing them second, just two points behind first place finishers David Beisel and Abudabi.
We caught up with David Beisel of David Beisel Stables in Goshen, Ohio after the class to talk about his rounds aboard Abudabi, a ten year old former Eventer turned Hunter/Jumper. “He’s a nice horse, I actually rode him for the first time yesterday,” said Beisel, “Kosta Kalanov was nice enough to ask me to ride him. I actually saw his owner, Traci Ribeiro, taking a lesson on him about a month ago and told them how cute I thought he was, and Kosta said yesterday, ‘You should ride him in the Derby tomorrow.’ He jumped around nice. He’s soft and sweet. In the first round, I was maybe a little quiet to one, just getting to know the horse, then he really settled in. I felt like he really purred around nice in the handy. It’s nice how brave he was. Kosta said he would go right through the little gaps in the handy round, and he did just that.”
Watch David Beisel and Abudabi’s winning round courtesy of ShowNet
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Abudabi, David Beisel – 88 | 94 | 182
- Eleventh Hour, Michael Leon – 89 | 91 | 180
- True Enough, Michael Leon – 84 | 90 | 174
- Cayman, Renee Lenkart – 86 | 79 | 165
- Revival, Abigail Fox – 80 | 82 | 162
- Conor, Jennifer Waxman – 83 | 74 | 157
- Whoopert Z, Ashleigh Stewart – 73 | 80 | 153
- Sunday Girl B, Abigail Fox – 75.5 | 76 | 151.5
- Enjoy the Magic, Stacy Toulouse – 74 | 77 | 151
- Ferrarie, Erin Smith – 78 | 72 | 150
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.