Wellington, Fla. – March 31, 2018 – Hannah Isop and Tracy Freels’ Red Ryder claimed the top spot in the first round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Saturday morning on the Stadium Derby Field during the final week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Isop and Red Ryder recently made their return back to the show ring after Isop spent the first two months of WEF recovering from a broken collarbone, while her talented partner also took a two-year hiatus from competition after sustaining an injury prior to WEF 2016.
Their first outing together was in March at the Deeridge Derby, where the pair secured multiple top finishes. Isop, of Pawling, New York, trains at Harkaway Farm located in North Salem, New York, which is owned by Freels, who also happens to be Isop’s aunt.
As a third-generation equestrian, riding and equestrian sports have always been a family affair for Isop. Her grandmother, Jeri Freels, even came out to support her granddaughter on Saturday.
In Saturday’s classic round, Isop prevailed with high scores of 92 and 89 for a total of 189 points to take them into the leading position against 37 other horse-and-rider pairs going into Sunday’s handy round.
The 14-year-old Selle Français gelding tackled all 11 fences with ease, including each of the four high-option fences in the Kenny Krome-designed course.
On Friday afternoon, Isop also took to the field to try her hand in the new $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt and Go” class, which is formatted similarly to a power-and-speed jumper class where riders continue into the handy phase of the class without stopping or leaving the ring, instead of the top 12 combinations returning after the classic round. Isop and Red Ryder took home the fifth place ribbon at the conclusion of Friday’s competition.
However, Isop wasn’t sure if she would show in Saturday’s $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. After discussing it with Freels, and with sights set on the 2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, later this year, Isop ultimately decided it was in her best interest to go forward with competing. Clearly, Isop and Freels made the right choice, proving they are back and better than ever.
The team at Harkaway Farm will be cheering on Isop and Red Ryder again on Sunday as the pair heads into the handy phase. Coming in second place behind Isop was Kelley Farmer riding Todd Minikus Ltd.’s Exceptional with 188 points, while the third place ribbon was awarded to Jennifer Hannan and her own Olympic Fire with 183 points.
Hunter competition at WEF will continue as the top 24 combinations return on Sunday afternoon to close out the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at 1 p.m. on the Stadium Derby Field.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Hannah Isop – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round One winner
On Saturday’s performance:
“It’s not me; it’s all him. He makes it easy. It was a pretty straightforward course and I started with a little bit more rhythm than I normally would. It rode very much how it walked. This is probably his last big class until Derby Finals so we thought it would be a nice thing to get under his belt. Luckily it worked out really well today.”
On Friday’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt and Go” class:
“Yesterday was definitely a warm-up, and I definitely had a different horse. In fact, I almost didn’t go today. He was still quite good yesterday, but he was a little more sticky than normal out on the grass, especially in the far corner. I thought he handled that great today. I was very happy with that. We definitely used yesterday as a warm-up round and I’m glad we did. It’s nice that they offered that and I love the [“Hunt and Go”] format. I can’t wait to keep doing those.”
On her partnership with Red Ryder:
“We bought him in 2014. Tracy [Freels] spotted him; I have to give her credit. She spotted him doing a Training Jumper class and we had a year of learning hunter jumps and getting to know each other. I know Tori [Colvin] said her chestnut [Private Practice] was also a jumper so I can relate. We spent time getting him in hunter shape. He came out in 2015 and did the High Performance Hunters. We had a great 2015 season but unfortunately, right before Florida 2016, he was injured and it was a very long layup. We didn’t know if he was going to come back. I have to thank our vet, Dr. William Bradley, and my mother, Susan Isop. They did an incredible job bringing him back. We took our time and he feels better than before.”
On their return to the show ring:
“This winter, he did a national derby pre-circuit and won. Then, I broke my collarbone the Sunday before Week One of WEF. The derby at Deeridge [Farms] was our first big class back. I was back in the show ring within six weeks. It is unbelievable how well he has come back.”
$50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round 1
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score 1 / Score 2 / High-Options / Total
1. Red Ryder / Hannah Isop / Tracy Freels / 92.00 / 89.00 / 4 / 189.00
2. Exceptional / Kelley Farmer / Todd Minikus LTD / 90.00 / 90.00 / 4 / 188.00
3. Olympic Fire / Jennifer Hannan / Jennifer Hannan / 86.50 / 88.50 / 4 / 183.00
4. Shameless / Kelley Farmer / Aizlynn Radwanski / 87.00 / 87.00 / 4 / 182.00
5. In The Know / Samantha Schaefer / Madeline Schaefer / 85.00 / 88.00 / 4 / 181.00
6. S & L Just a Cobbler / Elizabeth Boyd / S & L Farms / 86.75 / 86.00 / 4 / 180.75
7. Mindful / Jennifer Hannan / Kensel LLC / 86.00 / 85.00 / 4 / 179.00
8. No Doubt / Sara Taylor / Elizabeth Phillips / 87.50 / 86.50 / 2 / 178.00
9. Private Practice / Tori Colvin / Brad Wolf / 85.50 / 84.00 / 4 / 177.50
10. Cuba / Tori Colvin / John & Stephanie Ingram LLC / 84.00 / 83.00 / 4 / 175.00
11. I Love Lucy / Tori Colvin / John & Stephanie Ingram LLC / 84.50 / 83.25 / 3 / 173.75
12. Aeroplane / Amy Momrow / Melissa Wight / 82.50 / 81.75 / 4 / 172.25
For full results, click here.