SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA. – April 2, 2021 – On Thursday afternoon during Blenheim Spring Classic II, twenty-one horse and rider combinations took center stage at the historic Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in the $5000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. After the conclusion of both rounds Nicole Bourgeios (Willsonville, OR) and Tic Tac Toe emerged victorious with a total score of 176 points.
The course was designed by Kerry Kocher (State College, PA) and featured long and flowing lines that allowed both horse and rider the ability to showcase their skill and grace in front of judges Dale Pederson and Bobbie Reber. In round two, otherwise known as the handy round, the track included technical rollback turns and creative bending lines.
“First course was fun. It was a nice mixture of trying to fit all the jumps while keeping it technical. I loved the handy round,” Bourgeios commented. “I loved that there were super handy options, the bending line to the in-and-out was a little tricky. Sometimes in the national derbies they don’t quite make them as technical at times, so I thought it was super fun.”
Taking home the second-place honors was Jamie Sailor (Moorpark, CA) and Ever So, owned by Alec Lawler, with a two round total score of 175 points. Rounding out the top three was Kyra Russell (Wilson, WY) and Get Rowdy with a 172 score for their efforts. Russell also took home the Shady Lady Sun Protection High Scoring Junior Rider award. Meghann Murphy (Coto de Caza, CA) was awarded with The Plaid Horse High Scoring Amateur award for her efforts on Furstentusch N.
Tic Tac Toe, a fourteen-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Amy Bean, has had amazing success in the hunter divisions this season. He took home the 8th place honors in the $100,000 West Coast Hunter Spectacular at the Desert International Horse Park with Bourgeios’ sister Kendall at the reins. He also claimed the reserve honors in the $50,000 International Derby during the Desert Circuit.
At Blenheim EquiSports, Tic Tac Toe has continued his amazing success. He competed for the very first time on the grass and earned the tri-color champion ribbon in the 3’6” Green Hunters during Blenheim Spring Classic II.“He is the best. We bought him a couple years ago as a recent import from Europe. He has been showing in the 3’3” Amateur Owners,” explained Bourgeios. “He is amazing and just so perfect. He is the best. I am able to make crazy inside turns that I shouldn’t be able to do and stuff like that. He is just always so game and just so fun to ride.”