Jason and Alisa Berry, the husband and wife duo of Jason Berry Stables in Staunton, Virginia, stole the show in tonight’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, with Jason taking first place and Alisa not far behind him in second. The Berrys beat out twenty other entries in the class, with Jason being the only rider to score into the nineties.
The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby saw a total of twenty two entries contesting the course of natural obstacles. The first round began on a single vertical with log standards across the diagonal, then continued to the top of the ring to a birch vertical option that sat on a diagonal in the corner, which bent to a birch oxer on the rail. Entries rode past the ingate, up the diagonal to the bamboo rail two-stride, then around the top of the ring to a second vertical option on a diagonal in the corner. This vertical option bent to a hay bale oxer option, then entries rode past the ingate and up a six-stride line on the diagonal. To finish, entries rounded the top of the ring to jump a stone oxer option on the diagonal.
First in the ring was Greg J. Crolick aboard Renaud Farm, LLC’s Armani II. Coming off of his win in the National Hunter Derby last week with Alovaro, Crolick confidently entered the ring, prepared to compete. Crolick and Armani II laid down a lovely first round, taking all four high options for a score of 84, setting the standard for the rest of the class.
Soon after Crolick and Armani II’s round, Alisa C. Berry and Michael Cline’s Fate (Cosmos x Dolce Vita) rode through the ingate. The pair took second place in last week’s National Hunter Derby, just behind Crolick and Alovaro. Alisa and Fate eased into a steady rhythm, jumping beautifully and taking all four high options for a score of 79.
Jason Berry rode shortly after his wife’s successful first round. He entered the arena aboard Lee Cesery’s Shakespeare (Sir Donnerhall x Stutbuch) and rode each jump with great precision. Jason and Shakespeare took all four high options, scoring an 82 in the first round.
Returning for the handy round, Crolick and Armani II sat atop the leader board, followed closely by Jason and Shakespeare in second and Alisa and Fate not far behind. The handy round began on the in of the six-stride line, then rolled back to the birch oxer on the rail. Entries then broke immediately to a trot to jump a narrow, brush covered fence by the ingate, then continued up the bamboo rail two-stride on the diagonal. From there, entries rounded the top of the ring to jump the vertical option at the top of the ring, then rode through the center of the arena and up the birch vertical option, then rolled back to the birch oxer option on the diagonal. To finish, entries jumped the hay bale oxer option by the ingate.
First to return for the handy round was Alisa and Fate. The pair rode a flawless course, full of carefully planned handy turns. Fate’s impressive jumping style added an extra element to their round. The pair jumped three of the four high options, scoring an 89 in the handy round. This brought their overall total to 168.
Shortly after, Jason returned aboard Shakespeare. Much like his wife’s mount, Shakespeare had an undeniable jumping style that truly wowed the judges. Jason also took a very handy approach that other riders had yet to attempt, taking the inside track to the final fence. Jason and Shakespeare jumped all four high options, earning a score of 92 in the handy round, which brought their total score to 175.
Last to return was Crolick aboard Armani II. The pair took all four high options, and also attempted the inside track to the final fence with perfect execution. While the pair had a fantastic round, a few of their handy turns were not quite as smooth as the Berrys’. The crowd waited in anticipation for Crolick and Armani II’s score. The score was finally announced as 81, bringing their overall total to 165, moving them to third place and the Berrys to first and second place.
Both Jason and Alisa Berry were thrilled with their rides tonight. Jason described his ride aboard Shakespeare first, “He’s awesome,” Jason noted about the bay Westphalian gelding, “He has been a little nervous here and there, which is why we did this class…and he was phenomenal! He always listens to everything; he’s perfect.” Alisa nodded in agreement, then commented on her own ride tonight aboard Fate, “I didn’t love my first round, so it was nice to come back and really step it up. My first Derby on Fate was last week when we took second, so it was just fun to get to show in the class.” At about this time, Jason and Alisa’s young children joined us in the arena, and Alisa noted, “It’s so nice that the kids are right here as we do this!”
“A facility like this is amazing,” Jason added, “it’s a lot of fun to be here!”
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Shakespeare, Jason Berry – 83 | 92 | 175
- Fate, Alisa C. Berry – 79 | 89 | 168
- Armani II, Greg J. Crolick – 84 | 81 | 165
- Lex Toccino, Gabriella R. Lewis – 72 | 82 | 154
- Parrot Bay, Emily N. Ryan – 66 | 75 | 141
- South Side, Kelsey A. Epperson – 79.5 | 56 | 135.5
- Brego, Raffi Kechejian – 82 | 44.5 | 126.5
- Persuasion, Melissa P. Donnelly – 76 | 50 | 126
- Brightside, Kirsten Kumpar – 65 | 60 | 125
- Harvey, Haley Buchmiller – 68 | 52 | 120