Wilmington, Ohio – World Equestrian Center – Wilmington played host to a group of seasoned hunter athletes for the $15,000 USHJA National Open Hunter Derby of Midwest Indoors II. Michael Pegg (CAN) designed the tracks that drew a crowd to the R+L Arena to ultimately watch Sarah Sturges (USA) and No Doubt (Nerrado x Abba II) earn two of the highest scores of the day to take top honors.
Sturges, of Cincinnati, Ohio, caught the ride on Abby Wagner’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, and left little room for error from the rest of the field, setting the tone with a first-round score of 90.
Sturges spoke highly of her partner, “I thought the course was tough enough to where it weeded some out. The last line was one that I wouldn’t want to jump on every horse, but Noah [No Doubt] is so adjustable and so wonderful that he really just makes everything work.”
Sitting in second place, Trevor Hawthorne nailed the handy track and earned a high score of 92, forcing a near perfect round on Sturges to remain on top.
“I watched Trevor go and he laid it down. His horse is super scopey and he did a beautiful job,” said Sturges. “My horse is such a classic hunter that I really tried to stick with my plan. I wanted to stay handy but smooth and let his jumping style speak for itself. I thought everything rode really nicely. If I could change anything, I would have landed right after the trot jump but he made such a beautiful effort everywhere else that it worked itself out.”
Trusting her mounts experience and style around the track, Sturges impressed the judges for the highest score of the day of 93 in the second round.
With a two-round total of 183, the duo headed back to the barn decorated in blue surrounded by their supportive team.
“I had a blast. It was a really fun course and a really fun day today,” Sturges reflected.
$15,000 USHJA National Open Hunter Derby Results:
1 No Doubt, Sarah Sturges, Roaring Brook LLC | 90 | 93 | 183
2 Center Stage, Trevor Hawthorne, Kelly Lasch | 89 | 92 | 181
3 Callestino, Michaella Gerlacher, Frances Conti | 88 | 87 | 175
4 Hilton II, Keely McIntosh, Booth Show Jumpers | 86 | 84 | 170
5 Mister Wright, Diana Conlon, Jennifer Day | 84 | 85 | 169
6 Corlando 49, Melissa Donnelly, Elizabeth Becker | 82 | 85 | 167
7 Bavaor Von Seeder, Hayley Anderson, Gretchen Anderson | 79 | 80 | 159
8 Fineas, Jessica Jurkowitz, Clover Hill Farm | 70 | 84 | 154
9 Cinda, Melissa Donnelly, Elizabeth Becker | 74 | 79 | 153
10 Gabrielli, Danielle Urban, Cheryl Matranga | 67 | 79 | 146
Back-to-Back Wins for Nicole Lyvere in the $15,000 IDA Development USHJA National Non-Pro Hunter Derby
Nicole Lyvere (USA) swept the $15,000 IDA Development USHJA National Non-Pro Hunter Derby for the second week in a row, this time aboard her Certainty (Hoftanz x Batida).
Lyvere had to think strategically over Michael Pegg’s (CAN) tracks to overcome the challenging aspects for her mount Certainty, known as Paul in the barn.
“The course was technical today. I was actually a little worried about doing it on Paul because he can get a little worked up when things come up fast and I can get a bit quick myself,” said Lyvere. “I had to keep my brain slow so that he stayed relaxed because everything came up quite quickly. I knew that if I got frazzled, I would lose him, so I just took a deep breath.”
The duo jumped to a first-round score of 84 and came back in fourth place for the handy.
“Paul is 15 this year and I have had him since he was five. He is probably one of the hardest horses I have ever ridden to this day, but by this point we know each other’s quirks pretty well, but sometimes we still push each other’s buttons! He wants you to work for all of it. He can jump amazing, but he won’t just give it you. The less you do the better, until you get to the warmup ring, he has a routine. At home we just keep him happy.”
With a second-round score of 89 and an overall of 173, Lyvere worked her way up the leaderboard to stay on top for her second derby win in a row.
Lyvere reflected on her back-to-back wins Friday evening, “I am just so happy. It is a huge tribute to my horses and my team at home. We do everything ourselves, so it feels really good.”
$15,000 IDA Development USHJA National Non-Pro Hunter Derby Results:
1 Certainty, Nicole Lyvere, Nicole Lyvere | 84 | 89 | 173
2 Sandriano, Jenna Drago, Jenna Drago | 91 | 81 | 172
3 No Salt All Sugar, Madelyn Kuhn, Madelyn Kuhn | 80 | 91 | 171
4 Qualtender, Jordan Wicklund, Pamela Wicklund | 86 | 83 | 169
5 Amanda M, Magnolia Labuda, Magnolia Labuda | 89 | 76 | 165
6 Double Dutch, Alexis Palmer, Alexis Palmer | 85 | 79 | 164
7 Kingston Blue, Elizabeth Rinehart, Claire Rockacy | 78 | 84 | 162
8 Lugatti, Nicole Lyvere, Nicole Lyvere | 72 | 86 | 158
9 The Boy Friend, Izzy Beisel, David Beisel | 81 | 70 | 151
10 Cornets Design, Delanie Borders, Delanie Borders | 72.5 | 78 | 150.5
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Results can be found at wec.net.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.