Keri Kampsen Pilots Ocean Road to Winning Honors in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Presented by Score At The Top

Keri Kampsen and Ocean Road © Anne Gittins Photography

Hunter competitors had their chance to shine Friday in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Score At The Top, during the ESP Pre-Charity Show. The event is the seventh and final chapter in the ESP Fall Series, which will soon be followed by the ESP Holiday Series for six more weeks of hunter/jumper competition ahead of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival. Jumping to the top of the scorecard in Friday’s contest, Keri Kampsen of Wellington, FL, and Ocean Road, the horse she co-owns with Lexy Reed, were crowned the winners thanks to back-to-back high-scoring rides that pushed them over the 90-point threshold.

“This was my first week back showing Ocean Road since Kentucky [Horse Shows] was cancelled, so we did the First Year Greens this morning and then this was our derby warm-up to get ready for more derbies going forward,” remarked Kampsen. “My business partner and I imported him at the end of last October, so I’ve had him about a year. I did the international derbies on him last year and my plan was to do the Finals on him, so this is where we are starting back up.”

Keri Kampsen and Ocean Road won the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Score At The Top. Pictured with Hailey Hak, senior at Score Academy, on behalf of Score At The Top. © PBIEC

Following the classic phase of competition, which took place in the Rost Ring, 12 entries were invited to return for the handy round. Kampsen and Ocean Road lead the way as the clear frontrunners with a score of 93, earned from a base score of 89 plus 4 bonus points for taking the high option fences. The leading duo had a comfortable margin between them and the pair in second position, Tiffany Morrissey of Wellington, FL, aboard On Your Mark with 86 points to their name. Not far behind them, Noa Diener touted 85 points riding Heartbreaker, Morrissey had another top scorer in Baron Z, who garnered 82 points, and Meredith Gallagher of Haines City, FL, rounded out the initial top five with 81 points on Charisma.

“I love being handy, so I always hit a lick and just keep going,” said Kampsen. “That horse is super handy; I could do turns with him that nobody else could even try. He is little, technically a Small Junior in size, which makes him amazingly rideable.”

Back for the handy round, competitors returned mostly in reverse order of the standings, with some slight variations to the list to accommodate Morrissey, Gallagher, and Diener, each of whom qualified multiple horses. As one of the final contenders, Kampsen and Ocean Road were rewarded for their handy ride with a score of 92, their second time breaking the 90-point threshold in the class and the only pair to do so, to finish on a cumulative total of 185. Their tally easily captured the tricolor honors, with Gallagher and Michelle Mintz’ Charisma moving up the ranks to clinch second position with a score of 169. Morrissey and Bon Ami, owned by AM Sport Horses South Inc., followed in third place with 167 points.

On the new footing in the rings, Kampsen commented, “I was over here last week right after it rained. My home ring was completely underwater – everyone’s was – and I came over here and it was phenomenal. The drainage is incredible and the bigger schooling area makes a world of difference, especially when you are jumping at the higher levels. The ring rides phenomenally.”

She continued on, remarking on the COVID protocols in place, “Everyone is so nice about it. I make a living by horse showing, so I am happy to adhere to the rules because I want to keep showing. I really missed it.”

Noa Diener with Craig T. Roberts, DVM, Veterinary Director at Noltrex®Vet © PBIEC

Earlier in the morning, Diener, of Indian Creek Village, FL, was honored by Craig T. Roberts, DVM, Veterinary Director at Noltrex®Vet as the winner of the first class in the Performance 3’6”/3’3” Hunters, presentd by Noltrex®Vet. Diener topped the over fences class thanks to her performance with Heartbreaker, the mount she also rode in Friday’s derby.

For a full list of results for the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Score At The Top, please click HERE
The ESP Fall Series will continue through Sunday, November 15, at the main grounds of PBIEC with the ESP Pre-Charity Show, featuring “A” rated and Jumper 6* national competition, as well as CSI3* international classes. Click HERE to view the November Edition of the Prize List for the ESP Fall Series.

No spectators are allowed on-site at this time, but friends and family can view all classes via our SGL live stream HERE.

To learn more about the safety protocols and procedures at the horse show in their entirety, please click HERE.

Photo credit ©Anne Gittins Photography and ©PBIEC. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.