Edited Press Release
July 15, 2022 – Executive Order and Caelinn Leahy (Maple Park, IL) earned top honors in Friday’s $3,000 Standlee/USHJA Amateur Hunter Derby Regional Championship. Second place went to Mackensie Bowles (Staunton, VA) and Mr. Blue Sky, a 2014 Westphalian gelding (Cordess x Romy) owned by Mack Daddy Farm. Taking home the yellow ribbon was Aly Muir and Kid Safari DH, a 2010 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Va-Vite x Tafary Quidam) owned by Whish LLC.
Executive Order, a 2014 Selle Francais stallion (Quite Easy x America Mail) owned by Nancy L Schmid, has been with Leahy his entire life, “We’ve had this horse his whole life, he’s actually a homebred for us. I’m really proud of him, it’s been cool to see him grow up through our program. Today was his first time ever jumping on grass, so I gotta say it was a pretty good first outing!” said Leahy.
Leahy commented that riding on the grass made a lot of horses perk up, but that it ultimately worked in Executive Order’s favor. “The first round I thought was super good, he was definitely a little more up, I think he and a lot of the other horses got out on the grass and got excited pretty quickly. So, I think he definitely picked up a little bit but for him honestly, the more forward he is the easier he is to ride so I think that really worked in our favor today!”
While her handy round did not go as Leahy had originally planned, a mishap is what secured her the win. “So originally our plan was to kind of go around everything to get to the next jump, but I was pretty under [the oxer] so I landed a little bit shallow and I was able to do a double inside there, so it was kind of one of those things that you just had to make the most of. That was the only ad lib, but besides that I just try to ride smooth and forward; I think that is the best way to ride all your handy rounds.”
“Tryon is super,” Leahy said. “We love putting this on the calendar every year. Hunters is actually not necessarily my main ring, most of the time I’m in the jumper ring so we like to come down here for FEI stuff. So, it’s really great for me as a young rider to be able to hop over and do FEI but also take our young horses in great classes like this. It’s an awesome venue, you can go jump on the grass and have it be beautiful but also go jump at the top level of this sport in FEI in the main ring. So, we always make it a staple part of our summer schedule, happy to be here!”
Gigi Phillips and Thunderbird Win $3,000 Standlee/USHJA Junior Hunter Derby Regional Championships
Gigi Phillips (Charlotte, NC) and her own Thunderbird jumped to the blue in the $3,000 Standlee/USHJA Junior Hunter Derby Regional Championships. The red ribbon went to Tropic Star, a 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Carambole x Carthino Z) owned and shown by Stephanie Grace Fernandez (Lewisville, NC). Rounding out the top three was Emma Ridinger (Charlotte, NC) and her own Crowd Control, a 2013 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Lucky Point HE x Ragusa).
Thunderbird, a 2014 Westphalian gelding (Cornet Session x Thousend Dollar), is a tried-and-true horse of Phillips’. “He’s my 3’6” junior hunter, he was actually a jumper 6 months ago! He’s pretty good, I’ve been doing international derbies and stuff too,” Phillips said.
Phillips noted that she had to work to stand out to the judges. “[Both rounds] were both pretty good, in the handy I didn’t see very many places to stand out so I kind of sliced the oxer in the middle to set myself apart, I think that helped.”
When asked about her favorite jump on the course, Phillips responded, “I love the hay jump because I think it’s a really cool jump without standards, and it kind of makes [every horse] look at it so they jump it really well. Being on the grass was really fun,” Phillips commented, “I’ve actually never shown on the grass before and I thought it was really fun. I love being here!”
For full results from the $3,000 Standlee/USHJA Junior Hunter Derby Regional Championships, click here.
For full results from the $3,000 Standlee/USHJA Amateur Hunter Derby Regional Championship, click here.