Hannah Isop and Believe Rise to the Top in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Hannah Isop and Believe. © Sportfot

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

January 8, 2021 – Wellington, FL – At the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Friday, January 8, 2021, Hannah Isop and Believe captured the win in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) showgrounds. In the International Arena, Natalie Dean of Palo Alto, CA, rode Dotcom d’Authuit, owned by Marigold Sporthorses LLC, to victory in the $2,500 Lugano Diamonds High Amateur-Owner Jumpers.

The WEF Premiere week continues through Sunday, January 10, and is sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. It features national-level competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation. International jumper classes will begin at WEF 1 on January 13-17 with a CSI3*. The weekend live stream schedule for the WEF Premiere show includes the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic on Saturday and Sunday’s $75,000 Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix at 2 p.m. EST.

The $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby took place in Rings 11 and 12 with 43 riders competing for the blue ribbon. In the end, Hannah Isop and Believe moved up five places in the handy round to secure the victory.

Hunter riders were first tested over a classic round, designed by Danny Moore, which consisted of 12 elements and offered four high option fences. The top 12 horse-and-rider combinations returned to show off in the handy round, which included a trot fence.

Isop, of Pawling, NY, has had the ride on Victoria Hart’s Believe for several years. “He is a complete goofball and total love in the barn,” said Isop of “Luca”, the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Stolzenberg. “He is really one of a kind to ride; I’m quite lucky. Luca is owned by an incredible family, the Harts, and their two daughters ride him as well!”

Isop and Believe received a score of 90 in the classic round, choosing all four high option fences, which put the pair in sixth place. Kelley Farmer, of Wellington, FL, rode Good Choice, owned by Glefke and Oakland Ventures, LLC, to a high score of 96 in the classic round.

“We are all a little rusty coming off of a long break, but I was really quite happy with the horse and my first round,” explained Isop. “He went in there confident. It was a course that was very open, so it was well built for his big stride and I could really show off in a couple places.”

Watch the full stream of the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on demand!

The duo came back seventh in the order for the handy round, where they showed off their neat turns and rideability to impress the judges. Isop piloted Believe to an unbeatable second-round high score of 96 to climb to the top of the class with an overall score of 186.

“My plan going into the handy was just to have some fun. The handy was the icing on top for me,” Isop commented. “Once he went in and jumped fence one, which was only about three strides off the fence line from the in-gate, I just knew that he was on it. He is able to gallop down to the four-foot oxer and at the same time float back to the trot jump with ease.”

Isop hopes to continue the pair’s success in more USHJA International Hunter Derbies this season, while also looking forward to owners, Madison and Victoria Hart, taking over the reins on Believe.

Hannah Isop and Believe in their winning presentation with Tracy Freels. © Sportfot

Taking home second place honors was Kristy Herrera, of Wellington, FL, aboard Carousel Group’s Carousel. The duo received a score of 91 in the first round and a 92 in the handy round, for a total score of 183. Loxahatchee, FL, resident Victoria Colvin rode Harris Equestrian LLC’s Diacando to a third-place finish. Colvin and Diacando earned an 89.5 in the classic round and a 93 in the second round to end with a total score of 182.5.

Over in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, Ali Sirota Kelman of Irvington, NY, piloted Listen To Me to the championship in the Karina Brez Jewelry Adult Amateur Hunter Middle Section A. They placed first, second, and third over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve championship went to Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, NY, on Halston. They won two over fences classes and were second under saddle.

Final Results: $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

1 Believe / Hannah Isop / Victoria Hart
90.00 / 96.00 | 186.00

2 Carousel / Kristy Herrera / Carousel Group
91.00 / 92.00 | 183.00

3 Diacando / Victoria Colvin / Harris Equestrian LLC
89.50 / 93 | 182.50

4 Good Choice / Kelley Farmer / Glefke & Oakland Ventures, LLC
96.00 / 86.25 | 182.25

5 Carento / Elizabeth Towell Boyd / Sherri Crawford
94.00 / 87.50 | 181.50

6 True Blue / Caitlin Venezia / Jennifer Combs
92.00 / 89.00 | 181.00

7 Poker Face / Jennifer Bliss / Harris Hill Farm, LLC
86.50 / 92.50 | 178.50

8 Face The Music / Jennifer Bliss / Harris Hill Farm, LLC
90.00 / 87.00 | 177.00

9 Bacchus / Michael Britt-Leon / Kelly Sims
87.50 / 84.00 | 171.50

10 Commentary / Julie Curtin / Amy Perez
89.75 / 79.00 | 168.75

11 SVF On My Own / Maria Rasmussen / Sunset View Farm LLC
89.00 / 69.00 | 158.00

12 Rainer / Brianne Goutal-Marteau / Aquitaine Equine
88.00 / 49.00 | 137.00