November 14, 2020 – Merideth Bryans (Newborn, GA) and Jaguar topped the podium at the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby earning 79 points in round one and 89 in the handy round to end with a score of 168. Second place went to Alexandra Dow (Matthews, NC) and Sally Watkins’ Maxumus, the 2012 Rheinlander gelding (Magnum x Octavia) with 158 points. Genevieve Edwards (Guyton, GA) guided JoJo Howland’s Star Jewel, the 2010 Oldenburg mare (Amazing x Quinta) to a third place score of 155.
Seven entries tested TIEC’s final hunter derby course of 2020 designed by Dean Rheinheimer (Sheridan, IN) and Bryans praised her and Jaguar’s experience.
“The course was great. I loved the first round. [Jaguar] always lands on his right lead, so I knew landing left on the two bending lines was going to be challenging for us, but we worked it out. The first round was nice. In the handy round, I knew going from one to two was going to be a gamble with the right turn, but again, he lands better [on the right lead], so I opted to take the chance. It paid off!” explained Bryans.
Bryans shared her special bond with the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Unknown x Unknown) owned by Vickie Bryans, a horse she has had for seven years now.
“I imported him as a three-year-old, so I’ve brought him along and done everything, starting with the Baby Green [Hunter classes] and teaching him his lead changes. I’ve done everything, so it makes it all so special. He’s a clown with a lot of personality. He’s super sweet! He’s a really good boy and tries very hard.”
Bryans and Jaguar both enjoy the competition arena, but do not have immediate plans following their stay at TIEC. “Jaguar loves horse showing! We love coming to Tryon, so with these shows slowing down now, I’m not sure where we’re going to go next,” concluded Bryans.