Katy, Texas – February 21, 2020
An exciting afternoon of competition took place at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center as 14 horse and rider combinations stepped into the ring to vie for their share of the prize money in the USHJA National Hunter Derby. Course designer Skip Bailey set a flowing first round course with four high options that could be taken for extra points.
Colleen Acosta and Olive, owned by Ryann Grissom, lead the first round with and 88. Westley, the eventual winner, stood third with an 85 score, just behind Lindsey Black on Gucci who scored 85.5.
Bailey’s handy course was designed to allow riders to choose which direction they jumped the first three jumps, which along with high options, provided riders and spectators with an exciting variety of approaches to the course.
Laura Cho and her trainer Susan McMorris chose a winning combination of jumps for Westley, who scored an 88 in the handy portion and a 173 overall for the win.
Cho bought Westley almost two years ago from Steve Weder who had just imported him. The horse had only a few weeks experience in the hunters and Cho had just come back to riding after a 20 year hiatus, so the two started out in the modified hunters and slowly moved up through the levels.
“I bought Westley because I wanted a horse who could do both the amateur owner hunters and the derbies,” said Cho. “He had done some jumpers in Germany and while he’s got a very good jump, he’s very slow and quiet, so don’t think he would have been a good jumper.”
Cho and Westley did their first derby in December of 2019. Cho previously showed her horse Eddison, whose reins have now been taken over by her daughter, 15 year old Eliza. In fact, Eliza is the one who got her mother back into riding. Cho was taking her daughter to the barn for lessons and decided she might as well ride too.
“I did the junior hunters and the equitation when I was a junior and then I had an amateur owner jumper, back before the classes were measured in meters. When I started riding again, I had to work my way back up. Well, I’m still working my way back up,” Cho said with a laugh. Today’s derby win was a big step in the right direction.
1 Laura Cho, Westley
2 Gabrielle Peterson, Aiden
3 Rachel Lindsey, Affogato Z
4 Jessica Zienkievicz, Lullaby
5 Anna Corley, Devenna
6 Hannah Crawford, Zurich
7 Colleen Accosta, Olive
8 Lindsey Black, Gucci
9 Grace Loughlin, Double O Seven
10 Chandler Hopper, Carline
11 Erin Murphy, A-Bel
12 Lindsey Black, Balenciaga
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