Friday marked the final Derby Friday of the World Equestrian Center – Ocala NSBA Summer Series with more than 40 beautiful hunters vying for the win in the $12,500 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby and the $10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby. Pat Muskus designed the winding tracks that featured stunning natural obstacles and lines for forward entries that allowed riders to show off their horse’s brilliance and adjustability.
The $12,500 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby saw 16 competitive horse-and-rider combinations ride for the win with scores soaring high into the 80s. Hanna Toering and Lori Christman’s In The Black captured the win, navigating two beautiful rounds. Toering has had great success during the NSBA-sanctioned WEC Ocala Summer Series earning multiple top three finishes in the 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby.
“We love it here,” she said. “The facility is just jaw dropping. We will never get tired of showing here.”
Toering of Waterford, Virginia and In The Black were on a roll.
“In The Black is such an amazing horse and I am so grateful to be able to show him in the derbies,” Toering gushed. “My trainer Terry Brown has helped me so much and she teaches me something new every day.”
Toering and the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding performed a lovely first round, jumping all three high options to earn a score of 76.
“I thought the first round course was set very well. All of the lines flowed on a nice gallop which is perfect for In The Black because he has such a huge step,” she explained.
“[In the handy], I had to establish a nice pace early on to get a nice distance to the first oxer,” she detailed. “After that I was able to ride two very well and wrap around to the trot fence. The log was nice as a trot fence because he studied it and was impressed by it which made for a beautiful jump. Then the rest of the course allowed me to really show him off.”
Toering and In The Black jumped the last oxer perfectly to earn a handy score of 83 for a two-round total of 159 for the win.
Second place honors went to Ella Bostwick and Rushy Marsh Farm LLC’s Haylie Van De Groenendijk. Bostwick and the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare delivered a gorgeous first round, jumping all three high options to earn the class’s highest first round score of 86. Bostwick and Haylie Van De Groenendijk (Catalano x Evica VD Groenendijk) were the last pair to return for the handy navigating a smooth round, jumping two high options to earn a score of 72, for a two round total of 158.
McKenzie Clayton and her own Farcolle rounded out the top three. Clayton and the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding delivered two beautiful rounds, earning a first round score of 77 and a second-round score of 80 for a total score of 157.
$12,500 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1. In The Black, Hanna Toering, Lori Christman: 76 | 83 | 159
2. Haylie Van De Groenendijk, Ella Bostwick, Rushy Marsh Farm LLC: 86 | 72 | 158|
3. Farcolle, Mckenzie Clayton, Mckenzie Clayton: 77 | 80 | 157
4. Eyewitness, Chelsea Stopford, Jessica Collin: 79 | 76 | 155
5. High Renaissance, Elizabeth Blaisdell, Della Equestrian: 78 | 75 | 153
6. My Way, Shannon Dickinson, Stacey Vertullo: 75 | 75 | 150
7. Empress, Wyette Felton, Wyette Felton: 81 | 68 | 149
8. Condor, Hanna Toering, Wyette Felton: 70 | 69 | 139
9. Fitz, Isabel Harbour, Imh Equine, Llc: 49 | 89 | 138
10. Maguro, Madison Ramsey, Kevin Eufemia: 72 | 57 | 129
Erin McCabe Clayton & Gem Stables, Inc.’s Milo Notch $10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby Win
Twenty-six stunning hunters took to the CaptiveOne Advisors Indoor Arena Friday afternoon to compete for the top prize in the $10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby, but it was Erin McCabe Clayton and her new mount Milo that brought home the blue ribbon.
“My plan wasn’t to show him this week, but I jumped him at home on Tuesday and I decided I wanted to try the derby because he was so much fun,” McCabe Clayton said.
Clayton has had great hunter derby success during the WEC Ocala Summer Series earning two 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby wins earlier in the series. Clayton and Milo navigated a flawless first round, jumping all three high options to earn a first round score of 85.
“Milo is probably the most fun young horse I have ever shown,” she exclaimed. “I just showed him in two classes yesterday and now we have won a derby!”
“I had two plans going into the second round,” McCabe Clayton explained. “As I was getting more comfortable going around in the handy, I decided to take a few more chances at the end. At first I wasn’t sure what I should do with him because this is my first time ever showing him in a handy.”
Clayton and Milo produced an impeccable handy course taking a few inside turns toward the end of the track to earn a score of 83, for a two round total of 168.
“WEC has the best facility hands down,” McCabe Clayton said. “We moved here three years ago specifically for WEC and it is even better than we imagined. There is truly no other place like it and I will show at every horse show here for the rest of my life.”
Kim Barone and Dialicious earned second place honors. Barone and Dialicious has had great success in the 3’ Hunter Derby earning top honors during Week I’s Hunter Derby. Barone and the nine-year-old Brandenburg gelding owned by Cynthia Bulwicz delivered a smooth first round jumping all three high options to earn a score of 73. Barone and Dialicious returned for the handy taking every single inside turn available while jumping all three high options to earn the class’s highest handy score of 88, for a two round total of 161.
Third place honors went to Lauren Schweppe and James York’s Collins. Schweppe and the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding delivered two lovely rounds, earning the class’s highest first round score of 86, and a handy score of 68 for an overall score of 154 to earn third.
$10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby Results:
1. Milo, Erin-McCabe Clayton, Gem Stables, Inc.: 85 | 83 | 168
2. Dialicious, Kim Barone, Cynthia Bulwicz: 73 | 88 | 161
3. Collins, Lauren Schweppe, James York: 86 | 68 | 154
4. Bayview, Mary Meghann Huitt, Stephanie Hinson: 70 | 81 | 151
5. Tomcat, Sarah Tredennick, Sarah Tredennick: 80 | 70 | 150
6. Cavalia Windsor Z, Jeannie M. Savegnago, Daryl Ziegler-Henning: 78 | 71 | 149
7. RSH Fenomene Des Reves, Christina Schweir, Royal Sport Horses: 76 | 72 | 148
8. PSJ Acazarro, Nathalie Petschenig, Chandler Hopper: 71 | 76 | 147
9. Starbuck, Cindi Robbins, Cindi Robbins: 72 | 74 | 146
10. Kumquat De Reve, Madison Widmer, Madison Widmer: 79 | 57 | 136
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.