BY BROOKE GODDARD
PARKER, Colo.— LEG Shows & Events jumped into its first week of fall shows at The Colorado Horse Park with Autumn in the Rockies Week I (Sept. 3-6). On Friday morning, the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Littleton Equine Medical Center welcomed 42 horse and rider pairs. The top 12 returned for a handy round, and it was 15-year-old Aedan Mooney (Brannon Loomis Mooney, trainer) and Anthem (Carly Sweeney, owner) who earned the judges’ highest marks. As the winner, Aeden also received the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award, a red and white neck ribbon and a prize bucket filled to the brim with popular Vita Flex products.
Aedan and Anthem earned a first round score of 88 and a second round score of 90, for an overall score of 178. “It was awesome to win a big class like this,” Aeden expressed. “I went in and tried to give it my all. As a junior rider, I felt a lot of pressure and I tried to stay calm. I thought the course was fun and it had a great flow.”
Aedan not only won the class but also took home the third place prize aboard her own Jaleo 4. “We are leasing Anthem as an equitation horse for me this season. I have only had him for a few months, but he’s got a great personality,” she explained. “I have had my other horse, Jaleo 4, for several years now. Jaleo is my hunter and we do a lot of derbies together. I was super happy with both horses and I’m excited to ride Anthem in the Maclay regional medal finals next week.”
When Aedan isn’t in the saddle, she stays busy doing her online classes and helping her mom and trainer, Brannon Loomis Mooney around the barn. “My mom is my biggest supporter. She always tells me just to have fun in the show ring,” Aeden expressed. “Karen Healey has also been a huge mentor and coach. I really appreciate Karen’s support. I’ve been practicing six or seven days a week and riding whatever horses I can. I think getting to ride many different horses has helped me as a lot too.”
Now that Aedan has a won a USHJA National Hunter Derby during the 2020 LEG Colorado Shows, she is in the running for a LEGIS Hunter Rider Bonus if she sweeps up another derby win next week with Anthem. Visit the programs page on langershows.com to view the complete standings and learn more.
In second place was professional rider Everardo A. Hegewisch and his Carlubeto. This pair just made the jump into the hunter ring a few months ago from the jumpers. “I never thought I could have this much fun doing the hunters and really enjoy it,” Everardo commented. “I’m originally from Mexico City and I’ve represented Mexico in the Olympics for show jumping so this is really different for me! It was John Bragg who suggested I try riding Carlubeto in the hunter derbies, and we’ve done a few derbies together so far.”
“Carlubeto has a huge stride, so I need to make sure that he didn’t eat up the lines,” he explained. “I tried to be smooth and maintain the same rhythm from beginning to end. My horse was fantastic and jumped great.”
“Aedan truly deserved to win,” Everardo added. “Aedan’s horse was super nice and she didn’t make a single mistake.”