Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 10, 2018 – Competition at the Lamplight Equestrian Center began bright and early on Friday, Aug. 10, to continue the third week of Equifest. Spectators gathered around the Main Hunter Arena to watch numerous horse and rider combinations battle it out in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by CWD that began at 8 a.m. Holly Shepherd, no stranger to the winner’s circle, once again claimed the first place prize in the National Derby with the gelding Jerez Mail.
Shepherd had two mounts entered in the National Derby: Longstreet owned by Barbara Risius and Jerez Mail owned by Micaela Kennedy. In the first round, she piloted both geldings through the course flawlessly, earning a score of 91 with Longstreet and an impressive score of 95 with Jerez Mail.
Only one other horse-and-rider pair received a score in the 90s for their first round, and that was Erin Cummins riding her own Seventh Heaven. Cummins was awarded a score of 92 in her first round, putting the pair in a good position in the class going into the handy round.
Shepherd returned to the ring for the handy round first aboard Longstreet, receiving a score of 89. Combined with their first round score of 91, they ended out the class with a score of 180. When Shepherd entered the ring once more with Jerez Mail for the handy course, she was determined to showcase his talents to the best of her ability. She succeeded when she was given a score of 90, the highest score given in the handy round. Combined with her first round score of 95, the pair secured the victory with their total of 185.
Shepherd began her full-time partnership with the 6-year-old Argentine gelding in April of this year after he won a number of his pre-green classes in 2017. This year, Shepherd explained that Jerez Mail has stepped up to the plate and become more comfortable in the arena. The judges have awarded his skill and presence in the ring accordingly.
Shepherd finished the class in both first and second place with her two mounts. Cummins and Seventh Heaven, returning to the ring to earn a score of 83 in their handy round, rounded out the top three with a total score of 175.
Competition at the Lamplight Equestrian Center will resume Saturday, Aug. 11, and will feature the $25,000 Grand Prix scheduled to kick-off at 4 p.m in the Grand Prix Arena.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Holly Shepherd – $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby winner
On Jerez Mail:
“He’s a 6-year-old Argentine, I rode him as a pre-green horse last year and he won a lot. They stepped him up this year and I started riding him in April. We did a couple horse shows in Kentucky and he was still trying a bit too hard and couldn’t quite put things together. We went to Vermont a few weeks ago and he just started winning and he’s like, ‘Now I know how to do it!’ He won all four of his first year classes the first week. He’s been amazing. Super fun, super elastic, one of the best jumpers I’ve ever ridden. Very easy and brave.”
On her rounds:
“I couldn’t really fault him anywhere! He is super consistent to ride. He doesn’t go to sleep, he doesn’t wake up, he just goes the way he goes. Jerez is just a super comfortable ride, I was really happy with him. He wants to be an overachiever so he was really good. He’s a lot of fun!”