Wayne, IL - July 26, 2013 - It was a day to remember for Molly Mcadow as she laid down the winning rounds during the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The Lamplight Equestrian Center was packed with exhibitors and spectators for the third day of Equifest I, and although the skies were gray and torrents of rain poured down from above, the derby contenders were not deterred. Mcadow led the victory gallop this afternoon with Barina, riding to scores of 89 and 94 to take the win. Stephen Foran and Bronizet were awarded the second place, while Amanda Thomas and Catani snatched the third place award.
Exhibitors took to the Hunter Ring early this morning as the Classic Hunter Round commenced, the anticipation was high as 40 entrants, navigated Allen Rheinheimer's course. There were nine obstacles in the first round including bending lines, a tight four-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.
Mcadow claimed an early lead with Barina, owned by Nina Donnelly of Evanston, IL, after scoring an 89 during the first round. The downpour did not stop them from riding to the top of the standings, taking the tricky parts of the course with ease, and opting for all of the high options. Mcadow also chose to take eight strides down the first line, which helped her to collect and take an edge over her competition.
"It didn't seem like it was going to be a very hard course but there were a couple places like from 2 to 3 in the bending line, as well as the last bending line of the course. They were all had high options, which changed the steps and made them tricky," Mcadow explained. "Barina likes to land left, and because the bending lines lead back right, we chose to do the eight strides down the opening line instead of having to gallop it in the seven, and risk a mistake."
Thomas jumped up in the standings aboard Catani, owned by Samantha McCarty of Zionsville, IN. They completed a beautiful first round with fluidity and finesse, resulting in a score of 87 points. Catani is only a 6-year-old, but on the derby course he rode like a veteran. Thomas also rode Dallas, owned by Vyla Carter of Indianapolis, IN, to the impressive score of 84.
"This is the second time he has ever done one of these derbies, and he is actually very green, but he is huge, and sometimes we forget his age," Thomas smiled. "He goes in a rubber snaffle and he is such a good boy, and so much fun to ride. He did great out there, I couldn't have asked for more."
Foran guided Bronziet, owned by Liberty Equine Ventures of Lake Forest, IL, to a Classic score of 86 points. It was the handy round that would make all the difference for the competitors.
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 excellence from horse and rider alike. It began with a single vertical set at the far end of the arena, and then required a left rollback over a gray gate. Following a serpentine pattern, riders had to make a right rollback and take the red oxer set on the outside, and then make a right turn to the only remaining line of the Handy, the four-stride. They then had to make a left rollback over the trot fence and then a hard right over the green oxer. Upon landing, they turned left and took a standalone vertical on the outside, utilizing a string hand gallop, and then landed to the left to complete a rollback over the final oxer.
Tackling the tricky handy hunter course was a feat 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. Mcadow earned a returning position for three of her mounts during today's $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. She returned first, in the 12th place position, aboard Kenyan, owned by Donnelly, eventually riding to an overall score of 148 points to earn the 11th place award. She returned with Sea Smoke, owned by Marybeth Canfield of Chicago, IL, earning a final total of 151.5 points. Her star mount, Barina, would be the last to return to the ring.
Thomas returned on Dallas, ready to seal a position in the top 12 with her first-round score of 84 points. Although they put their best effort forward, they were awarded a score of 79.5, good enough for the fourth place award. Thomas also rode Bonfire, owned by Helen Gilbert of Saint Louis, MO, to the sixth place position with an overall score of 159 points. It wasn't until she returned on Catani that victory seemed a possibility.
"I thought the courses were really nice," she said. "It was pretty straightforward, but the handy round was a lot of fun with its layout. He is such a big horse that we can't make the tight turns that many of the other horses can. We had to think on our feet a little bit."
Knowing that she was up against stiff competition, Thomas 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 85 points, granting her the lead in the second round. Thomas knew that she had to post a score that would be hard to beat, especially with USHJA Emerging Athletes Finals winner Stephen Foran hot on her heels.
Foran picked up a quick but tidy pace with Bronziet, riding through the turns adeptly and showing keen handiness before the trot jump. He was dually awarded for his solid effort with a score of 87 in the handy. Combined with his first round score of 86 points, Foran snatched the lead with an overall score of 173 points.
"I liked the handy course," Foran said. "There was a lot of turning and flowing, a lot of single jumps, which you could find off your eye, which I really like to do. There weren't a ton of options, so everyone had a pretty similar course. Whoever was the handiest and found the jumps the best was rewarded for it. My horse is just so easy that I can flow and let him do his thing. I am able to be very soft with him and have a great ride."
Mcadow and Barina were the last to return to the Handy Round and, in this case, the best was saved for last. Barina exemplified a handy horse, taking all high options, and moving through the turns smoothly. Each jump was crisp, and it was clear that a muddy day would not stand in the pair's way. The judges announced a score of 94 for the excellent performance, catapulting them to the top of the leader board to claim the winning honors.
"I'm looking forward to doing more derbies with her," Mcadow smiled. "She's just so fun and good all the time, and it's a ton of fun to ride her around the course like that. The course was so nice, open and flowing, that it really makes it a pleasure to ride her. She has such a strong gallop, and the way she jumps each jump is amazing."
Foran was pleased to claim the second place award with his overall score of 173 points. He only surpassed Thomas by one point, but he was very happy with his most recent mount.
"It's a new horse; I haven't had him very long," Foran explained. "He has a great attitude, anything I am willing to do he is willing to do it. He has done the jumpers for the last several years, but we thought that he would be a great equitation prospect for my last junior year. He is so versatile that he can go into any ring and win. Not only does he win in the hunters and equitation, but I took him in the 1.15m Jumpers yesterday, and he was flawless in there, too. He is so much fun, and easy to ride. It is a blast to have a horse you can rely on."
Silas Jaramillo of Sun Prairie, WI, rode The Advocate to the overall score of 162 points for the fifth place position. Thomas nabbed the sixth with Bonfire, while Tina Judge and Bond took the seventh place finish. Placing eighth was Shannon Kelly and Trust Me. On Tour with Kelsey Cerkieski in the irons took the ninth place finish, Josey Gentry and Insight finished tenth, and Molly Mcadow rounded out the top 12 with her two mounts Kenyan and Sea Smoke taking 11th and 12th, respectively.
"I've been showing here for 20 years," Mcadow concluded. "I am impressed by the footing and the great consistency it has. The horses are jumping great off of it, and the facility is just beautiful. It was always nice here at Lamplight, but the changes they have made make it that much more special and professional."
Tomorrow Equifest I will continue with the Amateur-Owner and Junior divisions taking their start. Riders will have the opportunity to compete in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Classic and $1,000 Junior Classic with their top mounts. All of the hunter action for Equifest I 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 Equifest II returns next week for five days of competition.
To find out more about Lamplight Equestrian Center, go to: http://lamplightequestriancenter.com/.
$5,000 USHJA NATIONAL HUNTER DERBY RESULTS
ORD # Horse Name Rider Name Score
1 284 BARINA MOLLY MCADOW 183.000
2 347 BRONZIET STEPHEN FORAN 173.000
3 152 CATANI AMANDA THOMAS 172.000
4 155 DALLAS AMANDA THOMAS 163.500
5 146 THE ADVOCATE SILAS JARAMILLO 162.000
6 213 BONFIRE AMANDA THOMAS 159.000
7 263 BOND TINA JUDGE 158.000
8 273 TRUST ME SHANNON KELLY 157.500
9 374 ON TOUR KELSEY CERKLESKI 155.000
10 376 INSIGHT JOSEY GENTRY 153.000
11 289 KENYAN MOLLY MCADOW 151.500
12 288 SEA SMOKE MOLLY MCADOW 148.000
To find out more about Lamplight Equestrian Center, go to: http://lamplightequestriancenter.com/