Nick Haness Hunts and Goes to Victory With Gucci in USHJA International Hunter Derby at Desert Circuit 2

Nick Haness and Gucci. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Edited Press Release

Not many riders at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) were thinking about doing their taxes while on course Friday of Desert Circuit II, but for Nick Haness, it’s become a bit of a strategy, and it’s one that led him to the win in the $25,000 TALUS USHJA International Hunt & Go Derby.

The professional rider isn’t one to ever show weaknesses in the hunter ring, but he openly admitted the trot fence is not his strong suit, despite nailing it perfectly aboard Gucci Friday for the top score in the class.

“Trot jumps are something in my career that have always posted a challenge,” Haness said. “It’s a different gait and you can’t find a distance to it; it’s more of a balance and feel. It’s also always been a mental thing for me. Luckily today on Gucci it worked out really well. I’ve learned to keep my rhythm, close my eyes, think about my taxes or something different from riding a horse, and hopefully it all works out.”

The trot fence, plus all other 14 fences, worked perfectly in Haness’ favor as he guided the Blackstone Farms, Ltd. entry Gucci around the combined classic and handy round course.

“I think he’s a winning horse,” Haness said of the 12-year-old Warmblood gelding. “He has a great presence about him, a great expression, and clearly his temperament is suitable for the job. Today he went in and was all business. He felt really solid in both phases. He thinks with you; when you ask him to do something he does what you ask of him, which is a nice quality.”

Nick Haness and Gucci. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

The trot fence had Haness’ attention from the get go, but Gucci was up for the challenge and the cards fell into place the way they needed to. “The trot jump was pretty spooky, especially for me; I don’t like big trot jumps. I always worry about that when I walk the course, I tell myself that’s the one place I need to pay attention. Gucci was perfect and did it great,” Haness remarked.

Their two-round total of 174 put them in the lead by a significant margin, and they held onto that lead until the class drew to a close. Jamie Sailor and Lioness, owned by 3P Equine Partners, LLC, took second place and Haness followed behind in third aboard Estimated Prophet, owned by Roaring Fork Farms LLC. Djuna Lauder was the U25 winner aboard Radio City, earning sixth place overall.

Djuna Lauder and Radio City, pictured with Traci Brooks. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“Gucci is a brand new ride for me,” Haness continued. “I rode him for the first time two days ago. He is a really fun horse. He’s very brave and very fun to ride. He gave me a lot of positive vibes, a good feeling, and I believed in him. He’s very nifty to ride; he lands both leads, he’s got a big stride, he’s very pretty, and he has a nice jump. All of those things considered I had confidence to go in the ring and do well. We’ve had a really solid beginning with this horse.”

Karli Schroeder topped the second derby of the day, the $5,000 Platinum Performance USHJA National Hunt & Go Derby – Open aboard Rachel Adler’s Lighthouse. The pair rode to a score of 176 for the top call. Concluding derby action was Madison Nadolenco, winning the $5,000 Voltaire Design USHJA National Hunt & Go Derby – Junior/Amateur aboard Ingenium Farm’s Totoka Fuji.

Final Results: $25,000 TALUS USHJA International Hunt & Go Derby

1. Gucci / Nick Haness / Blackstone Farms, Ltd / 174
2. Lioness / Jamie Sailor / 3P Equine Partners, LLC / 163
3. Estimated Prophet / Nick Haness / Roaring Fork Farms LLC / 161
4. Upside / Halie Robinson / Stable Assets LLC / 160
5. Gatsby / Alexis Taylor / Aleron LLC / m158
6. Radio City / Djuna Lauder / Roaring Fork Farms LLC / 156
7. Arvantos / Chelsea Brittner / Greenley Achuck / 155.5
8. Paperboy / Julia Greenspan / Brighton Farms / 153
9. Verdict / Alexis Meadows / Alexis Meadows / 149
10. Cambalache / Violet Tatum / Archibald Cox / 143
11. Zeren / Halie Robinson / Mackenzie Greer / 142
12. Ohlala Van’t Jonkersleen / Halie Robinson / Laila Klinsmann / 141

This Post Brought to You by: 

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.