Las Vegas, NV - November 12, 2015 - Fifty-five horses and riders competed in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equine Rehab and Conditioning, in the South Point's Priefert Pavilion. Jamie Taylor aboard the gorgeous bay stallion Conteros, owned by Natassha Ledon of Las Vegas, scored a 94 in the second round for the win.
The 12 horses who received the highest scores in the first round returned for the handy round, with seven riders. Eleven-year-old Augusta Iwasaki and top hunter rider Jamie Taylor each qualified all three of their entries for the handy round. Of the remaining six horses, Nick Haness rode two, along with Michael Leon, Jamie Sailor, Brooke Morin and Tanya Levorchick each returning on one mount.
The second round incorporated multiple opportunities for riders to show off their mounts' "handiness" with short inside turns, plus a trot fence and a hand gallop to the last oxer on course. Leading the first round, Nick Haness and Saphir (owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC) laid down a beautiful trip to secure a second round score of 90, giving them a two round total of 179. Haness held the lead until Jamie Taylor rode in on Conteros. The beautiful bay navigated the course with ease, taking all four of the high options and two tidy inside turns. The pair earned a well-deserved score of 94 for their handy round taking the win, with a two round total of 181.5. Earning an 89 in the handy round, Jamie Taylor and Jager (Caroline Eliadas, owner) picked up third with a total of 175.
Ledon competes Conteros in the Amateur Hunters with trainer Denise Finch, and Taylor meets them at shows. "Conteros has done a bit of everything. He's jumped at Aachen, he's done the USET Finals, and in the last couple of years, he has become a hunter. He's pretty amazing," Taylor explained. "The indoor doesn't even blip on his radar, he's seen it at 5'3"."
Congratulations to Champions and Leading Hunter Riders
Picking up a bevvy of awards, including Centaur scrim sheets, SmartPak Gift Certificates, Riata Designs hats and more, champion hunter riders won the jackpot in the show ring at The Las Vegas National. Congratulations to West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, who own two of the award winners - High Performance Hunter Champion Dealmaker, ridden by Leslie Steele, and Green Working Hunter Saphir, ridden by Nick Haness. Champion Conformation Hunter Rapunzel was ridden by Archie Cox and is owned by Katherine Strauss, LLC.
New this year, the Romfh Las Vegas National Leading Rider Awards were presented to two riders. With a total of 60 points, Archie Cox earned the Professional Award. And Robert Peters II won the Romfh Las Vegas National Leading Amateur Owner Hunter Rider with 39 points.
More champions and leading riders will be awarded as The Las Vegas National Horse Show continues, including the NAL Finals for Children's and Adult riders.
$2,50 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Place - Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - 1st Round/2nd Round/Total
1. 556 - Conteros - Jamie Taylor - Natassha Ledon - 181.5
2. 892 - Saphir - Nick Haness - West Coast Equine Partners, LLC - 179
3. 566 - Jager - Jamie Taylor - Caroline Eliades - 175
4. 843 - Viola - Nick Haness - Kyle Owens - 170.5
5. 616 - Set the Stage - Brooke Morin - Brooke Morin - 170.25
6. 610 - Illusion - Augusta Iwasaki - Dogwood Hill, LLC - 169.25
7. 894 - Celano - Michael Leon - Robert Peters II - 168.5
8. 646 - Faraon - Tanya Levorchick - Pavla Nygaard - 168
9. 544 - Matador - Jamie Sailor - Taylor Cusumano - 167
10. 612 - Small Gesture - Augusta Iwasaki - Georgy Maskrey-Segesman - 165.25
11. 562 - Aragorn - Jamie Taylor - Cheri Hauer - 157.5
12. 609 - Small Adventure - Augusta Iwasaki - Reilly & Iwasaki - 85