From the starting field of 20 horse and rider combinations that entered the ring to tackle the derby, Pacher and Provenance earned the win with a total high score of 172 points.
"He's a machine," Pacher said of Provenance, a 9-year-old homebred gelding who is generally ridden by Pacher's wife, Gretchen. "He's super honest, a quick learner and very steady all the time. It's only his third derby, but he always catches ribbons. Yesterday, he was reserve in the 3'3" Performance Working Hunters, but today was his day to win."
At the end of the first round, Pacher and Provenance sat in fourth with a score of 86, but they shot to the top of the list following the handy round, as they were the only pair able to similarly duplicate their efforts the second time around.
"The second course was great; it really gave the horses a chance to show off their handiness. Even with all the rain, the footing and the rings were fantastic, and the course was just really nice," Pacher said.
Pacher put in strong performances on multiple mounts, as he achieved three out of the top four scores in the classic round, right beneath Nicole Moran and her ride Fiyero, who topped the classic round with a score of 88 points. Moran and Fiyero rode away with third place overall, after putting in another successful effort that landed them a score of 79.5 in the handy round for a 167.5 total.
ust ahead of Moran and Fiyero to take the second place spot were Katie Cooper and Cherry Knoll Farm's Sandlot. The pair navigated the handy round with ease, achieving a score of 83 points; the third highest score overall. Cooper was able to wow the judges and secure the second place ribbon in the derby upon her gelding, Sandlot, with a cumulative score of 168.
In addition to the top competition offered at the Swan Lake Summer Kick-Off Classic, exhibitors and spectators also enjoyed ringside hospitality and a 50s themed barbecue during the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby event. Special prizes were awarded in conjunction with the class and the barbecue, including the manager's award, the best-dressed derby rider award and the most awesome groom honor.