Hunter News From Week III of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic

Julie Curtin and her own Honey Badger win the KCR Classic Hunter Derby. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Julie Curtin and her own Honey Badger win the KCR Classic Hunter Derby. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

Gulfport, Miss. – Feb. 24, 2018 – Week III of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic welcomed heated competition in the hunter arenas and Julie Curtin of Woodstock, Georgia was crowned the hunter queen after winning both first and second place ribbons with her own Honey Badger and Rebekah Warren’s Cassico, respectively, in the KCR Classic Hunter Derby, as well as an eighth place finish with Cheryl Rubinstein’s Capisce.

The classic, followed by the handy round in a back to back format, had Curtin and Honey Badger set the combined score to beat at 172.

“In the handy round, Paul Jewel had a gate we had to go through which was really fun. There was a tight inside turn option after the gate and I took it with both Honey Badger and Cassico,” she said. “They are both super handy and love the derbies.”

Gulf Coast Classic President Bob Bell and Awards Coordinator Drew Coster greet Julie Curtin and Honey Badger in the winner's circle. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Gulf Coast Classic President Bob Bell and Awards Coordinator Drew Coster greet Julie Curtin and Honey Badger in the winner’s circle. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

“Going late with Cassico, I had to catch my own score!” she laughed. Their combined score of 171.5 earned them the second place ribbon. “Cassico is getting groomed to do his big derby Week V which will his first time doing an International Hunter Derby and I’ll have Honey Badger in the KCR Classic Hunter Derby,” she said.

Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama and Ravello’s total score of 169 secured the third place ribbon. Junior rider Isabella Bleu Baxter of Wright City, Missouri, in the irons of Helen Gilbert’s White Lightning placed fourth overall with a score of 167.5 and also secured the $500 High Non-Pro Rider Bonus.

Shepherd returned to the ring, this time in the irons of Barbara Risius’ Longstreet after earning a combined score of 166.25 for a fifth place ribbon as well as a sixth place ribbon with Cathy Dattel’s Lucie for their overall score of 165.

Carson Ruff of Jackson, Missouri, and Sabina Holtzman’s Re Chiste placed seventh with their overall score of 160.5 as well as the $300 High Non Pro Rider Bonus.

Curtin and Cheryl Rubenstein, LLC’s Capisce placed eighth and Brooke Miller of Carencro, Louisiana, rode IDH Investments, LLC’s Luiz Dos Santos, earned a ninth place ribbon. Ellie Bernstein’s Zernesborg, ridden by Brittany Sommer Desalvo of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, placed tenth and Ruff returned to the arena for the eleventh place ribbon in the irons of Mikaela Kennedy and Sabina Holtzman’s Jerez Mail. They also won the $500 KCR Classic Low Non-Pro Rider Bonus.

Miller and Sir Hansel, owned by Riley Townsley wrapped up the class with a twelfth place ribbon.

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Reynolds Cole of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and her own Cristal won the $200 KCR Classic High Non Pro Rider Bonus and Jorja Kreidler and Jodi Ness’ Hello Henry won the $500 KCR Classic Low Non Pro Rider Bonus.

Star Jewel and Jason Berry Win the Sidelines 3′ Green Hunter Championship

Jason Berry guides Star Jewel to the win in the $1,000 Sidelines 3' Green Hunter Division. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Jason Berry guides Star Jewel to the win in the $1,000 Sidelines 3′ Green Hunter Division. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

The Sidelines 3′ Green Hunters and the 3’3″ Green Hunters wrapped up the third week of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic with 9 horse and rider teams competing in the 3’3″ Green Hunters and ten horse and rider team in the 3′ Green Hunters.

Star Jewel, owned by EMO Stables and ridden by Jason Berry of Verona, Virginia rode away with the championship in the Sidelines Green Hunter 3′ and Anita Ledsinger’s Able, ridden by Julie Curtin were awarded the Reserve Championship.

Bob Bell and Drew Coster greet Betty and Ernie Oare and Star Jewel in the winner's circle. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Bob Bell and Drew Coster greet Betty and Ernie Oare and Star Jewel in the winner’s circle. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

“I’ve ridden Star Jewel and she is a phenomenal mare,” commented Jason Berry. “The Sidelines Green Hunter is such a great event here. I’m not sure why there aren’t 30 horses in it each week,” he said. “We definitely need this more in the horse show world. I hear from professionals that show managers need to make competition affordable so they can bring their horses, but they are not taking advantage of it when someone like Bob [Bell] is handing it to them,” he added.

“Here in Gulfport, at the end of the day after you collect your prize money and pay your fees, the biggest bill you have here is to the braider! Preparing your horses for the Green Incentive is such a big deal, and the courses are really nice, the jumps are beautiful and new and you’re not jumping mismatched jumps like at some of the other winter circuits. Why is this class not seeing thirty horses in it?” he said. “Everyone should have their young horses here in Gulfport for the $5 Sidelines Green Hunters and the $5 Young Hunters,” he added.

“I was catch riding Able for Tom Brennan,” said Curtin. “This Sidelines Green Hunter is a great opportunity to get him exposure and experience at a really affordable price,” she said.

Holly Shepherd and Boure win the Sidelines 3'3" Green Hunter Championship. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Holly Shepherd and Boure win the Sidelines 3’3″ Green Hunter Championship. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

Boure, owned by Belle Rolfe and ridden by Holly Shepherd were awarded the Sidelines 3’3″ Green Hunter Championship and Talkative, owned by Amy Squier Perez and ridden by Julie Curtin took the Reserve Championship.

“Talkative is a new one for me, he has been slowly brought along and we showed him in the 3′ Sidelines Green Hunters last year and now he’s blossoming in the 3’3″s. I think it’s nice that we have the two heights for the KCR Derby and we can choose the height. I appreciate that as it helps with my training,” she said.

The Sidelines 3′ and 3’3″ Green Hunter Division is offered at the Gulf Coast Winter Classics for only $5 for the Division and are qualifying events for the second installment of the $30,000 Green Hunter Classic scheduled for the Atlanta Fall Classics. Don’t miss the opportunity to qualify for this finals classic at the home of the 1996 Olympic Games. Enter each week at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic for only $5 a division and be sure to sign up for the upcoming Atlanta Spring Classic and Jacksonville Spring Classic. There are plenty of opportunities to earn valuable points through the Charleston Summer Classic.

Not So Secret and Calder Trotz Win the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby

Calder Trotz and Not So Secret on their way to the win in the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Calder Trotz and Not So Secret on their way to the win in the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

The $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby took place Friday and Not So Secret, owned and ridden by eleven year old Calder Trotz of Memphis, Tennessee won the class with a combined score of 153.

Trotz’s trainer David Pellegrini commented, “The course Paul Jewel designed was great. He did a spectacular job replicating a derby similar to what they will see in pony finals. It was an enormous ring with long bending lines and the handy round definitely had some roll back turns. But most importantly, it really simulated what they are going to see at pony finals which is what all of these kids are excited about,” he said.

Calder has ridden with Pellegrini from the beginning. “We purchased Not So Secret after pony finals last year. She won the stakes class at Washington and good ribbons in Harrisburg and at the Capital Challenge. They are definitely honing their skills as the year progresses,”he commented. The pair sat in second position after the Classic round with a score of 80 but their handy score of 73 moved them into the winner’s circle.

Erika Van Dyken of Moorestown, New Jersey and her own Cherrybrook Just Blue In earned a first round score of 72.5 which had them in fourth position, but their score of 80 in the Handy round for a combined 152.2 moved them into second place.

Gulf Coast Classic Company President Bob Bell and Drew Coster greet Calder Trotz and Not So Secret in the winner's circle. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography
Gulf Coast Classic Company President Bob Bell and Drew Coster greet Calder Trotz and Not So Secret in the winner’s circle. Photo: Alison Hartwell Photography

Blondie, owned and ridden by Gabrielle Young of Spring Hill, Kansas, finished in third place after turning in a classic round with a score of 71 and then the leading Handy score of 81 for a total of 152.

Fourth place was awarded to Burberry, owned and ridden by Annalise Gabert of Robbinsville, New Jersey, for their combined score of 151.5. Secret Crush, owned by DLJ Performance Equine, LLC and ridden by Jillian Pizzi of Moorestown, New Jersey, placed fifth with their combined score of 142 and Rumpleminze, owned and ridden by Mary Mac Collins of Tuscaloosa, Tennessee placed sixth.

Young returned to the arena for the seventh place ribbon with her own Hidden Springs Woodstar and Magical Me, owned and ridden by McKenzie Welch of Lakeland, Tennessee, earned an eighth place ribbon. Van Dyken returned to the arena for an eight place ribbon, this time in the irons of her own Up All Night, and Heaven’s Gift, owned and ridden by Isabella Griffin of Hampton Cove, Alabama, wrapped up the class with a tenth place finish.

“I am very proud of everyone and happy to be here at Gulfport,” said Pellegrini. “The weather has been so incredible. I’ve been coming her for 19 years and love every bit of it. Last night we went to the 20th Anniversary Party of the Gulf Coast shows and it was amazing!” he said. “The top restaurants were there and it was a true food extravaganza!” he added.

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