Edited Press Release
Didgereedoo VDL is leaving his mark on Traverse City this summer, claiming the championship in the 3’6” Performance Hunters to kick off GLEF IV. With Kelsey Epperson in the irons, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zavall VDL x Indoctro), owned by Lashier Properties, rode to two victories and two red rosettes in the competitive division, earning overall championship honors.
“This was my third year riding this horse so I know him pretty well now,” Epperson said of her relationship with Didgereedoo VDL. “I’m really grateful because the owner, Sharon Lashier, lets me ride him and show him as our program needs. It’s nice to spend as much time with him as I need to. It helps our bond together and makes showing so much fun. He’s my go-to horse and I’m always excited to ride him.”
Didgereedoo VDL’s jumper background not only sets him up for great success in the derby rings, it also helped make him the ideal ride for Epperson in the hunter ring. “He used to be a jumper so he’s fun for me because he’s not a kick ride,” she continued. “He likes to show a gallop and have a nice pace around the ring. You can let him take over and he just takes you to the jumps.”
While he is extremely business-like in the professional divisions early in the week, Didgereedoo VDL knows when it’s game time and he’s showing in a bigger class, such as a hunter derby. “I swear the horse knows the difference between the regular division and the derbies,” Epperson remarked. “When it’s a bigger class and he has to perform he’s a totally different horse. He’s on it, he’s always ready to win. We laugh at him during the week because he knows it’s not Sunday yet.”
During GLEF IV, Epperson will show Didgereedoo VDL in the Traverse City National Hunter Derby Sunday then aim the horse for the end of the season when the Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals take place.
“We’ve been coming to this horse show for a very long time,” Epperson recounted of her history at Flintfields Horse Park. “We come every year and stay every year which I love. We make this home. The horses love it here, it’s relaxing, and the footing is great. There are so many rings here and there’s so much to do. We love coming here; we don’t go anywhere else anymore.”
Reserve championship honors went to Greetings and Rachel Lindsey for Priya Alvarez.