Haness and HH Elmo Take Another Win in USHJA Interanational Hunter Derby Regional Championships

Nick Haness and HH Elmo. Photo by ESI Photography

Edited Press Release

Nick Haness’s partnership with HH Elmo just keeps getting better. Just seven days after he won the $100,000 WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular with Lindsay Maxwell’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Verdi x Padinus), he took top honors yet again, this time in the $65,000 Butet USHJA International Hunter Derby Regional Championships during National Sunshine Series II.

It’s no surprise that the horse is picking up so many accolades with Haness aboard. The horse has a proven record in the jumpers and has made a flawless transition into the hunter rings, while Haness has swept some major victories across the nation in recent months.

“HH Elmo is an extremely fun horse to ride,” Haness said. “He has all the things you look for in a hunter: he has the stride, the scope, the looks, the movement, and perfect technique over the jumps. This is a very seasoned horse who’s competed all over the world. Every time he comes out for competition he knows when it’s an important class and he always tries to rise to the top.”

Similar to the pair’s last victory, they led wire-to-wire, taking the top score of 189 from the two panels of judges in round one, then returning and sealing the deal with a 205.5 in the handy round for the win.

Nick Haness and HH Elmo in their winning presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

The course was built for the occasion by Thomas Hern, featuring beautiful fences and difficult high options, but HH Elmo was prepared for the challenge, especially considering his roots in show jumping. “Having the jumper background comes in handy for a class like today where the jumps were built very large,” Haness continued. “Having that ability and knowledge makes him really fun, especially in the handy round because you can turn sharp and challenge him a bit. He always just sails over the jumps.”

Joining Haness atop the podium was Nicole Bourgeois with McQueen, owned by Barbara Lovre, on a total score of 376. Chelsea Brittner and Kaylin Faidi’s Berry De Maillet rounded out the top three on a score of 375.

“I particularly loved that the last jump was a long run to an oxer by the judges,” Haness said regarding Hern’s course. “I love to gallop so it was a fun way to end the course and show the judges I wanted to win the class. He jumped brilliantly.”

Haness has been all over the world as of late as his career highs keep getting higher, but he never forgets where he’s from. “I’ve taken a lot of flights the last few months between the East Coast, Europe, and back to California,” he remarked. “My roots are here in California and I’m excited to be back here competing; however, we had a very successful and fun tour on the East Coast and buying new horses in Europe.”

He anticipates a season full of top results among his string, with mounts in the big hunter classes and the jumpers. “They’ve developed a great schedule throughout the competition season,” Haness said of DIHP’s schedule. “You can really target events to look forward to and set goals for at any level. Fortunately I have a nice string of horses to compete here in the hunter and jumper rings so we’re very grateful and excited to be here and continue to hopefully win some big classes.”

Chelsea Brittner and Arvantos. Photo by ESI Photography

Chelsea Brittner had a warm welcome back to the hunter rings during the National Sunshine Series, taking the win in the $10,000 Valencia Saddlery USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open aboard Arvantos. Having just returned from maternity leave, Brittner laid down beautiful rides and earned top scores of 94 and 96 for a combined total of 190 for the win.

A partnership since earlier in the spring of 2022, Brittner’s team and Greenley Achuck’s 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding have been moving up the ranks. “He’d never done the hunters before,” Brittner commented. “He was fresh from Europe and had only done jumpers, so the hunter ring was new for him. He’s got an incredible jump and amazing balance. He’s the most fun horse to ride. We’ve been taking our time and letting him learn his job and he’s really stepping up to the plate.”

Brittner made an impressive comeback into the show ring after welcoming her baby boy, Anderson, with husband, Skyler, just a few months ago.

“I’ve been riding for 10 days now,” she continued. “I’m really lucky to be surrounded by such a great team and such great horses. They helped me get my confidence back quickly. They’ve helped make the transition back to the saddle such an enjoyable and easy one. I can’t thank the Chestnut Hill team enough. All the accolades go to the team, because their support has been above and beyond.”

The $10,000 Valencia Saddlery USHJA National Hunter Derby – Junior/Amateur was split into two sections, with Parker Cliff and Limelight, owned by Joanette Korngold, taking top honors in Section A. Understudy and Ella Cate Duke were the champions of Section B.

Final Results: $65,000 Butet USHJA International Hunter Derby Regional Championships

1. HH Elmo / Nick Haness / Lindsay Maxwell / 189 + 205.5 = 394.5
2. McQueen / Nicole Bourgeois / Barbara Lovre / 171 + 205 = 376
3. Berry De Maillet / Chelsea Brittner / Kaylin Faidi / 174 + 201 = 375
4. L’Con Reyes / Katie Taylor-Davidson / Bravado LLC / 174 + 198 = 372
5. Wayfinder / Nicole Bourgeois / Hilary Sosne / 178 + 194 = 372
6. Copacabana / Dustin Goodwin / Hannah Scheuer / 164 + 194 = 358
7. Tic Tac Toe / Nicole Bourgeois / Amy Bean / 174 + 183 = 357
8. Estimated Prophet / Nick Haness / Roaring Fork Farms LLC / 179 + 118 = 297
9. Upside / Halie Robinson / Stable Assets LLC / 174.5 + 113 = 287.5
10. Coraggio / Emma Lindstrom / June Salin / 177 + 110 = 287
11. Lulavani / Samil Milo / Cavallo Stables LLC / 167.5 + 90 = 257.5
12. Virginia Z / Annika Singh / Singh Family Farms LLC / 158 + 94 = 252

Final Results: $10,000 Valencia Saddlery USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open

1. Arvantos / Chelsea Brittner / Greenley Achuck / 94 + 96 = 190
2. Gold Coast / Kylee Arbuckle / Alexa Collins / 92 + 97 = 189
3. Mardi Gras / Nick Haness / Bernadette Mulliken / 96 + 88.5 = 184.5
4. True That / Nick Haness / Rainie Rose / 93 + 91 = 184
5. Charismo / Katie Taylor-Davidson / Molly Brock / 91.5 + 89 = 180.5
6. Lion / Tara Metzner / Davlyn Farms / 90 + 90 = 180
7. Talaro PS / Philippa Melski / Mila Anderson / 90.5 + 86 = 176.5
8. Calvados / Kylee Arbuckle / Jill Slater / 87.25 + 84 = 171.25
9. McQueen / Nick Haness / Strasburg Mourin Inc. / 99 + 50 = 149
10. Ravenswood / Jenny Karazissis / Lisa Wu / 91.75 + 51 = 142.75
11. Chaplin / Sara Petersen / Jan O’Brien / 91 + 49 = 140
12. Clooney / Shauna Pennell / Ilene Kurtzman / 89 + 47 = 136