Mill Spring, NC -Donald Sheehan of Maryville, TN, rode two spectacular rounds aboard EHM Equestrian LLC's Kenan to take the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby on the third day of competition at Tryon Spring 6. The duo received a total score of 170, which earned them the win in the class of 19. Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC, and Select finished in second with a total score of 169, and Elizabeth McKim of Knoxville, TN, rounded out the top three aboard Quintessential with a score of 162.
Sheehan and the 2008 Holsteiner gelding have been partnered for less than a year and the gelding continues to show Sheehan he has all of the capability in the world to be competitive at the highest levels in the hunter and equitation arenas.
"We imported him last July and played with him a little bit in the hunters and did some 3'3 classes last fall with him, then gave him a vacation over the winter before legging him back up in Florida," said Sheehan. "We did the 3'3 Pre-Greens down there to finish off the season and we're looking forward to doing the Pre-Green Incentive program with him, so he's entered in that as well."
The flashy bay gelding draws attention as soon as he enters the ring and his workman-like attitude has made him a favorite in the barn. "He also does the Taylor Harris Medal classes with his owner and the 3' equitation classes. He really is a jack-of-all trades, which is so valuable," continued Sheehan. "This was only his second derb. We did the one in Aiken, SC, another national class, and he's been really fun. He's a great horse. He tries hard, and he seems to really enjoy what he's doing."
There's a lot to love about the chrome-heavy Kenan, but what drew them to him in Europe was his elasticity. The purchase came with hopes of continuing his career as an equitation horse for the future and when he landed in the States, it was decided that competing in the hunter ring would be beneficial for him.
"We originally had planned to do the hunters to help him grow up a little bit, but when he got here we realized that he was much more mature than we had expected. I think we're still going in that equitation direction, but he will definitely continue to do the derby classes," he said. "I would love to do the International Derbies with him, and he'll stay in the hunters and do both for the time being."
Sheehan will continue competing Kenan through the Tryon Spring 7 series and plans to come back to TIEC for the competitive fall season. TIEC is in relatively short distance to their home base in Knoxville, TN. "We're here for another week and then we'll come back sometime later in the year, most likely the fall. We like coming here. It's close, beautiful, and just so nice," he commented. "The horses love it here, and they enjoy it. It was a really nice class, and it's a great ring because it's big enough to do different tracks. It's a very pleasant atmosphere for everyone."
Final Results for $25,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby:
">Place/Horse/Rider/Owner: Total Rnd 1/Total Rnd 2/Overall
1. Kenan, Donald Sheehan, EHM Equestrian, LLC: 88/82/170
2. Select, Daniel Geitner, Emily Orrell: 85/84/169
3. Quintessential, Elizabeth McKim, EHM Equestrian, LLC: 81/81/162
4. TJC's Copado 8, Evie Jaeckle, The Jaeckle Center: 77/ 77/154
5. Crowd Pleazarr, Harold Chopping, C. Blair Spencer: 75/76/151
6. Waterford VDL, Paige Caskey, Linda Schwartz: 78/71/149
7. All Inclusive, Brend Terry, Adrian Mack: 74/74/148
8. Tybee, Heather Steinman, Helen Brown: 70/72/142
For more information on TIEC and for a full list of results please visit www.tryon.com.