Ayers and Cartel Win the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Lexington National

Jeff Ayers and Cartel. Photo by Teresa Ramsay

Edited Press Release

Jeff Ayers of Sellersville, Pennsylvania and his own Cartel won the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by The Heisley Family Foundation, besting a field of thirty-two horse and rider teams.

Ayers commented, “This was a really nice course. Thank you to the course designer Nancy Wallis for making this such a beautiful ring for us,” he said. “Nancy designed a really nice course, and it was a great competition riding against so many horses,” he added.  “Thank you to The Heisley Family Foundation for sponsoring this class. It was just excellent.”

“Our first time showing here was last year and we traveled about six hours to get here. It is one of the furthest away shows we go to. But the ring is always beautiful, the footing is great, and the horse show is very well run. We love downtown Lexington, and the hotels are two minutes away from the show grounds and Walmart is just five minutes away. Everything is very convenient here,” he added.

Ayers purchased Cartel as a four-year-old in 2016. “He has become more consistent over time and it’s starting to show. I’ve done about ten Derbies with him, and I’ve won three. He always gets a ribbon,” he said. 

Cathy Sacher’s Cleverest, ridden by Kim Buzby of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, placed second and Marylisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland rode Heather Bamford’s Wyatt to a third-place finish.

Elated, owned by Golden Oaks Farm, Inc. and ridden by Sam Meadows of Newport News, Virginia earned a fourth-place finish and Marilyn Richmond’s Music Man, ridden by Grace Long of Middleburg, Virginia, placed fifth. Basalt, owned by Heather Bamford and ridden by Leffler placed sixth overall and Buzby rode Pam Bartholomew’s Frosted to a seventh-place finish.

Eighth was awarded to Finally, owned by Bozzuto Equine, LLC and ridden by Annabella Bozzuto of Baltimore, Maryland. Jan Bitzberger’s Maximo, ridden by Chris Wynne of Virginia Beach, Virginia earned a ninth-place finish and Jason Berry’s Iamwhatiam, ridden by Megan Heffernan of Waynesboro, Virginia took tenth place honors. Wynne piloted Stacey McFadden, LLC’s Wistful to an eleventh place and Missy Chiles’ Mexicali Blues, ridden by Jocelyn Martin of Louisa, Virginia wrapped the class up with a twelfth-place finish.

For more information, please visit horseshowsonline.com.

Award presentation is Judy Bishop representing The Heisley Family Foundation. Photo by Teresa Ramsay

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The Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA)

The Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA), a non-profit corporation, has as its main purpose the promotion and development of the sport of horse showing, primarily in the Hunter/Jumper, Western and Reining disciplines. These objectives are accomplished by setting the standards for showing on the West Coast and approving shows that meet these criteria. 

Founded in 1946, the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association promotes the interests of owners and exhibitors, cooperates with exhibitors, officials, and management of competition, publicizes and advertises PCHA sanctioned shows, encourages and assists owners, exhibitors, and breeders of horses to maintain, develop and improve the quality of horses of the Hunter, Jumper, Western and Reining divisions.