Edited Press Release
Culpeper, Va. – April 23, 2022 – Saturday was Derby Day during the Commonwealth National Horse Show at the HITS Commonwealth Park, as riders gathered at Hunter 1 to showcase their mounts in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Alexandra Hawrysko dominated the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby from start to finish aboard Executive Privilege, marking an exciting return to the show ring for Hawrysko after a five-year hiatus. Vivienne Noel and Bordeaux led the lap of honor after a flawless handy round to close out the day by winning the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby.
Rian Beals set beautiful courses for the day’s highlight events, with both rounds featuring four high options, allowing riders to showcase their mounts’ scope and brilliance. The handy round began with a direct approach from the in-gate to the first oxer, and also tested riders with a rollback turn and a trot fence to determine the top placings.
Hawrysko and Executive Privilege, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Nancy Milburn, were the fifth to show during the first round, but they quickly set the bar very high with a score of 87 that would prove untouchable for the remaining riders. Knowing she had a strong lead, Hawrysko opted to take the lower side of the first oxer during the handy round. She continued on, laying down a hoof-perfect effort that earned a total score of 171 to claim the winning title. Airlie Corder and Konnan Z’s score of 85 topped the handy round, and their combined score of 167.5 scored the second-place prize. Hannah Hinson earned scores of 80 and 82 aboard Svengali for a total score of 162 to take home third-place honors.
Saturday marked Hawrysko’s first horse show in five years after taking time to earn her degree in cognitive neuroscience. “This is my first horse show back in quite some time, so this is an extra special win!” she expressed. “I just wanted to go in and do my best. [Executive Privilege] is a pretty incredible horse, and we both showed up today, which was awesome. For the handy round, all I needed was to have a smooth round to keep my spot, and we executed that.”
Hawrysko concluded, “[HITS Culpeper] is a very nice show to take all of the new horses to – it’s a nice first show of the season. It’s a great first way to start!”
The next event in Hunter 1 was the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Vivienne Noel earned a total score of 158 aboard Bordeaux, a 9-year-old German Riding Pony owned by Equine Select LLC, showcasing a smooth and consistent handy round. The second-place award was presented to Courtney Toews and Poetic Justice after earning a total score of 150. Addison McMillan and Rollingwood’s Top Brass rounded out the top three with a score of 143.
“I’ve only had [Bordeaux] for eight months, so I went in for experience today,” explained Noel. “I felt really confident going into the [handy] round, and he was a really good boy. I really liked how they did the bending line to the trot jump, because it tests how hard it is to go down to the trot and then pick up your canter and get the pace back for the single. I was really happy with my scores!”