Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 2, 2018 – The Winter Equestrian Festival’s first International Hunter Derby of the circuit was held midday Friday in the International Arena, with 35 contenders showing their skills over Andy Christiansen’s 14-fence track. The only pair to break the 90-point threshold, Kelley Farmer and Autumn View Farm’s Shameless ultimately claimed the top spot in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby just two points ahead of the reserve champions Liza Boyd and S & L Just A Cobbler, owned by S & L Farms.
The WEF Week 4 $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby operated under the newly-introduced Hunt and Go Format, with entries completing the standard classic round and then immediately beginning a handy hunter round without stopping or exiting the arena. Unveiled by the USHJA in August 2017, the new competition structure is intended to offer riders the derby experience in an abridged format. Met with differing feedback, the format is an optional structure for competitions.
A field comprised of both derby rookies and veterans made for a wide range of scores over the course of the afternoon, with the cut-off score for twelfth position concluding at 164.5 points from the two judges panels. As the third entrant in the class, Emma Kurtz aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Dedication led the first portion of the class, earning a total score of 177 that would hold until Farmer and the chestnut gelding Shameless entered the ring ten trips later. Garnering scores of 90 and 86 plus eight bonus points for opting for the high-option fences for a cumulative 184, Farmer and the scopey Shameless set a high standard for remaining competitors. Boyd and S & L Just A Cobbler laid down a valiant effort just three trips following, but were unable to overtake the class leaders, finishing on a total 182 score. Though the field of horses and riders aimed to overtake the early pairs atop the scorecard, none were able to break into the top three after Boyd’s ride. Kurtz retained her status to finish in third position.
Shameless is a new ride for Farmer, having only just taken the reins on the gelding about a week ago. Todd Minikus recommended the horse to Farmer and trainer Larry Glefke, and this week’s Winter Equestrian Festival was the first outing for the horse under Glefke’s tutelage. Exceedingly complimentary of Shameless, Farmer credited his lovely style and immense scope as a major factor in their win in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
Hunter classes will continue Saturday and Sunday across the grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, with division champions crowned each day. A number of $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies, as well as a $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, will take place over the course of the coming weeks, with the derby series culminating in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held during WEF Week 12 on the Stadium Derby Field at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival grounds.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Kelley Farmer – $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby champion
“It’s a lovely, lovely horse. We just got him about eight days ago and this is our first show with him. Todd Minikus sent him to us. He’s very scopey and light on his feet. He’s just a very talented horse. He came with the name Shameless, it’s very fitting! He came out the first day and was a little up. The second and third day he came out more level. He came out here today and acted like he’s done this all of his life.”
On the course:
“That horse is scopey, scopey! He wants to be careful and I felt like I could trust him at anything. After you change from the hunter portion to the handy, the designer built a nice smooth track. It wasn’t rough and beautiful to ride. There wasn’t really a place where you could change gears, but it’s an intimidating ring for horses who haven’t been in there.”
Larry Glefke – Trainer to Kelley Farmer
On the Hunt-and-Go Format:
“First off, any time they give money to the hunters, I’m thrilled. Any time we can get in the International Ring as well, that’s great. I applaud anything they do to do that for us. With this format, it’s harder to know what other riders are going to do. When we have two rounds, we can watch and learn from other riders for the more competitive handy round. However, we find it more than acceptable but we hope it doesn’t become the norm.”
On plans for the horse:
“I told Kelley to make it a pleasant experience for the horse because a derby horse and a Derby Finals horse are two different things. That ring is intimidating and it has stopped some of my very best horses. But we’re looking for a Finals horse and that’s what we were trying to find out today. He answered those questions and I believe he has that ability.”
Liza Boyd – $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby reserve champion
On the Hunt-and-Go Format:
“I think it’s really nice for a new rider-horse combination. For the competitive riders, I don’t think I could really go for it in the handy portion. It’s hard to differentiate. I think that’s where Kelley and I get so competitive [in the handy round]. We follow each other and plan accordingly. I think having two rounds brings the excitement up a little more.”
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Score
$15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
1. Kelley Farmer / Shameless / Autumn View Farm / 184
2. Liza Boyd / S & L Just A Cobbler / S & L Farms / 182
3. Emma Kurtz / Dedication / Dr. Betsee Parker / 177
4. Jennifer Hannon / Olympic Fire / Jennifer Hannon / 173
5. Amy Momrow / Aeroplane / Melissa Wight / 171.5
6. Giavanna Rinaldi / Governor / Alex Jayne / 171.25
7. Hunter Holloway / Any Given Sunday / Hays Investment Group / 171
8. Geoffrey Hesslink / Cadoretto / Geoffrey Hesslink / 171
9. Augusta Iwasaki / Vanderpump / Ashland Farms / 171
10. Jennifer Bliss / Poker Face / Harris Hill Farm, LLC / 170
11. Jennifer Hannan / Corice Z / Claire Kenna / 169
12. Keri Kampsen / Take Two / Two Goals Farm, LLC / 164.5