On Friday in Ring 11, 19 horse-and-rider duos competed in the final derby of the ESP Holiday Series, the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Noltrex®Vet. The class consisted of a first-round course, designed by Danny Moore, of 12 fences, including four high options, and a subsequent handy round of the top twelve scorers. Geoffrey Hesslink of Shelbourne, VT, was victorious aboard Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s Trademark, and added to his success with a third-place finish on Sabrina Hellman’s Luminosity.
Friday’s victory made a trifecta for Hesslink as he notched his third derby win during the ESP Holiday Series. During the ESP Holiday & Horses CSI4*, the Vermont-based professional claimed first prize in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Bainbridge, on Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s Small Occasion, and later won the $1,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Gold Coast Feed, riding Luminosity during the ESP Year End Awards Show.
“I love these classes! I think they’re so much fun, and I’ve actually won the last three I’ve done on three different horses,” reflected Hesslink. “To have three derby wins on three different horses is really special and a testament to our riders and program I think. It’s such a blast every week, and I really look forward to these derbies here.”
Following the classic round, which concluded with a cut-off score of 76, the top 12 high-performing pairs of the class continued on to the handy round, with the added element of a trot fence. With a score of 89 in his first round, Hesslink returned to the handy round sitting in second place behind Jennifer Bliss of Loxahatchee, FL, and Sugarman. Thanks to a score of 95, the highest single-round score of the class from any entry, in the handy round, Hesslink and Trademark stole the top spot with a final score of 184.
“I’m obviously thrilled with them both,” commented Hesslink of Trademark and Luminosity. “Trademark is actually a new horse we got just last week, so this week was our week to play with him and get to know him. I wanted to put him in this class to see what he would do, and he was absolutely spectacular. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him. I’m so excited for our journey with him.”
Bliss and Harris Hill Farm LLC’s Sugarman received the highest first-round score of 90, and a second-round score of 93 to finish with a final score of 183, just a point behind to claim second place. Hesslink’s second mount, Luminosity, scored an 88 in the first round and 92 in the second phase to land in third place with an overall score of 180.
Hesslink piloted Snippet, owned by Shadowfax Equestrian LLC, to victorious results in the Performance 3’6” Hunters earlier in the week. For his efforts, Noltrex®Vet selected him the winner of a leather lead rope. Hesslink and Snippet earned a pair of 87s to win top prizes in two of the classes in the division.
|For the full results of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by NoltrexVet, please click HERE.
|The prize list for the thirteen weeks that make up the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival can be found HERE.
No spectators or outside media 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, please click HERE.
Photo credit ©Anne Gittins Photography and ©ESP. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.