Wayne, IL - August 2, 2013 - Kathleen Caya laid down two picturesque rounds aboard Bay View early this morning to take the win in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Equifest II. The Lamplight Equestrian Center's third day of competition opened to a light breeze and cloudless skies, the perfect atmosphere to set the scene for today's derby riders. Caya piloted Bay View to the top of the leader board with scores of 88 and 89 to take the win and lead the morning's victory gallop. Laura Linback and Slap-N-Tickel rode to the second place finish, while Caya also picked up the third place aboard Conelly.
Exhibitors took to the Hunter Ring early this morning as the Classic Hunter Round commenced; the eagerness was high as 22 entrants navigated Allen Rheinheimer's course. There were nine obstacles in the first round including a bending line, a tight two-stride vertical-oxer line set on the diagonal, wide turns and rollbacks. Rheinheimer utilized obstacles evocative of a traditional hunt field, beautifully set with natural foliage, logs and brush. Riders were scrutinized for their style throughout the round, but were also given the option to take higher fences set at 3'6" for an additional point each.
Caya took an early lead with Bay View, owned by Vicki Vieaux, after scoring an 88 during the first round as the second pair in the order of go. They left nothing to chance out on the track, choosing to take all the high options and impress the judges with their finesse. Their first round proved good enough for the high score of 88 points.
"He is new to us for showing, we haven't done a lot together, but he is stepping up to the plate," Caya explained. "He has a good brain and is a lot of fun. All he needs is a super simple ride, and wants to be dead-on to the jumps. I feel like I can jump mountains on him. He does the High Performance during in the week, and it feels easy for him, so it is a huge confidence booster. I am lucky to have the ride on him."
|Kathleen Caya and Bay View captured the National Hunter Derby victory at Equifest II.
Linback jumped up in the rankings aboard Slap-N-Tickel, owned by Woodrun, completing the first round for a score of 86 points. Slap-N-Tickel is only a 5-year-old, but on the derby course he rode like a an expert. They only had one hiccup during the lead change, but the majority of their course was flawless, they would earn their spot in the top 12 to return.
"This is his fifth horse show, ever. He is 5 years old, and he was a stallion that I imported from Germany and had gelded. I bought him from the same person who I bought my Grand Prix horse from. I look for horses with a great jump, and he is the cutest horse," Linback explained. "He has really come along, four months ago he couldn't even do a lead change, but he is great. Once we started horse showing and he began understanding the routine, everything clicked."
Linback continued, "He is pretty much a point and shoot ride, granted he is young, so sometimes he still has uncertainties, but he is so easy to guide. When you get three strides out, and you know you are on the distance and throw your reins up the neck, he just explodes. It is the best feeling in the world."
Caya also navigated Conelly, owned by Susan Schmitt, to the impressive score of 84, guaranteeing a two-mount return for the Handy Round. Defending Champion Molly Mcadow and Barina, owned by Nona Donnelly, earned a score of 85 for their Classic Round. It would all come down to the handy round today, with the top riders only separated by slightest of margins.
The Handy Round provided four key areas where riders had the opportunity to showcase their handiness and earn crucial bonus points. From start to finish, the Handy Course demanded brilliance from horse and rider alike. It began with a single oxer set at the far end of the arena, and then required a left wide left turn over a green oxer set on the outside. Riders then continued through a left turn toward the white oxer, and continued with a wide turn down the right side of the ring over a second green oxer. With a right rollback, riders then had to bring their mounts down to a trot to show over a log, and then turned left to take on the two-stride. The final fence was a brown gate set on a diagonal near the in-gate, which gave riders plenty of room to pick up the pace and hand gallop to the final obstacle.
Tackling the devious handy hunter course was a task all of its own. The scores from the Classic Hunter Round carried over into the second-round competition, factoring into the overall score for each pair. Caya earned a returning position for two of her mounts during today's $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, entering first aboard Conelly. They rode to the second round score of 84.5 points for the overall score of 168.5. Although her score ranked high, Caya knew she still had the defending champions, Mcadow and Barina, yet to return.
Mcadow had her eyes set on the prize today, determined to take the win. After the opening fence, she made an inside turn to the outside oxer to show Barina's athleticism and handiness, but an unforeseen spook stopped the pair in their tracks. She completed the rest of the course with the same finesse she had originally set to portray, however, the mishap cost them the win. They finished with the cumulative score of 129 points.
Laura Linback was the penultimate rider to return to the ring aboard Slap-N-Tickel. The bay gelding showed consistency throughout the course, jumping to the high scoring round of the day with 90 points. It seemed as though her final score of 176 points would be unbeatable, but the best was yet to come.
|Laura Linback and Slap-N-Tickel
"We are very excited, because I truly believe that in the right program with the right rider he could be Horse of the Year. He has really been getting legitimate ring experience, and at his very first horse show he excelled at the handy, they are his forte since he was bred to be a jumper," Linback stated. "He jumped so well in the second round, and I think that honestly he out-jumped him. I was a hair protective in the first round, and we were a step behind in the lead change which cost us, but I couldn't have asked for more from him today."
Knowing that she was up against rigid competition, Caya entered the ring and left nothing to chance. She opted to make an inside turn after fence 2 as a way of showcasing her handiness. That extra move was what gave her the Handy Round score of 89 points, granting her the lead. Caya knew that she had clinched the win, and was all smiles as she walked into the winner's circle.
"You had to keep galloping out there during the handy course - it was nice," Caya said. "There were a lot of single jumps. That kind of course was built for him. He has such a nice big stride that it was really open and was truly ideal. He was right there for me. He gave me everything he had, and made it a lot of fun."
Josey Gentry and The Boyfriend took the fourth place with the overall score of 167 points. Caya also nabbed the fifth place with Seneca for their score of 166.5 points. Shannon Kelly and Trust Me rode to the sixth place, while Brooke Saltzman and Ariano took the seventh place finish. Stephen Foran and Bronziet earned the eighth place, and Kristin Jungbluth and Konzerto placed ninth. Katana O'Brien and Limerick finished in 10th, while Sarah Robertson and Denmark pinned 11th. It was Mcadow and Barina who rounded out the top 12 to complete Equifest II's $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Caya concluded, "I haven't shown at Lamplight for a little bit, but we had a great time here in June, and you can really tell that the improvements are coming together. We will definitely be back for more."
Tomorrow Equifest II will continue with the Amateur-Owner and Junior divisions. Riders will also have the opportunity to showcase their mounts in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Classic, $1,000 Junior Classic and the WIHS/NAL/M&S Children's Hunter Classic. All of the hunter action for Equifest II will conclude this Sunday with the final championships for the remaining hunter divisions, but there is more in store at the Lamplight Equestrian Center when the $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight takes center stage tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m.
To find out more about Lamplight Equestrian Center, go to: http://lamplightequestriancenter.com/.
Photo Credit: All Photos By: Kendall Bierer/PMG. Photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.
$5000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
1 248 Bay View Kathleen Caya
2 254 Slap-N-Tickel Laura Linback
3 247 Conelly Kathleen Caya
4 341 The Boyfriend Leslie Richman
5 246 Seneca Kathleen Caya
6 217 Trust Me Shannon Kelly
7153 Ariano Brooke Saltzman
8 319 Bronziet Stephen C. Foran
9 226 Konzerto Kristin Jungbluth
10 151 Limerick Courtney Link
11 184 Denmark Sarah Robertson
12 110 Barina Molly Mcadow