An ‘Unbelievable’ Finish for Jacob Pope in $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at GLEF 4

Jacob Pope and Unbelievable. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Edited Press Release

Jacob Pope wowed the crowds Saturday evening with his longtime partner, Unbelievable, taking top honors in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox, LLC. With three mounts in the class, Pope qualified all three for the handy round, but it was Forget Me Not Farm’s 12-year-old Warmblood mare that impressed the judges the most, convincingly earning the win by over 17 points.

“I love this horse,” Pope commented on his winning mount. “She’s everything to me. I feel like every time I can go in the ring and have a good round. She gives her all at every jump. Between the team at Forget Me Not Farm, Stephanie [Mazer], and Unbelievable, it’s just an incredible combination. I’ve known the mare for three years and we’ve had lots of wins together. She always tries her hardest.”

Pope scored an 89 and 90 for an overall 179 in round one, comfortably sitting in a three-way tie for third as the handy round began. Knowing what was on the line, he stepped up to the plate and delivered top scores in the handy of 105 and 107 for a combined two-round total of 392.

Early to go in the handy round, Stella Wasserman produced a stellar trip with Laura Wasserman’s Skyhawk, riding to a total score of 374.5 and taking second as the class drew to a close. Third place went to Greg Crolick and Carole Chase’s Chappy on a total score of 372.

Jacob Pope and Unbelievable. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We call her ‘Luna’ in the barn, or ‘Handy Queen,’” Pope continued regarding Unbelievable. “She’s amazing. Stephanie Mazer and I always say to go for it in the handy.”

His efforts paid off taking risks in the handy round, opting for inside turns and high options that propelled him to the top. He also placed two other mounts inside the top 12, Don Stewart-owned San Pedro 15 and G. Eleven.

“I’m very thankful to have the ride on three very nice horses at this level,” Pope remarked. “I’m thankful to both Stephanie and Don Stewart. I ride a lot of horses throughout the week so I’m used to having to adapt my ride. Each horse is different, so I changed my ride in the handy depending on the experience level and strength of each horse.”

Pope now focuses his efforts with Unbelievable on USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in August 2022. On his preparation, he commented, “After a win today I feel super confident. She’s a super solid mare. We’ve been knocking on the door a bit and having nice placings. I feel well prepared for [Derby Championships] in a few weeks.”

Final Results: $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Copper Fox LLC

1. Unbelievable / Jacob Pope / Forget Me Not Farm / 179 + 213 = 392
2. Skyhawk / Stella Wasserman / Laura Wasserman / 175.5 + 199 = 374.5
3. Chappy / Greg Crolick / Carole Chase / 173 + 199 = 372
4. Zanziebar R Z / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 181.25 + 189 = 370.25
5. Heartfelt II / Tiffany Morrissey / Diener Farms, LLC / 176 + 194 = 370
6. San Pedro 15 / Jacob Pope / Don Stewart / 179 + 169.5 = 348.5
7. Folklore / Rachel Lindsey / Amberlea Tribble / 167.5 + 178 = 345.5
8. Insightful / Augusta Iwasaki / Sunset View Farm LLC / 155 + 187 = 342
9. Catwalk / Greg Crolick / Renaud Farm, LLC / 165 + 158 = 323
10. Day Glow / Alex Granato / Rena Lalley / 179 + 103 = 282
11. Small Kingdom / Augusta Iwasaki / Elizabeth Reilly / 181 + 95 = 276
12. G. Eleven / Jacob Pope / Don Stewart / 158.5 + 112 = 270.5