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‘He’s a complete goofball’ — striking gelding wins at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival

Catching the eye in Friday’s $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival was the striking combination of Hannah Isop and Believe.

Taking place in Rings 11 and 12 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) showgrounds, 43 riders competed for the blue ribbon and Isop, of Pawling, NY, moved up five places in the handy round to secure victory with Victoria Hart’s Believe.

Hunter riders were first tested over a classic round, designed by Danny Moore, which consisted of 12 elements and offered four high option fences. The top 12 horse-and-rider combinations returned to show off in the handy round, which included a trot fence.

Isop said of “Luca”, a 15-year-old Hanoverian by Stolzenberg: “He is a complete goofball and total love in the barn. He is really one of a kind to ride; I’m quite lucky. Luca is owned by an incredible family, the Harts, and their two daughters ride him as well.”

She and Believe received a score of 90 in the classic round, choosing all four high option fences, which put the pair in sixth place. Kelley Farmer, of Wellington, FL, rode Good Choice, owned by Glefke and Oakland Ventures, LLC, to a high score of 96 in the classic round.

“We are all a little rusty coming off of a long break, but I was really quite happy with the horse and my first round,” explained Isop. “He went in there confident. It was a course that was very open, so it was well built for his big stride and I could really show off in a couple places.”

The duo came back seventh in the order for the handy round, where they showed off their neat turns and rideability to impress the judges. Isop piloted Believe to an unbeatable second-round high score of 96 to climb to the top of the class with an overall score of 186.

“My plan going into the handy was just to have some fun. The handy was the icing on top for me,” Isop commented. “Once he went in and jumped fence one, which was only about three strides off the fence line from the in-gate, I just knew that he was on it. He is able to gallop down to the four-foot oxer and at the same time float back to the trot jump with ease.”

Taking home second place honors was Kristy Herrera, of Wellington, FL, aboard Carousel Group’s Carousel. The duo received a score of 91 in the first round and a 92 in the handy round, for a total score of 183. Loxahatchee, FL, resident Victoria Colvin rode Harris Equestrian LLC’s Diacando to a third-place finish. Colvin and Diacando earned an 89.5 in the classic round and a 93 in the second round to end with a total score of 182.5.

Over in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, Ali Sirota Kelman of Irvington, NY, piloted Listen To Me to the championship in the Karina Brez Jewelry Adult Amateur Hunter Middle Section A. They placed first, second, and third over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve championship went to Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, NY, on Halston. They won two over fences classes and were second under saddle.

Final Results: $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

1 Believe / Hannah Isop / Victoria Hart

90.00 / 96.00 | 186.00

2 Carousel / Kristy Herrera / Carousel Group

91.00 / 92.00 | 183.00

3 Diacando / Victoria Colvin / Harris Equestrian LLC

89.50 / 93 | 182.50

4 Good Choice / Kelley Farmer / Glefke & Oakland Ventures, LLC

96.00 / 86.25 | 182.25

5 Carento / Elizabeth Towell Boyd / Sherri Crawford

94.00 / 87.50 | 181.50

6 True Blue / Caitlin Venezia / Jennifer Combs

92.00 / 89.00 | 181.00

7 Poker Face / Jennifer Bliss / Harris Hill Farm, LLC

86.50 / 92.50 | 178.50

8 Face The Music / Jennifer Bliss / Harris Hill Farm, LLC

90.00 / 87.00 | 177.00

9 Bacchus / Michael Britt-Leon / Kelly Sims

87.50 / 84.00 | 171.50

10 Commentary / Julie Curtin / Amy Perez

89.75 / 79.00 | 168.75

11 SVF On My Own / Maria Rasmussen / Sunset View Farm LLC

89.00 / 69.00 | 158.00

12 Rainer / Brianne Goutal-Marteau / Aquitaine Equine

88.00 / 49.00 | 137.00

Winning horse bought untried from France

In the International Arena, Natalie Dean of Palo Alto, CA, rode Dotcom d’Authuit, owned by Marigold Sporthorses LLC, to victory in the $2,500 Lugano Diamonds High Amateur-Owner Jumpers.

The first class to start out International Arena competition on Friday, January 8, attracted 29 entries to contest a power and speed course format designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). Ten finished the course with no faults.

The fastest over the speed portion of the course was Dean and Dotcom d’Authuit, an eight-year-old Selle Francais mare by Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel. They finished the course in 30.354 seconds, almost 1.5 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.

Second place went to Maria Brugal of Wellington, FL, on her own Aragorn van Schuttershof, who stopped the timers in 31.722 seconds. Tori Corts of Wellington, FL, and Falkirk Farm LLC’s Bon Jovi were third in 32.314 seconds, while Carlie Fairty of Markham, Ontario, Canada, rode Leal, owned by Fairgreen Sod Farms, to fourth place in 32.567 seconds. Rounding out the top five was Stephanie Valdes of Langley, British Columbia, Canada, on Cyber Lady Z, owned by Wendy Valdes, in 33.263 seconds.

Dean’s partnership with the “super fast and careful” Dotcom d’Authuit began in September last year, after the mare was competing successfully in the seven-year-old young horse classes with Axel van Colen (FRA). Dean did not get to try the mare before deciding to bring her to the U.S.

“My trainer Ilan [Ferder] found her and said she was the perfect horse for me,” recalled Dean. “I really trust his opinion and he picks the best horses, so it all works out.

“Hopefully she will do some of the 1.45m FEI classes this summer, and next year she’ll do some of the bigger FEI classes. She is so amazing.”

Coming into today’s class, Dean was not worried about having to push for speed.

“For her, any speed class I know I’m always going to be competitive,” she said. “I don’t necessarily have to think about going fast. I just try to be smooth, and she’s just naturally very quick. She’s really sweet in the barn. It’s kind of funny because she’s lazy at home, but once she gets in the ring, she’s all game.”

While Dean rides as an amateur, she is also a consistent performer at the top levels of show jumping. Her goals for 2021 include more consistency in the four- and five-star CSI classes, and she would “love to be on some senior Nations Cup teams this year.”

The Winter Equestrian Festival gives her the opportunity to learn and improve over 13 weeks of competition this year, while also providing a way to keep her fantastic string of horses comfortable and happy.

“I love WEF,” said Dean. “It’s one of my favorite places to show. It feels like home here. It’s nice for the horses; they get to go home and go out in the paddock, then they come to the show. They all really like it here. I’m really lucky to have so many great horses. I’ll try to be as consistent as I can and see what we can do this year.”

In the $1,500 Griffis Residential High Junior Jumper class, Zayna Rizvi of Greenwich, CT, rode Nektarina B, owned by Windsor Show Stables, to victory. Laura Chapot and Thornhill Kate, owned by Laura and Mary Chapot, were fastest in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Jumpers.

Final Results: $2,500 Lugano Diamonds High Amateur-Owner Jumpers

1 DOTCOM D’AUTHUIT: 2013 Selle Francais mare by Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel

NATALIE DEAN, Marigold Sport Horses LLC: 0/55.925

2 ARAGORN VAN SCHUTTERSHOF: 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Quintero x Nistria VH Schuttershof

MARIA BRUGAL, Maria Brugal: 0/0/31.722

3 BON JOVI: 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Verdi x Whoopy C

TORI CORTS, Falkirk Farm LLC: 0/32.314

4 LEAL: 2011 Westphalian gelding by Lancer III x Cornet Obolensky

CARLIE FAIRTY, Fairgreen Sod Farms: 0/32.567

5 CYBER LADY Z: 2009 Zangersheide mare by Douglas x Babduchka Van De Smis

STEPHANIE VALDES, Wendy Valdes: 0/33.263

6 BUCKLE UP: 2006 KWPN gelding by Colandro x Carentina

NED CUNNIFFE, Whipstick Farm LTD: 0/43.27

7 EL BERLIN BOGIBO: 2009 Dutch Warmblood stallion

TATIANA ANDUJAR IGLESIAS, Tatiana Andujar Iglesias: 0/63.324

8 H&M CARAT DESIRE: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Carinjo x Moderne II

ANNABEL REVERS, Beechwood Stables LLC: 0/37.442

9 ILIAS: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Unique Li Drum V/H Juxschot

ANNABEL REVERS, Beechwood Stables LLC: 0/37.643

10 PRADO K: 2003 Westphalian Gelding by Prado x Daylight

BLISS HEERS, Bridgeside Farms LLC: 0/38.151

11 ZANDORA Z: 2011 Zangersheide mare by Zandor Z x Lucinda Jo

ASHLEY VOGEL, Ashley Vogel: 0/30.965

12 COPAIN Z: 2006 Zangersheide Calvino Z x Jordi G

STELLA STINNETT, Heathman Farms LLC: 4/31.54

The WEF Premiere week continues through Sunday, January 10, and is sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. It features national-level competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation. International jumper classes will begin at WEF 1 on January 13-17 with a CSI3*.

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