Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek Champion Of The 2021 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

Sunday, August 22, 2021
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Cover_Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek 2021.jpg

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 21, 2021 – The grand finalé of the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship took center stage on Saturday night in the Rolex Arena. The best hunter athletes from all corners of the United States came prepared to showcase their talents in front of the fixated spectators vying for a share of the prize money totaling more than $300,000. After 38 total trips between the Section A and Section B rounds, Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek emerged victorious after dominating the competition from the get-go. Samantha Schaefer and Caristo were awarded Reserve Champion honors, while Elizabeth Boyd and Cassico ended up third. Laena Romond had the unique distinction of being fifth in Section A while also being named the Champion of Tier II with Uptown. Evan Coluccio and Radio City were the Reserve Champion of Section B class.

(Top Photo Credit:  Phelps Photography - Libby Greene)

Alan Lohman Set a Challenging 12-obstacle Track

Fourteen Section, B/Tier II riders, kicked off the night, entering the ring in reverse order-of-go. Returning course designer Alan Lohman set a challenging 12-obstacle track, including four high-option fences, a unique pen that featured a log trot jump, and a grouping of fences in the middle of the ring, offering riders the option to take a one-stride combination or a bounce. Evan Coluccio saved the best for last, as the final entry of the Section B/Tier II riders, piloting Hampton Green Farm LLC’s 8-year-old Warmblood gelding, Radio City, to finish with a high score of 303.75 points for the day and an impressive total score of 555.75. Although she rode as a Tier II rider in Section A, Laena Romond and Uptown finished fifth in Section A and were awarded Champion Tier II, with a total score of 565.50, earning her just over $29,004 in prize money.

Bold Riding Illustrated Cannon Creek’s Handiness

Immediately after the Section B/Tier II class, the top 24-riders from Friday’s competition took Lohman’s Handy Round track to task. After the first day of competition, Hunt Tosh led the pack by 11.5 points with a score of 291. Last, to try their hand at the challenging handy course, Tosh and Cannon Creek scored 95, 93, and 95, plus four points for high options and high marks for technicality after exemplifying a beautiful handy hunter round. Bold riding illustrated Cannon Creek’s handiness, showcasing his steady pace, rideability, and confident way of going throughout the course. The extra effort from Tosh and The Wheeler Family’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding earned the pair 20 handy points to hold onto their lead with a score of 315 and an overall score of 606, becoming the 2021 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Champions. It was Tosh’s first win in the class since 2009, and he was awarded handsomely with nearly $53,000 in prize money for his first-place finish.

Samantha Schaefer and Caristo Completed A Very Competitive Handy Round

In the tenth position on the leaderboard after the Classic Round, Samantha Schaefer and Caristo returned at 18th in the posted order of go and completed a very competitive Handy Round to finish as Reserve Champion with scores of 92, 86, 92 and 25 handy points. Their total Handy Round score came to 307 and helped to secure a final score of 576.60. In July, the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by R&R Hunter Horses, LLC, was fifth with Schaefer in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Traverse City Horse Shows has also shown successfully earlier this week in the Green Hunter Incentive Championship and as an Amateur Owner horse.

Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Boyd No Stranger To Being One Of The Derby Finals Favorites

No stranger to being one of the Derby Finals favorites, Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Boyd knew that she needed to guide Cassico expertly to secure a top placing with Tosh and Schaffer hot on her heels. Rebekah Warren’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding handled the pressure with ease pulled away from rival competitors with a score of 298. Adding that to a Classic Round score of 273.50, they finished on a total score of 571.50 after earning 24 handy points and base scores of 85.50, 90, and 86.50.

The Top 12-Riders Shared The $10,000 Prize

Prior to Sections A and B’s Championship Rounds, 42-horse and rider pairs competed in the Platinum Performance/USHJA $10,000 Derby Challenge. Each pair that had not made the final cut for the Tier I or II classifications entered the Derby Challenge with a clean slate, having no points carried over from the Classic Round. The top 12-riders shared the $10,000 prize, with Jimmy Torano and Laskano taking the lion’s share. The 9-year-old Westphalian gelding, owned by Isalou Farms, scored an outstanding 299.500. Augusta Iwasaki piloted Rolo to a score of 298.50 for second place, while Elizabeth Boyd took home third place aboard Carento with a score of 295.75.

The exciting competition from the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship has officially concluded for the 2021 competition season. Regularly scheduled hunter and equitation competition will continue at the Kentucky Bluegrass Festival tomorrow, beginning at 8 am.

For a complete list of results and scores, visit


Hunt Tosh – Champion in the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship

Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek 2021_b
​Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek 2021_b (Photo Credit: Phelps Photography - Libby Greene) ​

On the Championship Round:
“It was great! My horse is a new horse for me and he jumped great yesterday and to come back tonight was a big deal. Actually, when Tori had to scratch her horse tonight and when Scott’s horse made a mistake, my nerves kicked in a little bit. I had to tell myself to not ‘completely mess up and don’t fall off!”

On his plan for his round:
“My plan did not change at all. In the beginning, a bunch of people was trying to decide if you did four or five strides at the end of the ring ( in the pen). I was going to stick with the five no matter what because I had a bit of a lead from yesterday and I wanted to play that safe. I didn’t want to make a mistake at any point.”

On whether he considered jumping any of the low options on course:
“No! My horse is so scopey and jumps so easily that I walked all the high options and stuck with it. I thought that if I were to overthink anything that I would for sure make a mistake. It was a lot of trips to watch for someone who is better off sneaking in at the last minute and just doing it but I stuck to my plan from the beginning.”

On comparing Copper Creek to Lonestar:
“Lonestar obviously was a very special horse for me and to be able to have another one that is equally good and tries as hard is really special. It is also scary how much they look alike. My daughter, Maddie, actually showed me a side-by-side picture tonight. They are almost twins!”

Samantha Schaefer- Reserve Champion in the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship

​  ​Samantha Shaefer and Caristo 2021
Samantha Shaefer and Caristo 2021 (Photo Credit: Phelps Photography - Libby Greene) ​ ​

On her plan for her round:
“I was riding a horse that had just finished doing the Green Hunter Incentive Finals on Thursday and so this was just a bonus. We were not even sure if we were going to do this class tonight. We were really happy with him yesterday when he finished 10th, and I guess my expectations were to see how things were going. My plan was to jump all of the high options and it just kind of all happened. He was with me the whole round and he couldn’t have been any better. This is only his fourth derby so I thought everything flowed nicely and it was a nice course to ride.”

On Caristo:
“Caristo belongs to the Raughbough Family and R & R Hunter Horses and she normally shows in the 3’3” Amateur Hunter. The last week in Michigan asked me to show him in the hunter and green confirmation, kind of as a warm-up for her, but he is primarily an amateur horse. I showed him the third week of Michigan and then he had two weeks off and came here just for me.”

Elizabeth Boyd- Third Place in the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship

On being on the podium:
“This is my fourth time being third [ in this class] and it was the most fun! Being on the podium and getting medals on the podium was so fun, almost as fun as winning! This is like our Olympics so it is fun to have it treated that way and we almost called McLain [Ward] to ask what to do with our medals!”

Liza Boyd and Cassico 2021
Liza Boyd and Cassico 2021 (Photo Credit: Phelps Photography - Libby Greene)

On her plan for the round:
“My plan, since I started in eighth place, was to do all of the high options and I really took a run at the last jump because I figured that I really needed to do something to make up some ground and he really stepped up.”

On Cassico:
“Cassico does the amateurs with his owner, Rebekah Warren. I have to thank her for giving him to me for a month before the Derby Finals. She said ‘I want him in your program and for you to make a plan’ and we really wanted to peak here. We showed him at Blowing Rock a couple of weeks ago and had a hard rub and that set him up nicely. I have to thank her [Rebekah] for giving me the horse.”

On watching Hunt Tosh ride Cannon Creek:
“It is really cool to see that Hunt has another horse as good as LoneStar because LoneStar was a horse of a lifetime and getting horses like that does not happen very often. When I saw Cannon Creek he looked so much like LoneStar and it gave me hope that maybe in 10-years, I can find another horse like Brunello.”

Laena Romond – Champion of Tier II and Fifth Place Overall in Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship

On finishing fourth overall and winning a large amount of prize money:
“I was kind of middle of the pack in Section A and my plan was to try and work with pace and be brilliant. I would say that the only question that I had was the four or the five option in the pen, like everyone else. Sam [Schaffer] went right before me and she did the five option perfectly and was rewarded for it, so I was relieved that I did not have to do the four. I didn’t really know how the Tier 2 or Section B thing worked so it was nice at the end to get the bonus.”

On Uptown:
“I bought him as an investment and maybe an equitation horse. He has done a few Derby’s and won a few checks and as long as he keeps doing that, I can keep showing him and it works. I honestly have to pinch myself that I own a horse that is capable of doing something like this. It is special.”

Jimmy Torano – Winner of the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Challenge Round

Jimmy Torano and Laskano 2021
Jimmy Torano and Laskano 2021 (Photo Credit: Phelps Photography - Libby Greene)

On Laskano:
“That is a horse that we have had for two years, Della Portella bought it to do in the Amateur and she, unfortunately, had an injury so she is no longer riding, but she is keeping the horse I am riding him in the professional divisions and the Derby’s and he is just a real class horse. He is the classic hunter that jumps in beautiful style, he is a beautiful-looking horse, and he has a beautiful way of going. He tries to win every time.”

On the format of the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship:
“I think the format is good. Unfortunately for me, things did not go my way yesterday. My horses landed funny off of a jump and cross cantered for a few strides and they hammered me for it, as they should have. But it was nice that we had this round to come back to. I think it is an opportunity to get back in the ring and redeem yourself and win some prize money. I thought my horse went well today. I like the fact that it is a handy round. I pride myself on trying to be as handy as I can. I do like that these horses can come back. Tonight is going to be a great class. I think it is nice that the Tier 2 riders get the chance to win some real money and in my opinion, the Tier 2 riders are in a much better position than the Tier 1 riders. When you look down the list of the big riders that are coming back for tonight, you have some great horse and rider combinations so I think it could be anybody’s game tonight.”

Alan Lohman – Course Designer for the Platinum Performance / USHJA Hunter Derby Championship

On his experience designing the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship courses:
“It’s been fun. You get a lot of really good horses and riders here. I basically try to set a course that the horses can jump well and showcase themselves. It can be hard to come up with something new, but we had some new jumps this year that gave us a fresh look. We added the pen this year. We try to keep changing the look and feel. We have a lot of great resources here in Kentucky to execute that.”

On most important aspect in creating a championship derby course:
“I think the most important aspect is making a course where riders can show their horses off, without making it gimmicky or too tricky. To me it’s a jumping competition, so you want the horses to be able to gallop a little bit and see them jump some things more carefully. It makes for more exciting competition.”

On creating this year’s course:
“I’ve been working with Steve Stevens all week, and have been bouncing ideas off of multiple people. It’s so helpful to have so many people in the industry who are willing to help. For example, we had probably 3 or 4 different configurations for the grouping of jumps in the middle and finally decided on the bounce in the middle with the one strides on either side. I thought that would be the easiest path for the bounce and may encourage someone to take the risk for more handy points. It’s been fun trying to come up with something a little bit different.”

On creating a test for the horses and riders:
“We try to set a fair test with questions the horses are used to, something that they’ve seen throughout the year. You don’t want something that is so different that the horses don’t jump it. We have to keep it exciting for the crowd and when the horses go well and jump well, it turns out to be a fun class. We want a unique course, but with jumps the horses can do well.”