Edited Press Release
Nearly 90 entries took to the WEC Stadium at World Equestrian Center – Ocala for Week II’s Hunter Derby Friday to vie for the win in the $20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Open Hunter Derby and $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. Course designers Pat Muskus and Michael Pegg (CAN) created flowing courses of natural obstacles including stone walls and hedges that emulated the hunt field.
Twelve entries contested the $20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby with scores soaring into the high 80s. The flowing tracks gave competitors multiple opportunities for inside turns and allowed entries to show off their horses’ brilliance, but it was Holly Shepherd and Debbie Holland’s Tybee that caught the judge’s eye.
Shepherd and the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Black Tie navigated a lovely first round while jumping three high options to earn a first-round score of 86. Shepherd really enjoys riding Tybee, saying, “He’s one of the best hunters I’ve ever ridden. He really likes jumping bigger jumps, so I am always anxious to jump the high options. Sometimes I wish the jumps were bigger, he doesn’t really get to show off too much when they are on the smaller side.”
Shepherd and the scopey Tybee were the second to last pair to return for the handy. “He tends to be a little dull out of the gate, so I tried to start off on a strong gallop,” Shepherd said. “I was jumping fence one blind because the sun was starting to set, and it was right in my vision, but he handled it very well and jumped super anyways. Then we jumped the fence on the end and he rolled back beautifully to the wall and trotted the trot jump like a million dollars.”
Shepherd and Tybee floated through the remainder of the course while jumping all four high options to earn a score of 90, for a two-round total of 176.
Second place was captured by Dorothy Douglas and Abigail Davenport’s MTM Lolah LOL (Los Angeles x Palma). Douglas and the now 9-year-old Westphalian mare have earned numerous top placings at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, recently taking home a win in the 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby during the Ocala Fall Show Series. Douglas and MTM Lolah LOL continued their success, delivering a smooth first round while jumping all four high options with ease to earn a score of 82. The pair returned for the handy, delivering multiple inside turns while taking all four high options to earn the class’s highest handy score of 91, for a two-round total of 173.
Josh Dolan and Belle Rolfe’s Ipanema (Verdi x Alliance) took home the third place ribbon. Dolan and the stylish Ipanema produced a stunning first round, jumping all four high options to secure a score of 87. Dolan and the 9-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding were the last pair to return for the handy, completing multiple inside turns and jumping all four high options to earn a score of 84, for an overall score of 171.
$20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1.Tybee, Holly Shepherd, Debbie Holland: 86 | 90 | 176
2. MTM Lolah LOL, Dorothy Douglas, Abigail Davenport: 82 | 91 | 173
3. Ipanema, Josh Dolan, Belle Rolfe: 87 | 84 | 171
4. Fitz, Isabel Harbour, IMH Equine, LLC: 81 | 84 | 165
5. Castle Rock, Jennifer Ritucci, Kimberly McCaslin: 79 | 82 | 161
6. Lafitte De Muze, Amanda Steege, Cheryl Olsten: 74 | 80 | 154
7. Gibson, Sarah Barge, Galemont Farm: 76 | 77 | 153
8. Starfighter, Megan Ghere, Donald Stewart: 64 | 82 | 146
9. Consanto, Lily Toensing, Lily Toensing: 84 | 42 | 126
10. Emelia, Lauren Underhill, Christopher Underhill: 48 | 68 | 116