Edited Press Release
Hunter riders got their chance to shine on the grass field Sunday morning in the $50,000 Butet USHJA International Hunter Derby. In a field of 35 pairs, it was Nick Haness and Estimated Prophet, owned by Roaring Fork Farms LLC, who took the win with a total score of 384.5.
“He’s a very talented horse,” Haness commented on the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. “He’s beautiful, elegant, and capable of jumping the big jumps. He listens to me very well and I think he really stands out. He’s got a great amount of bravery, scope, and quality, so riding him in today’s class was a lot of fun.”
A pair of first-round scores of 93 and 93.5 from the two judging panels put Haness in a promising spot, but only a half a point ahead of Nicole Bourgeois with McQueen, owned by Barbara Lovre. Returning for the handy is fortunately Haness’ specialty.
“I knew that there were places to be bold,” Haness said of the handy track, designed by Kevin Holowack. “The first jump was a triple-bar [oxer], which was a bit unusual for the hunter ring, but I got a good gallop started right away and put the horse in front of my leg. I started the boldness from the get-go to show the judges I was in it to win it.”
The course also featured a long ride to the final oxer at a hand gallop. A long approach might intimidate many hunter riders, especially at a hand gallop, but Haness doesn’t share that concern.
“When the course designer marks on the course that they want to see a hand gallop, it excites me because I love that,” he explained. “I think it’s really important to demonstrate [the hand gallop]. In the derbies especially, it’s important to have pace. You’re out in the field hunting around the course. I am really glad the course designer gave us the long beautiful stretch of grass to gallop to the last jump. It was a fun way to bring it home.”
Earlier in the week during the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Bourgeois and Haness were neck and neck, with Bourgeois edging out the win, that time aboard Tic Tac Toe and Haness aboard Reese’s. The two riders found themselves in the same position in Sunday’s class, but the opposite result occurred.
“Nicole always makes a big statement and is a strong competitor,” Haness said of fellow hunter extraordinaire. “Nicole put the pressure on me to deliver a good round and I really wanted to take a chance to try to win. It wasn’t an easily-deserved win by any stretch; it was a hard fought victory for us today.”
Final Results: $50,000 Butet USHJA International Hunter Derby
1. Estimated Prophet / Nick Haness / Roaring Fork Farms LLC / 384.5
2. McQueen / Nicole Bourgeois / Barbara Lovre / 368
3. Lykke Li-Terma Z / Michelle Morris / Ava Park / 358.5
4. Dalmore / Nick Haness / Julia Nagler / 357
5. Tangled Up In Blue / Lisa Wall / 3P Equine Partners, LLC / 351
6. Kanndarco / Jordan Appel / Thomas Dias / 337.5
7. Elect / Benson Carroll / Julia Nagler / 337
8. Kingston / Halie Robinson / Stonefield Sport Horses LLC / 334.5
9. Hulla-Balou / Michael Dennehy / Dana Vollbracht / 326.1
10. Starflight / Jamie Sailor / Kevin Lemke / 326
11. Wayfinder / Nicole Bourgeois / Hilary Sosne / 324
12. Top Story / Shauna Pennell / WJC Farms, LLC / 270