Wellington, Fla., Apr. 1, 2018 – The final week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) ended with a beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon at the Stadium Derby Field with the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Twenty-five riders were brought back from Saturday’s classic round to try their hand with the handy phase. It was veteran hunter rider and frequent derby champion Liza Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler, owned by S&L Farms, that topped the final day.
Kenny Krome’s course laid out a number of different questions for the riders and their mounts to answer. The 10-obstacle track offered four high options reaching up to 4’3” in height along with a number of natural-looking fences. Boyd and S&L Just A Cobbler came back in the sixth place spot and completed their round smoothly scoring a 92 and 93 with four high option points and 9 handy points awarded from both judges panels for a total of 391.75, which was enough to shoot them to the top of the leaderboard.
Boyd took over the ride on the 8-year-old KWPN gelding in December and they have already proven to be an unstoppable force within the derby ranks. The pair placed second in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt-and-Go” format during Week 4 of WEF. She plans to continue competing the young horse in derby competitions in preparation for the USHJA Hunter Derby Finals later this year. Boyd is a three-time USHJA Hunter Derby Finals champion winning with Brunello in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Coming off a win from Friday’s “Hunt-and-Go” format class, Kensel LLC’s Mindful and Jennifer Hannan scored an overall 384 for second place. Hannan also has plans to take Mindful and her other derby star, Olympic Fire, to Derby Finals later this year.
Samantha Schaefer rode her sister’s In the Know to the third place position with an overall score of 383. Having competed mostly at HITS Ocala this winter season, Schaefer did nott want to miss the opportunity to ride on the immaculate grass field during the last week of the WEF season with her seasoned derby mount.
Competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will continue April 4th, 2018 with the 2018 ESP Spring I.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Liza Boyd – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby champion
On the horse:
“Cobbler came to us in December. I have to really give credit to those who rode him before. He’s a great example of the horses that come through the hunter pipeline. From his pre-green year he did really well. I really envied him watching him go in the pre-green incentive classes. Holly Orlando showed him as a young horse. Then Dorothy Douglas rode him for a bit. My dad would always help out and we really watched him over the years. I’m really lucky that I got him when he was at the stage where he can be really competitive. He’s pretty made up now.”
On the S&L Just A Cobbler on the grass field:
“This horse is very different from Brunello. He’s more like the thoroughbred type that we used to see. It’s a different feel than most of us are used to these days. You can just chuck the reins and if he starts pulling, just ease up and he slows down on his own. But I love it! I reminds me of my childhood days. He got better and better each day. It was really nice to have the Hunt-And-Go format earlier this week. Today, I noticed they were really rewarding galloping. There weren’t a lot of places to go inside or be too handy. My strategy was just to galloping everywhere I could and make sure the jump held him off.”
On Friday’s class:
“I think in a perfect world, it would have been nice to have the class on Thursday. We’re not complaining because we’re really glad they had it and it gave us a chance to get on the field. I think that it’s like a welcome stake class for the jumpers, that usually goes a couple days before their big class. I would love to see more horse shows do that.”
Jennifer Hannan – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby reserve champion
On today’s course:
“I think that the course started off friendly with the option at the first fence. The first line was nice and smooth, then it started to get a little more challenging. The next vertical was headed toward the water and the bank which can be challenging for horses who haven’t seen that. After the trot fence, that was where you could really start you gallop. The last two fences was trying to be as slick as you can.”
On Friday’s class:
“It was nice! The first time I had a sort of welcome class was at Deeridge. It’s nice to have that opening round so you know what kind of horse you have for the weekend. It makes managing the preparation a little easier.”
On the horse:
“Mindful felt great! He was really ready to go. He actually jumped better today than yesterday. He handled the course really well. He loves to gallop so it’s easier for us to do a handy like that.”
Samantha Schaefer – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby third place
On the course:
“Most of us did the same track today. They were rewarding forward riding. I think a little gallop where you could was going to impress the judges. I got a little caught going backwards to the second to last fence; I would’ve liked one less stride, but I think I was going a little too fast and he slipped a little. That was something my horse is brilliant a,t so he made it look like it was meant to be. But it’s so nice to ride out here. Any chance we get to be on the grass is amazing. I always try to take that opportunity.”
On the horse:
“For me, walking in yesterday he was maybe a little too quiet. But I always say it’s better to have a quieter horse and use a little more leg. But today he had a little more energy and he jumped better today as well. He always rises to the occasion.”
$50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Horse / Rider / R1 | R2 / Total Score
1. S & L Just A Cobbler / Elizabeth Boyd / 180.75 | 211 / 391.75
2. Mindful / Jennifer Hannan / 179 | 205 / 384
3. In The Know / Samantha Schaefer / 181 | 202 / 383
4. Exceptional / Kelley Farmer / 188 | 193.5 / 381.5
5. Red Ryder / Hannah Isop / 189 | 190.75 / 379.75
6. Cuba / Victoria Colvin / 177.5 | 201 / 378.5
7. Private Practice / Victoria Colvin / 177.5 | 197.5 / 375
8. I Love Lucy / Victoria Colvin / 173.75 | 193 / 366.75
9. No Doubt / Sara Taylor / 178 | 184 / 362
10. Gelato / Victoria Colvin / 172 | 186 / 358
11. Kensi / Kristy Herrera / 166 | 191.5 / 357.5
11. Corice Z / Claire Kenna / 168 | 189.5 / 357.5