The fourth week of the Desert Circuit at the Desert International Horse Park was packed with top-tier hunter/jumper competition including the prestigious $10,000 Granite Bay Farm USHJA National Hunter Derby which was separated into a professional section and a junior/amateur section. As he has done countless times, high-performing professional Nick Haness won amongst the professional ranks, but it was a special victory for Lillian Muzzy in the Junior/Amateur section.
The young rider piloted the MZ Farms LLC’s 19-year-old Westphalian gelding (Balou Du Rouet) Baldeur to two high-scoring rounds and combined her first round score of 87.50 with an impressive 91.00 in the handy round for an overall leading total of 178.50.
“To win a National Derby on Baldeur was a dream come true,” gushed Muzzy. “He and I have been partners for 3 years and we have competed in several derbies together. Our favorite part of the derby is the second round because he can be very handy and versatile.”
Muzzy is well-versed in Baldeur’s talents as the pair regularly compete together in both the Small Junior Hunter division as well as various equitation classes. Although he was not an instant match with Muzzy, who describes him as ‘not the easiest ride’, she credits trainer Shayne Wireman with their budding success.
“Lily and Baldeur have a great relationship, and she has worked hard to learn to ride him softly in the Hunter ring,” Wireman described. “They were very smooth in the first round of the derby, and she made all the turns flow nicely in the handy round. Baldeur always jumps in good form, so it was very exciting for them to have everything come together for great scores!’