Carleton Brooks (Balmoral Farm) and Gone Country bring home top honors in the $7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Professional section, sponsored by Round Meadow Farm, with scores of 95 and 92. Nick Haness (Temecula, CA) and Crowd Pleaser, owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, earned second place for their scores of 89 and 95. Sophie Simpson (San Juan Capistrano, CA) and C’est Moi, owned by Breanne Karanikolas, received scores of 94 and 88.5 for an overall third-place finish.
Brooks has been partnered with Gone Country, owned by Mae-J Holdings, for a little over a year and a half. “We bought him for a lady just getting into showing and he’s helped her learn the ropes,” Brooks explained. “She sends him [Gone Country] to some shows every once in awhile so he doesn’t get bored at home. Usually he pulls something off when he’s there so he’s a true champion.”
The pair had the top score after the first round and Brooks went into the Handy with one thing in mind: “It was pretty much a specific track for all the horses, so you had to figure out what would separate you. I feel a Handy is an efficiency class, so if you are all doing the same track, how can you be more efficient at doing that track?” shared Brooks.
Photos © ESI Photography