Hunt Tosh Takes the Win in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Devon

Tosh claimed the top spot aboard Autograph at the 2022 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair.

At the end of two rounds of competition, Hunt Tosh and Autograph reigned supreme in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2022 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair. Tosh piloted Ceil Wheeler’s 9-year-old German Warmblood gelding to the top of the leaderboard, finishing with an overall score of 383.5. “Devon is my favorite,” remarked Tosh. “It’s so special. Not being here for two years—to come back this year and be able to win the derby—it’s fantastic.”

Hunt Tosh and Autograph
© Julia Murphy

Greg Crolick and Chappy, a Mecklenberg gelding owned by Carole Chase, followed close behind Tosh, with just half a point separating them at the end of the day. Crolick finished on a score of 383.0 to claim the reserve championship. Rounding out the top three was Colin Syquia aboard Front Page, a Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Cynthia Sulzberger, who earned a combined 380.5.

Classic Round

In the classic round, a field of 33 horse-and-rider combinations challenged the 11-effort track in the famed Dixon Oval. Riders were presented with four option fences at heights between 4’0″ and 4’3″, each worth an additional point to their score. The two judging panels could each award up to four points per course, totaling a possible eight bonus points.

First to go of the day was Crolick aboard Chappy. The duo tackled all four option fences, adding eight points to their combined judges’ score of 173, resulting in a 181 for the first round. “We bought him for the adult that owns him to be her 2’6″ and 3’0″ horse,” Crolick shared. “He really surprised us when we started showing him and what he can really do.”

Seventh in the order, Tosh and Autograph also challenged the four option fences and garnered a total of 185 to take over the lead. “He hasn’t done many derbies, but he went beautifully in the first round,” Tosh commented on Autograph’s efforts.

Hunt Tosh and Autograph
© Julia Murphy

Handy Round

At the conclusion of the classic round, 12 pairs were invited back to undertake the handy round. Riders tested the 10-effort track in reverse order, with Crolick and Tosh second to last and last to go, respectively. The course included several inside turns and a trot jump, as well as four option fences.

Crolick and Chappy tackled the track with grace, soaring over all four option fences and earning 14 handy points from the judges’ panels. Their handy score totaled 202 points, which was added to their first round score for a grand total of 383.0. “I just tried to be as handy as I possibly could and turn in where I could and hopefully meet the jumps correctly,” commented Crolick on his handy round.

Greg Crolick and Chappy
© Julia Murphy

Closing out the class, Tosh and Autograph put in a solid round that included all four options, but rubbed one fence on course. “I got a little nervous. I touched the second jump, had a little rub there, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve got to try to do everything I can,'” said Tosh. “So, I tried to make it up, go a little quicker back to the second to last jump and gallop the last jump.”

All in all, Tosh and Autograph’s handy score totaled 198.5 points—lower than Crolick’s—but just enough to bump their overall score to the top of the leaderboard at 383.5 and earn them the grand championship. “It was a great class. The horses jumped beautifully,” Tosh concluded.

Crolick and Chappy secured the reserve championship as well as first place in the handy round for earning the highest score. “It was just wonderful to come in here and put in a good trip and have great competition to show against.”

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