Mill Spring, NC- Colin Syquia of Wellington, FL, and Soon To Be, owned by Jennifer Smith, captured top honors in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC this morning, topping the class with a two round score of 175. Syquia guided Samba's Secret, also owned by Jennifer Smith, to second place with a final score of 167. Sara Ketcham of Columbus, NC, and Oh Brother, owned by Christian Oliver, rounded out the top three with a final score of 163.
Syquia was ecstatic with the flawless rounds from Soon To Be and the duo's ultimate placing in the derby. The pair earned an 86 in the first round and returned to receive an 89 from the judging panel in the handy to secure their victory.
"I thought the class was nice. It was very inviting. I went first on Soon To Be this morning and there was an option on the first line that ended up being a bit forward. The rest of the class did nine and I did eight there, but the rest of his round was just beautiful."
The talented gelding has amassed an impressive record with Jennifer Hannan, who typically rides Soon To Be for Smith in the Performance Hunter divisions. Syquia happily took the ride this weekend and perfected the duo's time in the ring.
"He jumped incredibly throughout and in the handy, we did all of the inside turns and I thought he handled it beautifully. I'm only riding here because Jennifer Hannan is prepping the horses for Kentucky next week. I'm just here to keep the saddle warm," smiled Syquia.
"His appearance is one-of-a-kind. He always carries head and his neck in the most beautiful way and always has his ears pricked forward. He's so talented that he's able to do any distance and any turn without looking like it's work. His technique is unbelievable. I think this is one that's going to do it all," he added.
Syquia also piloted Samba's Secret to a second place finish in the class after the pair secured scores of 81 and 86 to conclude with a total of 167. Syquia was pleased with the mare's performance and the way she handled the derby atmosphere.
"Samba's Secret is just great. She's another one of Jennifer's horses and is a full sister to her past mount, As Always, who just won at Washington International this week," he explained. "She's just a little green and this is one of her first derbies, but in the second round she came out beautifully. We did all of the high options in the second round and she was really good. She stepped right up to the plate and answered all of the questions."
The owner of Soon To Be and Samba's Secret, Jennifer Smith, also competed in the class aboard Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, finishing in seventh place. "I am so grateful to Jennifer Smith for allowing me to ride these two horses in this class and would like to congratulate her on a top finish in her first ever derby today," concluded Syquia.
The 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District offers six weeks of hunter and jumper competition, including three weeks of internationally recognized FEI show jumping featuring two FEI CSI 3* weeks and an FEI CSI 5*. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities please visit www.tryon.com.
To view results for the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby please click here.