Peter Wylde Smokes Field to Win The Ridge at Wellington’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

March 24th, 2014 8:56 AM | Comments Off on Peter Wylde Smokes Field to Win The Ridge at Wellington’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Press Release

Peter Wylde has racked up quite an impressive list of accomplishments – including winning Olympic gold – but prior to today there was one thing that he had never attempted: a USHJA International Hunter Derby. Today, the veteran show jumper not only rode in his first International Hunter Derby, he dominated it, earning the win aboard Smoking Gun in The Ridge at Wellington $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Prior to leading the victory gallop across The Ridge at Wellington’s picturesque grass field, Wylde and Smoking Gun had to best an extremely competitive field of 36 horses over two rounds of competition.

Following the first, classic hunter round of competition, the top 12 horse and rider combinations returned in reverse order of their rankings for the second round of competition.

Making the biggest jump from the first round to the second round were Kelley Farmer and one of her multiple talented mounts in today’s class, So to Speak. The pair returned in the tenth place position, but after electing to take two of the high option fences, Farmer racked up the points from the judges for second round scores of 89 and 90 plus handiness points of six and five for a cumulative, two round total of 361. That score would eventually land them in the overall fourth place position.

 

Peter Wylde and Smoking Gun on their way to the win in today’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Returning in the third place position following the first round, Wylde knew he had to make up a little bit of ground if he wanted a shot at the win. Fortunately, he also knew he had just the horse to do it.

“That horse is so scopey. He can jump anything, so it’s fun to do,” Wylde said.

Peter Wylde leading the victory gallop along the canal at The Ridge at Wellington.

Wylde used that scope to his advantage, as Smoking Gun was one of only two horses to take all four high option fences.

“There were three high options right at the beginning, and he did that all fantastic,” Wylde said. “He did the hand gallop great, but then what really I loved about it, I really caught a forward one to the hand gallop. Then it was like he just melted back into the trot for the inside turn afterward. I was thinking as I was going on ‘wow! He did that great.'”

The two judging panels agreed. They awarded Wylde scores of 87.5 and 86 with handiness scores of six across the board. Those points combined with the four high option fences would give Wylde a cumulative, two round total of 371.75.

Kelley Farmer and Point Being

Returning in the second place spot it was again Farmer, this time on Larry Glefke’s Point Being. Farmer was the only other rider to elect to take all four of the high option fences, but she would finish just behind Wylde and Smoking Gun with a cumulative total of 369.

Third place finishers Kate Conover and Taken.

 

Kate Conover and Jessica Stitt’s Taken finished in first place in the first round, but elected to forego any of the high options, landing them in third place spot overall.

“The course rode great. When Rob Carey built this course he made a great track. It rode really nicely,” Wylde said following his win.”For a lot of us this was a great prep for next weekend [at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby]. The footing was very, very good, not slippery which grass footing down here can be. I thought it was a really nice experience.”

Wylde continued, “I’m a big supporter of The Ridge and all of their classes and the fact that they’ve moved around. It just gives another option when you’re here for 12 weeks. It works great for a lot of horses and a lot of people. I commend them for their efforts. I don’t think it takes anything away from WEF. I think it only adds to the winter experience down here, and they should be commended for that and supported.”

Following his successful experience at The Ridge, Wylde is eager to point Smoking Gun at other hunter derbies in the near future.

“Honestly, at this point I can’t wait to go to Lexington and do the [USHJA International Hunter Derby] final because I think he can do all the big options,” Wylde said. “He’s an extremely talented horse.”

Shawn Casady and Solo Earn $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Victory

Earlier in the day, another mount made his hunter derby debut in similar winning style: Marigot Bay Farm LLC’s Solo, ridden by Shawn Casady. Casady and the 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding bested a field of 22 horses to secure the victory.

“He’s young, but he has such a natural jump,” Casady said of Solo, who is currently competing in the Pre-Green Hunters.

Watching Solo’s two rounds in the ring at The Ridge at Wellington, he looked like a veteran well beyond his Pre-Green years, turning in two seamless trips.

“This was his first time in the ring. He didn’t even hand walk in the ring,” Casady said. “He’s never done a derby before, and he’s only done about four handy classes ever.”

Shawn Casady and Solo.

Casady continued, “I like it here [at The Ridge] a lot. It’s good to get away from the chaos.”

Finishing in second behind Casady and Solo were Hayley Barnhill and Laura Karet’s Caliber, while Michael Zukerman and Patricia Adikes-Hill’s Denmark rounded out the top three.

Horse shows with The Ridge at Wellington continue tomorrow with the Wellington Turf Tour $24,950 Grand Prix Finale beginning at 8 a.m. at Deeridge Farm.

Hayley Barnhill and Caliber.

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