The class was held over two days with 41 competitors tackling the first round course. The top 25 horse and rider combinations returned on Sunday for a handy round designed by Ken Krome that consisted of ten jumps with four high options and a trot fence. The combinations were scored by two panels of judges: panel one consisted of James Clapperton and Rob Bielefeld, while panel two was made up of Ken Krome and Danny Robertshaw. During both rounds, riders could jump the high option of several fences in order to receive bonus points, and during the second round, riders received a handy bonus from the judges.
Entering the second round, Farmer and Kodachrome were sitting in fourth place with a score of 179.25, but their handy round score of 199.5 brought their total score up to 378.75 to take the win. Peter Wylde of Lake Worth, FL, and MTM Hands Down, owned by Beechwood Stables, LLC, captured the reserve honors. The pair earned a first round score of 173.5, and after winning the hand round with a score of 203.5, they moved up to second place with a combined score of 377. Amy Momrow of Wellington, FL, finished in third aboard Melissa Wight’s Aeroplane. Momrow piloted the new mount to first and second round scores of 181.5 and 193 for an overall score of 174.5.
Commenting on her win, Farmer said, “It was an emotional win. I am thrilled for Nina [Moore]. I just called her, and she was very emotional and excited. We are both thrilled for the horse. I am really honored that Nina let me continue where Russell [Frey] left off and keep going with what Russell had planned for that horse. Russell had big plans for Kodachrome, and the horse has done nothing but try to succeed and fill them.”
Moore originally purchased the horse for Frey with hopes that he had Derby Finals potential. Farmer and Kodachrome have been competitive ever since she picked up the ride and piloted the talented gelding to a second place finish at the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.
The riders praised the decision to hold both rounds of the derby on the grass field.
“The horses are so used to being in the ring,” said Farmer. “I think horses and riders can get a little stage fright until they get out there and get comfortable competing on the grass. I think having both rounds out here lent itself to more horses going well and being comfortable. I would love to show on the grass more and more.”
While Wylde’s mount, MTM Hands Down, is a well-known and successful junior hunter, the 14-year-old Warmblood gelding is new to the derby scene, competing in his first derby just a few weeks ago.
“MTM Hands Down is my student’s, Annabel Revers’, Large Junior Hunter,” detailed Wlyde. “She has had great results with him and won Junior Hunter Finals with him. We thought it would be fun to introduce him to derbies. So the first derby I did with him was a few weeks ago, and he was sixth. I thought he was brilliant this weekend. Riding on this grass field is fantastic. The horses jump so well on it, and it is a thrill to ride on.”
Wylde rode MTM Hands Down to win the handy round and move up from ninth place to finish in second place.
Speaking of his strategy going into the handy round, Wlyde said, “I knew I had nothing to lose because I was ninth coming in and I needed to really go for it in the handy. He turned really well, and I tried to make the shortest turns. I was happy to get tens from both judges for the handy score. I think that really helped me.”
Momrow and Aeroplane are another pair new to the international derby scene, but their consistency over the two-day class garnered them a third place finish. Aeroplane was purchased as a junior hunter, but Momrow recently took over the reins to compete in the derbies with the 2006 Hanoverian gelding by Embassy.
“This is our first year really stepping up in the international derbies,” Momrow stated. “Aeroplane has been a really solid and consistent horse. He is very brave and really enjoys being on the grass. The grass field is a great environment, and the horses jump beautifully on it.”
Entering the second round, Momrow sat in third place. She was the only rider who finished in the top three on the first day that maintained a top three final placing. Both Maggie Jayne of Elgin, IL, and Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, who were sitting in first and second going into the handy round, finished outside the top six.
“I changed my strategy,” she continued. “At first going into the handy round, we thought I would just take some of the lower options and be conservative. Then, we decided that since this is our breakout year and we do have the goal of going to derby finals, that we should test ourselves and do all the high options and try to tidy up the turns. I definitely think I could have been handier, but I thought my horse put in a great effort.”
Kelley Farmer and Derby Lane, LLC’s, Point Being finished in fourth with scores of 173 and 196.5 for a 369.5-point total. David Oliynyk and Lori Gaudet’s Generous placed fifth, with an overall total score of 364.75, carrying over a 174 from round one and a 190.75 in round two. Havens Schatt and Mostly Sunny, owned by CH Farm, LLC, rounded out the top six with scores of 165 and 196 for a 361-point total.