Halifax, MA - August 23, 2013 - Under sunny skies and beautiful New England conditions the $15,000 NEHJA 3'3" Hunter Derby Finals, presented by GGT Footing, featured the top horse and rider combinations from across the country. Besting a field of 40 competitors during the Fieldstone Summer Showcase II, David Oliynyk and Generous led the field from start to finish. Mckayla Langmeier and Czar-Z took the second place, while Jennifer Bliss and Poker Face captured third. Earlier in the day Kristen Bumpus and Inspired took home the victory in $10,000 NEHJA 2'9" Hunter Derby Finals.
Tom Hern of the United States captured the essence of a traditional hunt field as he transformed the Grand Prix Field at the Fieldstone Show Park into the epitome of a derby track. He utilized natural objects such as logs, hay bales, brush and birch to set the scene, while challenging riders with the table, grob and bank. Riders had to use the entire expanse of the all-grass field. Riders had the option to take a higher fence in four areas of the course, adding important bonus points to their total score.
Twelve horse and rider combinations would find their way into the challenging handy course, but it was Oliynyk and Generous, owned by Lori Gaudet of Lexington, MA, who were the class pathfinders with their score of 93 points from the first round.
"He rode beautifully, he is just such a lovely horse," Oliynyk described. "He went in and handled everything very nicely, so I was just happy that it went well. I thought the course was difficult, but it asked the right questions and had a lot of good options. You could tell Tom put a lot of thought into it. It was tricky, but not overdone."
During the handy round riders were tested over an opening coop where they then made a right turn to the hay bale obstacle set at the opening of the grob. A right turn brought them to the EquiFit vertical where they turned right and had the option of walking over a natural pole set a few inches from the ground, or walking through a wooden bridge. They then had to jump an oxer and ride up the table over the consecutive oxer and continue to the trot jump set on the bank. Upon landing they were only faced with one more obstacle, the final grey oxer.
The top three from three from the first round were able to maintain their standings on the leader board by producing brilliant handy rounds. Fourteen-year-old McKayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT, was aboard her veteran mount Czar-Z and they proved why they have been winning top awards all over the country after returning with a third place ranking and a score of 87.5. The duo showcased classic form over the fences and used a lose rein to the walk option, earning a score of 84 for a two round total of 171.5 that boosted them to the second place award.
Jennifer Bliss and Poker Face, owned by Harris Hill Farm of North Salem, NY, were just ahead of Langmeier after the first round with a score of 88. They also had a very relaxed walk, opting to go across the bridge, and they kept a smooth consistent pace throughout the course. The pair earned a score of 82.5 for a total of 170.5, taking home the third place price.
The last to gallop onto the field was the best of the first round competitors and proved to be the best of the day. Oliynyk and the 10-year-old Generous scored an impressive 93 during the first round when they executed flawless style over the course. They returned on top, and despite rubbing a brush a grob, Oliynyk and Generous jumped each fence perfectly and were precise through each transition, scoring an 83.5 for a two round total of 176.5 that would claim the winning honors.
"You try and just follow your plan as best you can," Oliynyk explained. "He jumped into the grob and he rubbed a bush and got playful, which I think hurt us a little bit because the judge is sitting right there. It wasn't anything bad, he just got excited for a few steps and then came out just fine."
Oliynyk continued, "Generous has just been getting better and better. He's been doing these derbies and he actually just got home from doing the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship for the first time. He was great there. He made it through the first round, into the night class, and unfortunately we had the last rail down, but he went beautifully. It was really nice to have him go there. We turned him out for three days and then brought him here to show him in this. There is always pressure anytime you walk into the ring, especially in big classes. You just try and do your best!"
Earlier today, the $10,000 NEHJ 2'9" Hunter Derby Finals were held in the Grand Prix Field. Sixty-eight horse and riders showed over the first round course, but only the top 12 were invited to return to showcase their skills over the handy round. In the end it was Kristen Bumpus and her veteran mount Inspired that wow'd the judges with their inside turns and smooth transitions to take home the winning prize, earning two scores of 88 for a total of 176 points.
The first course for today's class featured multiple rollbacks and bending lines, two fences on the bank, and a hay bale fence that the horses had to jump coming out of the grob. There were also four option fences at 2'9" and 3', and if riders chose the higher side they earned an additional point.
The top 12 competitors had scores from the first round ranging from 82 to 91. During the handy, they began with a hand gallop to a coop fence without standards, then jumped up the low bank before they had an inside option vertical and cantered up the second bank and down a trot fence. Riders then cantered an option before transitioning to the walk, where they could step over a low pole fence or walk across a short wooden bridge.
Dyanna Rucco and Watch Hill, owned by Susan Amelotte of Providence, RI, set the score to beat early on in the handy round. Although the pair had been ranked 10th after the first round with a 84.5, their precise trot jump and open hand gallop earned them a second score of 85 for a two round total of 169.5, which held up for third place.
Laurel Tinney had a solid lead in the class after the first round, returning with a score of 91 after a flawless effort by Out On Bale, owned by Nicole Manoog of Centerville, MA. They had an unlucky rub during the handy though, earning a score of 79. Their strong effort in the first round though helped bring their total to 170 to earn the second place honors.
Kristen Bumpus was ranked third after the first round with a score of 88, but she was prepared to climb to the top of the leader board with Inspired, owned by Hannah Curran of Concord, MA. The veteran mount has always excelled in the handy rounds, and Bumpus was prepared to pull out all the stops.
"I have a self-control problem where I get a little too fancy and blow the whole thing sometimes," Bumpus laughed. "I won't blow it if I am on top, but two places is two places. I know him, and he trusts me. He knows I am never going to put him anywhere where he can't do it."
They had a flowing hand gallop to the first two fences, and took a very sharp turn to the inside vertical before galloping up the bank and making a smooth transition for the trot fence. The pair walked easily over the final bridge, exiting the ring with a second score of 88, and a total of 176 to lead the victory gallop.
"I got about four strides away," Bumpus said of her sharp turn to the inside vertical. "I knew it was either going to be awesome or awful. It worked out. This was the first time I have ever won this derby, but he did win the 3'3" derby a few years ago. I am so proud of him for coming back from his injury so strong."
The Fieldstone Summer Showcase II will conclude tomorrow with the $25,000 Fieldstone Grand Prix beginning at 2:00pm on the Grand Prix Field. On Sunday, the 2013 Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals will get underway, with qualifiers from each division vying for the top honors. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the Summer Showcase II Horse Show, please visit www.showfieldstone.com. You can also follow the Fieldstone Horse Shows on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fieldstone.equestrian.