Devon, PA - July 7, 2012 - For the second time this year, Louise Serio piloted the five-year-old gelding Corvine to a National Hunter Derby victory. During their first derby at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Serio and Corvine held the leading score from start to finish, and during the Brandywine Valley Summer Series' $5,000 Get Real Get RAW USHJA National Hunter Derby they did it again.
Winning the first round with a score of 92 and following with a score of 87 in the handy round, a grand total of 179 captured the victory for the talented young mount. Kristy McCormack was only two points away, riding Sundance to a total score of 177 for second place, while Serio's second mount Black Jax picked up the third place honors.
The top horse and rider combinations gathered at the Dixon Oval of the historic Devon Showgrounds to compete over the first round, which featured a post and rail fence, a coop, a two stride, the new Brandywine Arch, and four high options. The top 12 competitors returned for the handy round, showcasing their mount's handiness using the inside track and over a hand gallop fence as well as a trot fence.
A young age and lack of experience are proving not to be an issue for Serio and Corvine, an entry owned by Timothy Wickes of Unionville, PA. Taking home the blue in their first derby appearance, they continued their winning ways tonight. Although they were the first to show, the judges awarded the talented duo a score of 92 for their smooth and flowing first round, setting a difficult bar for the other competitors to match. When Serio and Corvine returned on top for the handy round, they laid down another excellent trip, making the inside track and high options look effortless. With a score of 87 their total reached 179, which would capture the winning title.
"Corvine is just awesome, he just totally gets it, and he always rises to the occasion," smiled Serio after leading the victory gallop. "The more he has to think about it the better he does. He is naturally very well balanced, so when you ask for something like a tight turn his hind end is always under him and he's always ready to look and turn. He's scopey and jumps in such good style that he can handle if it is a little deep or long."
Serio added, "I think these derbies are perfect for the young horses to learn how to do it, for the kids to learn how to do it, and for the horses that have never done a derby before. It's the stepping-stone to the big derbies, and that's what it's meant to be. I love it for the young horses because many of the bigger derbies like the one in Palm Beach are too hard for the First Year Hunters to do as their first derby.. These classes can actually prepare your horse to have a good experience in the bigger, international derbies."
Kristy McCormack and Sundance, owned by Meredith Lipke of Buffalo, NY, did not let Serio win without a serious challenge. They earned a solid score of 87 in the first round, and returned with bold handy round that was rewarded with a score of 90, bringing their total to 177, just two points away from Serio for the second place honors.
"Tonight I just wanted to be as neat as possible in the handy and show off Sundance's brilliance," noted McCormack. "I tried to stay inside everywhere and do as few strides as possible. Sundance used to be an equitation horse so he's used to all that stuff. He has been in the family for a really long time and was my sister's equitation horse before we sold him to Meredith Lipke. He has his own rules and we just let him do whatever he wants. Meredith is so good about just giving him the distance and letting him do the rest, and that's kind of what I learned to do on him too."
Serio also earned the third place honors with her second mount Black Jax, owned by Ann Nelligan of Newtown Square, PA. They had a first round score of 88, and used the inside turns to match that score in the handy round for a total of 176 and the third place prize. McCormack's second mount Accomplice, also owned by Lipke, claimed the fourth place honors with scores of 82 and 86. Serio's third and final mount was Bonaparte, owned by Annette Lauer of New York, NY, and they were second in the first round with a 87, but some minor errors in the handy earned a 77 for a 164.5 total and the fifth place award.
"All three of my horses were really good tonight," commented Serio. "Bonaparte just got a little excited under the lights. I showed Black Jax last week, so this is the second time I've ridden him. He's fun; he's big and scopey, and I thought he handled the turns really well."
The sponsor of tonight's event was Get Real Get RAW, which was founded by Lisa Maguire in 2009 with the support of her two sisters Pamela Miller Christian and Mindy Moore, in their mission to promote health and healing through raw foods. The goal of Get Real Get RAW is to inspire humanity to explore and participate in the growing, preparing, and consumption of fresh, organic, raw fruits, vegetables and greens. They work to educate people from all walks of life about the healing power of raw foods.
Tomorrow, the Brandywine Valley Summer Series presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS), will conclude with the Junior and Pony Hunter divisions. Riders will compete for championship and reserve championship honors in their respective divisions. On Monday, the Brandywine Valley Summer Series will host a local day of competition with excellent prizes and numerous championships.
For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit http://brandywinevalleysummerseries.com.
Photo Credit: Louise Serio and Corvine won the $5,000 Get Real Get RAW USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.