Every now and then, Lavish wanders out of semi-retirement to play around in hunter derbies with rider David Beisel. On Saturday morning, Beisel taught a few lessons, loaded up the old pro and headed to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete in the $5,000 USHJA Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Classic on Saturday afternoon. Despite their casual arrival, Beisel and Lavish came prepared to win, turning in an impressive first round over the Bobby Murphy-designed course to earn a score of 85, including the four extra points for taking all of the high options. With their spot high in the top 12 secured, Beisel watched the handy round from the sidelines, developing his strategy all the while.
"The name of the class is handy," Beisel said. "I kept watching the other riders, and even as they turned inside from the Hallway Feeds jump back to the oxer, it seemed to take forever. I started seeing different ways to cut it down and make it a little handier. I checked with the owners, and I said, 'I've got something different in mind. I think it's super, super handy, and if I can pull it off, I can get some extra points.'" And pull it off he did. Beisel executed a tight rollback to the aforementioned oxer - only one of two riders to attempt to cut down the turn and take the oxer at a sharp angle.
"For me, it was pretty risky," Beisel said of his turn. "The oxer in the middle was really hard to jump; you had to catch it on a big angle, which made it quite a wide jump with the brush in front. It didn't leave much room for air afterward." Beisel's decision paid off, and the judges rewarded the duo with the highest handy round score of 92 for a combined total of 177 points, which would hold out to earn Beisel and Lavish the blue ribbon."He did it beautifully," Beisel said of Lavish. "He loves his job."
Hot on Beisel's heels were last week's derby winners, Molly Sewell and EL Raymond. In the classic round, the duo outscored the field by earning an 88, including the four extra points for taking the high options. "EL Raymond went absolutely beautifully in the first round," Sewell said. "The course was nice and flowing; he jumped beautifully, no rubs; he was perfect." The pair was last to go in the handy and missed seeing Beisel's slick rollback while schooling in the warm-up ring. "That move did not even cross my mind," Sewell laughed. "Everyone was like, 'oh my God,' and I'm about to walk into the ring like, 'what did [David] do?' Bill [Schaub] said, 'don't change your plan. Do not change your plan.'"
A minor rub at the first fence would prove to be the round's only blemish for a score of 86, including the four high-option points. A total score of 174 would secure second place for EL Raymond and Sewell. Owner Leslie Campbell looked on proudly from the sidelines, saying, "EL Raymond is everything that's great about this sport. He's taught so many juniors, and now he has the best ride of his life, Molly, his forever rider now." Rounding out the top five were third-pace finishers Virginia Ingram and Comanche, whose scores of 84 and 87 combined to a total of 171. In fourth place were Renee Lenkart and Cayman with a 169.5, while last week's second-place finishers, Lilly French and Candor, took home fifth with a score of 165.75.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
$5,000 USHJA Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby Results
1 2035 LAVISH DAVID BEISEL 85.010 92.000 177.010%
2 369 EL RAYMOND MOLLY SEWELL 88.000 86.000 174.000%
3 271 COMANCHE VIRGINIA INGRAM 84.000 87.000 171.000%
4 1732 CAYMAN RENEE LENKART 85.000 84.500 169.500%
5 1487 CANDOR LILLY FRENCH 83.250 82.500 165.750%
6 274 JET BLACK VIRGINIA INGRAM 83.000 81.000 164.000%
7 1453 FRIEND REQUEST HELEN VOSS 80.000 83.000 163.000%
8 504 ONE HUNDRED AND ONE MORGAN MANN 81.000 80.000 161.000%