Alexis Taylor Silvernale and Counselor Take the Top Prize in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Alexis Taylor Silvernale and Counselor

June 16, 2018 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Saturday morning during Blenheim June Classic 2 kicked off with 32 high performance hunters galloping on the grass in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. The class culminated with a win for Alexis Taylor Silvernale and Anne Mullally’s seven-year-old gelding Counselor.

Four judges made up the two panels: Christina Schlusemeyer and Mary Cohen were Panel One, while Liz Adler and Rachel Kennedy sat on Panel Two. The course, designed by Jasen Shelley of Wellington, Florida, included two high options, bending and direct lines, and a two-stride combination.

For those who advanced to the handy round, another two high options and a hand gallop played a role in the scoring. Taking both higher options and tight inside turns, Silvernale used the track to her advantage, earning handy bonus scores from both panels to take the victory.

Silvernale explained her strategy. “I knew that Jenny Karazissis, who is a great rider, was leading after the second round and that John Bragg would still have to go after me, so I really went for it at the hand gallop jump and got lucky!”

“We recently imported Counselor from Nick Haness, where he had been doing the 1.40m jumpers in Europe. I thought he’d be a great derby prospect, and he’s obviously proving that to be true,” Silvernale said of her derby-winning mount. “The course was great out here [in the Pacific Field]. I love riding on the grass fields. It makes for a great class.”

Alexis Taylor Silvernale and Counselor, Anne Mullally and family, with Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

Along with ribbons and a USHJA cooler and halter, the pair was awarded a pair of Roeckl Sports riding gloves and an EquiFit hunter girth.

Sponsored awards also went out to many of the riders and contributors to recognize their outstanding performances. Anne Mullally received the Balmoral Winning Owner Award, and Alexis Taylor-Silvernale was the Blue Ribbon Blankets Winning Trainer.

Once again Augusta Iwasaki earned the The Plaid Horse Highest Scoring Junior Rider Award, with an eighth place finish aboard Small Occasion. Cherie Callandar took home the One K Helmets Highest Scoring Amateur Rider Award on her mount Pacific Heights.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Occasion
Cherie Callandar and Pacific Heights

Armando Pelayo was recognized for his excellence in grooming with the Makoto Farms Groom’s Award for Best Turned Out Horse, partnered with Skyhawk, owned by Laura Wasserman, and ridden by Stella Wasserman.

Armando Pelayo and Skyhawk

Today’s highlight action continues at four o’clock with the $30,000 Blenheim June Classic 2 Grand Prix, presented by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.


$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Place – Entry Number – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd1 Score/Rd2 Score/Overall Score
1. 577 – Counselor – Alexis Taylor-Silvernale – Anne Mullally – 176/192/368
2. 705 – Big Shot – Jenny Karazissis – Dulcie Lou Morris – 170/191/361
3. 189 – Now We’re Talkin’ – John Bragg – Lee Flick – 181/178.5/359.5
4. 550 – Small Kingdom – Jamie Taylor – Iwasaki & Reilly – 169/190/359
5. 141 – L’Con Reyes – Jamie Taylor – Bravado LLC – 174/185/359
6. 491 – Puissance R – Jenny Karazissis – Lisa Hankin – 171/186/357
7. 223 – Really- Jenny Karazissis – Michelle Cobb – 171/176/347
8. 552 – Small Occasion – Augusta Iwasaki – Iwasaki & Reilly – 165/179/344
9. 341 – Camera Ready – Stephen Pellett – View Point Farms – 165.5/171/336.5
10. 105 – Fanciful – Jessica Allen – Jayme Jenkins – 171/165/336
11. 833 – Bella Vita – Kaitlin Campbell – Carol Irwin – 169.5/154/323.5
12. 432 – Verdict – Nick Haness – Lindsey Schiefelbein – 170/64/234

Photos by McCool Photography