Wellington, Fla. – March 10, 2018 – The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby took place on Saturday morning, seeing numerous top hunter riders perform to their best abilities. The class took place on the immaculate derby field at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, which offered horses and riders a nice change of pace from their usual routine at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The class saw both juniors, amateurs and professional riders competing throughout the class, however the two groups were pinned separately.
During the first round of competition, a total of 55 athletes were challenged on the expansive derby field with 10 obstacles that were carefully placed by course designer Danny Moore. The second handy round of competition saw the top 12 riders from each section, both juniors/amateurs and professionals, demonstrate their handiness with a number of tight turns, hand gallops, and a trot fence. Horse and rider combinations were also offered the opportunity to add points to their score during both rounds of competition with four high option fences scattered throughout the course.
At the end of the morning’s competition it was Jennifer Bliss who came out on top, in more ways than one as she placed first, second, and eighth with her team of capable derby horses. She placed first with Harris Hill Farm LLC’s Game Face, a horse that only started showing last year and still managed to earn some of the highest marks of the day, finishing on a cumulative score of 180. Second place was captured with another one of Harris Hill Farm LLC’s horses, Poker Face with a total score of 177. In eighth was Sugarman, another horse belonging to Harris Hill Farm LLC.
In third place for the professional’s open section of competition was Michael Desiderio and Dru Cederberg’s Zero Tolerance, who finished on a total score of 176.
In the junior/amateur section of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby it was Meredith Lipke and her own For Love who came out on top. The pair clearly demonstrated their knack for the grass derby field with a high score of 89 during round one and a score of 90 during round two. Although Lipke is just getting back into the show ring after recovering from an injury last season, she and For Love appeared as a well-seasoned pair throughout both of their rounds.
In second place was Kianna Luscher and Carissima W, owned by Northeast Equi-wave Therapy LLC with a cumulative score of 173. Third place was captured by Samantha Karp and her own Zentina B with a score of 171.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Jennifer Bliss – $10,000 USHJA National Derby Open Winner
On Game Face:
“We call him Rocco in the barn. He is 8 years old and we got him just this summer from James Lala. He originally was imported from Argentina and this is really his first year showing. He really didn’t do much as a young horse, so we’ve kind of thrown him right into it during this circuit. He was doing the first years this winter. We really bought him with the hopes of him becoming a derby horse. We’ve been trying to develop him and give him mileage toward that goal. He actually did one Nation Derby pre-circuit and last week at the Deeridge Derby he did his first International Derby. We wanted to give him some experience on this field and we hope to do the International Derby during the last week of WEF. He is such a great, scopey horse. I feel like I can really canter up to anything with him, which is great at this point for getting experience and working on his rideability. He is so capable at the jumps and that’s a really good feeling.”
On having the derby at ADGF:
“I love showing over here. It’s so fun and it’s so nice that this year we have the opportunity to get over here twice. It’s just such a beautiful field. We always try to take advantage of it when we have the chance.”
Meredith Lipke – $10,000 USHJA National Derby Junior/Amateur Winner
On For Love:
“I got [For Love] from Jennifer Bauersachs last year. She brought her along from a very green horse to a derby horse and did very well. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her show. Now I get to ride her and it’s a dream come true every day. I started riding her last year, but I had an injury so I really didn’t do much last year. So I’m just coming back and [For Love] is really just a pro – been there, done that. I just have to stay out of her way and then we’re good. She loves the derby field; she loved getting a gallop going.”
On the derby field at ADGF:
“This is a beautiful course. It is so well done and the footing is so nice. It’s just really nice to have the opportunity to come over [to Adequan Global Dressage Festival] and ride in this gorgeous field.”
On her derby experience:
“I just did my first big derby over at the Deeridge Derby and I was a little rusty. The derby’s are a favorite for both me and [For Love]. This win is a huge confidence booster for me. Like I said, I’m just getting back into showing and she is the right horse to teach me to do this. She’s a dream to ride and she loves her job.”
Horse / Rider / R1 Score | R2 Score
$10,000 USHJA National Derby Open
1. Game Face / Jennifer Bliss / 91 | 89
2. Poker Face / Jennifer Bliss / 92 | 85
3. Zero Tolerance / Michael Desiderio / 88 | 88
4. Take Two / Keri Kampsen / 89 | 85
5. St. Tropez / Keri Kampsen / 81 | 87
6. Tia Maria / Melissandre Lincourt / 80.5 | 84
7. Cornando / Jennifer Hannan / 90 | 74
8. Sugarman / Jennifer Bliss / 87 | 71
$10,000 USHJA National Derby Junior/Amateur
1. For Love / Meredith Lipke / 89 | 90
2. Carissima W / Kianna Luscher / 86 | 87
3. Zentina B / Samantha Karp / 85 | 86
4. Hello Kitty / Kierstin Atoniadis / 84 | 82
5. Bliss / Catherine Kenny / 81 | 84
6. Aiden / John Yozell / 79 | 79
7. Dynasty / Ansley Wright / 77 | 80
8. Honor / Caroline Tinsley / 78 | 72