Jason Berry and Avila Top WEC $5,000 Hunter Derby in Wilmington

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Jason Berry and Avila. Photo by Winslow Photography

Edited Press Release

Wilmington, OH – For Hunter Derby Friday at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, course designer Scott Adler transformed the R+L Arena into a wintertime hunt field featuring a winding track that contained beautifully decorated natural obstacles. The course made use of the large indoor space, encouraging a forward pace that allowed riders to demonstrate their horse’s athletic abilities.

Jason Berry’s expertly piloted Willow Wind Llc’s Avila (Casiro I x Jornesse) to the win in the $5,000 WEC 3′ – Open Hunter Derby. The elegant pair earned consistent scores in both rounds, with marks of 87 and 85 in the Handy to total 172 for the win. 

“When presented with a tougher course, I try to be smooth and show my horse like a hunter. If you can accomplish that, then you’re able to up your game,” said Berry, of Jason Berry Stables in Verona, VA. “A lot of times people will get too derby-like and rough things up. In doing so, you lose your smoothness.”

Melissa Donnelly and Breathless. Photo by Winslow Photography

With a recent third-place Derby finish aboard Sara Barnes’s Breathless (Toulon x Utareusa ), Melissa Donnelly of Just a Folly Farm in Oxford, MI, climbed the leaderboard once again to secure a second-place ribbon this afternoon. The team delivered rounds similar to Berry’s, remaining steady and rhythmic through both tracks, earning scores of 81 and 88, and totaling 169 for second-place honors. 

Jessica Borton and Legolas. Photo by Winslow Photography

Another stylish entry were third-place finishers Jessica Borton and Kim Tarnapoll’s Legolas. Borton of Hunters Court Farm in Johnstown, Ohio,  piloted Legolas, a fifteen-year-old Warmblood gelding, up, over and around the course, taking all of the heigh options to accumulate scores of  82 and 76, totaling 158 for the yellow ribbon. 

Hannah Eddlemon and Donatello win WEC’s Non – Pro derby two weeks in a row. Photo by Winslow Photography

Hannah Eddlemon and Donatello Capture $5,000 WEC Non-Pro Derby Win

Hannah Eddlemon of Wilmington, OH and Addison Mae King’s Donatello played it safe in the $5,000 WEC 3′ – Non-Pro Derby, remaining consistently on pace through both rounds and showing off Donatello’s athletic jump and maneuverability.

“I always want to make it into the handy round […] My plan for the first round is to just stay as consistent as possible,” Eddlemon said. “Once I get to the handy, since I know this horse so well, I play off of his strengths. Turtle (as he is known in the barn) is game for almost anything, so I made sure our turns were really good to stand out to the judge.”

Hannah’s steady efforts earned scores of 77 and 85, topping the leaderboard with 162 total points for first place honors. 

Junior rider Elizabeth Rinehart is following in her family’s footsteps and paving a way for herself at the top of the judge’s scorecards. Rinehart of Westfield, IN and her own Lavana, an 18-year-old Warmblood mare, delivered two noteworthy rounds nailing all lead changes and executing tight turns to score 158.5 total points; with 75.5 in round one and 83 in the handy to finish in second place. 

Emma Christensen and her own Flynnigan (Hornet Rose x Stutbach 1 Fauna) progressed through both courses with ease and opted for several high options. Christensen and the chestnut gelding finished third, earning scores of 77.5 and 79 totaling 156.5 points. 

$5,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’ Open Results:

  1. Avila, Jason Berry – 87 | 85 | 172
  2. Breathless,  Melissa Donnelly – 81 | 88 | 169
  3. Legolas,  Jessica Borton – 82 | 76 | 158
  4. Valiant Victor, Taylor Johnson – 77 | 79 | 156
  5. FF Nora, Megan Bash – 80.5 | 67 | 147.5
  6. Sport Mode, Doug King – 80 | 66 | 146
  7. Happy Boy, Richard Rinehart – 68 | 75 | 143
  8. Appointed, Jessica Borton – 78 | 58 | 136
  9. Corlando 49, Melissa Donnelly – 84 | 49 | 133
  10. Gambit,  Emily Reynolds – 47 | 81 | 128

$5,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’ Non-Pro Results:

  1. Donatello, Hannah Eddlemon – 77 | 85 | 162
  2. Lavana, Elizabeth Rinehart – 75. | 83 | 158.5
  3. Flynnigan, Emma Christensen – 75.5 | 79 | 156.5
  4. Atoka, Katie Durrer – 78 | 78 | 154
  5. Primus Rex, Brian C. Shook – 64 | 87 | 151
  6. Et-jolie, Emma Repenning – 67, x , x 
  7. SOL Naciente, Brooklyn Engle – 61 | 80 | 141
  8. Cavalli, Luke Rinehart – 47 | 86 | 133
  9. Herr drosselmeyer, Anneliese Kolaska  – 79 | 47 | 126
  10. Stevens, Madyson Schuh  – 60 | 64 | 124