Edited Press Release
No stranger to top ribbons in hunter derbies, Jacob Pope won another Traverse City Hunter Derby Sunday morning aboard Don Stewart’s San Pedro 15. Taking the high score in the handy round, the pair rose into first place to take top honors and the lion’s share of $15,000 in prize money during the first week of the Tournament of Champions.
“I did my first class on him here back in June, so it’s been a summer of getting to know him,” Pope said of the 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stakkato x Contendro). “He’s really an awesome horse. It’s nice to get the ride on him.”
With three other mounts qualifying for the handy round, Pope stayed busy and put in solid rounds on each. His final ride was onSan Pedro 15 after earning a first-round score of 89. Megan Ghere and Don Stewart’s Fountain Balou went in just prior and earned an overall score of 183 to take the lead and put pressure on Pope to deliver.
The duo came through, handily turning and jumping beautifully over the shorter course for a base score of 91, plus four high options to earn a second-round score of 95 and a two-round total of 184. Along with the win, San Pedro 15 was named the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.
“He actually has a jumper background,” Pope said of San Pedro 15. “Don [Stewart] bought him back in March right out of the jumper ring, so I know he’s really good at turns. There weren’t a ton of inside turns to do, so I knew I had to be really tidy and handy everywhere.”
This was the pair’s second big victory in Traverse City Hunter Derby action, and they have taken other notable results throughout the summer as well. Combined with Pope’s success in the jumper ring, this summer has been a career highlight for the young professional. Pope, who trains with Team Rakowsky and spends his summers in Northern Michigan, balances his own riding and competing quite well with training other students and helping them achieve their goals.
“This has been one of the best summers I’ve had, especially since becoming a professional,” Pope noted. “Part of that is due to how diverse the horse show is up here. We have kids in short stirrup and I won my first grand prix up here also. It’s nice to have all things featured. I won the [USHJA] International Derby as well. It’s been a great summer for the horses and riders. 2022 will be one to remember for sure.”
Second place honors went to Ghere and Fountain Balou, while round-one leader Hillary Johnson with Copper Fox, LLC’s Moonwalk took third with a score of 179 overall.
Final Results: $15,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby
1. San Pedro 15 / Jacob Pope / Donald Stewart / 89 + 95 = 184
2. Fountain Balou / Megan Ghere / Donald Stewart / 90 + 93 = 183
3. Moonwalk / Hillary Johnson / Copper Fox LLC / 91 + 88 = 179
4. Checker 69 / Olivia Sweetnam / Staci Arani / 88 + 88.5 = 176.5
5. Blue Monday / Hillary Johnson / Stephanie Battershall / 88.5 + 87.5 = 176
6. G. Eleven / Jacob Pope / Donald Stewart / 85 + 90.5 = 175.5
7. True That / Megan Ghere / Donald Stewart / 83.5 + 91 = 174.5
8. Vincent / Jacob Pope / Natalie Groulx / 87 + 87 = 174
9. J’Adore / Jacob Pope / Team Rakowski Equestrian LLC / 87.5 + 86 = 173.5
10. Jagerbomb / Isabelle Ehman / Infinity Equestrian LLC / 83 + 89 = 172
11. Ustica / Olivia Sweetnam / Sweet Oak Farm / 86 + 168
12. Suede / Hillary Johnson / Copper Fox LLC / 82 + 69 = 151