Déjà Vu for Feigus and Four Aces in $40,000 Great American USHJA International Hunter Derby

 A stunning scenery was set for the main event on Thursday afternoon during the penultimate week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Top hunters donned their best attire as they prepared for the series’ second international derby event, the $40,000 Great American USHJA International Hunter Derby. Throughout the ten weeks of competition held at HITS Post Time Farm, hunter riders have had the opportunity to participate in weekly derby events and WCHR-rated hunter divisions. As he did in the first international derby of the season, Brian Feigus produced a brilliant performance across two rounds to take the title once again with Four Aces. 

Thirty-three entries came forward for the first round of competition including top hunter professionals Havens Schatt, Dorrie Douglas, and Jennifer Alfano just to name a few. The top twelve contenders returned to compete over the afternoon’s handy course where Feigus put forward his best smooth moves to overthrow former leader Jordan Lubow and land in the pinnacle position. 

Brian Feigus stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

“I think today I know the horse a little better now,” explained Feigus. “There’s no better feeling in the world. The horse is so easy that we don’t have to do much to prepare him.” 

While Feigus wasn’t leading from the get-go like in his prior derby with the Redfield Farms’ nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Acodetto 2), he admitted that the challenge typically only increased his desire to win. 

“I like coming in a little bit as the underdog,” he detailed. “For me, being on top in the first round is a little bit harder. I personally enjoy coming in a little bit behind because it makes me want it a little more. Today I was a little bit more bold than last time, so I like that kind of pressure. I’ve always handled myself well with it and I actually really enjoy that part of the competition.”

Alfano and Megan Odozynski’s nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Big Star), By The Way, jumped up in the placings to ultimately claim second place, while Lubow’s performance with Opening Bell Sporthorses, LLC’s 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Casiro I), Wisely, rounded out the top three. 

Feigus was also the recipient of the Style of Riding award and a $500 Quail Hollow gift card for his fantastic finish.