Wayne, Ill. – May 27, 2022 – It was a derby debut for Upside at the Lamplight Spring Classic III as he jumped to victory with rider Caitlyn Shiels at Lamplight Equestrian Center. On Friday, top horse and rider combinations were narrowed to the top 12 for the handy round of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Shiels and Upside led from start to finish after competing in the 3’3” Performance Hunters earlier this week.
“The nice thing about [Upside] is that he always walks in the ring with so much presence,” expressed Shiels. “His ears are always forward, he’s got a beautiful rhythm, and he’s always looking for the next jump!”
Following the classic round, which included four high-option fences and a combination, the course was changed for the handy round, which had just two high options but added a rollback after the first fence, a trot jump, and a long hand gallop to the final oxer going towards the gate.
It was a wire-to-wire finish for Shiels and Upside, who led the classic round with a score of 92. They opted for a smooth handy round to secure their spot at the top of the judges’ cards, resulting in a second score of 87 for a total of 179. Danielle Urban came close to catching Shiels with Gabrielli, earning a handy round score of 88 for a total of 176 and the second-place ribbon. Jane Martinson and Di Nozzo rounded out the top three, earning scores of 81 and 85 for a total of 166. Shiels and Upside led the lap of honor during their first derby appearance.
“My plan was to be extremely smooth,” said Shiels. “This was his first time moving up to a bigger division. We did the 3’3” [Performance] this week and he was very good. We just came off of Florida, so we had a little bit of a break before we came to this show. I wanted to be super smooth in the handy because he did his first handy yesterday in the Performance Hunters. I didn’t want to go crazy and overwhelm him. He was right there with me at every turn and the trot jump was really smooth, so I am extremely happy with him.”
Upside is a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Cody Wooten, who found him while working with Peter Wylde. “He was really green and rough around the edges,” explained Wooten. “We started doing the real Pre-Green divisions with him, and then he was leased out doing the Low Children’s. He just came off his lease, so we decided to see what he can do, and we bumped him up a little bit. Right now, he keeps telling us he wants to do this, and he’s good at it!”
Shiels was thrilled to have a win so close to home, concluding, “I moved to Chicago about nine years ago, so it’s nice that [Lamplight] is close to home. The facility is a beautiful boutique – it’s not huge and overwhelming. Our clients like it, and it’s nice to be back here. We will be back here in July, and we are looking forward to the rest of our summer!”
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